Join our Team: Postdoctoral Position in Adaptive Optics and Integrated Photonics


Application Submission:

Closing Date for Receipt of Applications: June 8th, 2021

Email Address for Inquiries:


The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto seeks to appoint a postdoctoral researcher to work on scientific and technical problems related to the development of an on-chip photonic adaptive optics system for optical satellite communications and astrophotonic instrumentation.

The appointee will work as a member of Prof. Suresh Sivanandam’s research group in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada (Ottawa). They are expected to lead the development of an integrated photonic adaptive optics (AO) system for improved ground-to-satellite data links in optical satellite communication constellations and other astronomical applications. Responsibilities will include system design and simulation, prototyping, and validation of the concept. Those with skills in integrated photonics, optics, AO, astronomical instrumentation, and software development for free-space optics instruments, are all encouraged to apply. The appointee will have an opportunity to travel to National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa for photonic device testing. The appointee will also have the opportunity to work on other projects in Prof. Sivanandam’s lab in the fields of astronomical AO, large optical telescope instrumentation, and astrophotonics. Current major projects the lab is involved in include: the Gemini Infrared Multi-Object Spectrograph, the MMT telescope AO system upgrade, and the Gemini Planet Imager 2.0 upgrade. Additional research projects related to novel astrophotonic instrumentation and applications of machine learning for AO are also carried out by lab members. Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Prof. Sivanandam for additional information on the position before submitting their application.

The Dunlap Institute pursues groundbreaking astronomical research across the electromagnetic spectrum, through innovative approaches to instrumentation, data-driven science and observations, alongside a substantive commitment to outreach and training. The Dunlap Institute is co-located with and has strong ties to the University of Toronto’s David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics (DADDAA) and to the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA). These three units together host more than 150 staff and students in astronomy, who conduct a diverse research program across instrumentation, observations, computation and theory. The Dunlap Institute is located on a beautiful 19th century campus in the heart of one of the world’s great cities. Rated as having one of the highest standards of living in the world, Toronto offers a huge range of indoor and outdoor pursuits, outstanding food and music, and a vibrant and diverse cultural community.

Applicants must have earned a PhD in astronomy/astrophysics, physics, photonics, engineering or a related field at the time of appointment. Applicants should have a PhD awarded on or after January 1, 2016 (career interruptions or other extenuating circumstances will be accommodated, and should be noted in the cover letter). The other selection criteria for this position are: 1) demonstrated experience in developing scientific instrumentation, particularly in AO development/implementation and/or photonic device design/characterization, including CAD design and optical instrument assembly, testing, and operation; and 2) a demonstrated commitment to working with other lab members to build a team that values the contributions of every member and creating an atmosphere of collaboration, respect, and mutual support. Additional desirable but not essential criteria are: experience with optical design, fabrication, and testing, familiarity with numerical simulations of atmospheric turbulence, astronomical data analysis, and a demonstrated ability to supervise research students. The initial appointment will be for two years, with the possibility of further extensions. The position comes with an annual starting salary of CAD $66,330 plus generous benefits, an annual research allowance, relocation assistance, and the opportunity to request additional research funds from the Dunlap Institute.

The Dunlap Institute is committed to an inclusive and flexible workplace. We encourage applications from qualified applicants of all sexual orientations and gender expressions, racialized people, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. Subject to immigration regulations, the successful candidate will be given the option to take up the position as a part-time appointment if needed (e.g., for parental leave). Such a request need not be made as part of a candidate’s initial application.

The nominal starting date for the position is August 1st, 2021, but this is negotiable. All application materials must be submitted online at AcademicJobsOnline by June 8th, 2021. Applicants should submit (in PDF format): a cover letter explicitly addressing the above selection criteria; a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and a summary of research /instrumentation accomplishments and future interests (maximum three pages). Applicants should also provide three references who will be contacted by the hiring committee.

The normal hours of work are 40 hours per week for a full-time postdoctoral fellow (pro-rated for those holding a partial appointment) recognizing that the needs of the employee’s research and training and the needs of the supervisor’s research program may require flexibility in the performance of the employee’s duties and hours of work.
Employment as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto is covered by the terms of the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement. This job is posted in accordance with the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

To apply online, please go to:


The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto is an endowed research institute with more than 90 faculty, postdocs, students and staff, dedicated to innovative technology, ground-breaking research, world-class training, and public engagement. The research themes of its faculty and Dunlap Fellows span the Universe and include: optical, infrared and radio instrumentation; Dark Energy; large-scale structure; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the interstellar medium; galaxy evolution; cosmic magnetism; and time-domain science. The Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, David A. Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics comprise the leading centre for astronomical research in Canada, at the leading research university in the country, the University of Toronto.