Un Contrato Postdoctoral NEOROCKS 2020/One Postdoctoral contract NEOROCKS (PS-2020-005)

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The IAC (Tenerife) announces ONE postdoctoral contract to work on topics within the project The NEO Rapid Observation, Characterization and Key Simulations - NEOROCKS”, funded by the H2020-SPACE-2019 Program of the European Union (Contract No. 870403), and led at the IAC by Dr. Julia de León.

Research topics at the IAC cover most fields of astrophysics, including solar physics, exoplanets and solar system, stars and interstellar medium, formation and evolution of galaxias, and cosmology and astroparticle physics. These fields are supported by an ambitious instrumentation programme. In 2015, the IAC was granted by the Spanish Government the status of Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence for research; it is the second time that this prestigious honour has been awarded to the IAC as a leading Spanish research centre. For further information on the IAC's research programme, observatories, and the GTC 10.4m telescope consult the IAC's website (http://research.iac.es).

The candidate will join the Solar System Group at the IAC. This group is part of the Planetary Radar Program of the Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico), managed by the University of Central Florida (USA). This is a NASA funded 4-years program (2019-2022) that will dedicate 700-800 hours to the study of about 100 NEOs per year, in particular those classified as potentially hazardous (PHAs) and those that are accessible to spacecraft. The IAC’s Solar System Group will participate in the radar observations of the program and data analysis, and will also carry out complementary observations of the targets observed at Arecibo using the telescope facilities of the “Observatorios de Canarias” (OOCC). This collaboration with the Arecibo Observatory is the central point of the participation of the IAC group in the European proposal NEOROCKS, that is funding this contract.

Tasks: The successful candidate will pursue research in at least two of the following fields:

  • Ground-based observations in the visible and near-infrared wavelength ranges of minor bodies of the Solar System (asteroids/comets).
  • Physical and compositional characterization of asteroids through the analysis of photometric and spectroscopic data.
  • Use/development of light-scattering models to infer mineralogies (Hapke, Shkuratov) in asteroid surfaces and/or planetary surfaces.
  • Use/development of inversion techniques of light-curves to infer shapes and rotational properties of asteroids.

Particular attention will be given to applicants with experience in the field of radar observations and data analysis. In the same way, candidates’s willingness to travel and spend time at the Arecibo Observatory in short visits will be positively considered.

Requirements: The candidates must have an excellent research record, commensurate with the duration of their research career. They must be in possession of a Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics or Physics by the application deadline (March 15, 2020): candidates who have not received their doctorate before the deadline will be not be admitted to the selection process. The IAC is an equal-opportunity employer. We encourage, in particular, applications by women and by members of minorities.

Selection process: The selection process consists of two phases: merit assessment and interview.

1.   First phase: merit assessment. The Selection Panel will verify and rate the merits documented by the applicants. The maximum score that can be awarded in this phase is 80 points, calculated as the sum of the scores obtained in each of the following two sections.

  1. CV (maximum score: 60 points). Main criteria will be:
  • Scientific and technical contributions to the field of research, especially those listed in the Science Citation Index, in relation to the duration of the candidate’s scientific career. Of special importance are the first-authored papers by the candidate.
  • Appointments and stays (at the PhD or postdoctoral level) in prestigious research institutions.
  • Conference contributions, especially those leading to publications.
  • Other indicators of research activity and motivation (like invitations to lectures, organization of meetings, and teaching at University level).
  • Any periods of inactivity for medical reasons, maternity/paternity leaves, elderly care, or due to training or professional experience in other fields, will be taken into account.
  1. Adequacy to the objectives of the contract (maximum score 20 points)

Adequacy of the candidate’s training and experience to this contract.

  • Observational and data reduction experience on data obtained using ground-based telescopes, in the field of minor bodies of the Solar System, and in particular in the visible, near-infrared and/or radar wavelength domains.
  • Experience in the scientific exploitation of large photometric databases (e.g. VISTA, SDSS, J-PLUS, etc.)
  • Compositional (spectroscopy) and physical (color and time-series photometry, radar) data analysis of asteroids, in particular near-Earth asteroids (NEAs).
  • Use of programming languages (Python, IDL, Fortran, …) for the development/use/improvement of light-curve inversion models or light-scattering models to apply to photometric and spectroscopic data. 

Form of accreditation for both sections: A report of the candidate's technical and research activity, accompanied by documentation accrediting the activities mentioned.

2)   Second phase: interview. (maximum score 20 points)

  • Candidates who have obtained at least 50 points in the first phase will be invited to an interview. The interview may be given in either Spanish or English (as chosen by the candidate) and take place either in person at the IAC headquarters or using internet communication software (Zoom) that allows voice and image transmission.
  • During the interview, the candidate will present, for a maximum of 10 minutes, his/her vision about the suitability of his/her professional profile to the position and the planned research activity if awarded the contract. The presentation may be followed by questions by the Selection Committee.

Of the maximum 20 points to be awarded:

  • Up to 10 points correspond to the suitability of the candidate’s profile to the position
  • Up to 10 points correspond to the candidate's vision for their future research activity.

To pass the second phase a minimum score of 15 points will be necessary.

To pass the selective process, a minimum of 65 points must be reached. If there is a draw in the score of two or more candidates, priorities will be set according to the Equality Plan of the IAC.

Training: Candidates who obtained their doctorate at the IAC must provide accreditation of a period of complementary training at other research centres. The required period is a full continuous year or 18 accumulated months (including periods of training during doctoral studies).

Duration: The appointment will be for a period 2 years. The estimated date of commencement will be during May, 2020.

Remuneration: The gross annual salary will be 34.680 Euros, with deductions of up to 20% for income tax (IRPF) and social security (dependent on the candidate's personal situation). The contract provides social security cover for spouse or de facto partner and children.

Extra financial support to start the contract: The present job offer includes financial support for the selected candidate at the time of starting the appointment. The support covers the following items: air ticket (arranged by the IAC), stay at a hotel for a maximum of two weeks (reservation made by the IAC), and a per diem rate for a maximum of two weeks. This financial support cannot exceed 2,500 Euros.

Applicants from outside the EU: Successful applicants who are not citizens of a member country of the European Union must keep in mind that, prior to signing the contract, they must obtain a residence and work permit (NIE card) from the Spanish immigration authorities.

Presentation of applications: Applications must be sent electronically via the web-based application system http://research.iac.es/jobs/ before the deadline set out in this advertisement. Alternatively, you may follow the instructions given in the corresponding official advertisement on our website.

The following documentation must be sent in a single PDF file:

  • Application form (Annex I, duly filled in and signed, including the position title and code number of the job offer)
  • Copy of passport or national identity card (with the same number indicated in Annex I).
  • CV, containing a list of publications
  • Report on research activity and justification of suitability for the job (not exceeding 2 pages)
  • Copy of the Doctoral degree or certified proof of being in possession of a doctorate (in Spanish or English)
  • Certificate of training in other centers (only for applicants that have completed their doctorate at the IAC).

You should also include the names and email addresses two or three scientists familiar with your work.

Applications that do not include the application form of Annex I (the only mandatory document that cannot be later changed or added), fail to fill it in correctly, or include the title of another advertised position, will be excluded from this selective process. If any of the other required documents are omitted, they will have to be submitted within a period of five working days after publication of the provisional list of admitted and excluded candidates.

Application deadline: March 15, 2020

Contact: For further information about the scientific aspects of this opening, please contact the head of the project at the IAC PI, Dr. Julia de León ( jmlc [at] iac.es (jmlc[at]iac[dot]es) ).

Selection tribunal