Research Fellow, Astronomy Group

Southampton, United Kingdom
£32,348 to £39,745 Per annum
11 Aug 2022
End of advertisement period
24 Aug 2022
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Astronomy Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £32,348 to £39,745 Per annum
Full Time Fixed Term (24 months)
Closing Date:  Wednesday 24 August 2022
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1934722WF

You will join the Southampton Astronomy Group to work on a project aimed at modelling accretion disk winds in accreting white dwarfs (AWDs) and active galactic nuclei (AGN). The main goal of the project is to work with and further develop a multi-dimensional radiation-hydrodynamics (RHD) code that is capable of modelling line-driven disk accretion winds self-consistently. Our RHD code couples our own state-of-the-art Monte Carlo ionization and radiative transfer code with PLUTO, a well-known hydrodynamics code.

You will take the lead in using our new RHD code to model line-driven disk winds in both AWDs and AGN. They will also be responsible for driving the further development of the code, on both the radiation and hydrodynamics sides. This may include, for example, implementing a treatment of general relativity, speeding up the radiative transfer calculations (especially in the optically thick regime), developing visualization tools and  improving the interface between the two codes. You will also be expected to compare the results of the simulations to observations. 

A PhD or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in astronomy or astrophysics is required for this position. Expertise in computational hydrodynamics is essential, as is a detailed understanding and knowledge of accretion disks and associated outflows on all scales.

Direct experience with the PLUTO hydrodynamics code is highly desirable, as is experience with (ideally Monte Carlo) radiative transfer and/or radiation-hydrodynamics. A background in studying the accretion flows in active galactic nuclei and/or accreting white dwarfs is also desirable. 

The project is led by Christian Knigge (Southampton) and is part of a close collaboration with Knox Long (STScI), Stuart Sim (QUB) and James Matthews (Cambridge/Oxford). The position is currently funded for for 2 years. The starting salary is in the range £32,348 to £39,745.
 The Southampton Astronomy Group is one of the world's leading groups in the study of accretion onto compact objects across.The group is part of the School of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, which brings together fundamental physics research with one of the UK's largest and strongest computer science departments. We have access to the University's state-of-the-art Iridis computing clusters, which will be used extensively for this project. We are also part of the STAG Institute (Southampton Theory, Astronomy and Gravitation) which combines researchers across Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics.

At the University of Southampton, we value diversity and equality. The University recognises that employees may wish to have working patterns that fit with their caring responsibilities or work-life balance. Due consideration will also be given to applicants who have had career breaks for reasons including maternity, paternity or adoption leave, disability or illness. Both the University of Southampton and Physics & Astronomy are proud to hold Athena Swan Silver Awards. The School of Physics & Astronomy is also a Project Juno Champion.

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD.   Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.’

Application Procedure

At the time of applying, please supply your CV, a Publication List, Research Statement (Background and Interests) and two references

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. References are requested along with your application. This reference system is automated so please ensure you provide the correct email address and allow time for these to be received, prior to the close date, to assist the department with shortlisting. 

If you need any assistance, please call Sian Gale (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2750, or email Please quote reference 1934722WF on all correspondence.

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