Research Associate in Space Debris Research

University of Bern Institute of Astronomy


Research Associate position
Space Debris Research / Space Situational Awareness

The Optical Astronomy group of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) has a world-leading position in the domain of optical surveys and characterization of space debris. AIUB operates the Zimmerwald Observatory equipped with a 1-m multi-purpose astronomical telescope (ZIMLAT) and five additional telescopes with apertures ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 meters. AIUB par-ticipates in several civilian space debris tracking networks such as the International Scientific Optical Observation Network (ISON) and the DLR-AIUB network of small robotic telescopes SMARTnet. With its research focus on space debris, space surveillance, and space situational awareness (SSA), the group is deeply involved in various ESA-funded studies, performs space debris surveys with the ESA 1-m telescope at Tenerife on behalf of ESA, and operates the ESA Expert Centre for optical and laser observations.

  • Active work on ESA studies on space debris, space surveillance and space situational awareness
  • Participation in the operation of the ESA Expert Centre
  • Preparation and leading ESA studies, project management
  • Software engineering, including architecture and algorithm design, coding, software integration and tests
  • Assist in education of bachelor and master and PhD students
The successful candidate will be responsible for the AIUB participation in ESA-funded studies on space debris, space surveillance and space situational awareness with major focus on optical observations. He/She will be responsible for the preparation of the study proposal and for the project management. In addition he/she will be required to actively participate in the planning, data acquisition and processing of space debris observations for the Zimmerwald Observatory and for the ESA's 1m telescope in Tenerife/Spain.

  • University degree (PhD or master or equivalent) in astronomy, physics, mathematics, aerospace engineering, space geodesy, or a similar discipline.
  • Proven experience of working in project-driven environments.
  • Demonstrated computer skills.
  • Capability to work independently and timely, as well as in small and large (geographically distributed) teams, enjoying to participate actively in meetings of international teams and to present complex research matter concisely and appealingly (oral and written).
  • Willingness to work occasionally according to astronomical constraints (nightshifts, weekends).
  • Fluent English
We offer

The initial contract will be limited to one year, with the option to extend the contract after the first year. The salary is based on the regulations of the university and the canton of Bern.

Applications (including CV, University diploma copies, possible reference) should be received until October 20th, 2020.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schildknecht
Head of the Optical Astronomy Group
Phone ++41 31 631 8594
University of Bern
Sidlerstrase 5
CH-3012 Bern

In your application, please refer to


amsterdam uni

antwerp uni

cambridge uni

florida uni

hamburg uni

harvard uni

hiroshima uni

oslo uni

purdue uni

ryerson uni

shanghai jiao tong uni

stockholm uni