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Further Particulars on Senior Professor – Astronomy & Astrophysics


The position of Senior Professor and Head of Astronomy & Astrophysics will become vacant in the School of Cosmic Physics in June 2018 upon the retirement of Professor Luke Drury. The Governing Board of the School has set up a Search Committee to find a scientist of vision to develop and lead the research programme of the School. This document provides general information for prospective candidates about the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and more specifically about the School of Cosmic Physics and its activities as well as information on the general conditions attaching to the appointment.


DIAS was established by statute in 1940 to promote pure research and to train advanced students. The immediate model was the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from which the concept of a number of semi-autonomous schools was taken.  Currently there are three Schools: The School of Celtic Studies, the School of Cosmic Physics and the School of Theoretical Physics.   DIAS is funded by and reports directly to the Department of Education and Skills.

The mission of DIAS is to foster a community committed to independent critical enquiry that enables researchers to achieve their fullest potential. It is committed to creating, preserving and communicating knowledge; mentoring and developing young researchers in an environment of excellence; and enhancing scientific, cultural and economic life locally, nationally and internationally.

The Council of DIAS, its body corporate, is responsible for the general governance of the Institute. The Council consists of a Chairman appointed by the President, on the advice of Government, three ex-officio members – the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, the President of University College Dublin and the President of the Royal Irish Academy – and six members appointed by the Governing Boards of the three Schools.

Each School has an independent Governing Board responsible for the research programme and academic staffing of the School.  The President, on the advice of Government, appoints the Chairman and a number of external members. The Senior Professors of the School are ex-officio members of the Board.  The Board appoints one of the senior professors as Director of the School for a term of three years.  Each school is required to deliver an annual report on its activities and to offer one public lecture per year but is otherwise free to pursue its research and training mandate as it sees fit.

DIAS is financed by an annual grant from the Department of Education and Skills.  It also generates additional income, principally from participation in projects. The grant received from the Department in 2016 was €6.256m.  The additional income generated was €2.093m.  DIAS currently employs 69 staff.  In addition there are 16 scholars, a mix of pre-doctoral and postdoctoral level.


The School currently has two sections: Geophysics and Astronomy & Astrophysics.  The Astronomy & Astrophysics section is located at 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2; the Geophysics section is based nearby at 5 Merrion Square. The central administration and the other two Schools of DIAS are located a short distance away at 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4.  DIAS is currently seeking to co-locate the Schools on a single site.

The Mission of the School is to: promote the use of Physics in increasing our knowledge and understanding of the world around us by:

  • being a leading international centre for studies of the Earth and the Universe;
  • providing a focus within Ireland for these areas of research;
  • facilitating Irish involvement in relevant international programmes;
  • providing specialised advanced training;
  • and by publishing and publicising advances in Cosmic Physics

The functions and duties of the School are laid down in the School Establishment Order : http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1947/sro/77/made/en/print

The School, and DIAS as a whole, enjoys excellent relations with the local universities and cooperation at all levels is actively encouraged. Such cooperation includes shared seminars, the joint supervision of graduate students and the provision of specialist lecture courses as well as collaborative research projects. Building such collaborative research networks is seen as an important part of the School’s function.


Research in the Astronomy and Astrophysics section is currently in two main areas, high-energy astrophysics and star formation.  In high-energy astrophysics the school has a long tradition of work on the origin of cosmic rays and related questions of particle acceleration and astroparticlephysics. It is a member of the HESS consortium operating a system of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes in Namibia.  In star formation there is a strong group working on young stellar objects and their associated outflow phenomena with an increasing interest in exoplanet formation.  Recently this has been complemented by an interest in high-mass and evolved stars and their environments.  The section is a partner in the MIRI instrument for the JWST, the Irish node of LOFAR, the GRAVITY instrument on the VLT and is in the process of joining the SPIROU instrument on the CFHT. The section is also involved in the development of MKID detector technology.


The current staffing structure of the Astronomy & Astrophysics section is as follows:

1 Senior Professor

2 Professors

1 Schrödinger Fellow

8 Post-docs (externally funded)

6 Scholars (DIAS-internally and externally funded)

2 Technicians


The section was instrumental in setting up the Irish Centre for High-End Computing and maintains close links to it.  Currently the section owns two “condominium shares” on the Irish supercomputer Fionn which are at the disposal of the section for routine calculations and development work; larger projects can apply for time through the national time allocation process and ICHEC also supports applications to the Tier-0 and Tier-1 facilities of PRACE, the European partnership for advanced computing.  As noted above the section is a parent in the Irish node of LOFAR as well as many other international consortia.  Ireland is a full member of the European Space Agency and thus has access to the mandatory science programme of ESA as well as the optional PRODEX programme.



Senior Professors are appointed by the President on the advice of the Government. A recommendation from the Governing Board for the appointment of a named person to be a Senior Professor is submitted to the Minister for Education and Skills who brings the matter to Government for consideration.

A Senior Professor must devote his/her time and ability to the furtherance of the work assigned to the School by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies Act 1940 and the School Establishment Order and he/she shall perform any duties assigned to him/her by the Governing Board of the School or the Director of the School as appropriate to his office. Except in so far as may be otherwise permitted by the Council of DIAS, with the consent of the Governing Board of the School, contributions to learning which result from study or research carried on by the Senior Professor shall be the property of the School. Professional work outside the School may only be undertaken with the prior consent of the Governing Board of the School given after consultation with the Minister for Education and Skills.


The current remuneration attaching to the position is €150,212 (personal pension contribution scale); €142,702 (Standard scale).


Superannuation and Retirement Age

Pension terms and retirement age conditions will depend on the status of the successful appointee.  In general:

(a) An appointee who has no prior pensionable public service history in the 26 weeks prior to appointment will be a member of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (Single Scheme) which commenced from 1 January 2013 (Section 10 of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 refers).   Details of the scheme are available at: http://www.per.gov.ie/single-scheme.   The present retirement age under this scheme is set at 66 years but this will rise in step with statutory changes in the State Pension Contributory (SPC) age to 67 years in 2021 and 68 years in 2028.  Retirement is compulsory upon reaching 70 years of age.

(b) An appointee who was a member of a “pre-existing public service pension scheme” as construed by the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 and who does not qualify for membership of the Single Scheme will have appropriate pension terms under the DIAS Staff Superannuation Scheme (details available from the Registrar’s Office). The retirement age conditions will depend on whether the individual is a 2004 new entrant or non-new entrant for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004.  In the case of an individual who is deemed to be a 2004 new entrant, there is currently no specified maximum retirement age.  The minimum age at which pension is payable is 65.    In the case of an individual who is deemed to be a non-new entrant, retirement is compulsory on reaching 65 years of age.  The minimum age at which pension is payable is 60.

The minimum service to achieve pensionability is two years. Deductions in accordance with the scheme rules will be made from commencement date.

At the time of being offered an appointment, DIAS will, in the light of the appointee’s previous  Public Service (and/or other) employment history, determine the appropriate pension terms and conditions to apply for the duration of the appointment. Appointees will be required to disclose their full public service history. Details of the appropriate superannuation provisions will be provided upon determination of appointee’s status.

It should be noted there is a 40-year limit on total service that can be counted towards pension where a person has been a member of more than one existing public service pension scheme. This 40-year limit, which is provided for in the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and other Provisions) Act 2012 came into effect on 28 July 2012. This may have implications for any appointee who has acquired pension rights in a previous public service employment.


The full cost of transferring ordinary household effects will be paid on the basis that three quotations will be sought by the appointee and transmitted directly by the removal companies to the DIAS’s Finance section.    The decision with regard to which quotation is accepted rests with the Finance Office.


The nomination for appointment as Senior Professor will be subject to receipt of a satisfactory medical report.


Interested scientists should send an e-mail application to registrarsoffice@admin.dias.ie. The application should comprise a single PDF attachment containing:

(1) The candidate’s standard academic CV.

(2) The candidate’s list of publications, including brief notes on the five most significant.

(3) The candidate’s research vision for Astronomy & Astrophysics within the School of Cosmic Physics (maximum 3 A4 pages).

(4) Optionally up to two further A4 pages containing any supplemental material the candidate wishes to add.

All applications received before close of business on 31 July 2017 will be acknowledged and considered by a Search Committee appointed by the Board of the School of Cosmic Physics.  The Search Committee may, at its absolute discretion, in addition consider late applications or candidates other than those who apply directly.  Shortlisted candidates will be requested to provide contact details of three academic referees.  It is planned to hold interviews in late September or early October.