Open position: 5-year Postdoc in Astronomy Education Research

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the worldwide organisation of professional astronomers and a key component of its activities is the use of astronomy in furthering education — both in astronomy itself and in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in general.  To this end, the IAU created the Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE), a joint venture with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. The OAE is based at Haus der Astronomie, a center for astronomy education and outreach in Heidelberg, Germany, operated by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy on behalf of the Max Planck Society.

The OAE supports and coordinates astronomy education by astronomy researchers and educators, aimed at primary or secondary schools worldwide. The OAE coordinates an international network of astronomy education stakeholders, organise groups of scientists to collaborate on creating certain educational resources, facilitate and undertake a systematic evaluation of existing resources, and work towards establishing international standards of quality control and evaluation in astronomy education.

Together with the international communities of astronomy researchers and educators, OAE is tasked with:

  • bridging the gap between astronomy education research (AER) and education practice, by making  the results of AER accessible to education practitioners
  • developing high-quality astronomy education resources
  • evaluating both specific resources and methods of teaching astronomy, encouraging and qualifying the wider astronomical community in evaluation techniques
  • creating and supporting the creation of concept inventories that allow the evaluation of students learning about astronomy
  • identifying best-practice resources and methods for teaching astronomy in general, and for specific aspects of teaching astronomy (e.g. observing with remote telescopes, working with authentic astronomical data, teaching specific sub-topics of astronomy, issues of accessibility and inclusion as well as of diversity).

Additional information can be found on the OAE’s temporary website. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to be kept informed of OAE activities, including open positions.

There is currently one open position at the OAE:

We invite applications for a 5-year postdoctoral position in astronomy education research at the Office of Astronomy for Education at the Haus der Astronomie.

The holder of this position will serve as the Astronomy Education Research Coordinator of the OAE, and in this position will contribute to the activities mentioned above, in particular those that directly involve astronomy education or physics education research, and take responsibility for suitable projects and sub-projects. Please be aware that this position is not in astronomy research but in astronomy education research, and that a background in education research is required.

Applicants therefore should:

  • have a PhD in astronomy education research (AER), physics education research (PER), or a PhD in a related subject area plus equivalent qualifications in AER/PER
  • have practical and, if possible, research experience in evaluating astronomy education resources, activities, and teaching methods
  • be thoroughly familiar with the accepted academic standards for evaluating education resources, activities, and teaching methods
  • have experience in collaborating in an international academic environment; experiences with editing and publishing collaborative works are considered a plus

The position has a preferred starting date of no later than December, 1, 2020 and is for 5 years. The remuneration is based on the German collective wage agreement for the public sector (TVöD) depending on qualification and experience in level E13. Social benefits are granted according to the regulations for public service. Interested candidates should send a curriculum vitae, publication list, and a brief statement of research interests by August 26, 2020.

All applications need to be submitted using our online application system:

Online Application

Subject to compatibility with the activities of the OAE, applicants are encouraged to conduct their own research projects. All in all, this five-year postdoc should qualify applicants for a faculty position in astronomy education or astronomy education research.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer. Applications from women, disabled people and minority groups are particularly welcome. MPIA supports its employees in their search for suitable child care institutions.

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