GREAT-ITN Recruitment: CNRS (Observatoire de Besancon and Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux)

Bescancon: Project Title: A New Besancon Model of the Milky Way
Dr Annie Robin (
Further Details: and for the PhD project description - see
Description: For a comprehensive understanding of the Galaxy, one aims at being able to deduce the history of its formation and evolution from the distribution of the chemical abundances and from stellar kinematics. The ESR will develop analysis tools using the population synthesis approach. The Besançon Galaxy Model (Robin et al. 2003, A&A 409, 523) is well suited for a study. We plan to develop model fitting methods that will be applied to the Gaia data set (once available) and that prior to Gaia will be tested on existing surveys producing similar data (i.e., photometry, astrometry, spectroscopy from, e.g., the astrometric UCAC catalogue, the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), SDSS, RAVE, etc.). The different aspects of Galactic evolution will be studied: the star formation rate history in different regions of the Galaxy, the assembly of different populations, the overall dynamics of the mass components. This work will be based on the idea that a population synthesis model can be adjusted to different data sets and re-adjusted when more data are available (data assimilation). Efficient model parameter fitting methods such as the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method will be used. The development of a population synthesis model like the Besançon Galaxy model provides a different approach to Galactic dynamics than the traditional one. The availability of the Gaia catalogue will allow one to trace the Kz (force exerted on stars vertically) and KR (radially), hence to link the kinematics of the stars to the Galactic potential across a wide region of the Galaxy. Consequently, we will analyse recent proper motion and/or radial velocity surveys (UCAC, RAVE, SDSS) using this approach, which will help in preparing the analysis of the Gaia catalogue.

Bordeaux: Project Title: Star Cluster Evolution - a Common Abundance Scale
Dr Caroline Soubiran (
Further Details: see
Gaia will provide atmospheric parameters for millions of stars and detailed abundances for a fraction of them. An essential complement are high-resolution spectra in follow-up surveys to obtain very precise abundances. These will provide a more precise calibration of the information from Gaia’s photometry and lower-resolution spectroscopy. The difference in spectral range, resolution, and analysis methodology used in these surveys leads to non-uniform scales, in particular for metallicities and chemical abundances.
We propose to establish such a homogeneous scale in order to link different surveys, such as Gaia, RAVE, SEGUE and LAMOST, to the high resolution observations using the large quantity of observational material already available through the Virtual Observatory. This study, in collaboration with the astronomy group in UPPS, will focus on the accurate and homogeneous determination of atmospheric parameters and abundances for a large sample of field and cluster stars spanning a wide range of properties. The resulting reference library will enable an adequate description of the uncertainty of the parameters determined by automatic methods. This work is also an excellent opportunity to investigate an important astrophysical problem: the internal abundance spread in open and globular clusters. Many clusters show inhomogeneities in their internal chemical composition which could be real or due to inhomogeneous analyses. This has to be studied and fully understood.

Important Eligibility Information concerning ESRs:

Early-stage researchers are those who are, at the time of selection by the host institution, in the first four years (full time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged. Researchers are normally required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. One general rule applies to the appointment of researchers in a network:

At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account. As far as international European interest organisations or international organisations are concerned, this rule does not apply to the hosting of eligible researchers, however the appointed researcher must not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the selection by the host organisation in the same appointing organisation.