Research Associate / PhD student, Institute of Planetary Geodesy

Dresden, Sachsen (DE)
29 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
24 Apr 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), as a University of Excellence, is one of the leading and most dynamic research institutions in the country. Founded in 1828, today it is a globally oriented, regionally anchored top university as it focuses on the grand challenges of the 21st century. lt develops innovative solutions for the world's most pressing issues. In research and academic programs, the university unites the natural and engineering sciences with the humanities, social sciences and medicine. This wide range of disciplines is a special feature, facilitating interdisciplinarity and transfer of science to society. As a modern employer, it offers attractive working conditions to all employees in teaching, research, technology and administration. The goal is to promote and develop their individual abilities while empowering everyone to reach their full potential. TUD embodies a university culture that is characterized by cosmopolitanism, mutual appreciation, thriving innovation and active participation. For TUD diversity is an essential feature and a quality criterion of an excellent university. Accordingly, we welcome all applicants who would like to commit themselves, their achievements and productivity to the success of the whole institution.

At the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Geosciences, Institute of Planetary Geodesy, the Lohrmann Observatory offers for the MSCA Doctoral Network “MWGaiaDN: Revealing the Milky Way with Gaia” a position as

Research Associate / PhD student (m/f/x)
(due to funding, the salary is calculated according to MSCA regulation)

starting September 1, 2023. The position is limited to 36 months. The period of employment is governed by Fixed Term Research Contracts Act (Wissenschaftszeitvetragsgesetz-WissZeitVG). The position offers the chance to obtain further academic qualification (e.g. PhD).

The project is funded by the MARIA SKŁODOWSKA CURIE doctoral network within Horizon Europe Programme of the European Commission [Cordis link]. The network MWGaiaDN consists of 10 academic partners across Europe at which 12 PhD students will be active in the network researching a range of topics with Gaia and other data.

The goal of the ESA space telescope Gaia [ESA link] is the determination of the spatial positions and velocities as well as the astrophysical characteristics of about 2 billion celestial objects. Gaia is considered as a revolution in astronomy and enjoys the highest international reputation. The team of the Lohrmann Observatory is part of the European Gaia Consortium and primarily responsible for the relativistic aspects of the data processing, the details of the Gaia Celestial Reference Frame as well as the definition, computation and analysis of the astrometric solutions of Gaia.

Tasks: One of the important results from Gaia is its astrometric catalogue of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), the latest version of which contains about 1.9 million sources with high-quality astrometric solutions. AGNs represent compact extragalactic sources on the sky for which Gaia is able to deliver good astrometry. The accuracy of the AGN astrometry from Gaia has now reached the accuracy of the radio astrometry that was dominating the field of AGN astrometry up to recently. Next data releases of Gaia are expected to surpass the current level of accuracy by a factor of up to 10. Astrometric catalogues of AGNs from Gaia play several important roles: building Gaia Celestial Reference Frame, revealing systematic errors in Gaia astrometry, allowing to discuss certain physical properties of the AGNs etc. It is therefore necessary to investigate and improve the characteristics of the AGN catalogue from Gaia. This PhD project aims to characterize the systematic errors in the parallaxes and proper motions of various subsets of AGNs delivered in Gaia Data Release 3. This includes a search of correlations between the level of systematic errors in AGN astrometry on various characteristics of the AGNs published by Gaia and available from other sources. The ultimate goal is to introduce an index for each source characterizing its astrometric quality. The results of this project will pave the way for an improved treatment of AGNs in the future Gaia Data Releases. The project includes a number of secondments in the partner universities of the network.


  • university degree (Master degree or equivalent) in astronomy, physics, or related areas with strong skills in research (proven by master thesis or equivalent).
  • Experience with a modern object-oriented computer language. Ability to work with data in modern computational environments.
  • Proof of English proficiency. Basic communication skills in German are helpful.
  • Applicants must not already hold a doctoral degree at the date of recruitment.
  • Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately prior to the date of recruitment.
  • The successful applicant must enroll in the TU Dresden’s Graduate Academy.

TUD strives to employ more women in academia and research. We therefore expressly encourage women to apply. The University is a certified family-friendly university and offers a Dual Career Service. We welcome applications from candidates with disabilities. If multiple candidates prove to be equally qualified, those with disabilities or with equivalent status pursuant to the German Social Code IX (SGB IX) will receive priority for employment.

Please submit your comprehensive application including scientific CV, copies of certificates and academic qualifications (if applicable with English translations) and a motivation letter until
April 24, 2023 (stamped arrival date of the university central mail service applies), preferably via the SecureMail Portal of the TU Dresden by sending it as a single pdf document to or to: TU Dresden, Fakultät Umweltwissenschaften, Fachrichtung Geowissenschaften, Institut für Planetare Geodäsie, Lohrmann-Observatorium, Herrn Prof. Dr. habil. Sergei A. Klioner, Helmholzstr. 10, 01069 Dresden, Germany. Please submit copies only, as your application will not be returned to you. Expenses incurred in attending interviews cannot be reimbursed.

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