PhD Fellowhip in galaxy formation

Application deadline:

The Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB) invites applications for a PhD studentship in galaxy formation in the new "Milky Way & neighbours" group led by Dr. Chervin Laporte. The main goal of the PhD is to study the early accretion history of the Milky Way through the development of numerical simulations of the stellar halo in a cosmological context using current available observational constraints. The aim of the project is to shed light on the dynamical structure and chemical properties of the most ancient galaxies (and their satellites) which were accreted and making testable predictions which can be investigated with current and upcoming large spectroscopic surveys of the Galaxy. These surveys will not only provide a six dimensional phase-space view of the stellar halo, but also unleash a whole array of complementary information through the measurement of different chemical abundances. The over-arching question/theme of the PhD is what can we learn about galaxy formation in the high-redshift Universe (as well as our own Galaxy) using the stellar halo of the Milky Way as a time machine? In this project, the student will develop skills in computational astrophysics further extending the versatility of existing N-body codes coupled with predictive models of galaxy formation in chemical abundance space. Some experience with coding (e.g. in C, C++, IDL or Python) would be very useful.

In this project, the student will also have the chance to be involved in the scientific exploitation of the Gaia mission, WEAVE as well as participating in international collaborative networks in computational astrophysics. The ICCUB offers a stimulating environment with scientific staff working on a variety of topics from cosmology, extragalactic and Galactic astronomy to star formation and gravitational wave detection.

The term of employment is for 3 years. The position is funded by an ERC starting grant and comes with access to supercomputing and travel support. The candidate should hold a Master’s degree in mathematics, physics or astrophysics The position is expected to begin around the fall of 2021, although exceptions can be made in cases of maternity/paternity or other special circumstances. ICCUB offers and promotes a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation (for additional information please see the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission). Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should email with their request.

The ICCUB is an interdisciplinary centre with more than 60 long term scientists, 20 engineers and 80 postdoctoral researchers (55% international) and PhD students (30%international) offering an international and multicultural environment. The ICCUB also hosts a vibrant fundamental research program in cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics, with a strong technology unit supporting our participation in international collaborations in observational astronomy and experimental particle physics. The Institute is situated in Barcelona, which offers an outstanding scientific and cultural environment, entertainment and sports as well as outstanding food and music.

Applicants should send a single PDF including a CV, a cover letter motivating your application (indicating why you are applying), a research statement detailing your personal research interests and prior research experience in any field of physics/astrophysics/mathematics (2 pages max.), University transcripts (up to the moment of application in case you do not hold a Masters degree yet) via the ICCUB application system. They should also provide two referees to be asked for a letter of reference. Applications received by January 8th 2021 will receive full consideration, but the search will continue until the position is filled.

When you submit your application form with the three referees email address, our system automatically emails them requesting the recommendation letters and the instructions on how to submit them. Please check with your referees that they receive our email.