DESCRIPTION: The Astrobiology Initiative ( of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for multiple Postdoctoral Fellowships in Astrobiology.  One position will be in exoplanetary atmospheres.  The other position(s) may include exoplanet demographic studies, population synthesis, exoplanet characterization with radial velocity, transit, or direct imaging techniques, and planet formation and evolution, including atmosphere/volatile formation, evolution and loss, in the solar system or exoplanetary contexts. Work in observation, theory, and laboratory settings are all encouraged. 

The successful candidates will join the new NASA Interdisciplinary Consortium for Astrobiology Research (ICAR) team led by the University of California, Santa Cruz (PI: Natalie Batalha) and including researchers at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Kansas, and NASA Ames Research Center. The consortium aims to trace the physical and chemical pathways of volatile elements from protoplanetary disk formation, through disk evolution to planet formation, the accretion of volatiles within planets, and the formation, evolution, and loss of planetary atmospheres, establishing a scientific foundation for detecting the signatures of life on other worlds. As a member of the consortium, the successful candidate will be expected to follow the rules for collaboration within the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) meant to promote open communication and open access in astrobiology research. 

The Postdoctoral Fellows in Astrobiology at UCSC will have the opportunity to work with faculty who are world leaders in the study of exoplanets, the origin of life, planetary science, high-energy astrophysics, and instrument development.  Candidates are encouraged to describe how their research might impact these broader astrobiology goals and catalyze interdisciplinary collaborations within the team. We are especially interested in candidates who have applied creativity and innovation to their research. 

UCSC Astrobiology is a new initiative undertaking groundbreaking research while training diverse new generations of astrobiologists. This effort is inherently interdisciplinary, demanding varied expertise. The positions require that the Postdoctoral Fellows successfully work independently and collaborate collegially with faculty, postdocs, and students. The Fellows may reside in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics or the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.  The Fellows will have an opportunity to interact with visitors from around the world from the successful Other Worlds Laboratory summer program.  We encourage applications by candidates from diverse backgrounds, who have overcome significant challenges, or who work to expand the field of astrophysics beyond its previous boundaries. 

Fellows will have access to the University of California Observatories, including Lick Observatory, which has the Shane 3m and 2.4m Automated Planet Finder (APF) telescopes, as well as Keck Observatory through Faculty PIs.  Funding is available for travel, conferences and publications.  Relocation expenses up to $3000 will be covered.  These positions will be located in Santa Cruz as UCSC has transitioned to a largely successful in-person university mode, via vaccine mandates and contact tracing.

ACADEMIC TITLE: Postdoctoral Scholar

SALARY:  Commensurate with qualifications and experiences. Minimum annual salary rates are made based on the individual’s Experience Level, which is determined by the number of months of postdoctoral service at any institution. See current salary scale for Postdoctoral Titles at

BASIC QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Planetary Sciences, Geosciences,or a related field.  Ph.D. must be in hand at time of the initial appointment.

POSITION AVAILABLE: Immediately after selection, no later than November 1, 2022.

MAXIMUM DURATION OF SERVICE IN A POSTDOCTORAL TITLE: Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time; the initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility of reappointment for a total of three years. Reappointment will be contingent upon positive performance review and availability of funding. 

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All documents and materials must be submitted as a single PDF and should be forwarded to Deana Tanguay (, the Astrobiology Initiative Program Coordinator. Applications must include a curriculum vitae with list of publications, and a research statement that includes a brief summary of relevant experience and research interests. Please have three or more recommendation letters emailed to Please refer to “Astrobiology Postdoc” in all correspondence.

Required Documents/Materials:

CV (Not to exceed two pages, excluding list of publications):

  • Contact Information: don’t forget your email address, mailing address, and phone number
  • Education: include undergraduate institution and major; graduate institution, thesis title, and, if not yet awarded, the month and year it is expected
  • Employment History (if appropriate)
  • Grants, Fellowships, and/or Telescope Time Awarded (if appropriate)
  • List of Publications and Products (Separate under “refereed”, “conference proceedings/abstracts”, and “software” categories. For multi-author refereed papers, include one-line summary of applicant’s contributions.  Limit “conference proceedings/abstracts” to about five highest-impact contributions
  • Seminars & Conference Presentations (Limit to about five highest-visibility talks)
  • Awards (if appropriate; i.e., society or institutional prizes and achievement awards)
  • Education & Outreach Experience (Include teaching and mentoring experience, outreach activities, and other services to the profession)

Research Statement (Not to exceed three pages total including text, figures, and references cited). Required elements:

  • Summaries of two to three completed/published studies that are most relevant to advertised position (~one page)
  • Summary(ies) of ongoing work that is most relevant to advertised position (~one page)
  • Summary of proposed research that is directly relevant to advertised position (~one page)

3 Letters of Recommendation Emailed Directly to

Contact information for the 3 Individuals Providing the Required Letters of Recommendation:

  • One page listing the contact information for the three individuals providing the three required letters of recommendation, so we can contact them if the letters are not received or we have any other issue.


RECRUITMENT PERIOD: Full consideration will be given to applications completed by March 1, 2022. Applications received after this date will be considered only if the position has not been filled. 

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686. Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see More information is available at the APO website (see or call (831) 459-4300. UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus.  If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Academic Personnel Office at (831) 459-4300. Visit the Apo Web Site at