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Postdoctoral Scholar in Astrobiology and Exoplanet Science

Job Description

The Astrobiology Initiative of the University of California, Santa Cruz invites applications for Postdoctoral Scholars in Astrobiology, especially as relates to exoplanet research. We are particularly interested in candidates working on exoplanet demographic studies, population synthesis, atmospheric characterization, and detection. We are also interested in planet formation and evolution modeling, especially where theory can be mapped to demographic data and other observations (e.g. JWST). Candidates working at the nexus of earth, planetary, and astrophysical science with the aim of impacting the search for life beyond Earth are also encouraged to apply.

Successful candidates will be part of the NASA Interdisciplinary Consortium for Astrobiology Research (ICAR) team led by UCSC (PI: Natalie Batalha), including researchers at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Kansas, and NASA Ames Research Center. The program includes funding for cross-institute collaborations. The consortium aims to trace the physical and chemical pathways of volatile elements from protoplanetary disk formation, through disk evolution to planet formation, the accretion of volatiles within planets, and the formation, evolution, and loss of planetary atmospheres, establishing a scientific foundation for detecting the signatures of life on other worlds.

Postdoctoral Scholars in Astrobiology at UCSC work with faculty who are world leaders in the study of exoplanets, the origin of life, earth & planetary science, and modern instrumentation as well as humanists considering the ethics of space science and the impact of astrobiology on society. Astrobiology is inherently interdisciplinary, demanding varied expertise. Postdoctoral Scholars will work independently but also be encouraged to collaborate in an inclusive and welcoming environment with a broad swath of faculty, postdocs, and students. Successful candidates may reside in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics or the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. The Scholars will have an opportunity to interact with visitors from around the world from the successful Other Worlds Laboratory summer program. 

We seek diversity in our program. We welcome applications from candidates with traditional and eclectic career paths, candidates who have overcome significant challenges, and/or candidates who work to expand the field of astrophysics beyond its historical boundaries.

Fellows will have access to the University of California Observatories, including Lick Observatory, which has the Shane 3m and 2.4m Automated Planet Finder (APF) telescopes, as well as Keck Observatory through Faculty PIs. Funding is available for travel, conferences and publications. Relocation expenses up to $3000 will be covered. These positions will be located on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Time can be divided between on-site and remote work.

BASIC QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Planetary Sciences, Geosciences, or a related field. Ph.D. must be in hand at time of the initial appointment.

POSITION AVAILABLE: Upon selection, and preferably no later than September 1, 2023.

MAXIMUM DURATION: Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time; the initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility of reappointment for a total of three years. Reappointment will be contingent upon positive performance review and availability of funding.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All documents and materials must be submitted as a single PDF and should be forwarded to Natalie Batalha (natalie.batalha@ucsc.edu ). Applications must include a curriculum vitae with list of publications, and a research statement that includes a brief summary of relevant experience in addition to future research interests. Please have three or more recommendation letters emailed to natalie.batalha@ucsc.edu by the application deadline for full consideration. Please refer to “Astrobiology Postdoc” in all correspondence. More details at: https://astrobiology.science.ucsc.edu/programs/postdoctoral-fellowship/

RECRUITMENT PERIOD: Full consideration will be given to applications completed by February 10, 2023. Applications received after this date will be considered if the positions have not been filled.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686. Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see https://www.uscis.gov/e-verify ). More information is available at the APO website (see https://apo.ucsc.edu/policy/capm/104.000%20.html ) or call (831) 459-4300. UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus. If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Academic Personnel Office at (831) 459-4300.

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