Open postdoctoral position at IRAP in Toulouse on the development of plasma specification models at Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Annonce transmise par Quentin Nénon (IRAP)


A postdoctoral position is open in the Planets, Environments, and Space Plasmas group of IRAP (PEPS, to work on an ESA-funded project related to the plasma environments of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.


The initial appointment will be for 12 months with possibility of renewal pending mutual agreement. A start date of 1st May 2023 is anticipated.


Details on the initial 12-month project are given below. Requests for information and applications can be sent to


Project description:

The plasma and radiation environments around the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are a major threat for artificial satellites (surface charging, internal charging, solar panel degradation, upset events, etc...). Environment specification models ready to use by the industry and space agencies exist at Jupiter, but not at the three other planets.


A postdoctoral position is open to work on an ESA-funded project with Dr. Quentin Nénon and Dr. Nicolas André at IRAP, in collaboration with partners at ONERA (France), Max Planck Institute (Germany), and ESA (The Netherlands).


At IRAP, the postdoctoral researcher will focus on the development of thermal plasma specification models. Specifically, plasma moment datasets available at Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, will be reviewed (Pioneer, Voyager, Cassini, electrons and ions, multiple sensors) and cross-compared to check for consistency, see if instrumental caveats have been corrected, identify poor-quality data, and finally extract plasma moments of highest quality possible in collaboration with instrument teams. Correlation between plasma moments and their variability in space and time will be studied.


A modeling framework which could be applied for thermal plasma specification at the three planets will be proposed. An implementation of this framework will be conducted at Saturn to develop a plasma model that ESA will then use for the design of future space missions to the ringed giant.