Post-Doctoral Research Associate: JWST Observations of Ices During Star Formation

Role: Full time,Fixed Term 36 months

Closing Date: 30 June 2023 by 12 noon

The role  

The School of Physical Sciences at the Open University, UK, invites applications for a 3-year fixed-term postdoctoral researcher in Observational Astronomy. The postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) will be involved in the preparation, reduction, analysis, exploitation, and dissemination of JWST observational data from a variety of cycle 1 / 2 GT GO and ERS programmes, all of which focus on observing interstellar ices in pre-stellar phases of star-formation. The post is part of the STFC-funded project “The JWST IceAge: Chemical Evolution of Ices During Star Formation” in the OU Astrochemistry Group with Dr Helen Jane Fraser and Dr Hugh Dickinson. The overarching aim of this work is to unveil the link between solid-state ice chemistry, and the gas and dust tracers of star-formation, by connecting ice formation, ice evolution and ice destruction to the astrophysical environment in pre- and proto-stellar cores.

You will be involved in the reduction, analysis, exploitation, and dissemination of JWST observational data focusing on observing interstellar ices in pre-stellar phases of star-formation. You will be expected to lead the day-to-day data reduction, data analysis and resulting scientific publications. By exploiting existing cycle 1 GT GO and ERS JWST data, you will couple NIRCam-WFSS, NIRSpec-MSA and MIRI-MRS spectroscopic ice observations with laboratory ice spectra, and you will determine ice abundances and map the distribution of H2 O, CO, CO2 , and CH3 OH ices at unprecedented spatial and spectral resolution. You will combine these ice-maps with sub-mm gas-phase and dust observations of the same pre-stellar cores, to gain an astrochemical understanding of the formation, evolution and destruction of ice in these regions.

You will have opportunities to disseminate your work at major national and international conferences, as well as working with international collaborators, particularly in JPL, Leiden Observatory, University of Hawaii, and University of Marseille. You will be expected to develop your JWST observing skills, and submit your own PI-led observing proposals to major facilities (i.e. JWST, VLT, ALMA, IRAM, JCMT) to develop your research independence, alongside delivering the primary goals of this project.

Skills and Experience

The full summary of duties and skills required for the role can be found within the Job Description.

If you would like to discuss the application, or recruitment process, before making an application please contact Tracey Hawker at Resourcing Hub on 01908 655544, or Re[email protected] , quoting the reference VRF 20928.

How to apply

Unless otherwise stated in the advert, all applications are completed online following the instructions below and clicking the “Apply Now” link.

To apply for this role please submit the following:

  • CV
  • Personal statement, up to 1,000 words, you should set out in your statement why you’re interested in this role and provide examples of where your skills and experience meet the required competencies for this role as detailed in the job and person specification.

The above documents will need to be submitted as one attachment during the application process, please include the personal statement followed by the CV in this document.


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