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Position Details

Academic Personnel

Postdoctoral Scholar- Virtual Planetary Laboratory

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: College of Arts and Sciences

Organization: Astronomy

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar- Virtual Planetary Laboratory

Position Details

Position Description

The Astronomy department invites applications for a postdoctoral position in astrobiology.  This position is funded by the NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) Virtual Planetary. The position is for two years but will be renewed annually and may be extended if further funding becomes available.  The position is intended to begin as soon as possible, but no later than September 2022.

The Virtual Planetary Laboratory, based at the University of Washington, is an interdisciplinary research team of more than 75 members at 20 institutions. A large portion of the VPL’s research involves interdisciplinary modeling of terrestrial exoplanet evolution, habitability and biosignatures. Specific areas of interest include studying Solar System planets as analogs for understanding exoplanet processes and observations; using the Earth life and environments through time as analogs for a diversity of exoplanet environments and as a means of identifying novel biosignatures; using computer models to understand the impact of the interaction of planetary environments with their host star and planetary system components on their evolution, habitability and biosignatures; searching for novel biosignatures that can be identified in the context of their environments, and developing probabilistic frameworks for their assessment; and identifying and predicting the detectability of habitability markers and biosignatures in data from current and future ground- and space-based telescopes. The position will be supervised by Dr. Victoria Meadows, the VPL Principal Investigator. The successful applicant will conduct a research program that fits within the broader scientific goals of the VPL.  We particularly welcome applicants interested in observations of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres, as well as modeling the generation and maintenance of secondary terrestrial atmospheres, including atmospheric escape processes. 

Postdoctoral scholars at the University of Washington are exclusively represented by the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), AFL-CIO Local 4121 for purposes of wages, hours, and working conditions. Please be advised that any and all agreements between UW and UAW may result in adjustments effective during your appointment including, among other things, a change in the title of your appointment. The University maintains individual personnel files and you may access your personnel file in accordance with the provisions in the personnel files article of the collective bargaining agreement.



A Ph.D. or foreign equivalent degree in astronomy, astrobiology, or a related subject 

Experience in performing research related to atmospheric science

Experience working on radiative transfer or climate modelling

Experience in programming (Python, Matlab)

Strong written and verbal communication skills 


A strong background in either astronomy, atmospheric sciences or geosciences

Existing publications in peer reviewed literature 

Highly proficient with Linux, Fortran and Matlab


Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with publications, research statement (maximum length 3 pages, addressing current work and laying out future research ideas and their relevance to VPL research goals), as well as contact information for three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation will be collected by the hiring committee for the short list of candidates. Lastly, a statement on how your work would contribute to the diversity, equity and inclusivity goals of the department, and the University (as articulated in the UW Diversity Blueprint: Maximum length 1 page.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but should be received by January 1, 2022 for full consideration. If you have any questions please email them to with the position title in the subject line.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All
qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed,
religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information,
gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

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For help signing up, accessing your account, or submitting your application, please check out Interfolio's help and support section or get in touch via email at or phone at (877)997-8807.

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( Additionally, the University’s Faculty Code
recognizes faculty efforts in research, teaching and/or service that address diversity and equal
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