Postdoc Position in Computational Astrochemistry and Machine Learning

Are you interested in astrochemistry, computational methods and machine learning? In the respective groups of Assoc. Prof. Mie Andersen and Prof. Bjørk Hammer at Department of Physics and Astronomy and Center for Interstellar Catalysis, Aarhus University, we have an open post-doctoral position within these research topics. Applications should cover aspects relevant to interstellar catalysis and grain surface chemistry.

Starting Date and Period

The starting date is flexible. It could be around August 2023 plus/minus a few months. The duration of the employment is two years.

Research area and project description

Complex organic molecules, e.g. sugars and amino acids, discovered in interstellar space are believed to originate from reactions taking place at nanoscale dust grain catalysts. Primarily, these grains are made up of Mg- or Fe-rich silicates or carbon-based materials. In cold and dense gas clouds, the grains are increasingly covered with ices of molecules such as water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which may impact their reactivity.

In this postdoc project, the successful applicant will develop and apply computational methods and machine learning (ML) techniques to study aspects relevant to interstellar catalysis. This could be the structure and properties of interstellar dust grains or few-layer to bulk ices that may form on these grains. Or it could be the interaction of astrochemically relevant molecules with interstellar dust grains. For example, how the formation of ices may impact the adsorption, mobility and reactivity of small molecules that may be precursors to the synthesis of larger, more complex species including biologically relevant molecules such as sugars and amino acids. The ML methods could include approaches to accelerate structure optimization through surrogate models or ML force fields as well as approaches to accelerate the calculation of adsorption energies, diffusion and reaction barriers compared to computationally costly density functional theory calculations.The project will be physically anchored at the Center for Interstellar Catalysis at Aarhus University and will take place in close collaboration with partners carrying out theoretical work, laboratory experiments and astronomical observations.

Your Profile

Applicants must hold a PhD degree in physics, chemistry, nanoscience or equivalent. Previous experience with machine learning methods and/or first principles energy calculations in astrochemistry or physical chemistry is required. Experience with programming in python is highly desired.

You can learn more about InterCat here, Mie Andersen’s group here and Bjørk Hammer’s group here.

Place of work and area of Employment

The place of work is Ny Munkegade 120, 8000 Aarhus C and the area of employment is Aarhus University with related departments.

Further information may be obtained by e-mailing Mie Andersen ( or Bjørk Hammer ( Please use as e-mail subject: “postdoctoral position 23”.



Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Natural Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University’s website. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

Questions about the position?

Bjørk Hammer


Department of Physics and Astronomy


Questions about application and proces?

Nat-Tech Administrative Centre – Nat-Tech HR