University of Namibia,
in association with the University of Oxford

Postdoctoral position in Astronomy and Astro-Tourism

(post ends 31st March 2021)

Consideration of applications begins 30th November 2019

 

The University of Namibia (UNAM) seeks a resourceful, innovative Ph.D. astronomer with experience and motivation in public outreach, education and development activities. This postdoctoral position, with a specific focus on astro-tourism for development, is supported by an award from the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to the University of Oxford. The aim of this GCRF project is to develop human capacity in Namibia across the areas of science, education, and astronomy-related tourism.

Namibia has some of the clearest and darkest skies in the world. The combination of mild climate and low population density mean that astro-tourism has huge potential in Namibia, with a minimum environmental impact even if tourist numbers substantially increase. Tourism and the environment are identified as priority research areas in the National Programme on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation. At present, Namibia has a small, very professional, community of 'astrofarms' which attract high-end amateur astronomers, but the majority of tourism is focussed on wildlife and the terrestrial environment.

This position will entail diversifying astro-tourism in a sustainable manner to ensure that the economic benefit spreads to previously disadvantaged sectors of Namibian society. This will entail working across government, non-governmental organisations and development agencies with support from UNAM, Oxford and the Office of Astronomy for Development.

The post has a gross salary of NAD 346,950 per annum with healthcare and social benefits included. It will be based at the UNAM main campus, with funds available for travel to international meetings and collaboration with the OAD and other regional centres. The position is available immediately, and will run until 31 March 2021.

UNAM is the largest and leading institution of higher education in Namibia. It is a diverse institution with a student population from 43 countries and across all continents. Although a relatively young university, it has grown to support a current student population of over 27,000 students on 12 campuses.

The Department of Physics at UNAM is situated at its main campus in Windhoek and hosts the largest and most active astronomy group in southern Africa outside South Africa. Currently, the department hosts four senior and three junior academic staff together with several postgraduate students. The fields of activity are focused around gamma-ray astronomy of active galaxies, observational cosmology with SN Ia, computational cosmic ray propagation, occultation observations of TNOs, and site testing for astronomical facilities. Besides being member institute to the H.E.S.S. collaboration and the CTA consortium, the Department of Physics is leading the national efforts towards the Square Kilometre Array telescope (SKA) and the African VLBI Network (AVN). Further, UNAM is founding partner of the Africa Millimetre Telescope (AMT) project to establish the first mm-wave radio telescope on the African continent to complement the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

Additionally, members of the Department have access to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and to an in-house HPC cluster. The department expects further expansion with the establishment of a research chair in multi-wavelength astronomy.

Candidates should have completed a Ph.D. in any area of astrophysics before commencing the post. Applicants should send a CV (two pages) and description of relevant experience in astronomy public outreach, education and/or development along with a statement of research interests (three pages in total) to Ashling Gordon (ashling.Gordon@physics.ox.ac.uk) and arrange for two confidential reference letters to be sent to the same address. Consideration of applications will begin on 30/11/2019 and will continue until the post is filled.

This post is one of several available under the UNAM-Oxford GCRF project and is in addition to the posts recently advertised in high-energy astrophysics. Candidates who applied unsuccessfully for the high-energy astrophysics posts are encouraged to apply again. Informal enquiries may be sent to Prof Garret Cotter (garret.cotter@physics.ox.ac.uk), Dr Michael Backes (mbackes@unam.na) and Dr Eli Kasai (ekasai@unam.na).

The University of Namibia is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion.

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