Postdoctoral Research Associate in Stellar Spectroscopy to Probe Fundamental Physics

Hawthorn, Australia
22 Oct 2018
End of advertisement period
16 Dec 2018
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • $84,201 - $90,250 plus 17% super
  • 4 year fixed term contract, Hawthorn location
  • Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing

About the job 

Applications are invited for a 4-year postdoctoral research associate (RA) position in observational astrophysics at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing (CAS) at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. The RA will work with Prof. Michael Murphy, and collaborators in Australia and Europe, on a new project to test the fundamental laws of nature using precision stellar spectroscopy.

The project goal is to test possible variations in electromagnetism's strength as a function of dark matter density across our Galaxy. The RA will lead or assist in a large spectroscopic survey and a targeted, high-precision program with the new ESPRESSO spectrograph on the VLT. Opportunities to supervise both postgraduate and undergraduate students, as part of the project or independent research, are foreseen. An appointment will be made for 2 years, with funding available for a 3rd and 4th year subject to performance. The project is funded through the Australian Research Council and includes a substantial travel budget.

Applicants are encouraged to request further information about the project and position directly from Prof. Murphy ( ) before the application deadline.

About CAS

CAS is one of Australia's largest astronomy research centres, with 23 academic staff, 17 postdoctoral researchers and 35 PhD students, with 30-40% growth expected over the next 2 years. Swinburne astronomers have institutional access to W.M. Keck telescopes, and Australia recently began a 10-year partnership with ESO to access the Paranal and La Silla Observatories, including the VLT. CAS hosts OzGrav and is a partner in ASTRO 3D, two $40m Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence, and houses OzStar, the Australian GPU Supercomputer for Theoretical Astrophysics.

Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city with a mild climate and many cultural and sporting events. Mountains, ocean and wine growing regions are easily accessible. CAS is located in the diverse inner suburb of Hawthorn with excellent public transport connections.

About you 

The succesfull applicant will have:

  • A PhD in astrophysics or a related field
  • Experience in astronomical observations, data handling and/or robust analysis
  • Independent and collaborative research skills
  • A strong record of research achievement and timely, high-quality publication and presentations

Preferred (but non-essential) qualities include:

  • Experience in spectroscopy, particularly optical, high-resolution spectroscopy
  • Scientific computing proficiency, including custom coding experience
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills
  • Takes ownership of, and can lead aspects of, scientific projects
  • Commitment to open, transparent and reproducible science

Swinburne is committed to the principles of equity, fairness and inclusivity to providing a workplace which is supportive and free from discrimination. We value diversity and encourage members of under-represented groups to apply.

How to apply 

View the Position Description and apply via the "Apply here" link below. Applications must be submitted online. 

For technical support, email the Swinburne recruitment team (

Applications must compromise of a cover letter which includes direct responses to the key selection criteria (2 pages max.),  a curriculum vitae, and a statement  describing prior research achievements and future research interests (~2 pages max.; general astronomy audience). Only shortlisted applicants will be asked for letters of recommendation to be submitted by 3 referees by 10 January 2019.


Swinburne values its diverse work environment and is committed to the principles of equal opportunity and cultural diversity. It has been recognised as a Workplace Employer of Choice for gender equality for the eighth year. Swinburne recognises the importance of providing career development, and offers promotion opportunities for fixed-term staff.

Swinburne offers a range of employee benefits, including maternity and partner leave, a 17% employer superannuation contribution, 4 weeks annual leave and discounted health insurance. It supports a flexible working environment; subject to visa restrictions, this position is available either full or part-time. Swinburne is a Child Safe Organisation and, as part of this commitment, all appointments are subject to a valid Working With Children Check.

More information:

Applications close at 11.59 pm on Sunday 16 December 2018 (AEST)