University Assistant Professor (Planetary Science and Life in the Universe)

Job Summary

Tenure and Tenure-track Faculty Positions
University of Cambridge
Institute of Astronomy
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

The Institute of Astronomy and Queens' College, at the University of Cambridge, are seeking to appoint a University Assistant Professor. The successful applicant will lead research in the area of planetary and exoplanet science, support teaching of the MPhil in "Planetary Science and Life in the Universe" and deliver small group physics teaching and mentorship in the College.

This position is associated with the Planetary Science and Life in the Universe MPhil course, an exciting new course being offered at the University of Cambridge and hosted at the Institute of Astronomy. The course reflects the cross-disciplinary research community that is active in the University searching for life in the Universe and an understanding of the conditions that allow it to emerge. This taught MPhil takes students on a journey from the origins of the universe through to planet formation and the emergence of habitable climates and biospheres. As a University Assistant Professor associated with this course, the successful applicant would be involved in delivering teaching, project supervision, and course administration - all supported by a dedicated course administrator and team of academic course organisers.

The successful applicant will join Queens' College as a Fellow in the physical sciences. This will offer the opportunity to deliver small group teaching to undergraduates in physics and to take on a director of studies role, guiding a diverse cohort of physical scientists over the course of their undergraduate degrees.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in astronomy, astrophysics or a related field of the physical sciences, have a record of excellence in research, a commitment to teaching astronomy and astrophysics at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and a willingness to contribute to future development of the Institute and the College. Experience in encouraging and supporting applicants and students from groups underrepresented in STEM subjects, including women, will also be an advantage.

The research profile of the Institute spans an extensive range of astrophysics, with internationally-recognized programs in exoplanetary and circumstellar disc science, stellar astrophysics, near field cosmology, time domain studies, instrumentation, extragalactic astronomy, high energy astrophysics, and cosmology. A hallmark of its development in recent years has been increased emphasis on interdisciplinarity, e.g., in the field of exoplanetary studies where affiliation with the Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe provides a framework for collaborations beyond the traditional boundaries of astronomical research. The Institute also jointly administers the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge which plays a key role in fostering collaborations with other astronomical departments in the University (the Department of Physics (Cavendish Astrophysics) and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics). A further resource within the Institute is the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit, a major data processing centre for a broad range of ground based and space projects.

The position is available from 1 September 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. The appointment (comparable to the rank of Assistant Professor in the USA) will be permanent, subject to a probationary period of five years.

Further information about the Institute is available at: and informal enquiries may be addressed to email address: [email protected] . For any queries regarding the application please contact: [email protected].

The post is full-time, but applications are welcome from those who would like to work flexibly.

The University of Cambridge thrives on the diversity of staff and students. The Institute particularly welcomes applications from women and/or candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented. We have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee which continually works to further the aims of the Athena SWAN charter. The University has a number of family-friendly policies and initiatives, including a Career Support Fund, formally returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, university workplace nurseries, university holiday pay- schemes, and a shared parental-leave policy.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit :

Please ensure that you upload a full Curriculum Vitae (CV) (maximum 2 A4 pages) and cover letter, including publications list and a statement of research plans (with the statement of research plans being a maximum 5 A4 pages) in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

The names and contact details of three referees must be included, of which at least two must be academic referees. The inclusion of these referees is an essential part of your submission. You should ensure your nominated referees submit their references (on headed paper, complete with their name, date and signature) by 2nd February 2024, via email to: [email protected].

Application Deadline Date: 23:59 GMT on Friday 2nd February 2024

Interviews will be held in February/March 2024. Further information will be provided to shortlisted candidates in due course.

Please quote reference LG39914 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Range
$45,585USD to $57,696USD
Included Benefits

What the University of Cambridge has to offer:

Compensation Notes

Please note that figures above are in UK £. This is Salary Scale: Grade 9.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Dec 23
Application Deadline
2024 Feb 02
Reference Code


Professor Oliver Shorttle