1. Careers and Employment

    The Astrobiology Careers and Employment page is a compilation of career opportunities available to astrobiologists. Please email Julie Fletcher to send additional listings.


    Gravity and Radiation Working Groups for the Europa Science Team

    Interested persons should submit by: July 27, 2015

    Introduction: NASA recently selected the science payload for the Europa Multiple Flyby mission and approved the mission to begin formulation. As part of the formulation effort, NASA seeks to form science working groups to provide guidance on using engineering subsystems and/or elements of the selected science instrumentation to conduct additional high priority science.

    To that end, NASA is seeking individuals to serve on two working groups for gravity science and radiation science. The gravity and radiation groups will work with the project and the Europa science team to determine how engineering subsystems (specifically, the communications subsystem and the radiation monitoring subsystem), the selected instruments, and the overall mission architecture can be utilized under their existing and evolving designs to conduct investigations on the interior structure of Europa and the radiation environment present at the moon, respectively. Interested persons should send a curriculum vitae and a cover letter to Dr. Curt Niebur, the Europa Program Scientist curt.niebur@nasa.gov by July 27, 2015.

    These two groups will join the Europa science team for the remainder of Phase A (approximately one year). Travel expenses to participate will be provided by NASA up to an appropriate level and consistent with regulation and policy. Near the end of Phase A, these working groups will be disbanded and NASA will competitively select permanent science team members in these areas. Members of the working groups will be eligible to compete for these permanent positions.

    Gravity Science Working Group Charter: The Gravity Science Working Group (GSWG) will define and recommend to the science team science investigations related to understanding the response of the satellite to gravity, specifically, but not limited to, understanding the tidal distortion of Europa, its internal structure, precession, and moments of inertia. Carefully delineated measurement and mission requirements supporting these investigations will be defined by the GSWG, discussed with the full Europa science team and the project, and integrated with the mission’s science. The GSWG will consider the capabilities of the selected science instruments, the communications subsystem, the tour, and other mission elements to evaluate, in a detailed manner, their ability (or inability) to meet the measurement and mission requirements necessary to support the defined gravity science investigation(s). The GSWG will consult with the Europa project office and the Europa science team to consider adjustments to mission elements that will enable the mission to meet the requirements for gravity science investigation(s), as needed. NASA appointees to the GSWG will serve as members of the Europa mission science team for the duration of their appointment only.

    Radiation Working Group Charter: NASA appointees to the Radiation Science Working Group (RSWG) will define and recommend to the science team science investigations related to understanding the Europa radiation environment. Some members of the RSWG will join the existing Radiation Advisory Board created by the Europa project. As members of the RSWG, appointees will seek to define the science measurement capabilities provided by, and the broad science investigations enabled by, the mission’s Radiation Monitoring Subsystem (RMS). The primary purpose of the RMS remains to monitor and preserve the health and safety of the spacecraft and the mission; the potential science enabled by the RMS will not be a driver for the subsystem design. In addition to serving on the RSWG, NASA appointees will also serve as members of the Europa mission science team for the duration of their appointment only.

    Posted July 6, 2015


    Simons Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announce 2016 Faculty Scholars Competition

    Application Deadline: July 28, 2015

    The Simons Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are pleased to announce the Faculty Scholars Competition, a national competition for grants to outstanding early-career scientists.

    The three philanthropies will award a total of $148 million over the program’s first five years, awarding up to 70 grants every two and a half to three years. The awards are intended for basic researchers and physician scientists who have already demonstrated significant research accomplishments and show potential to make unique and important contributions to their fields.

    The Faculty Scholars Competition marks the first time that HHMI, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Simons Foundation have formally undertaken an initiative together. For more information CLICK HERE

    Posted March 24, 2015


    Postdoctoral Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Research Relating to Origins of Life, Spending 50% time in Tokyo, Japan

    1st Application Deadline: August 1, 2015
    2nd Application Deadline: October 1, 2015

    The ELSI Origins Network (EON) announces the availability of post-doctoral research fellowships for research related to the Origins of Life. Ten two-year positions will be funded, to take place within the period 2016-2018.

    Successful candidates will split their time between the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in Tokyo and another institution of the candidate’s choice, anywhere in the world. The fellowship will pay a salary for two years, which covers the time spent at both locations, as well as a generous research budget. The positions will start on or before 1st April 2016.

    EON is an interdisciplinary international network which seeks to foster dialogue and collaboration within the Origins of Life community to articulate and answer fundamental questions about the nature and the reasons for the existence of life on Earth, and possibly elsewhere in the Universe. Its goal is to bring together leading-edge research in all areas of the physical, mathematical, computational, and life sciences that bears on the emergence of life. ELSI is chartered as a Japanese World Premier International Research Center, to study the origin of Earth-like planets and the origin of life as inter-related phenomena. ELSI is located at the Ookayama campus of Tokyo Institute of Technology.

    EON-supported research addresses three overarching questions:
    1. How did life emerge on Earth?
    2. How common is life in the universe?
    3. What fundamental principles explain the emergence of life?

    Due to the split-time nature of these fellowships, the application process requires the applicant to choose a supervisor and host institution outside ELSI who will support the proposal. EON is designed to promote collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, and host institutions in all fields are welcome.

    The goal of the fellowships is cross-fertilization between specialists in Origin of Life research around the world, with a central collaborative hub at ELSI. EON aims to build a research community in which postdoctoral fellows benefit from facilities not only at ELSI but also among the centers throughout the network.

    The first deadline for applications is August 1st 2015, with a second deadline on 1st October to fill any remaining places. Please check our web site http://eon.elsi.jp/ for more details, including the application procedure.


    Call for Abstracts for GSA 2015 Technical Session – When Water Meets Rock: Aqueous Alteration in the Solar System

    Abstract Submission Deadline: August 11, 2015

    We want to call your attention to a session at the GSA Annual Meeting on water-rock interactions.

    On Earth reaction pathways of water-rock reactions can be observed directly, but elsewhere in the solar system we are often left with the mineralogical and geochemical products of these interactions to interpret the processes. On Mars, orbital and rover observations along with analyses of meteorites point to a rich history of water-rock interactions. Carbonaceous chondrites are typified by nearly complete alteration through the action of water. The Dawn and Rosetta missions are exploring solar system bodies that have been modified by water. For planetary aqueous environments, big picture questions include:

    (1) whether observed aqueous minerals formed at the surface or in the subsurface and under ambient or hydrothermal conditions and
    (2) the durations and volumes of liquid water involved.

    The goal is to explore how exciting new results from mineralogic and geochemical studies based on orbital and landed measurements integrate with field, laboratory, meteoritical, and modeling investigations that address aqueous processes on planetary bodies.

    To submit an abstract, go to: http://community.geosociety.org/gsa2015/science-careers/sessions

    Advocates: Rebecca Greenberger and Jack Mustard

    Posted Jun. 8, 2015


    Post-Doc Position on Modeling and Observations of CO2 Ice Clouds on Mars at LATMOS

    Application Deadline: August 15, 2015

    The Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales (LATMOS) in France is currently accepting applications for a fixed-term post-doc position (1 year + 1 additional year based on performance + a possible extension) on studying CO2 ice clouds on Mars.

    More information on the project and the importance of the CO2 ice clouds for Mars’ climate can be found on the LATMOS careers page.

    Applications from interested scientists with a PhD in planetology, astronomy, meteorology, atmospheric sciences, or related fields are welcome. The applicants should have finished their PhD or provide evidence that they will obtain the PhD degree by the time the post-doc contract begins. Experience in atmospheric modelling, limb observation analysis, and/or radiative transfer modelling are recommended. Fluency in using unix/linux environments and Fortran programming will be appreciated. The gross salary is minimum 2500 EUR/month and depends on experience.

    Applications (in English or in French) consisting in a CV, a publication list, at least one recommendation letter, and a motivation letter should be sent via email to Dr. Anni Maattanen (anni.maattanen@latmos.ipsl.fr).

    Posted June 29, 2015.


    Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Application Deadline: September 18, 2015

    The Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life (SCOL) supports creative, innovative research on topics such as the astrophysical and planetary context of the origins of life, the development of prebiotic chemistry, the assembly of the first cells, the advent of Darwinian evolution and the earliest signs of life on the young Earth.

    With this program, SCOL seeks to support early-career researchers at an important inflection point in origins of life research resulting from an influx of new talent, new instrumentation, a growing global community of researchers and growth of the 'systems’ approach that connects disciplines, technologies and institutions.

    Candidates should have received their Ph.D. or equivalent degree within five years of the fellowship’s start date. Appointments last for three years, contingent upon annual progress report assessment. See full eligibility requirements here.


    2016 Vatican Observatory Summer School (VOSS) in Astrophysics on Water in the Solar System and Beyond

    Application Deadline: October 31, 2015

    The Vatican Observatory will be holding its 2016 Summer School from May 29 to June 24. During the course of the session, students will present a short paper on their research or the research of their home institution. Field trips to visit sites of historical interest to astronomy will be included.

    Water plays an important role in the origin and chemical development of comets, asteroids, icy moons, and planets including our own Earth. It is also a necessary ingredient for life as we know it. Recent space missions, remote sensing, and laboratory research have led to considerable growth in our understanding of the role of water in the solar system and in cosmochemistry. Expert faculty will direct a comprehensive four-week course of lectures, presentations, and hands-on projects in the beautiful setting of the Papal villas outside Rome. It will be an unforgettable experience!

    No formal course credits will be given, but certification of satisfactory completion of the course will be supplied.

    For more information, visit http://www.vaticanobservatory.va/content/specolavaticana/en/summer-schools—voss-/voss2016.html

    Posted June 23, 2015.


    California Academy of Sciences “Cluster Hiring” Ph.D.-level Scientists

    Application Deadline: November 1, 2015

    The California Academy of Sciences seeks to fill several endowed positions with Ph.D.-level scientists who do outstanding biodiversity/ecological science, focus on broader science communication & engagement, care about increasing diversity in science, connect their work to real world sustainability outcomes, and want to change the world.

    The Academy is especially seeking experts in coral reef biology, tropical rain forests, the ecology of California, and the impacts of global change on biodiversity, as well as candidates with interests in marine mammals and amphibian decline. They seek candidates with skills in “big data”, modeling, GIS, visualization, genomics, and innovative methods for field- and collections-based research. Candidates who connect their work to larger sustainability challenges are of special interest. Candidates must also show leadership in science communication and engagement, as well as an interest in increasing diversity in science.

    Visit http://calacademy.snaphire.com/jobdetails?ajid=vNXB8 for all the details and application instructions.

    Posted July 9, 2015


    Astrobiology Postdoctoral Position at the University of Wisconsin

    This position is sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Research into the early evidence and environments for life will include in situ analysis by ion microprobe (IMS-1280) of S 3- and 4-isotope ratios in Archean pyrite and C, S, Si, and O isotope ratios in associated minerals and organic matter. One area of emphasis will be 3.4 to 3.5 Ga cherts from the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia. Interest in collaborative interdisciplinary research is required. Experience with astrobiology, Precambrian geology, stable isotope geochemistry, SIMS, SEM, EPMA, or mass-spectrometry is desirable.

    More information is available at http://www.geology.wisc.edu/facilities/wiscsims

    Please submit by e-mail a cover letter, reprints of papers, and a CV with the contact information of 3 or more potential references to John Valley, Dept. of Geoscience at valley@geology.wisc.edu. UW-Madison is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

    Posted June 15, 2015.


    Postdoctoral Position for Mars Color/Photometry at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona

    Application Period: Open Until Filled

    Applicants are invited to apply for a postdoctoral position associated with MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), located at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. The research emphasis will be on surface and atmospheric photometric normalization and color analysis, leading to new standard and special data products, and related research. This work is also needed in preparation for the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter.

    Experience in remote sensing and image processing is required.

    Desired qualifications:
    – Independent research in other areas related to planetary geology and surface processes
    – Previous work on terrestrial or other planetary analogs and quantitative studies using digital topography, spectral imaging, and other data
    – Experience in analysis of Mars remote-sensing datasets
    – Primary experience and training in terrestrial remote sensing

    To apply, go to the University of Arizona career site.

    For further information contact Alfred McEwen (mcewen@lpl.arizona.edu) or Shane Byrne (shane@lpl.arizona.edu)

    Posted Jun. 1, 2015