Postdoc Positions in the Galaxies and Cosmology Department of the MPIA (#349)

We anticipate to fill the following postdoc and prize fellowship positions with starting dates by Autumn 2023, under the corresponding job ad listed at the AAS job register (see here). Details on the available positions are given below. Please do not hesitate to directly contact the respectve MPIA staff in case you have any questions. Generic questions can be directed to the chair of the search committee, Dr. Annalisa Pillepich ( Please send logistical questions to the department assistant, Susanne Koltes-Al-Zoubi (

Independent MPIA prize fellowship position:

a) Independent post-doctoral prize fellowship position.
We seek candidates to conduct excellent independent research related to one or more of the research areas covered by the various research groups in the Galaxies and Cosmology Department.

Post-doc positions in MPIA research groups:

b) We seek excellent candidates for 3 postdoctoral positions in the context of the ERC Advanced Grant 'SDSS-V: Hunting for Dormant Black Holes in the Milky Way' (PI: Hans-Walter Rix) . In this ERC, we set out to discover, characterize and model dormant (i.e. non-accreting) compact objects in binaries around normal stars in the Milky Way, particularly dormant black holes. Our approach encompasses time-domain survey spectroscopy of massive (and other) stars with SDSS-V; precision light-curves; astrometric information from Gaia and interferometry; and follow-up Echelle spectroscopy to verify candidates and eliminate false positives. The findings will be put in the context of binary evolution population models. To this end, we seek applications from candidates with expertise in, and passion for, any of the approaches listed above. In particular, we are interested in applicants with demonstrated expertise in survey spectroscopy, high-resolution spectral modeling, time-domain photometry, binary star evolution, or forward-modeling of large and complex survey data. The appointments of the successful candidates will be for at least 3 years.

c) One postdoc position in the high-z quasars group of Dr. Eduardo Bañados . We are looking for a postdoc interested in the multi-wavelength characterization of the most distant quasars and galaxies, especially with JWST. The candidate would be involved in the exploitation of on-going JWST cycle 1 programs and other ground-based datasets. The postdoc is expected to be highly involved and leading future JWST and complementary ground-based telescope proposals. Although not a strict requirement, the ideal candidate would have demonstrated experience working with JWST data. Experience with reduction and analysis of near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy would be an asset.

d) The instrumentation group of Dr. Jörg-Uwe Pott seeks a highly motivated practical calibration scientist or optical systems engineer who can lead the upcoming construction and test phase of the MICADO calibration unit (MCU). The MCU is will provide all calibration (flat fielding, wavelength calibration, image quality) for the first-light camera and spectrograph MICADO of the ELT, operating in the near-infrared, from 0.8-2.5 ┬Ám. Beyond classical calibration modes, the MCU will be a central piece in delivering the astrometric observing modes of imaging and spectroscopy to the astronomical community, deploying the latest photonic technology. This postdoc position is planned as a four year position to support the entire construction phase including all relevant verification tests at MPIA in Heidelberg and at the ESO headquarters in Garching before shipment to Chile. We expect experience and scientific interest in at least two of the following areas: precise calibration of near-infrared instruments deploying hard- and software methods; commissioning of large astronomical instruments; successful performance testing of a given optical camera design with respective documentation; usage of optical design software (ie. OpticsStudio) and higher programming languages (ie. Python).

d) One post-doc position in the group of Dr. Fabian Walter. We are looking for a postdoc who is interested in JWST and/or radio interferometric studies of nearby or distant galaxies. Walter is involved in many JWST programs (from nearby galaxies to high-redshift quasars, including GTO observations). Walter is also Co-PI of the 1800 hour Local Group L-Band Survey that is currently executed at the Very Large Array (LGLBS), and is Co-I on the ongoing MeerKAT's Large Survey Projects LADUMA and MHONGOOSE. The group is also actively involved in the design of the DSA-2000 radio camera. Candidates interested in any of these projects are encouraged to apply.

f) Two Postdoc positions in the group lead by Dr. Maria Bergemann. The group's main research directions include 3D and Non-LTE spectral modeling, fundamental stellar parameters, and exploitation of WEAVE and 4MOST data. One position is funded through the ERC Starting Grant 'ELEMENTS: Role of extreme events in Galaxy evolution', the successful candidate will focus on observational studies and/or GCE modeling of the Galactic enrichment of trans-iron elements. The other position through the Lise Meitner program, which supports activities related to stellar atmosphere modeling and the exploitation of observational data from various facilities, including Gaia, TESS, VLT, JWST in the context of stellar physics or stellar populations. We also welcome applications from researchers with interest in using stellar data and models in other areas, including star-planet connection or Galaxy structure.

g) One postdoctoral position with Dr. Ivelina Momcheva working on galaxy evolution. Momcheva is the MPIA data science group lead and the PI of the 3D-DASH survey. Candidates interested in developing a data-science-focused research program and/or working with the 3D-DASH data are encouraged to apply. For a position related to 3D-DASH, candidates are expected to take an active role in the data reduction and analysis of data as well as lead research using the survey. Research topics include (but are not limited to) mapping the build up of stellar structure via resolved H-alpha maps, carrying out a statistically robust census of massive galaxies and massive major mergers, determining the bias and number density of emission line galaxies. Experience with grism spectroscopy is preferred for this position. This position is for 2 years with potential extension dependent on funding.

h) One post-doc position in the group of Dr. Annalisa Pillepich (funding to be confirmed). The GC theory group works in the fields of numerical galaxy formation and cosmology, with a focus on galaxy evolution, cluster cosmology and on detailed comparisons to observational data and forward modelling of simulated datasets. We are looking for a postdoc who is interested and has experience in carrying out research in one or more of the following scientific directions and methodologies: computational galaxy formation; galaxy groups and clusters and the physics of the halo gas; numerical modelling of feedback, particularly SMBH feedback; development and analysis of large cosmological galaxy simulations; analysis and interpretation of X-ray data for galaxy evolution and cosmology; the nature of dark matter and dark energy; machine learning methods and cosmological-parameter inference.

i) One postdoc position in the Reionization and IGM Group of Dr. Frederick Davies. The Reionization and IGM (REIGM) Max Planck Research Group focuses primarily on studies of the intergalactic medium, high-redshift quasar activity, and the epochs of hydrogen and helium reionization. One of the key themes is leveraging forward-modeling from numerical simulations (e.g. cosmological/hydrodynamical with 1D/3D radiative transfer) to perform statistical inference from existing and upcoming data, including Lyman-series forest spectra as well as existing and upcoming JWST observations of the most distant galaxies and quasars. Ideal candidates would have experience in analysis and/or development of numerical simulations or models, and a keen interest in the first billion years of cosmic time.