Research assistant position at Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)

The Freie Universität Berlin (Department of Geosciences/Planetary Sciences), which cooperates with the Institute of Planetary Research of the German Aerospace Center e.V. (DLR) within the PLATO mission, invites applications for a Research Assistant position (Physicist, Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Engineer) to work in the PLATO Performance Team (PPT).
The position is a full-time job limited to 30.09.2024.

Job Reference: WiMi_PLATO-PPT_Planetologie 2021
Application deadline:  29.11.2021
Starting date:  
Where: Freie Universität Berlin, Kaiserswerther Str. 16-18, 14195 Berlin (Germany)
Duration of the contract:  until 30.09.2024 – full-time

Job Tasks 

Applicants shall contribute to the work of the PLATO Performance Team (PPT) in the topics detailed below, including the use of simulation tools to support science performance verification activities, the contribution to discussions in the PLATO Consortium (in particular PLATO Science Working Team; PLATO System Assembly, Integration, and Verification Working Group; Mission System Engineering Working Group; PLATO Progress Meetings, PLATO Weeks), and support the Performance Team activities: on the validation of the science performance requirements and budgets, on the review of the verification of ground segment requirements related to science performance, on the scientific definition and justification of the procedures for in-orbit calibration for aspects related to science performance, on the assessment and discussion of non-conformances with impact of science performance.

  • Definition and justification of the main performance requirements and budgets driving the payload design (noise and signal, pointing, focus, alignment, thermo-mechanical properties…).
  • Review of the verification requirements of the units for aspects related to science performance.
  • Support of the analysis of the calibration data obtained by the test houses in aspects related to science performance (best focus calibration, etc.).
  • Support of the definition and justification of the procedures for the in-orbit calibration of the instrument in aspects related to science performance.
  • Support of ground segment validation for aspects related to science performance.
  • Support of the discussion of all non-compliances, request for change (RfC), request for deviation (RfD), and request for waiver (RfW) in the project (Camera, DPS, or mission) with impact on science performance.

Profile’s requirements 

  • A Master degree in engineering or physics
  • Professional experience in a scientific or technical environment.


  • Good programming and documentation skills.
  • Experience in optical payload assembly, integration, and test, in particular in the analysis of the results.
  • Experience in the development and implementation of ground processing pipelines for space instruments (preferably optical payloads).
  • Experience in extrasolar planet search and characterization by the method of transits.
  • Experience in astroseismology from space.
  • For candidates with scientist profile, good publication record.
  • High motivation, ability to work independently as well as part of a large international team, excellent communication skills, interest in education and public outreach.
  • Very good written and spoken English language competences.

How to apply 

Applications should be sent by e-mail, together with significant documents, indicating the reference code (WiMi_PLATO-PPT_Planetologie 2021), in PDF format (preferably as one document) to Mrs. Prof. Dr. Heike Rauer: or postal.

Further information can be found in the job announcement on the FU website.