Astronomy Jobs at Cardiff!

Just a quick post to advertise a couple of job opportunities in the School of Physics & Astronomy at Cardiff University. For further details you can look at the official website, but here is an outline:

Two Faculty Positions in Astrophysics

Observational and theoretical studies of star-formation and/or extrasolar planetary systems.

The School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University has immediate vacancies for two permanent faculty appointments in Astrophysics.  We are seeking experts in observational and theoretical studies of star-formation and/or extra-solar planetary systems to conduct world-class research and research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.  The appointments will be at any level from Lecturer to Professor depending on the experience of the candidate; we expect at least one of the appointments to be at a junior level.

Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University has undergone substantial expansion in the past few years and has very strong research groups in gravitational-wave physics, astronomical instrumentation, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, star-formation and condensed matter physics.  There are presently 18 academic staff involved in astrophysics and relativity, with 15 post-doctoral researchers and 22 PhD students.

The appointment will be made at a level commensurate with experience.

The advertisement is also available on the AAS Jobs Register, or will be when they get their act together and put it online. The AAS website is just one of a number that have been recently improved, with the result that they’re much less efficient than they were before.

Anyway, I’m just passing on the advertisement so please don’t send me your CVs! If you’d like to apply please do so using the official Cardiff University jobs page, which also has a lot of general information about the City and the University.

P.S. There have been quite a few job vacancies in astronomy around the UK recently – Edinburgh, Surrey, Liverpool, Exeter etc. I wonder why that is, and where the money is coming from?

8 Responses to “Astronomy Jobs at Cardiff!”

  1. Ken Rice Says:

    I think there are many in Edinburgh who are sick and tired of me asking exactly the question you pose at the end of your post.

  2. I guess some of the “new” posts are due to staff moving elsewhere?

  3. John Peacock Says:

    I think we’re borrowing the money from the Greeks: explains why they seem to be short of the stuff.

  4. Andrew Liddle Says:

    Well, last year (2010-11) the UK university sector as a whole reported the largest surplus ever of over a billion pounds: see

    Check out the table linked at the right, whose second column shows Cardiff, Surrey, Liverpool JM and Exeter all made about 10 million surplus last year, and Edinburgh a staggering 43 million.

    Meanwhile, murmurings from government suggest them thinking that if the surplus is that large, maybe the universities have too much funding.

    So I suppose everyone is deciding they’d better spend it and try to look bit poorer, especially with the good old REF just round the corner. The money certainly seems to be there to spend (albeit substantially generated by the now several years long effective pay freeze in the university sector that managers have justified as necessary for lack of funds …).


    • telescoper Says:

      The reason for the surplus is simple: the pay freeze. I think most HEIs are frantically building up reserves to see them through the uncharted waters coming up.

      I should add that Cardiff has just had a big recruitment campaign. In Physics & Astronomy we’ve just appointed five new staff in experimental physics and there are a couple more on the way. The two above appointments in Astronomy represent one replacement of a staff member moving to another institution, and another to ensure continuity in anticipation of retirement(s) in a few years’ time.

  5. Andrew Liddle Says:

    Another factor in England, and I suppose also relevant elsewhere in the UK, is the universities are very keen to demonstrate to the 9000-pound-fee-paying students that they get something for their money. Unfortunately there isn’t really much extra money, if any, since the tripled student fees are largely just filling a hole of withdrawn central government funding. Universities don’t trust their students to appreciate that (in either definition of the word `appreciate’). Using the horde-then-spend strategy has the convenient effect of nudging student-staff ratios in the right direction at just the right time. And it ties in with the need for REF investment too.

    So, the recession seems to have all worked out rather nicely for university management, being taken as justification for the lengthy pay freeze on existing staff and creating a captive market of fee-paying students with few alternative options but to sign up for study.


  6. Bryn Jones Says:

    The fundamental process as I see it is that university departments are trying to recruit staff ahead of the Research Excellence Framework. They are filling vacancies that have arisen due to staff retirements or departures, or bringing forward recruitment to replace future retirements. The timing of the recruitment process is determined by decisions within university departments and by permission to act being given at faculty or central level.

    I observed some similar process occurring a few years before the last Research Assessment Exercise, with several vacancies for astronomy lectureships. There is a tendency for fewer vacancies between these periods.

    Some departments will advertise for positions in particular precise research areas. Other departments will not indicate subject preferences at the time of advertising but will impose preferences at the time of shortlisting candidates or at interview.

  7. […] Astronomy Jobs at Cardiff! ( […]

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