FHNW, Switzerland — PhD Position in Heliophysics

The Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) invites applications for a PhD student position in Heliophysics. The student will work on the interdisciplinary project “Machine Learning based Analytics for Big Data in Astronomy” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. This project is a collaboration between FHNW and the University of Geneva with the goal of developing, implementing, and using methods to analyze large (Terabyte) astronomy data sets. The PhD student will work on the data analysis of solar UV flare data from IRIS, NASA’s newest solar satellite. He/She will make use of the methods developed by the partner institute to efficiently extract the relevant data from the large set of observations to investigate the science of solar flares. The PhD student will learn about solar flares, spectroscopy, data analysis, machine learning, and programming. While the student will be employed through FHNW and will be based at the FHNW campus in Windisch, the PhD title will be awarded from the renowned University of Geneva.

FHNW hosts a lively group of a dozen scientists and engineers and two other PhD students focusing on solar flare research. The institute is currently building the STIX X-ray telescope to be flown onboard ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission and is also involved in cubesat projects. 


The length of a PhD is typically 3-4 years. The starting salary is ~55000 SFr., which amounts to a net salary of approximately ~3700 SFr./month  (variable depending on place of residence and personal circumstances). Support for conferences and collaborations, as well as potential telescope observing is available.


We are looking for highly motivated candidates with (or obtaining soon) a MSc in physics or astronomy. Knowledge of programming, astronomy, and/or handling of large data would be beneficial.


The selection of candidates will start after December 15, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. The starting date is negotiable, preferably around March 1, 2017. Applications shall include a CV, a 1-page statement explaining the motivation for the application, a copy of BSc and MSc transcripts of courses and grades (scans of official transcripts are sufficient) and if available, a link to the Master’s thesis. Two letters of recommendation shall be sent before the application deadline directly by the referees to Lucia Kleint and Sam Krucker.


For more information about the project or FHNW and to submit your application please contact:

•  Dr. Lucia Kleint (lucia.kleint@fhnw.ch) or Prof. Dr. Sam Krucker (samuel.krucker@fhnw.ch)


For information about the graduate program at the University of Geneva please contact:

•  Prof. Dr. Slava Voloshynovskiy (svolos@unige.ch)