Lecturer in Astronomy (Extragalactic/ Data Science)

The Open University

Postdoctorate Position Permanent Milton Keynes, UK

Uploaded 14 Apr 2021

Job Description

About the role

We seek a person who will make strong contributions to our teaching on BSc, MPhys and MSc modules in astronomy, astrophysics and related areas, and who will develop and sustain an externally-funded research portfolio. 

We are particularly interested in people with enthusiasm for curriculum developments in extragalactic astronomy, who also have research interests in this area or whose research uses state-of-the-art data science techniques. However, candidates working outside these areas will also be considered. Research plans which show clear synergies with the existing OU astronomy research group and are aligned with the strategic research priorities of the School of Physical Sciences are particularly encouraged. The appointee will be expected to contribute to future REF submissions.

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 area of extragalactic astronomy. 
  2. To prepare learning materials suitable for the teaching and learning methodologies used by the Open University.
  3. 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. 
  4. To contribute to the assurance and enhancement of the quality of teaching, learning and research within the School and in line with University standards. 


  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 extragalactic astronomy or using state-of-the-art data science techniques.
  2. To generate significant grant income as appropriate.
  3. To undertake research that is internationally excellent and leads to high-impact publications.
  4. To attract and supervise postgraduate research students.

Outreach and Public Engagement

  1. To contribute to the STEM outreach activities of the Faculty.
  2. To participate in the national and international science community and learned societies. 
  3. To enhance the reputation of the School, the Faculty and the University through scientific meetings and other activities.

Enterprise and Impact

  1. To exploit your research and expertise to develop commercial-funded activities.
  2. To further Faculty interests by developing and maintaining a network of contacts and engagements with businesses and government bodies as appropriate.
  3. To initiate and sustain activities that enhance the impact of your research and scholarship.

Administration & Management

  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.

Attend appropriate staff development events.

Person Specification


  • A PhD in astronomy or a closely related discipline.
  • 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 extragalactic astronomy, in an informed, inspiring and coherent manner.
  • A good research publication record and evidence of applying for external research funding, commensurate with career stage, in an area which complements and enhances existing extragalactic or data-science 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.


  • A good record of demonstrable research impact, commensurate with career stage.
  • Experience of producing online and/or distance learning materials.
  • Experience of supervising research students, managing post-doctoral workers and research budgets.
  • Experience of conducting research in an international consortium or consortia.
  • Experience of working with and influencing policymakers, governmental and/or non-governmental institutions, industrial partners.
  • Higher Education professional accreditation or equivalent qualification.