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Postdoctoral research associate n JWST Observations of Ices During Star Formation

The Open University
United Kingdom
Fecha inicio solicitud: 
Vie, 26/05/2023
Fecha límite solicitud: 
Vie, 30/06/2023


Application closing date:- June 30th 2023

Interviews:- w/c July 17th 2023


Start Date:- available “now” and ideally starting on or before Nov 1st 2023


For further information please email


Salary:  £36,333 or up to £38,474 (dependent on previous postdoctoral experience)

Location: Milton Keynes, UK

Please quote reference:    20928

Role: Full time, Fixed Term 36 months


We invite applications for a 3-year fixed-term postdoctoral researcher in Observational Astronomy. The postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) will be involved in the preparation, reduction, analysis, exploitation, and dissemination of JWST observational data from a variety of cycle 1 / 2 GT GO and ERS programmes, all of which focus on observing interstellar ices in pre-stellar phases of star-formation. The post is part of the STFC-funded project “The JWST IceAge: Chemical Evolution of Ices During Star Formation” in the OU Astrochemistry Group with Dr Helen Jane Fraser and Dr Hugh Dickinson. The overarching aim of this work is to unveil the link between solid-state ice chemistry, and the gas and dust tracers of star-formation, by connecting ice formation, ice evolution and ice destruction to the astrophysical environment in pre- and proto-stellar cores.

You will be involved in the reduction, analysis, exploitation, and dissemination of JWST observational data focusing on observing interstellar ices in pre-stellar phases of star-formation. You will be expected to lead the day-to-day data reduction, data analysis and resulting scientific publications. By exploiting existing cycle 1 GT GO and ERS JWST data, you will couple NIRCam-WFSS, NIRSpec-MSA and MIRI-MRS spectroscopic ice observations with laboratory ice spectra, and you will determine ice abundances and map the distribution of H2O, CO, CO2, and CH3OH ices at unprecedented spatial and spectral resolution. You will combine these ice-maps with sub-mm gas-phase and dust observations of the same pre-stellar cores, to gain an astrochemical understanding of the formation, evolution and destruction of ice in these regions.

You will have opportunities to disseminate your work at major national and international conferences, as well as working with international collaborators, particularly in JPL, Leiden Observatory, University of Hawaii, and University of Marseille. You will be expected to develop your JWST observing skills, and submit your own PI-led observing proposals to major facilities (i.e. JWST, VLT, ALMA, IRAM, JCMT) to develop your research independence, alongside delivering the primary goals of this project.

Skills and Experience

  • You will hold a PhD in Astronomy, Astrochemistry or a closely related field (e.g. Physics or Chemistry)
  • You will have prior experience working with (at least) one of the following observational techniques: IR astronomy (imaging or spectroscopy); sub-mm astronomy; slit-less spectroscopy; photometry.
  • You will be able to evidence extensive skills in python programming for scientific data processing and analysis, using local and HPC machines, as well as experience designing and executing astronomical observations on major telescopes.
  • You will also have excellent communication skills and be able to evidence strong teamwork in scientific or engineering projects, as well as demonstrating an emerging track record of peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals.

How to apply

To apply for this role please submit the following;

  • CV
  • Personal statement, up to 1,000 words, you should set out in your statement why you’re interested in this role and provide examples of where your skills and experience meet the required competencies for this role as detailed in the job and person specification.

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Closing date:  30th June 2023


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