Lecturer in Astronomy (Stellar/ Exoplanetary)

The Open University

Postdoctorate Position 2 years Various, UK

Uploaded 14 Apr 2021

Job Description

The post-holder will join enthusiastic teams in presenting and producing innovative learning resources for our astronomy curriculum, focusing on the development of replacements for our Stage 3 distance-learning astronomy modules (equivalent to the second and third year of full-time undergraduate study), with a particular need for expertise relating to stellar and exoplanetary astronomy. The post-holder may also be asked to contribute to our physics, planetary and space science or interdisciplinary science curriculum at a range of undergraduate or postgraduate levels.

In addition to contributing to teaching within the School of Physical Sciences, the post-holder will be expected to carry out independent research in stellar or exoplanetary astronomy in an area that aligns with the strategic research priorities of the School of Physical Sciences.

Key responsibilities


  1. To contribute to the development, planning, delivery and updating of a high quality and successful curriculum at undergraduate and/or postgraduate levels, in physics, astronomy, planetary and space science or interdisciplinary science, but particularly in the areas  of stellar and exoplanetary astronomy.
  2. To contribute to the presentation of Open University modules, including the briefing, debriefing and training of part-time teaching staff (Associate Lecturers); the direction of teaching and assessment / examination by the University; monitoring of samples of marking by Associate Lecturers; and membership of examination boards.
  3. To prepare learning materials suitable for the teaching and learning methodologies used by the Open University.


  1. To undertake a self-directed programme of collaborative research and scholarship in astronomy, aligned with the strategic research priorities of the School of Physical Sciences, particularly in areas of stellar or exoplanetary astronomy.

Administration, Management and other duties

  1. To engage with appropriate administrative tasks (e.g. workload planning, Career Development & Staff Appraisal).
  2. To undertake a programme of appropriate professional development.
  3. To comply with the University’s Health and Safety and Equal Opportunities policies in the performance of their duties.
  4. To contribute effectively to relevant academic or management fora.

All staff are expected to:

  1. Co-operate with the Open University in ensuring as far as is necessary, that Statutory Requirements, Codes of Practice, University Policies and Departmental Health and Safety arrangements are complied with.
  2. Have a strong commitment to the principles and practice of equality and diversity.
  3. Attend appropriate staff development events.

Person Specification


  • A PhD in astronomy or a closely related discipline.
  • Some experience of teaching in physics or astronomy, and enthusiasm for distance learning by adults and the application of new technologies to teaching and supporting students.
  • The ability to write clearly and concisely on topics in stellar and exoplanetary astronomy, in an informed, inspiring and coherent manner.
  • A track record in research commensurate with career stage, in an area which complements and enhances existing stellar or exoplanetary astronomy research at the Open University.
  • An ability to work collaboratively, collegiately, adaptively and responsively with others in an interdisciplinary context for teaching and research.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written in a variety of contexts, including the ability to offer and receive constructive criticism.
  • An ability to plan, organize and complete work to agreed deadlines.
  • A commitment to the aims, ethos and values of the Open University including the principles and practice of equality and diversity.


  • Experience of producing online and/or distance learning materials.
  • Higher Education professional accreditation or equivalent qualification.