Research Fellow in Auroral Physics

Southampton, United Kingdom
£34,314 to £41,931 Per annum
21 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
24 Apr 2023
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Astronomy Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £34,314 to £41,931 Per annum
Full Time Fixed Term (10/04/2026)
Closing Date:  Monday 24 April 2023
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  2096722WF-R

You will join our collaborative team in the area of ionospheric/auroral physics, in the Space Environment Physics group at the University of Southampton. You will work on a project studying the fine-scale structure and electrodynamics of the Earth's aurora, turbulent auroral processes, and the substorm onset instability. You will use data from the new state-of-the-art European Incoherent Scatter phased array radar (EISCAT_3D) together with a new high-resolution multi-wavelength auroral imager located near the EISCAT_3D transmitter site in northern Norway. The position is funded by a recently-awarded NERC "Highlight Topic" grant led by the University of Leicester and involving 9 UK institutes, including Southampton. This post will involve particularly close collaboration with Northumbria University and the British Antarctic Survey. It is available immediately, but there is some flexibility in the start date. It is initially a 3-year fixed-term position, with any extension subject to future grant funding.

The Space Environment Physics group forms part of the Astronomy group at Southampton. The two groups have wide-ranging international collaborations involving large ground-based facilities (e.g. EISCAT, SuperDARN, LSST, 4MOST) and space missions (Cluster, MMS, THEMIS, INTEGRAL, NuStar, Astrosat). The Space Environment Physics group has state-of-the-art optical instruments situated in the Arctic, including the ASK (Auroral Structure and Kinetics) multi-wavelength imager and HiTIES (High-Throughput Imaging Echelle Spectrograph), which are used in conjunction with both radar and satellite observations to study magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions from the global scale down to the physics of small-scale auroral processes. We are part of the School of Physics & Astronomy; 100% of the school’s research was rated world leading or internationally excellent for its impact on society in the last Research Assessment Framework, and the University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities.

To be successful you will have a PhD* or equivalent professional qualifications in Space Plasma Physics or a related field and demonstrate the ability to conduct original research as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications.

As a school, we are committed to all of our staff achieving a healthy work-life balance, with flexible working hours and onsite childcare facilities. Committed to tackling gender inequality, we are Athena SWAN silver award recognised. We are particularly determined to address the under-representation of women in Physics and Astronomy, so we are delighted to have been awarded Project Juno Champion status. With a generous benefits package that includes a contributory pension scheme, competitive holiday allowance, subsidised health and fitness facilities, a cycle-to-work scheme and a range of discounts, this is a place where you are sure to excel.

Informal enquires are very welcome, and should be directed to Dr Daniel Whiter (

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

Useful links:

Physics & Astronomy at Southampton

Research at Southampton

Space Environment Physics

We are proactive in fostering a culture of inclusion, respect, and equality of opportunity. We select candidates based on merit and ability and aspire to thrive in the diversity of our workforce.  We welcome applications from all candidates with an interest in the role and those who are committed to helping us create an inclusive work environment. We encourage applications from candidates from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.  

Working at the University of Southampton:

Check out the staff benefits and why you should join us at The University of Southampton!

Application Procedure 

The application deadline is midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need assistance, call Recruitment on +44 (0) 23 8059 2750, or email Quote the advert reference on all correspondence.

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