Ph.D Position in Exoplanet Formation, Evolution, and Structure

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Pre-doctoral/Graduate Positions
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Universities of Bern and Zurich, Switzerland
Bern and Zurich
Job Announcement Text: 

We are seeking qualified candidates to fill a 4-year Ph.D position in exoplanet science in the research groups of Christoph Mordasini (University of Bern) and Ravit Helled (University of Zurich). The Ph.D position is mostly funded through the National Center of Competence in Research PlanetS. PlanetS is a large national framework in Switzerland that unifies Swiss efforts in planetary and exoplanetary science across Bern, Geneva, and Zurich. Frequent collaboration is foreseen with several other researchers that are part of PlanetS (groups of Yann Alibert, Klaus Mezger, Willy Benz, Kevin Heng, Christophe Lovis, Sascha Quanz).

The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics, astrophysics, planetary sciences or equivalent. She/he should be enthusiastic, tenacious, communicative, and willing to integrate into two diverse teams in Bern and Zurich. In particular, we expect the successful candidate to spend half of her/his time at both locations during the four years. The research work consists of a combination of numerical modelling (developing and running computer codes mostly in Fortran) and analytical work. The scientific goal of the Ph.D project is to develop a general framework that couples the formation, long-term interior evolution, and atmosphere of low-mass planets with primordial hydrogen-helium envelopes, also assessing the observational characterisation of such planets.

The formal employment will be for 2 years at the University of Bern, and 2 years at the University of Zurich. There will be a standard first year of probation. The annual salary is set by a predetermined matrix from the Universities. Child allowance and maternity/paternity leave are offered. There are ample funds for travel, publications and computers. The successful candidate will participate in group meetings, journal clubs, research discussions, attend seminars and colloquia, interact with research visitors, travel to conferences, etc., both in Bern and Zurich. The start date is expected to be winter 2019/spring 2020, and is negotiable.

To apply, please send a motivation letter including a personal statement (maximum 1 page), a CV (maximum 2 pages), a list of publications (if applicable), transcripts of your grades of courses obtained during your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a cover letter (1 page). The entire application should be submitted as a single pdf file to Christoph Mordasini ( and Ravit Helled ( It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that furthermore, 2-3 letters of recommendation are sent directly by the letter writers to C. Mordasini and R. Helled, by the application deadline of 15. December 2019.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Christoph Mordasini and Ravit Helled