Institute of Astronomy

Research Assistant/Associate in Observational Cosmology and Astrophysics with LSST (fixed term)

Published on 07/11/2023 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
£36,024-£44,263 £32,982-£33,966

We seek to appoint a highly-motivated postdoctoral researcher to conduct original research on computational modelling and/or advanced machine-learning for analysis of photometric datasets, preparing the path for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). The successful applicant will be part of the European Research Council Advanced Grant CosmicExplorer project, led by Professor Hiranya Peiris at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge (, and the work will be carried out within the international LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration. The position will involve original research in cosmology, broadly related to testing fundamental physics with LSST.  

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory 

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a next-generation astronomical facility currently under construction in Chile with first light expected in late 2024.  Rubin’s LSST will be one of the largest and most comprehensive astronomy surveys of its kind, enabling countless astronomical and physics discoveries. Within the ERC Advanced Grant CosmicExplorer project, we are working on creative solutions grounded in explainable AI methods to analysis challenges posed by the coming Rubin data.  

Candidate information 

We seek candidates with significant experience of one or more of the following: computational modelling/simulation, developing and applying novel statistical and machine learning techniques, writing production-level code for analysis of relevant cosmological datasets, and/or preparing for the coming LSST data by analyzing precursor surveys. In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills in one or more of: cosmological and astronomical data analysis, statistics, programming, numerical or machine-learning modeling, and theoretical physics expertise.  

The role-holder will contribute to research excellence as a member of a highly collaborative international research team, with the role providing substantial scope for exercising academic judgement, originality, interpretation and presentation of results. The role-holder will develop a high degree of interaction with staff and students, disseminate their research findings via publications or other appropriate media, such as international workshops and conferences, and will be encouraged to participate in teaching, learning, and outreach activities. 

A successful candidate with a PhD will be appointed at Grade 7 (Research Associate - £36,024 to £44,263 per annum). A candidate who has not been awarded their PhD will initially be appointed at Grade 5 (Research Assistant - £32,982 to £33,966 per annum) and, upon award of PhD, promoted to Grade 7. 

The University of Cambridge provides a vibrant research environment in cosmology. The interdepartmental Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge (KICC) is co-located on the IoA site, fostering connections with other groups conducting complementary cosmological research across Cambridge. 

The University of Cambridge thrives on the diversity of its staff and students. Applications from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. The University has several family-friendly policies and initiatives, including a returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, University workplace nurseries, University holiday play- schemes, and a shared parental-leave policy. As part of its commitment to providing a family-friendly environment for researchers, the Institute ensures that should parental leave be needed during the course of employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for the parental leave taken. 

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online. Please upload your CV, cover letter, publications list and research statement (3xA4 pages max, 11pt font) in the Upload section. Names and contact details of 3 academic referees are essential.  Please advise nominated referees, that their references will be requested with a deadline of 15 January 2024.

Closing date: 15 January 2024. 

Applications will be reviewed after the closing date. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed shortly after. 

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance. 

Starting date: TBC 

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment.  

Please quote reference LG39066 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy. 

If you have any queries about your application, please contact Informal enquires may be addressed to Professor Hiranya Peiris –

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. The Institute particularly welcomes applications from women and/or candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented. 

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Application Information: 
Application Deadline Date: 
15 January 2024
Page last updated: 27 November 2023 at 16:07