New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.
Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.
JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources. Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and on Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before. JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology. They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and in communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to both contribute to and lead team efforts. We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration's challenges. The Postdoctoral scholars at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare, and other aspects of living in southern California.
The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory invites applications for a postdoctoral research scholar interested in exoplanet-related research and programmatics.
The successful candidate will work with the Program Chief Scientists to support the definition and implementation of current & future exoplanet space observatories and their required precursor science. Preferred research areas are defined by the ExEP Science Gap List (link below) and include: analyses of exoplanet demographics, host star properties, exozodiacal dust, simulations of mission science return and signal extraction, methods to mitigate stellar jitter in radial velocity datasets, instrumentation for high contrast imaging or precision RV work, or modeling of exoplanetary atmospheres and biosignatures. Research connected to the exoplanet priorities of the Astro2020 Decadal Survey is especially encouraged. The appointee will be expected to divide their time between program-related activities and independent exoplanet research. Both facets of the position include interfacing with the science community and the general public.
The ExEP Office works with NASA HQ to implement the Agency's science vision for exoplanets with a portfolio of science analyses, technology development, mission concept development, and supporting ground-based observations. ExEP is a unique environment at the intersection of NASA science, policy, technology, engineering, and public engagement, all focused on the goals of discovering exoplanets, characterizing their properties, and identifying candidates that could harbor life. For further information on current ExEP activities and staff expertise, visit https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to do collaborative research with staff of the JPL Science Division (https:/science.jpl.nasa.gov) and the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI; http://nexsci.caltech.edu/) on the Caltech campus. The exoplanet research environment in Pasadena also includes academic researchers in the Caltech Astronomy and Planetary Science Departments. JPL scientists can apply for observing time on the Palomar 5-m telescope, which includes the new AO-fed precision radial velocity spectrograph PARVI.
ExEP Program Scientists Drs. Karl Stapelfeldt and Eric Mamajek, will serve as advisors for the successful candidate. The appointee will carry out research in coordination with the advisors, resulting in publications in the open literature. A travel funding allowance will be provided. The selected candidate will be hosted within the NASA ExEP Office, but have an organizational home in the Astrophysics & Space Sciences Section of the JPL Science Division.
Candidates should have a Ph.D. in astronomy or planetary science. Candidates with an interest in science management are especially encouraged to apply. Candidates should familiarize themselves with ExEP Program Science Gap list (linked at https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/exep/science-overview) and propose a research plan congruent with these science priorities and the candidate's independent exoplanet research. Candidates who have received their PhD within five years of the application due date are eligible to apply.
Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years.
Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, and research plan. Please arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to [email protected] by the application deadline of December 9, 2021.
JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.
In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.
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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.