Postdoctoral Opportunities at KIPAC

Research at KIPAC

The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a vibrant research institute focused on answering a wide range of exciting and fundamental questions in astrophysics and cosmology.  

We offer postdoctoral opportunities for recent Ph.D. scientists in astrophysics, cosmology, and extrasolar planetary science. These positions offer opportunities to develop innovative research programs in these areas using computational, experimental, observational, and theoretical approaches.  Existing research programs at KIPAC include studies of dark energy, cosmic dynamics and structure formation, galaxy formation, and the physics of inflation, studies of and searches for dark matter, and studies of black holes, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, stars (including the sun), extrasolar planets, and other astrophysical sources. A list of research interests of KIPAC Senior Members is here.

If you are on the job market or intend to be in the near future, you may be interested in applying to give a Tea Talk at KIPAC.

Kavli and Porat Fellowships

The Kavli and Porat Fellowship programs are three-year fellowships that offer outstanding young scientists with experience in computation, instrumentation, observation, and theory opportunities to develop innovative research programs in astrophysics and cosmology. Kavli and Porat Fellows will have the freedom to set their own research direction and will also have KIPAC faculty mentors and the opportunity to collaborate with existing KIPAC groups. Apply here.

KIPAC Rubin Fellowships

We plan to award one or two KIPAC Rubin fellowships, focused on any area of Rubin / LSST Science.  Fellows will have the opportunity to build an independent research program, and collaborate with members of KIPAC, the Rubin operations team and data facilities teams at SLAC, and active members of the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration and other LSST Science Collaborations at KIPAC and SLAC.  Applications are encouraged from scientists interested in any area that can be pursued with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and its LSST data. 

In addition to the KIPAC Rubin Fellowship, we are seeking applications for three further Rubin-related, specialized postdoctoral positions in Fall 2023 (contacts are Phil Marshall or Aaron Roodman):

Rubin Observing Specialist Fellowships

This is a unique opportunity to combine, over the course of a 4-year term, time spent at the Rubin Summit and Base Facilities as an Observing Specialist in the Nighttime Operations team with LSST science research exploiting that operational experience. Each Rubin Observing Specialist spends 2 years in Chile, and then 2 years back at KIPAC. We are anticipating that one position will be enabled by a collaboration with the Korea Astronomy and Space Sciences Institute (KASI): in this case, and if desired by all parties, the KASI-KIPAC Rubin Observing Specialist Fellow may spend a further 2 years at KASI in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. Apply here.

Rubin Operations Postdoctoral Research Associates

This is a chance to be one of the people that really makes LSST cosmology work, by combining 50% time cosmology research with 50% time in one of the Rubin Operations Teams.  We are looking for experts in weak lensing and shear measurement, or other areas of Dark Energy science, to blend their scientific ambition in the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) with a desire to join the Rubin team and ensure that the observatory succeeds in its mission, either by helping develop the LSST image processing software pipelines or by providing a critical interface between the DESC and the Rubin Data Management and System Performance operations departments. Apply here.

Rubin Commissioning Postdoctoral Research Associates

This is a rare opportunity to focus on the commissioning of the LSST Camera, the world’s largest digital camera, as it begins operations in the Rubin Observatory.  We are looking for someone with experience in instrumentation combined with an interest in the challenges and excitement of bringing this remarkable Camera online.  The ideal candidate will naturally extend their work into the early operations phase where characterization of the integrated Camera and Telescope performance and impact on precision measurements will be of greatest interest, as well as to Dark Energy science topics as part of the Dark Energy Science Collaboration. Apply here.

KIPAC Postdocs

Additional opportunities may be available with specific projects or PIs at KIPAC. Applicants to our Fellowship Program will be considered for all available KIPAC opportunities. In 2023-24, we expect to be looking to fill potential additional positions in the following areas (not exclusive):

 Applications for 2024 Fellowships are now open here, with a deadline of Nov 3, 2023.

Stanford Science Fellowships

We are very pleased that Stanford University has introduced a new Stanford Science Fellows program in the mathematical, physical, and life sciences for exceptionally qualified early-career scientists with no more than two years of postdoctoral experience.  Fellows will pursue an independent research program and will have the opportunity to join one or more faculty research groups.  The program will include community-building activities to foster career development and leadership skills, and workshops, seminars, informal lunches and dinners, and discussions with Stanford faculty and visitors on current topics throughout the natural sciences.

All astrophysics applicants for the Stanford Science Fellows program will be automatically considered for a KIPAC Fellowship as well (see above). We ask applicants to submit a separate application to the KIPAC Fellowship program so that we know which of the various KIPAC programs they are interested in, but the research proposal and CV can be omitted if desired, to save time for the applicant.

Applications for 2024 Stanford Science Fellowships are now open; the application deadline is October 13, 2023. Apply here

Stanford Data Science Fellows

Stanford Data Science seeks recent PhDs of exceptional promise for postdoctoral fellow positions in interdisciplinary research with expertise in both Data Science AND its application in a domain of scholarship, like physical, earth, life, or social sciences, humanities and the arts, business, law, medicine, education, or engineering.  Applications for 2024 will open in late summer; the application deadline is expected to be in December 2023.

Apply for Stanford Data Science Fellowships here.

External Fellowships

We are happy to support applications for external Fellowships to KIPAC. Interested prospective postdocs are encouraged to contact a KIPAC Senior Member with overlapping research interests about their application. If you have questions about the broader impacts part of an NSF postdoctoral application, please contact Xinnan Du to learn more about the institute's current efforts in public engagement and broadening participation and how we can support your proposed efforts.

Brinson Prize Fellowships in Cosmology @ KIPAC

The Brinson Foundation is offering a new fellowship in collaboration with STScI. The fellowship will support early-career astrophysicists and cosmologists doing research in observational cosmology. KIPAC is pleased to be one of the four inaugural host institutions available for the fellowship.  Please contact any of our Senior Members about possible mentorship for the fellowship.

Apply for the Brinson Fellowship here.

Other External Fellowships

Panofsky Fellowship at SLAC

The Panofsky Fellowship is a five-year fellowship intended to recognize exceptional and promising young scientists who would most benefit from the unique opportunity to conduct their research at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, including research in all of the leading Cosmic Frontier surveys (DES, DESI, LSST, and CMB-S4) as well as theoretical and computational cosmology. The Panofsky Fellowship provides a pathway to a continuing staff appointment at SLAC and provides generous research support, including funding for a postdoctoral researcher.

Applications for 2023 are closed; we expect information about the 2024 Panofsky Fellowships to be here.

Postdoc Life at KIPAC

KIPAC is committed to an inclusive work environment and especially encourages applications from candidates who will diversify the workforce in astrophysics and cosmology.

KIPAC postdocs are engaged in a wide range of research topics and projects at the Institute.

Our interests span instrumentation, observational and theoretical (both simulations and analytical) work, and exploration of fundamental physics. KIPAC offers access to excellent laboratory facilities for instrument development and significant computational resources for theoretical astrophysics research and data analysis.  KIPAC also provides the opportunity to participate in cross-disciplinary activities through the Stanford Data Science Initiative.

We have a vibrant postdoc community, which has a number of self-organized initiatives and events.  Many KIPAC postdocs are also actively engaged in outreach activities at the institute and in the community.

If you have already received an offer from KIPAC, please take a look at our information for new KIPAC members. We look forward to welcoming you to our KIPAC community. Further information about postdoc benefits at Stanford can be found here: