PhD position: Atmospheric characterisation of exoplanets with the Near-InfraRed Planet Searcher (NIRPS)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Pre-doctoral/Graduate Positions
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
University of Geneva
Department Name: 
Observatory of Geneva / Department of Astronomy
Street Line 1: 
Chemin Pegasi 51
Job Announcement Text: 

PhD position: Atmospheric characterisation of exoplanets with the Near-InfraRed Planet Searcher (NIRPS)

Applications are invited for a research assistant (PhD student) position at the University of Geneva (Department of Astronomy, aka the Geneva Observatory) working with Prof. David Ehrenreich on the characterisation of exoplanetary atmospheres. The successful applicant is expected to work on high-resolution spectra from the new Near-InfraRed Planet Searcher (NIRPS) at the European Southern Observatory 3.6m telescope in La Silla (Chile). The Department of Astronomy is a member of the NIRPS Consortium, which involves partners in Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Switerzland and at ESO. The Consortium has access to 725 nights of Guaranteed Time Observations over 5 years, out of which a substantial part will be dedicated to study the atmospheres of exoplanets. The work will involve data reduction, analysis and interpretation, as well as a participation to the observations at the 3.6m telescope in La Silla (Chile). The scientific operations of NIRPS are expected to start in October 2022. The position is funded by PlanetS (see below) for 4 years.

Setting: The Geneva Observatory is at the origin of the exoplanet field with the discovery of the first exoplanet around a solar-type star by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz (Nobel prize 2019). Today, it offers one of the most vibrant environment worldwide for exoplanet research. Nearly 60 people contributes to the exoplanet team (, currently including 11 faculty members, 16 postdoctoral researchers, 16 PhD students, and 16 project staff members. Research topics include exoplanet detection, exoplanet characterization (atmospheres, interiors), planetary system dynamics, and instrumentation. Team members are directly involved into a large number of projects, including photometric instruments (CHEOPS, TESS, PLATO, NGTS), high-resolution spectrographs (HARPS, HARPS-North, NIRPS and ESPRESSO) and direct imaging ([email protected]). The exoplanet team is also part of PlanetS (, a Swiss research network focused on exoplanetary science, which includes ~130 scientists from the Universities of Geneva, Bern, Zurich and the Zurich Institute of Technology. The successful applicant will be able to take advantage of this unique collaborative framework.

The University of Geneva is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in its workplace.

Start date is flexible; the position could start as early as June 2022.

Duration: This is a 4-year position.

Salary: ~45,000 CHF/year, according to rules of the University and Canton of Geneva.

Deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply by January 31st, 2022, but later applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

Requirements: A MSc degree in astronomy, astrophysics or related fields.
The successful applicant will be immersed in a team work environment, therefore good team playing abilities will be praised soft skills.

  • A curriculum vitae (2 pages max).
  • A cover letter (1 page max) listing the names and contact information for 2 reference persons.

The above application materials should be encapsulated within a single pdf and sent to [email protected]

  • Up to two letters of recommendation could be sent directly to Prof. Ehrenreich by the reference persons themselves. (Recommendation letters are welcome but not mandatory to apply to the position.)
Pay Compensation
Salary Min: 
$45000.00 (USD)
Application Deadline: 
Monday, January 31, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
David Ehrenreich
+41 22 379 2390
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
David Ehrenreich
PhD position on atmospheric characterisation of exoplanets