Ph.D. Fellow on CHEOPS science at the University of Bern, Switzerland

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Pre-doctoral/Graduate Positions
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
University of Bern
Department Name: 
Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)
Street Line 1: 
Gesellschaftsstrasse 6
Job Announcement Text: 

We are seeking qualified candidates to fill a Ph.D. position funded by the Hans Sigrist Foundation at the University of Bern. The 2019 Hans Sigrist Ph.D. Fellowship is dedicated to training a young scientist who will be an observational astronomer working with data from the upcoming CHEOPS space telescope of the European Space Agency (ESA), which is expected to launch in Fall 2019. The position is embedded within the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) at the University of Bern. There will also be opportunities to collaborate with fellow CHEOPS astronomers at the Geneva Observatory.


The ideal candidate has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in astronomy, astrophysics, physics or equivalent. He/she is enthusiastic, communicative and tenacious, and is willing to work within a diverse team of researchers. A willingness and hunger to learn new things is more important than prior training. The research work consists of writing computer code and developing methods to reduce, analyse and interpret photometric data from the CHEOPS space telescope. The successful candidate will work on a day-to-day basis with Dr. Brett Morris and be embedded in the research groups of Prof. Kevin Heng and Prof. Brice-Olivier Demory, who are members of the CHEOPS science team. CHEOPS science team members and their research group members, including the person who will fill this position, have privileged access to the Guaranteed Telescope Observations (GTO) of CHEOPS.


The Ph.D. position is for 4 years at the University of Bern (the first 3 years of salary will be funded by the Hans Sigrist Foundation and the last one by the CSH). There will be a standard 6 months of probation. The annual salary is set by a predetermined matrix from the University and Canton of Bern. Child allowance and maternity/paternity leave are offered. The CSH will provide  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. We are fully committed to training a professional researcher who will compete effectively for academic positions if he/she chooses to do so. The start date is expected to be in summer or fall 2020 and is negotiable.


To apply, please send a personal statement indicating why you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in physics specializing in observational exoplanet science (maximum of 2 pages), a CV (1 page), 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) listing the names of 3 referees/references. We will pay close attention to your personal motivation for pursuing a Ph.D. degree as written in your personal statement. The entire application should be submitted as a SINGLE PDF FILE to Prof. Kevin Heng (kevin.heng ‘at’ by the deadline of 30th November 2019. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that three letters of recommendation are sent directly by the letter writers to Prof. Heng by the same deadline.

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Prof. Dr. Kevin Heng
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Prof. Dr. Kevin Heng