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51 Pegasi b Fellowship at Northwestern

Deadline: 11:59pm, October 4, 2024

Northwestern University is excited to be a new host institution for the Heising-Simons Foundation’s 51 Pegasi b Fellowship. Fellows can collaborate on planetary astronomy research and can benefit from affiliation with both CIERA and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

The 2024/2025 application cycle is open from July 9, 2024 until October 4, 2024.

The fellowship provides an opportunity for recent doctoral scientists to develop innovative instrumentation or to conduct novel theoretical and observational research in planetary astronomy. Planetary astronomy brings together research efforts of two fields—planetary science and astronomy—to characterize planetary systems. The fellowship supports postdoctoral fellows to advance our fundamental understanding of exoplanets, solar system science, planet formation and evolution, planetary atmospheres, protoplanetary disks, or other closely related topics.

The fellowship recognizes early-career investigators of significant potential and provides them with the opportunity to conduct independent research. Each recipient will receive a three-year grant of up to $450,000 to cover salary, benefits, highly-flexible discretionary spending (e.g., travel, family care, moving expenses, research equipment, personal computers, etc.), and indirect costs. Awarded postdoctoral fellows are expected to carry out a strong, coherent research program in planetary astronomy. Assuming satisfactory progress, fellows may apply for a fourth year of funding

The Foundation anticipates awarding six to eight fellowships this year, based on the quality of submissions. The Heising-Simons Foundation is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thus, we particularly welcome applications from individuals who belong to groups that have been historically underrepresented in planetary sciences and astronomy such as women, persons with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, and others who may contribute to diversification of the field.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants may come from any academic institution or research lab, both nationally and internationally.
  • Applicants are not required to have US citizenship; however, all visa and work permit paperwork is the responsibility of the fellow and host institution.
  • Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in astronomy, physics, earth and planetary sciences, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, or a related discipline. Doctoral degrees must be awarded after January 1, 2023 and before December 31, 2025.

Research Opportunities at Northwestern

Northwestern University is home to a broad range of Solar System and exoplanet science in both theory and observation. Fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty including Daniel Lecoanet (astrophysical and geophysical fluid dynamics), Yoram Lithwick (planet formation and dynamics), Elvira Mulyukova (dynamics of rocky planets and icy satellites), Giles Novak (formation of stars and planets; instrumentation), Maggie Osburn (geobiology and astrobiology), Fred Rasio (dynamics and planet formation), Mel Ulmer (deformable mirror technology and exoplanet imaging), Suzan van der Lee (planetary interiors), and Jason Wang (exoplanet imaging and instrumentation). Fellows at Northwestern can be based either out of or affiliated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) which connects all researchers in the area of planetary astronomy. Fellows can be lead investigators for telescope time through CIERA, which includes both Keck and MMT observatories. CIERA also provides access to high performance computing clusters. Fellows have the opportunity to mentor students through the REU, REACH, and Illinois Space Grant programs, take professional development workshops such as RCTP and mentorship training, advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts through JEDI and NU-Geopaths, and lead outreach efforts in the greater Chicagoland area.


If you have any questions about Northwestern-specific aspects of the fellowship, please contact CIERA Professor Jason Wang

To learn more about review criteria, application materials, and frequently asked questions, please visit the Heising-Simons Foundation application page

Information about benefits at Northwestern University can be found here.

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