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UCL Astrophysics Group

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Astrophysics Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Astrophysics Group is one of the largest in the UK, comprising about 90 members of academic, research and support staff. Our research areas cover massive stars, star formation, interstellar and circumstellar processes, astrochemistry, cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution, extra-solar planets, atmospheric physics and instrumentation.

Our group is part of the Physics and Astronomy Department at UCL. An overview of the group's research can be found in the most recent Departmental Annual Review.

Our group members are also playing leadership roles in many international projects, covering a time line from the present to 2030 or so.  They include the Dark Energy Survey, DESI, Euclid, LSST, the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST, SPICA, Cassini, Laplace / JUICE, Ariel, LOFAR, Planck, Herschel, e-MERLIN, ALMA, SKA, WEAVE and Subaru PFS.

STFC - Ernest Rutherford Fellowships:

The deadline for applications for STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships is 19th September 2019. Each host institution is given an internal quota limit by STFC for ERF applicants and so must have a process to select applicants to meet their quota limit. There is therefore a further deadline of 26th July before which no institution can require applicants to accept an internal offer to host. 

Potential STFC ERF applicants should send draft 3-page science cases plus CVs (including a list of publications) to Professor Serena Viti (sv@star.ucl.ac.uk) by 26th July 2019. A panel will then rank the applications and let candidates know within 10 days whether we are able to include them within the quota limit assigned to us by STFC, so that feedback on draft science cases can be provided and UCL costing forms can be completed and submitted by applicants in time. 

STFC encourages returners to research and our quota limit will not apply to any applications from candidates who are intending to return to research from a career break (normally of at least two years). Ernest Rutherford Fellowship applications from returners may be submitted in excess of the departmental limit. Returner applications will be judged solely on the applicant’s track record prior to their career break. 

(PLEASE NOTE: In a recent Ernest Rutherford Fellowships round, 41% of proposals had to be returned for amendment because they breached the rules on page limits, font size etc.  These rules are in place to ensure fairness to all applicants and to make the process manageable for the panel.  Under the current way we operate, we aim to return proposals that breach the rules within two weeks of the closing date and then allow applicants one further week to make amendments.  This requires considerable extra effort for STFC staff and, in effect, gives applicants that contravene the rules extra time to amend their proposals, possibly giving them an advantage. 

Following advice from the Education, Training and Careers Committee, which advises STFC on the fellowships process, we are planning to adopt a stricter approach in the future.  From the next round, we intend to reject proposals that do not follow the application rules, without the possibility of amendment.  The only exception would be where a problem occurred because of issues in downloading the proposal into Research Council systems.)

Royal Society Fellowships:

The Royal Society have yet to set a 2019 deadline for applications for their University Research Fellowship scheme but the deadline for last year was early September. Potential applicants who wish to be hosted by the UCL Astrophysics Group should contact Professor Serena Viti (sv@star.ucl.ac.uk) before 26th July 2019, enclosing a draft 3-page research case and a CV/publication list. After the material has been reviewed, a notification will be sent to applicants whose RSURF application we are prepared to support as the prospective host institution. Our internal deadline for the receipt of completed UCL costing forms for RSURF applications is four weeks ahead of the Royal Society's deadline - the UCL forms that need to be completed can be obtained from Ms Kay Nakum, (k.nakum@ucl.ac.uk).