Extragalactic Archeology with Population-Dynamical Models

The Moritz Schlick early-career programme (MSECP) at the University of Vienna supports early-stage postdocs with high potential for an academic career. Participants in the programme receive outstanding financial support as well as training and mentoring to allow them to develop their full potential. Moritz Schlick early-career Postdoc Programm (univie.ac.at)

1. General Description (research group)

The Department of Astrophysics (https://astro.univie.ac.at/en/) is offering a Moritz Schlick postdoctoral research position in the “Dynamics of Stellar Systems” research group of Prof. Glenn van de Ven (https://dynamics.univie.ac.at/).  Our research group focuses on understanding the structure and evolution of nearby galaxies and stellar clusters. We construct advanced dynamical models to infer the luminous and dark matter distribution in these stellar systems, as well as to uncover the 'fossil record' of their formation history. We have privileged access to the Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC; https://vsc.ac.at/) super-computing facility. As a member state of ESO (https://www.eso.org/) and ESA (https://www.esa.int/), Austria has access to their first-class observing facilities. Our working place, the University Observatory, is located in the middle of the natural monument Observatory Park in the 18th district of the lively city of Vienna.


2.  Job Description for the Moritz Schlick position

We seek an outstanding candidate to take a leading role in our research team in developing and applying novel techniques to state-of-the art photometric and spectroscopic observations of nearby galaxies to uncover their formation history. In particular, you will be part of the Vienna core team in charge of our pioneering code for orbital modelling of stellar systems which today is publicly released under the name DYNAMITE (https://www.univie.ac.at/dynamics/dynamite_docs/index.html). Aside from DYNAMITE code development and research applications, you will also co-organize regular meetings and workshops with international collaborators as well as support the acquisition of (third-party) funding. In addition, you will be involved in (co-)supervision of students, in teaching of courses, as well as in science communication and outreach.

In this position, a one-time financial contribution of € 75K will be made available.


3. Qualification profile (minimum)

  • Doctoral/PhD degree in astronomy or astrophysics with affinity for programming, or in computer science/applied mathematics with affinity for astronomy/astrophysics
  • Main-author publications in renowned subject-relevant media
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English
  • Excellent abilities to work in a team and to express yourself
  • Very good programming skills


4. Qualification profile (additional skills, necessary language, IT qualifications etc.)

  • Very good organizational skills are highly desirable
  • Supervision and teaching experience are desirable
  • Expertise in dynamical modelling and stellar spectroscopy are assets
  • Presentation experience in an international setting is a benefit


5. Research Fields (keywords)

Stellar Dynamics, Galaxy structure and dynamics, Galaxy formation and evolution, Black holes and dark matter in galaxies, Globular Clusters


6. Additional Application Material

The following additional material are to be included in applications for this position:

  • Motivation letter


7. Mentor

The additional mentors for this position are Dr. Anahí Caldú and Dr. Elke Pilat-Lohinger.


8. Anticipated Start Date:

September, 2023

9. Public Hearings & Interviews

  • Wed 11 Jan 2023 from 10:00 - 16:00
  • Wed 18 Jan 2023 from 10:00 - 16:00