Research Associate in Planetary Atmospheric Science

University of Leicester

Postdoctorate Position 1 year Leicester, UK

Uploaded 2 Feb 2021

Job Description

The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester invites applications for one or more Research Associates in Planetary Atmospheric Science.  The Research Associates will join the atmospheres team led by Dr. Leigh Fletcher, tasked with addressing the scientific aims of a European Research Council (ERC) grant to explore time-variable processes shaping the atmospheres of the giant planets.  Successful candidates would have existing skills in planetary data analysis (e.g., acquisition and modelling of spectroscopic observations from the microwave to the ultraviolet) and/or numerical modelling expertise of relevance to giant planet atmospheres (dynamics, energetics, and/or chemistry of planetary atmospheres).  Research Associate positions will initially be for a period of 12 months, with funding available until the end of March 2022 with a potential for this to be extended.

The “GIANTCLIMES” programme seeks to investigate natural cycles of meteorology, circulation, and chemical processes shaping the environments of the four giant planets over long spans of time.  Inversions of planetary spectra, from ground- and space-based facilities, will be used to reconstruct these atmospheres in three dimensions to explore their temporal variability and the processes coupling different atmospheric regimes.  The successful applicant will be expected to develop and expand on our pipeline for interpreting “Guaranteed-Time” and “Early-Release” science observations from the James Webb Space Telescope (launching in 2021). In addition, the applicant will conduct joint analyses of thermal-infrared, near-infrared, and microwave observations of giant planet tropospheres.    We are therefore particularly interested in candidates with existing expertise in planetary data analysis, planetary atmospheres, and spectroscopic modelling techniques, but all applicants with a strong background in planetary science are encouraged to apply. 

Person Specification

The successful applicant will be expected to carry out independent and collaborative research for this project and disseminate the results to the international scientific community.  There will be significant opportunities to collaborate within Leicester’s Planetary Science team (whose existing research includes planetary magnetospheres, ionospheres, atmospheres and surface science), and with an international team specialising in radiative transfer and spectral inversion for planetary atmospheres.

For more information on the roles and responsibilities please see the Job Summary Form.