PhD in Exoplanetary Atmospheres

DTU Space
Friday 08 Jun 18

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DTU Space (the National Danish Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark) is offering a PhD scholarship in the area of exoplanet research. The successful applicant will join a newly established and growing exoplanet research group (currently comprised of four people) lead by Prof. Lars A. Buchhave. The group focuses on understanding and characterizing exoplanets with a particular emphasis on the abundant small planets through two key areas of research: 1) precise mass measurements of (often transiting) planets to understand their composition and structure and 2) observation and characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres to advance our insight into their diversity and composition.
Progress in these two areas will, among other things, be enabled by recent large allocations of observing time. The exoplanet group at DTU Space is leading an up-to 200-night RV follow-up program (2019-2021) to measure masses of TESS exoplanet candidates using the Nordic Optical Telescope in collaboration with the NASA TESS Mission and MIT and is involved in the next-generation EXPRES spectrograph being commissioned by Yale University at the DCT and ongoing work with the HARPS-N spectrograph.  Furthermore, the group is working with data from a recently allocated large HST program (498 orbits; the Panchromatic Comparative Exoplanetary Treasury Program) to conduct the first large-scale, simultaneous UVOIR comparative study of exoplanet atmospheres and preparatory studies and is involved with planning related to ESA’s ARIEL Mission (dedicated exoplanet atmosphere satellite, launch 2027, Buchhave co-PI) as well as work related to JWST.
Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

We are seeking talented and highly motivated student to work at the cutting edge of the rapidly moving research field of exoplanets. Applicants with previous experience in the mentioned areas of research, strong programming skills and knowledge relating to data reduction, analysis and/or modelling of spectroscopic data are especially encouraged to apply. Flexibility and self-motivation are desired skills at DTU Space, as well as a natural interest in collaboration and personal responsibility. The above mentioned projects will allow for the successful applicant to work on a number of cutting edge datasets, and the successful applicant is encouraged to pursue independent research interests during the course of the PhD.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.
Salary and terms of employment
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union with a salary of approximately $55,000 per year including pension. The scholarship includes funding for travel and IT. The PhD scholarship is held for 3 years at the Technical University of Denmark.

The starting date is flexible but would ideally commence around 1 September, 2018.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Lars A. Buchhave, email:; +45 2891 0585.
Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 29 June 2018.
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Reference letters 
Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
DTU Space
The Institute has about 135 employees, an annual turn-over of about 130 MDKK (~$20M) and it is located in the greater Copenhagen area at the Lyngby Campus of the Technical University of Denmark together with 19 other institutes within the technical sciences. In the Astrophysics and Atmospheric Division, current focus areas cover exoplanets, large-scale structure of the universe, physics of compact objects, space weather, upper atmosphere physics and cosmo-climatology as well as development of instrumentation, in particular high-energy instrumentation, i.e. X- and gamma ray detectors and -optics.  The division is currently active in operation of instruments on and data analysis from three satellites. The division also runs four instrumentation laboratories and hosts a center for space weather research and forecasts.
DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.