PhD position in Radar Studies of the Ionosphere

PhD position in Radar Studies of the Ionosphere

The University of Oulu in Northern Finland, with approximately 14,000 students and 3,000 employees, is an international, multidisciplinary research university with a rich pool of creative and intellectual talent. The strengths of the University include broad, multidisciplinary research interests, a modern research and study environment, and wide cooperation with international research and educational institutes (

The Ionospheric Physics research unit at the Faculty of Science at the University of Oulu is announcing an open PhD position to conduct research of the high-latitude ionosphere. The unit carries out research related to space weather effects on the coupled magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere system. The unit utilizes data from advanced measurements such as the international EISCAT incoherent scatter radars and ESA’s SWARM satellite mission, as well as ground-based instruments operated by our collaborators at Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO, an independent department of the University of Oulu) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). The recent international decision to start building the phased-array EISCAT_3D incoherent scatter radar in Scandinavia will enhance the activities of the Ionospheric Physics Unit, which coordinates the EISCAT efforts in Finland together with the SGO. The Ionospheric Physics unit develops radar measurement techniques in close collaboration with the SGO scientists.

Description of the position

The PhD project will develop new data analysis tools for the EISCAT and EISCAT_3D incoherent scatter radars and will use the tools in studies of the ionosphere and its changes during auroral particle precipitation. The project will utilize Bayesian techniques in radar data analysis to get better estimates of ionospheric plasma parameters from the radar measurements. The science questions are related to ion composition changes and properties of auroral electron precipitation during space weather events.

The full-time PhD position will be filled for the duration of four years, including a six-month trial period, starting either 1 September 2018 or 1 January 2019. The salary will be based on the levels 2 (starting level, roughly 2,200 €/month) to 4 of the demand level chart for university-level teaching and research staff of Finnish universities.

The successful candidate will receive full benefits provided by the University of Oulu to university employees, including free time corresponding to holidays and free occupational health care services.

Required Qualifications

The successful applicant will have a Master of Science degree in Physics, Space Physics, Computational Physics or a closely related field. Experience in programming and earlier studies in Space Physics are an advantage. The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. The selected candidate will carry out his/her doctoral studies in the Technology and Natural Sciences Doctoral Programme of the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS) and must meet the minimal requirements to receive doctoral study rights as defined in:


Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using electronic application form by 30 May 2018 24:00 (Finnish local time). Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

The application should be written in English and the following information needs to be included:

  1. Application letter (maximum 1 page) describing prior knowledge, research interests and career plans with contact information and preference for a starting date of the position (either 1 September 2018 or 1 January 2019).
  2. Curriculum vitae according to the guidelines of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK):
  3. List of possible scientific publications according to the guidelines of the Academy of Finland:
  4. Names and contact information of maximum two referees.
  5. Copy of the degree certificate(s) and transcripts of records from your previously attended university-level institutions (copies in the original language and, when necessary, official translations to English or Finnish), compiled into a single pdf document.

Contact information

Dr Ilkka Virtanen, email: ilkka.i.virtanen(at)

Professor Anita Aikio, email: anita.aikio(at)

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