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3 (three) Research Fellowships for PhD students in the field of Planetary Systems - Exoplanet research

Ref: IA2023-02-BI-D

The Centro de Investigação em Astronomia/Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (CAUP) opens a call for 3 Research Fellowships, for PhD students, in the field of Planetary Systems - Exoplanet research at the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA).

The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) is the most prominent Research Unit in the field of Astronomy/Astrophysics in Portugal, integrating researchers from the universities of Porto, Lisbon and Coimbra, and is responsible for a major fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in this field. Research and science communication at IA include topics and instrumentation at the forefront of research in Astronomy/Astrophysics and Space Sciences.

The positions are offered in the context of the project "FIERCE: Finding Exoearths: tackling the challenges of stellar activity" funded by the European Research Council under an Advanced Grant with the reference 101052347.

1.- Scientific area: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

2.- Requirements for admission: The applicants must have completed a degree in the area of Astronomy/Astrophysics, Physics, or a related discipline. They must also comply with the requirements to be enrolled in the PhD Program in Astronomy at the University of Porto (Programa de Doutoramento em Astronomia da Universidade do Porto) at the time of the start of the fellowship. Only applications from candidates having an adequate background in Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, or other relevant domain, will be considered.

3.- Additional skills and qualifications: We are looking for applicants who are enthusiastic about learning and tackling new scientific challenges, as well as willing to work within a team in an international environment.

4.- Contracting requirements: Presentation of the following documents at the time of signing the fellowship agreement:

- Presentation of the academic qualifications and/or diplomas of the academic degree completed.
- Proof of enrolment in the PhD Program in Astronomy at the University of Porto (Programa de Doutoramento em Astronomia da Universidade do Porto).

5.- Work plan: The detection and characterisation of other Earths, planets with the physical conditions to hold liquid water and thus potential life-sustaining environments, is a bold objective of present-day astrophysics. This goal continuously pushes the development of new ground- and space-based instrumentation. However, the quest for other Earths is severely limited by astrophysical “noise” from the host stars, whose signatures distort the spectra used to detect and characterize the planets.
The PhD projects, offered in the context of one Advanced Grant funded by the European Research Council, are related with the development of new methods and analysis tools to tackle the problem of stellar noise in exoplanet research. In particular we expect the successful candidates to contribute to the development and exploitation of data from the PoET solar telescope and ESPRESSO spectrograph (ESO) to:

1) develop new approaches to reach the 10 cm/s barrier in Doppler radial velocity measurements needed to find and characterize other Earths orbiting other Suns;
2) model and correct stellar noise in transmission spectroscopy used to study exoplanet atmospheres.

Exoplanet data obtained with the ESPRESSO and NIRPS (ESO) spectrographs may also be made available.

The projects will have a strong impact on the exploitation of data from future ground-based projects and space-based missions such as ANDES@ELT (ESO) and PLATO (ESA).

6.- Legislation framework: The fellowship contracts will comply with:

- Law n.º 123/2019, of 28th August 2019 - ''Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação'' (Research Grant Holder Statute) in force [https://dre.pt/dre/legislacao-consolidada/lei/2004-58216179]

- Regulation n.º 950/2019, of 16th December 2019 - ''Regulamento de Bolsas e Investigação da Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia'' (Regulation of Fellowship of Research) in force [https://files.dre.pt/2s/2019/12/241000000/0009100105.pdf]

- "CAUP's Fellowship Regulation" (available at www.astro.up.pt/documentos/CAUP-RegulamentoBolsas.pdf).

The fellows's functions are carried out under a scheme of exclusive dedication, in accordance with the terms established in the article 5 of Research Grant Holder Statute (Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação).

7.- Monthly allowance: According to the FCT table values [https://former.fct.pt/apoios/bolsas/valores.phtml.en], the monthly allowance will be € 1144.64 (tax free) and will be paid monthly by bank transfer.

The fellows will have a personal accident insurance. They can also exercise the right to social security by joining the voluntary social insurance scheme, if not covered by any other social protection scheme, under the terms of the Código dos Regimes Contributivos do Sistema Previdencial de Segurança Social, as stipulated in article 10 of the Research Grant Holder Statute (Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação).

Registration, enrollment or tuition fees components are paid directly by CAUP to the University of Porto, the institution where the fellowship holder is enrolled in the PhD programme.

Additional funds for travel (conferences, observing missions, and work visits) will also be available.

8.- Place of work: The work will be developed at CAUP (in the Porto node of the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço), Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762, under the scientific supervision of Nuno C. Santos and/or other members of the scientific team of IA.

9.- Fellowship duration: Each fellowship should start between the 1st of September and the 1st of October 2023, renewable on a yearly basis, and has a maximum duration of 48 months.

The annual renewal is made following a positive evaluation of the work programme and of the evaluation carried out in the context of the doctoral programme, as well as the delivery of the declaration demonstrating the enrollment renewal in the study cycle leading to the PhD degree.

10.- Application: The application, to be submitted through the web form indicated below, must include the following information:

a.) Cover letter with a brief description of the candidate's experience and motivation.
b.) Curriculum Vitae describing the academic path and research experience (up to 4 pages with at least 10pt font size).
c.) List of completed curricular units with the respective marks.
d.) BSc and (if applicable) MSc degree diploma or certificate.
e.) Name and contact details (position, email, address) of two referees, who will be available to provide information about the candidate (these will be contacted at the Selection Committee's discretion).

The documents that prove the entitlement of the academic qualifications or diplomas, or the proof of registration in the academic degree or course, can be dismissed during the application period and replaced by a signed declaration of honour. If not provided during the application process, these documents must nevertheless be submitted before the signing of the contract.

In the event that the degree was awarded by a higher education institution outside of Portugal, that degree must comply with the provisions of Decree-Law n.º 66/2018 of 16th August 2018 (approves the legal regime for the recognition of foreign higher academic degrees) and Ministerial Order n.º 33/2019 of 25th January 2019, and all formalities established therein must be complied with up to the date of hiring.

Applicants are advised to check the website of the Directorate-General for Higher Education (DGES) for further information: https://www.dges.gov.pt/en/pagina/degree-and-diploma-recognition. They can also check information on the website of the University of Porto: https://sigarra.up.pt/up/en/WEB_BASE.GERA_PAGINA?p_pagina=1005819.

11.- Deadline: This call for applications will remain open from the 16th of January until the 17th March 2023.

12.- Selection criteria and evaluation: All grades in the evaluation process here described will be given on a scale from 0-100. The evaluation of the applications will be performed based on:

(i) - Curricular evaluation:
a.) (20%) Cover letter with a brief description of the candidate's experience and motivation.
b.) (60%) CV, considering the degree(s) and previous academic training, including marks and contents of completed curricular units and the relevance of that training to the topic of the call.
c.) (20%) Relevance of previous research experience.

An ordered list will be defined by the Selection Committee based on the information presented in the submitted documents and the criteria mentioned above. Only those candidates who have submitted all requested documents will be admitted and subsequently evaluated. If deemed necessary, the designated referees may be asked to provide reference letters, which will be taken into consideration in the evaluation process.

Candidates with minimum grade of 70 in the curricular evaluation are then selected for an interview.

(ii) - Interview: The interview will be used to obtain clarifications concerning aspects related to the CV and research experience presented in the application, as well as to evaluate the candidate's profile in face of the aspects referred in points 2, 3, and 5.

The final evaluation grade will be a weighted average between the two components, where the curricular evaluation weights 80% and the interview 20%.

13.- Selection Committee:
Nuno C. Santos (Chair)
Elisa Delgado Mena
João Faria
Olivier Demangeon
Sérgio Sousa (Alternate)

14.- Awarding of the contract: Following the evaluation process, the fellowship will be offered according to the ordered list proposed by the selection committee. The position will be granted only if suitable candidates are identified. Only candidates with a minimum grade of 70 will be accepted. All the candidates will be notified by e-mail, sent by the call holder, with the final classifications and the selection meeting minutes and/or evaluation grids enclosed.

15.- Time limits for the appeal procedure: Candidates have 10 working days, after the date of announcement of the results, to pronounce on the decision through e-mail, to be sent to jobs@iastro.pt and to the Chair of the Selection Committee – nuno.santos@astro.up.pt. Appeals against the final decision may be submitted to the Executive Board of CAUP (direcao@astro.up.pt) within 15 working days after the notification date.

16.- Non-discrimination and equal access: CAUP promotes a policy of non-discrimination and equal access, thus no applicant may be privileged, benefitted, undermined or deprived of any right or exempted from any duty, namely, due to ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, civil status, family situation, economic situation, origin or social condition, genetic heritage, reduced work capacity, disability, chronic disease, nationality, ethnicity or race, country or territory of origin, language, religion, political or ideological beliefs, or trade union affiliation.

Publication date
13th January 2023

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia