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One Postdoctoral Contract Sinergia Project 2018

Fecha inicio solicitud: 
Lun, 19/11/2018
Fecha límite solicitud: 
Mar, 08/01/2019


The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC, Tenerife, Spain) invites applications for ONE advanced postdoctoral contract to work in the project HPC-techniques for 3D modeling of resonance line polarization with Partial Frequency Redistribution. This research project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) within the framework of “Sinergia”, a programme promoting interdisciplinary collaboration between two to four applicants on projects involving breakthrough research. This Sinergia grant has been awarded to Dr. Luca Belluzzi (IRSOL; Locarno, Switzerland), Prof. Rolf Krause (ICS, Lugano, Switzerland), Dr. Jiri Stepan (ASCR; Prague, Czech Republic) and Prof. Javier Trujillo Bueno (IAC; Tenerife, Spain).


The aim of the project is to combine competences and expertise in the fields of the generation and transfer of polarized radiation in magnetized plasmas, atomic physics, spectropolarimetry, computational sciences and high-performance computing (HPC). The goal is to develop novel accurate and robust parallel solution methods for the radiative transfer (RT) problem for polarized radiation in realistic three-dimensional (3D) models of the solar atmosphere, taking into account the effects of correlations between the incoming and outgoing photons in the scattering events (PRD effects, from partial frequency redistribution). The selected candidate will closely interact with the postdocs and scientists working on the same project at IRSOL, ICS and ASCR. Moreover, she/he will also  benefit from scientific collaborations with the POLMAG group of the IAC (see The position implies regular working visits to the other research centers involved in the project. 


The IAC is a Public Consortium and a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence doing research on the following areas of astrophysics: solar physics, planetary systems, stellar and interstellar physics, galactic formation and evolution, cosmology and astroparticles, as well as on development of instrumentation. Further information about the IAC's research programme is available at The appointed candidate will benefit from the research environment at the IAC, which hosts one of the largest and most active Solar Physics groups in Europe. The group covers theory, numerical modeling, observations and instrumental development, and is seriously involved on the development of novel international projects such as CLASP (Chromospheric LAyer SpectroPolarimeter), a series of suborbital rocket experiments for probing the chromosphere-corona transition region via spectropolarimetry in ultraviolet resonance lines.


Duties: Starting from the radiative transfer code PORTA (Stepan & Trujillo Bueno 2013; A&A, 557, 143), the selected candidate is expected to work on the development and application of a novel 3D radiative transfer code for modeling, by means of massively parallel supercomputers, the spectral line polarization produced by the joint action of anisotropic radiation pumping and the Hanle and Zeeman effects in the solar atmosphere, taking PRD effects into account. 


In particular, she/he will have the following responsibilities:


- To strongly contribute to the development of the above-mentioned non-LTE radiative transfer code. This implies to work with the theoretical aspects of the problem, as well as with the implementation and testing of the newly developed methods and HPC techniques.


- To apply the new code to perform forward modeling calculations of the intensity and polarization of various solar resonance lines of great interest for probing the solar chromosphere via confrontation with spectropolarimetric observations, using 3D models resulting from plasma-radiation simulations of the solar atmosphere.


- To confront the results of the new 3D radiative transfer calculations with spectropolarimetric measurements of (a) the hydrogen Lyman-alpha line observed by CLASP-1, (b)  the Mg II h & k lines that CLASP-2 will hopefully observe in 2019 and (c) other chromospheric lines to be observed with  ground-based telescopes (e.g., SST, GREGOR and DKIST).


- To prepare competitive supercomputing proposals for the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS).


- To interact closely with the other postdocs and scientists working at the other institutions involved in this interdisciplinary project, including regular working visits to their research centers.


- To co-advise a PhD thesis, provided that an IAC Resident Astrophysicist is available for carrying out his/her thesis within the framework of this project.


- To help with the coordination of the theoretical and numerical developments required for the success of the project, as well as with the representation of the IAC team at the international level.


- To elaborate reports of progress, justification, etc., to the SNSF, in coordination with the PIs and the personnel involved in project management.


- To contribute to the public outreach activities of the project.


Position requirements: The candidates must have undertaken novel research developments and hold promise to become a leading researcher in the coming years. Candidates with experience on numerical radiative transfer and the theory of polarization in spectral lines are especially welcomed to apply.


Qualification requirements: To be eligible for admission, applicants must have obtained a Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics or Physics, by the application deadline (January 8, 2019). A copy of the degree or corresponding stamped certificate (issued by the University where the degree was obtained) must be included. Applicants who have not completed their Ph.D. degree within the application deadline will not be considered.


Selection stage: The selection process will consist of two stages: a merit assessment phase and an interview.


In the merit assessment stage, the Selection Committee will verify and rate the merits documented by the applicants. The maximum score that can be awarded for the assessment of merits will be 80 points, which will be calculated as the sum of the scores obtained in each of the sections.


A) Maximum score: 60 points


  • Scientific and technical contributions to the field of research.
  • Scientific publications, in quality and quantity, listed in the Science Citation Index (SCI), conference contributions, teaching tasks, participation in scientific committees, membership of scientific conference committees, conference organization, journal refereeing, and stays at other research centres.
  • Every career stage since the defence of the doctoral thesis will be taken into consideration.


B) Maximum score: 20 points


Adequacy of the candidate’s training and experience for the contract applied for. Experience in one or more of the following topics is important for this position.


  • Theory of polarization in spectral lines
  • Development and implementation of numerical methods
  • Non-LTE radiative transfer simulations
  • Coding with compiled languages and parallel computing


Method of accreditation for both sections: Research statement, which includes a report on the technical and research activity carried out, accompanied by documentation that proves what was stated in it.


C) Interview. Maximum score: 20 points


Candidates who have obtained the minimum score to pass the first phase (50 points) will be called to the second assessment phase at a specific time and date. The second phase will consist in an interview that can take place either in person at the IAC headquarters or using internet communication software (e.g., skype or zoom) that allows voice and image transmission.


During the interview, the candidates will present, for a maximum of 10 minutes, their vision about the suitability of their professional profile to the position applied for and the development of their research activity if awarded the contract. The Selection Committee may then ask questions about the contents of the presentation and any other aspects that they deem relevant.


The presentation may be in either Spanish or in English.


In this exercise a score of 0 to 20 points will be awarded, of which:


Up to 10 points, correspond to the suitability of the professional profile to the position applied for.


Up to 10 points, correspond to the candidate's vision of the future and planned research activity in the context of the position applied for.


To pass this second phase a minimum score of 15 points will be necessary.


To pass the selective process, it will be necessary to obtain a minimum score of 65 points.


In order to ensure the effective equality of opportunity for men and women, in pursuance of the provisions of the IAC's Second Plan of Equality, and to ensure that certain documented circumstances of candidates do not prejudice the success of their application, the following special circumstances will be taken positively into account:


  • Maternity leave, up to 18 months after the date of birth or adoption.
  • Paternity leave, as provided for by Social Security, for the duration of the corresponding permit.
  • Severe illness or accident with medical leave for a minimum of 3 months.
  • Care of dependents for a minimum period of 3 months, as provided for by Law 39/2006.
  • Work permits for the care of dependent children or adults.


Training: Those candidates who have done their Ph.D. research at the IAC must have undertaken a period of training in other research centres. This period must consist of either one continuous year or 18 accumulated months (including periods of training during their doctoral period).


Duration: The duration of the contract will extend up to September, 30th, 2022 (ending of the project), subject to annual revisions. The contract is expected to start in early 2019 (exact date to be negotiated).


Research travel funds: The contract includes all the travel expenses needed for the successful development of the project (meetings, workshops, observations, collaborations, etc.). 


Remuneration: The gross annual salary will be 40.668,74 Euros, plus the annual residence allowance (2,133.96 Euros). The contract includes medical insurance under the Spanish National Health Service, which will also cover the registered partner (de facto partner) and children (if relevant).


Relocation allowance: This call includes a relocation allowance (for the appointed candidate only) comprising: the cost of the flight ticket (booked and issued by the IAC), temporary accommodation for up to two weeks (organized by the IAC) and a per diem rate up to two weeks. The allowance cannot exceed the amount of 2,500 Euros.


Non-UE citizens: Applicants who are not citizen of a country belonging to the European Union are invited to apply for this position, but, if selected, will be allowed to sign the contract with the IAC only after obtaining the compulsory documentation required to live and work in Spain. 


How to apply: The required documentation must be submitted using the online application system, and received by the application deadline. Alternatively, candidates may follow the instructions in the official announcement (in Spanish only).


The following documentation must be sent in a single file in PDF format:


  • Application form (Annex I, duly completed and signed, including title and code number for the position)
  • Curriculum Vitae, including publication list
  • Research activity report and statement of suitability for the position (maximum of 2 pages)
  • Copy of the Ph.D. degree certificate
  • Copy of the national identity document or passport


In addition, the names and e-mails of three scientists familiar with the work of the candidate must be indicated.


Those applications that do not include the Application Form (Annex I, a mandatory document whose absence cannot be rectified), will be automatically rejected. In the case of incomplete applications, applicants will have a period of five (5) working days (starting from the day after publication of the provisional list of accepted and excluded candidates) to provide the missing documentation, except for those rejected applicants who failed to include Annex I.


Contact: For scientific enquiries please contact Prof. Javier Trujillo Bueno (