Postdoctoral Research Associate – Astronomical spectroscopy to probe fundamental physics

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Swinburne University of Technology
Department Name: 
Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
Job Announcement Text: 

About the job
Applications are invited for a 3.5-year postdoctoral research associate (RA) position in observational astrophysics at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing (CAS) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. The RA will work with Prof. Michael Murphy, and collaborators in Australia and Europe, on a new project to test the fundamental laws of nature with astronomical spectroscopy of Sun-like stars. The project goal is to test possible variations in electromagnetism's strength as a function of dark matter density across our Galaxy. The RA will lead or assist in a large spectroscopic survey and a targeted, high-precision program with the new ESPRESSO spectrograph on the VLT. Opportunities to supervise both postgraduate and undergraduate students, as part of the project or independent research, are foreseen. An appointment will be made for 2 years, with funding available for a further 1.5 years subject to performance.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to request further information about the project and position directly from Prof. Murphy before the application deadline.

About CAS
CAS is one of Australia's largest astronomy research centres, with 23 academic staff, 17 postdoctoral researchers and 35 PhD students, with 30–40% growth expected over the next 2 years. Swinburne astronomers have institutional access to W.M. Keck telescopes, and Australia recently began a 10-year partnership with ESO to access the Paranal and La Silla Observatories, including the VLT. CAS hosts OzGrav and is a partner in ASTRO 3D, two $40m Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence. It also houses OzStar, the Australian GPU Supercomputer for Theoretical Astrophysics.

Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city with a mild climate and many cultural and sporting events. Mountains, ocean and wine growing regions are easily accessible. CAS is located in the diverse inner suburb of Hawthorn with excellent public transport connections.

About you
The succesfull applicant will have:
– A PhD in astrophysics or a related field
– Experience in astronomical observations, data handling and/or robust analysis
– Independent and collaborative research skills
– A strong record of research achievement and timely, high-quality publication and presentations

Preferred (but non-essential) qualities include:
– Experience in astronomical spectroscopy, particularly in the optical waveband
– Scientific computing proficiency, including custom coding experience
– Demonstrated time and project management skills
– Takes ownership of, and can lead aspects of, scientific projects
– Commitment to open, transparent and reproducible science

Swinburne is committed to the principles of equity, fairness and inclusivity to providing a workplace which is supportive and free from discrimination. We value diversity and encourage members of under-represented groups to apply.

How to apply
View the Position Description and apply via the "Apply here" link below. Applications must be submitted online. For technical support, email the Swinburne recruitment team (

Applications must comprise:
1. A cover letter which includes direct responses to the selection criteria (2 pages max.);
2. A curriculum vitae, including publication list (preferably describing contributions to any non-lead-author publications); and
3. A statement describing prior research achievements and future research interests (~2 pages max.; general astronomy audience).

Only shortlisted applicants will be asked for letters of recommendation to be submitted by 3 referees by 15 July 2019.

Pay Compensation
Salary Min: 
$60000.00 (USD)
Salary Max: 
$64300.00 (USD)
Compensation Notes: 
Salary paid in Australian dollars (AUD85885–92055). Range includes annual increments and indexation but not promotion opportunities.
Included Benefits: 

Swinburne recognises the importance of providing career development, and offers promotion opportunities for fixed-term staff. Swinburne values its diverse work environment and is committed to the principles of equal opportunity and cultural diversity. Swinburne has been recognised as a Workplace Employer of Choice for gender equality for the eighth year.

Swinburne offers a range of employee benefits, including maternity and partner leave, a 17% employer superannuation contribution, 4 weeks annual leave and discounted health insurance. It also supports a flexible working environment; subject to visa restrictions, this position is available either full or part-time. Swinburne is a Child Safe Organisation and, as part of this commitment, all appointments are subject to a valid Working With Children Check.

More information:

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Michael Murphy
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Michael Murphy
Postdoctoral Research Associate – Astronomical spectroscopy to probe fundamental physics