Science Positions

Postdoctoral

Other


Gordon McKay Postdoctoral Fellowship at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

  Position Available

The Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), both in Houston, Texas, are pleased to announce a new term posting for the prestigious Gordon A. McKay Postdoctoral Fellowship, honoring the accomplishments of Dr. Gordon A. McKay. Dr. McKay was a world-recognized authority on planetary igneous petrology and geochemistry, and was the leader of the ARES Research Office at JSC for over 20 years.

The McKay Fellowship recognizes and promotes excellence in research for scientists within five years of their doctorate and is intended to encourage the development of young scientists in the field of astromaterials research that involves the study of the origin, composition, structure, and evolution of the bodies of the Solar System, including the planets and their satellites, the Earth and Moon, meteorites, asteroids, comets, and dust. McKay Fellows are expected to be self-motivated and to define their own research direction and foci within the planetary sciences (defined inclusively). The McKay Fellow will be in residence at JSC while also being an employee of USRA and active at the LPI, and will be expected to interact with scientists of both organizations (see www.lpi.usra.edu and https://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/). Fellows will also enjoy access to JSC’s laboratories and analytical instruments for astromaterials research on the same basis as scientific staff.

Essential duties and responsibilities of this position include:

  • Perform fundamental research in lunar and planetary sciences.
  • Publish results of this research in refereed journals of repute for this field of research. A general guideline would be at least one such publication in the first year (preferably as sole or senior author) and two or more each year afterwards.
  • Present results of this research in internationally recognized conferences and workshops in the field as oral presentations or posters.
  • Seek external support for research activities from granting agencies starting in the second year, including partial salary support.
  • Advise undergraduate interns and/or assist with advising of graduate students.
  • Participate in public outreach activities at LPI and/or JSC to disseminate scientific results to the general public and to support institutional goals.
  • Prepare reports of own scientific and other activity for required annual reporting to NASA, the LPI, and for internal LPI staff/scientist evaluation (quarterly, annual).
  • Make contributions to focused workshops and conferences organized through the LPI.
  • Prepare and effectively manage budgets for all grants or awards as Principal Investigator or co-Investigator, staying within budget, and providing appropriate periodic reviews and reports as required by USRA, the LPI and/or JSC, and the granting agency.

Applicants for this position should have (or should be receiving within 3 months) a Ph.D. in planetary science, geoscience, and/or a related space sciences field and a strong publication record. Research experience in planetary science as part of or beyond completion of the Ph.D. is strongly preferred. Excellent communication skills also are preferred. The candidate must be able to pass a detailed government background investigation and due to security issues. Citizens of U.S. State Department Designated Countries (see link under "ECP Notices" at https://www.nasa.gov/oiir/export-control/ are not eligible. The Fellowship includes a highly competitive salary, with research and travel support. The term of the Fellowship is two years; an extension to a third year is possible.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis ([email protected]). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and must submit a Curriculum Vita (career record) with a list of publications and three professional references, and a two- to three-page statement of research plans for working at JSC and the LPI. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI and at JSC can be found on the websites.

All applications are due by 1/31/2024.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering, and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

Apply Here  

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity.


Graham Ryder Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

  Position Available

The Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, invites applications for the Graham Ryder Post-Doctoral Fellowship, which honors the accomplishments and legacy of Dr. Graham Ryder. Dr. Ryder was a world-recognized authority on lunar samples and the history of the Moon and was a Staff Scientist at the LPI for nearly 20 years.

The Ryder Postdoctoral Fellowship recognizes and promotes excellence in research for scientists within five years of their doctorate. Ryder Fellows are expected to define their own research direction and foci within the planetary sciences, with an emphasis on topics in lunar petrology and geology. The Ryder Fellow will be in residence at the LPI and will be expected to interact with its scientists (www.lpi.usra.edu/science/staff). The Fellow may also interact with staff in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (https://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/). The LPI is directing a new team for NASA’s Support for Planetary Sample Science program that is focused on astromaterials samples and research. LPI also leads a team in the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI; https://www.lpi.usra.edu/exploration/ ), allowing the Fellow to collaborate with these communities of planetary explorers.

Essential duties and responsibilities of this position include:

  • Perform fundamental research in lunar and planetary sciences.
  • Publish results of this research in refereed journals of repute for this field of research. A general guideline would be at least one such publication in the first year (preferably as sole or senior author) and two or more each year afterward.
  • Present results of this research in internationally recognized conferences and workshops in the field as oral presentations or posters.
  • Seek external support for research activities from granting agencies starting in the second year, including partial salary support.
  • Advise undergraduate interns and/or assist with advising of graduate students.
  • Participate in public science engagement activities at LPI and/or JSC to disseminate planetary science results to the general public and to support institutional goals.
  • Prepare reports of own scientific and other activity for required annual reporting to NASA, the LPI, and internal LPI staff/scientist evaluation (quarterly, annual).
  • Make contributions to focused workshops and conferences organized through the LPI.
  • Prepare and effectively manage budgets for all grants or awards as Principal Investigator or co-Investigator, staying within budget, and providing appropriate periodic reviews and reports as required by USRA, the LPI and/or JSC, and the granting agency.

Applicants for this position should have (or should be received within 6 months) a Ph.D. in a planetary science, geoscience and/or a related space sciences field and a strong publication record. Research experience in planetary science as part of or beyond completion of the Ph.D. is strongly preferred. Excellent communication skills also are preferred. The candidate must be able to pass a detailed government background investigation. Citizens of U.S. State Department Designated Countries (see https://www.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/designated-country-list-4.21.2023.pdf) are not eligible. The Fellowship includes a competitive salary, with research and travel support. The term of the Fellowship is two years; an extension to a third year is possible.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis ([email protected]). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at https://www.usra.edu/careers and must submit a Curriculum Vita (career record) with a list of publications and three professional references, and a two- to three-page statement of research plans for working at the LPI and JSC. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI and at JSC can be found on our websites (shown above).

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering, and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

Apply Here  

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity.


Harold Urey Fellowship Postdoctoral Researcher

  Position Unavailable

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), managed for NASA by the Universities Space Research Association, is seeking a senior postdoctoral scholar for its prestigious Urey Fellowship, named for the late cosmochemist, Dr. Harold Urey.

The Urey Postdoctoral Fellowship recognizes and promotes excellence in research for scientists who are at least two years past their doctorate and have a strong publication record. The Urey Fellow is expected to define their own research directions and foci within the planetary sciences.

The Urey Fellow will be in residence at the LPI, and will be expected to take advantage of interactions with its scientists (who have many specialties, see www.lpi.usra.edu) and those of the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at the nearby NASA Johnson Space Center (https://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/). The LPI hosts a NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) team focused on the Moon and on impact processes, and has recently established a center for planetary radar and a meteorite curation facility. The successful applicant will have access to a newly acquired SEM/EDX at the LPI, and may be able to arrange access to ARES’ analytical facilities (e.g., SEM, EMP, LA-ICP-MS) and experimental laboratories (e.g., high P-T petrology, hydrothermal, impact).

The successful applicant is expected to actively contribute to the LPI’s culture of collaboration, inclusivity, and community service. In addition to carrying out their own research programs, LPI staff and postdocs play an important role in supporting NASA and the planetary community. This support includes activities such as: supervising summer interns; involvement in education and outreach activities; contributing to focused workshops and conferences; and producing material of community interest for our website, newsletters and the LPI Bulletin. Contributions in one or more of these areas is expected, and excellent communication skills are preferred.

Applicants for this position must have a Ph.D. in Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, or other space science-related field, with experience in planetary research. The candidate must be able to pass a detailed government background investigation and, due to security issues, citizens of U.S. State Department Designated Countries (see link under "ECP Notices" at http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/nasaecp/) are not eligible. The Urey Fellow will be provided a competitive level of salary, research support, and travel support for two years. Travel to present research results at conferences and related meetings is expected.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis ([email protected]). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and must submit a single, combined PDF with their curriculum vitae with list of publications and three professional references, and a two- to three-page statement of research interests. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI and at JSC can be found on our website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity.


LPI Senior Staff Scientist- Planetary Science

  Position Available

The Universities Space Research Association’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, TX, invites applications for a full-time staff scientist. This position is funded at least half-time for two years. We seek a mid-career, self-motivated scientist with a strong record of outstanding research and a demonstrated record of external funding. We will also consider applications from early career scientists with similar research records and a history of successful research grants. We especially wish to augment and extend our expertise in astromaterials research, specifically the petrology and geochemistry of planetary materials, including extraterrestrial solid and terrestrial analog samples. The successful applicant will maintain and enhance the strong ties between the LPI and our colleagues at the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC); existing or recent collaborative projects with ARES researchers are desirable. The applicant will have access to the LPI’s analytical facilities (https://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/science-labs-equipment/) and would be able to arrange access to ARES’ analytical facilities (e.g., SEM, EMP, LA-ICP-MS) and experimental laboratories (e.g., high P-T petrology, hydrothermal, impact). Further information on current LPI staff members, research and facilities at the LPI can be found on our website at www.lpi.usra.edu. Information on the 20+ research laboratories at ARES can be found here https://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/research/laboratories/.

At the LPI, the successful candidate will enjoy interactions with the diverse Science Staff, scientists at the nearby ARES Division (JSC), and with faculty of nearby universities such as Rice University and the University of Houston. The LPI Science Staff has expertise in many areas of planetary science, is leading a new NASA Support for Planetary Sample Science team focused on training in astromaterials sample handling and research, includes a NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) team focused on the Moon and on impact processes, and includes a growing astrobiology laboratory.

The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences, Geosciences (e.g., Geology, Geochemistry), Astrobiology, Astronomy, Physics or related relevant fields, ideally with at least 10 years of experience as a scientist. The candidate must be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and must be able to pass a detailed government background investigation. The successful candidate will be expected to: design and conduct research in planetary science; maintain, propose for and receive external funding for research; support and advise post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and/or undergraduate summer interns; maintain or seek involvement with spacecraft missions; and participate with NASA and the science community in review panels, analysis and advisory groups. Experience in managing diverse science personnel would be an asset.

Part of the role of an LPI staff scientist is to support NASA and the planetary science community. This support includes (but is not limited to) activities such as: conceiving and implementing broad, multi-year science research programs that may involve other LPI and/or ARES personnel; maintaining and managing the LPI’s SEM and spectrometers; participating in the XSPACE meteorite curation facility; participating in LPI’s summer intern programs; working with visiting scientists on NASA-funded research; supporting workshops and conferences focused on topics in planetary science; and involvement in public engagement activities. Experience in some of these areas is expected, along with excellent communication skills.

For more information about the position, please contact the LPI Director, Dr. Lisa Gaddis, [email protected]. Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and must submit all materials via ADP; application material submitted outside of this platform will not be considered. The required application material includes: (1) cover letter evidencing the qualifications of the applicant to this position, (2) curriculum vitae with list of publications and research grant history, (3) two- to three-page statement of research interests and plans describing the candidate’s expected independent research program at the LPI, and (4) list of at least three professional references. Review of candidates will begin after March 1, 2024; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Apply Here  

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Gender & Gender Identity / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation.


Visiting Scientist

  Position Unavailable

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, is actively searching for senior planetary science professionals interested in spending time in residence at the Institute. LPI's physical proximity to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate (ARES), and the NASA sample collection make it an ideal location for any scientist whose research would be enhanced by direct daily interaction with the ARES and LPI scientific staff.

The Institute’s dynamic environment provides the perfect atmosphere for senior academics considering going on sabbatical. Visiting Scientists in residence during the summer months may also participate in the renowned LPI Undergraduate Intern Program.

Applicants may propose to work in any area of the planetary sciences, with preference given to topics that enhance the interactions between the LPI and the Astromaterials Research Group at (JSC).

Visiting Scientist positions will generally be offered for periods of 1–12 months and are available for scientists with established records of research productivity.

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Lisa Gaddis ([email protected]). Interested applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and must submit a single, combined PDF with their curriculum vitae with list of publications and three professional references, and a two- to three-page statement of research interests. Further information on current research and facilities at the LPI can be found on our website.

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations.

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Gender & Gender Identity / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation.

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