Postdoctoral Positions

2 CHEOPS Fellows (postdoctoral positions) in Swiss-wide exoplanet network

The Swiss National Science Foundation has awarded funding to establish a National Center of Competences in Research (NCCR) in the area of planetary sciences. This NCCR named PlanetS regroups about sixty researchers from a number of research institution across Switzerland (University of Bern, Geneva, Zürich and ETH Zürich and Lausanne). The scope of the framework is broad ( and includes planet origin, evolution and characterization, considering both the Solar System and exoplanets, in theory, observation and instrumentation. In addition, one explicit goal is to support the scientific exploitation of the CHEOPS satellite.

The CHaracterising ExoPlanets Satellite (CHEOPS) is a joint mission between ESA and Switzerland to be launched end of 2017. ESA’s Science Programme has selected CHEOPS in 2012 as the first small mission (S-mission) in its Programme. The goal of the CHEOPS mission is to characterize the structure of exoplanets with typical sizes ranging from Neptune down to Earth diameters orbiting bright star. This will be achieved by measuring high precision photometric sequences to detect variation in the stellar brightness induced by a transiting planet. For details about the mission’s science goals and technical implementation see the CHEOPS website at

In order to support the scientific exploitation of CHEOPS, the NCCR PlanetS has established a CHEOPS Fellowship programme. These Fellowships target bright young scientists interested to work on any aspect of CHEOPS science at any institution member of PlanetS. Two CHEOPS Fellowships are currently available.

Each Fellow can chose its home institution among those participating in PlanetS and will be encouraged to work in collaborations with the others. A research budget of 10’000 CHF will be available to each Fellow to support expenses related to their project.

The interested applicants should contact Prof. Willy Benz and present, in a 3 pages maximum document, their research project and the home institution of their choice.  The proposal, as well as a document summarizing their past and present research interests, a CV (2 pages maximum), a publication list, and a cover letter indicating the name of three referees should be sent to the email address indicated below. In addition, the recommendation letters of the three referees should be sent to the same email address. The deadline for receiving all the application material (including recommendation letters) is 15th January 2016.

The length of a postdoc contract is of 3 years, with possible extension for one additional year. Applicants should be less than 4 years after their PhD at the beginning of the position. Swiss postdoc salaries are defined by the home institution and are extremely competitive even considering local costs of living.

The starting date of the position is negotiable, and could start as early as June 2016.

The NCCR PlanetS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and members of minority groups under-represented in academia are especially encouraged to apply.

Prof. Willy Benz

Sidlerstrasse 5
CH-3012 Bern
Tel. +41 (0)31 631 44 03
Sekretariat +41 (0)31 631 32 39