UCL Astrophysics Group


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, planetary science, extra-solar planets, atmospheric physics and instrumentation.

Our group members are 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, JUICE, Ariel, LOFAR, Planck, Herschel, e-MERLIN, ALMA, SKA, WEAVE and Subaru PFS.

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.
Physics and Astronomy have achieved a Juno Champion Award from the Institute of Physics (IOP). The Project Juno recognises and celebrates good employment practices for gender equality and an equitable working culture.  UCL has a Silver Athena SWAN award from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), and a Bronze award under ECU’s new Race Equality Charter for higher education.
UCL's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy aims to foster a positive cultural climate where all staff and students can flourish, where no-one will feel compelled to conceal or play down elements of their identity for fear of stigma. UCL is a place where people can be authentic and their unique perspective, experiences and skills seen as a valuable asset to the institution. 


Royal Society: The deadline for applications for the University Research Fellowship is September 03rd 2020.  Potential applicants who wish to be hosted by the UCL Astrophysics Group should contact Professor Giovanna Tinetti (g.tinetti@ucl.ac.uk) and Mrs Kay Nakum (k.nakum@ucl.ac.uk) before 15th of July 2020, 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 Mrs Kay Nakum, (k.nakum@ucl.ac.uk).

STFC - Ernest Rutherford Fellowships:  The deadline for applications for the Ernest Rutherford Fellowships is 16:00 hrs, September 17th 2020. 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.
Potential STFC ERF applicants should send draft 3-page science cases plus CVs (including a list of publications) to Professor Giovanna Tinetti (g.tinetti@ucl.ac.uk) and Mrs Kay Nakum (k.nakum@ucl.ac.uk) by 15th of July 2020. A panel will then rank the applications and let candidates know within 15 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 the most 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.)