Monday, 26 June 2017

Wilton Exoplanet Fellowships at Leicester

A recent advertisement to come and join our team in exoplanet science at Leicester!  In particular, if you're interested in the characterisation of exoplanetary atmospheres via spectral inversion techniques, please do get in touch.

Exoplanetary research is one of the most rapidly developing fields in modern science, with the discovery of thousands of worlds beyond the confines of our own Solar System.  Drawing upon the breadth of expertise in the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Leicester, the Exoplanet Research Team is involved in a wide-ranging scientific programme at the forefront of this field.

Winton Philanthropies ( have recently announced a number of new exoplanet fellowships to be held at a university within the UK.

We therefore invite applications from young scientists with PhDs (obtained by September 30th, 2017) and no more than 5 years’ postdoctoral experience (exceptions will be made for periods of extended leave), to apply to join the exoplanetary research team at the University of Leicester.

The University of Leicester has 7 academic members of staff (2 of whom hold ERC consolidator grants), 4 postdoctoral researchers and 10 PhD students working in fields related to exoplanetary science. We are one of the founding members of  the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), and are part of the JWST MIRI instrument team. Our expertise includes planet formation and migration, protoplanetary discs and dynamics of planetary systems, the detection and characterisation of exoplanets using photometry, characterisation of exoplanet atmospheres via spectral inversion; and aurora and magnetic fields.

To apply, please send Sarah Casewell ( a pdf by Friday 21 July, containing:

  1. Curriculum Vitae 
  2. 1 page concise research proposal indicating how your research aims complement and extend the existing exoplanetary research at Leicester and identifies one or more suitable academic hosts.
  3. Publication list

Each institution may only submit 2 candidates, and we will invite our selected applicants to make a full proposal at the start of August, with the final submission date of September 1st, 2017. Candidates will not be permitted to participate in multiple applications with different institutions and must be in a position to hold the Fellowship at a UK university.  In October 2017 Winton Philanthropies will announce awardees and the fellowships must commence within six months of the award.

Research topics include:

  • Formation and evolution of exoplanets looking in particular at how protoplanetary discs shape young planetary systems. (contact: Dr Richard Alexander PI of the ERC Consolidator Grant project "Building planetary systems: linking architectures with formation (BuildingPlanS)”).
  • Brown Dwarf observations and theory, in particular irradiated brown dwarfs (contact: Dr. Sarah Casewell)
  • Numerical simulations exploring the dynamics of protoplanetary discs, and how planets form and evolve within them (contact: Dr. Chris Nixon)
  • Planets around white dwarfs (contact: Dr Matt Burleigh)
  • Detection and Characterisation of exoplanets using photometry, particularly using NGTS. (contact: Dr Mike Goad, Dr Matt Burleigh).
  • Exoplanet atmospheres characterisation:  Inversion of spectroscopy from exoplanet transits and directly-imaged worlds to characterise their thermal structure, global composition and aerosol properties (contact:  Dr Leigh Fletcher)
  • Exoplanetary Magnetospheres and Aurorae (contact: Dr Jonathan Nichols)
  • Gravitational Instability theory of planet formation and super-migration of planets from ~ 100 au down to 0.1 au, including population synthesis models for the upcoming PLATO mission (contact: Prof. Sergei Nayakshin).

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