2 PhD positions in planetary science and machine learning in Bern - Switzerland

Job Summary

Pre-doctoral / Graduate Positions
Universität Bern
NCCR PlanetS and Center for Space and Habitability
Number of Positions Available
4 Years
Could the duration be extended?
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)


Job Description

We are seeking qualified candidates to fill two 4-year PhD positions in exoplanet science in the research group of Yann Alibert (University of Bern), focussing on the formation, composition and architecture of planetary systems using in particular Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The PhD positions are part of the National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS and the Center for Space and Habitability (University of Bern). Frequent interactions with the TAPS (Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science) group of the University of Bern (Profs Yann Alibert and Chistoph Mordasini) are foreseen. PlanetS is a large national framework in Switzerland that unifies Swiss efforts in planetary and exoplanetary science across Bern, Geneva, and Zurich.  Additional informations on our research group, the CSH and the NCCR can be found using the links provided below.

The ideal candidates have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics, astrophysics, planetary sciences or equivalent. Experience in data analysis, ML and AI methods are a plus. Candidates should be enthusiastic, tenacious, communicative, and willing to integrate into the teams in Bern and the Swiss landscape (PlanetS, CSH and TAPS). The research work consists of a combination of numerical modeling of the physcis of planetary system formation, as well as analysis of results using ML and AI methods.

 The scientific goals of the two PhD projects aim at studying the emergence of planetary system architecture and the uniqueness of the Solar System’s architecture. The work will be based on population synthesis models of planetary system formation developed in our group since two decades, and their analysis using ML and AI. Beyond the formation of the Solar System, one key goal of the two PhDs is linked to present and future observational projects (e.g. CHEOPS, PLATO, LIFE, ground-based survey using e.g. ESPRESSO) aiming at discovering and characterising exo-Earths. Frequent interactions with member of the afore-mentioned observational projects in PlanetS is foreseen.
The formal employment will be for 4 years at the University of Bern. There will be a standard first year of probation.  The successful candidate will participate in group meetings, journal clubs, research discussions, attend seminars and colloquia, interact with research visitors, travel to conferences, etc., both in Bern and in the NCCR PlanetS.  The start date is expected to be summer/fall 2024, and is negotiable.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Type
Compensation Range
$47,000USD to $55,000USD
Included Benefits

The annual salary is set by a predetermined matrix from the Swiss National Fund. Child allowance and maternity/paternity leave are offered. 

Application Details

Application Instructions
To apply, please send a motivation letter including a personal statement (maximum 1 page), a CV (maximum 2 pages), a list of publications (if applicable), transcripts of your grades of courses obtained during your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a cover letter (1 page). The entire application should be submitted as a single pdf file to Yann Alibert ([email protected]). It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that furthermore, 2-3 letters of recommendation are sent directly by the letter writers to Y. Alibert, by the application deadline of 15. June 2024.

The university of Bern is an equal opportunity employer, and we specially encourage the application of  female researchers.
Publication Start Date
2024 Apr 28
Application Deadline
2024 Jun 15


Prof. Yann Alibert