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Research Fellow in Astrochemistry

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have an established background in experimental chemical kinetics, reaction dynamics, photochemistry or astrochemistry? Do you want to further your career in one of the UK’s leading research intensive universities?

We are looking for an exceptional researcher to work on our project ‘Astrochemistry of old stars: direct probing of unique chemical laboratories (AEROSOL)’, with Professors Dwayne Heardand John Plane. This interdisciplinary project on the stellar winds around evolved stars is funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant AEROSOL(Principal Investigator: Professor Leen Decin, University of Leuven). The aim of the project is to boost our understanding of the physics and chemistry characterizing the stellar winds around evolved stars. The project builds upon novel observations, detailed theoretical wind models, and targeted laboratory experiments.

Our experimental research concerns the determination of rate coefficients and product distributions of elementary gas-phase reactions involving key reactive species (OH, C2H, HCHO, etc.) in stellar winds for which data are currently lacking. Specifically, several advanced laser-spectroscopic and chemiluminescence techniques will be employed to follow photolytically-generated reactive species in real time in a state-of-the-art low-temperature Laval-nozzle apparatus, and also other apparatus, with the aim to obtain the rates of gas-phase reactions at temperatures below 200K.

You will perform research on the AEROSOL project, working in collaboration with a team of astrophysicists, chemists and computational mathematicians in both Leeds and Leuven. You will also have opportunities for training in science and people management, science communication, and grant application writing, with the aim to develop a personal independent career track.

You will have a PhD in Astrochemistry, Astrophysics, Physical Chemistry or a closely aligned discipline, together with experience in laboratory studies of chemical kinetics, reaction dynamics or photochemistry. You’ll also have excellent communication skills and the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.

There is also a potential opportunity for you to be employed and funded by Leuven University, Belgium, for a subsequent one year period following the two year appointment at Leeds. Both Universities have modern and fully equipped research laboratories, and both groups enjoy and encourage further close collaboration with researchers in departments employing high-level quantum chemical calculations on species related to this project.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Professor Dwayne Heard, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 6471, email:

Professor John Plane, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 8044, email:


Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Mathematics & Physical Sciences
School/Institute:  School of Chemistry
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £32,004 to £38,183 p.a.
Due to external funding restrictions, appointments will only be made up to £33,943 p.a.
Working Time:  100%
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (24 months, due to funding)
Closing Date:  Sunday 06 August 2017
Interview Date:  Friday 25 August 2017
Reference:  MAPCH1067
Downloads:  Candidate Brief  

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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