Assistant Professor, Space Plasma Science AI/ML

SCI Physics

Competition No.  -    A100150628
Closing Date  -    Will remain open until filled.

The Department of Physics, the home department for this position, has approximately 48 faculty with research interests in space physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, biophysics, geophysics and subatomic physics. Our space plasma physics group has a long history of excellence in the experimental, theoretical, and computational analysis of space plasma environments throughout the heliosphere. A particular focus has been on the dynamics of the geospace system, for example through the exploitation of Canada’s geographical advantage as the most accessible landmass in the world from which to remote-sense the solar-terrestrial interaction. Research expertise exists in ground- and space-based magnetometry and instrument development, and space plasma theory and simulations of plasma interactions in geospace and in the heliosphere, contributing to our international reputation. Extensive involvement in space missions and projects in partnership with national and international space agencies (CSA, NASA, ESA, etc.) further provides a rich environment for the development of research collaborations and partnerships, including through dedicated funding opportunities afforded through the Canadian Space Agency, and through Canada’s Associate Member status within the European Space Agency. The Department was also at the core of the early development of massively-parallel supercomputing, with innovative applications extending to the present day, including in partnerships with IBM and others. Current interests and projects include radiation belt and space radiation dynamics (e.g, as the lead institute for the upcoming Canadian RADICALS micro-satellite mission), space weather, solar-terrestrial and geospace sciences, space radiation in the heliosphere, planetary scale coupling of ionised and neutral atmospheres, and the coupling of space weather and Earth’s climate. In addition to in-situ mechanical and electronics shops and related in-house facilities in the host departments, the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), located next door to the physics building, also includes a number of laboratories housing experiments with applications to space environment and space technology development. Access to high-performance computing resources is available through the Digital Research Alliance of Canada ( Initiatives by the Governments of Alberta and Canada, including the Canadian Space Agency, provide exceptional opportunities for securing dedicated additional funding to establish new space-related research programs at the University of Alberta.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has over 60 faculty members with expertise in the areas of electrical engineering, computer engineering, software engineering and intelligent systems. We have world-class research and teaching facilities and a range of research and education programs, including the development of miniaturised space systems and instrumentation, including energetic particle instrumentation being designed to fly on the geospace and lunar exploration missions, including the Lunar Gateway, and research in laboratory, laser and fusion plasma science. The Department welcomes creativity, diversity, perseverance, and a collaborative spirit and recognizes the importance of excellence in conjunction with work/life balance, interdisciplinary research, and mentorship. We received the Rising to the Challenge Award in 2021 for our innovative response to the pandemic from the ECE Head Association. Our graduate program attracts outstanding students from schools worldwide and presently has an enrollment of over 450 students, including approximately 220 PhD students.

Canada CIFAR Artificial Intelligence (CCAI) Chair Nomination: Successful candidates will be nominated for a Canada CIFAR Artificial Intelligence (CCAI) Chair by the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). Amii is one of three institutes named in the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy and represents more than 35 artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning (ML) researchers at the University of Alberta, as well as CCAI Chairs at post-secondary institutions across Western Canada. The CCAI Chair includes research funding for at least five (5) years. This position is part of a University of Alberta cluster hire in the areas of research strength that include Health, Energy and Indigenous Initiatives in health and humanities, among others. The University of Alberta is world-renowned for its strength in AI; this cohort will bring together and foster the next generation of scientists leading the development of machine learning for societal benefit, fulfilling Amii's mandate of AI for good and all.

The Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Alberta invite applications for a tenure-track faculty position in space plasma science and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML). The position will be cross-appointed between the two departments with teaching, research and service commitments to both. We are seeking an emerging scholar to hire at the Assistant Professor level who is committed to excellence in teaching and research, but highly qualified candidates at a more senior level may be considered. The successful candidate will be nominated for a Canada CIFAR Artificial Intelligence (CCAI) Chair.

Applicants must possess a PhD in physics or related discipline and have the potential to develop an innovative and externally-funded research program in space plasma sciences and machine learning. Applicants whose research focuses on the application and/or development of innovative AI/ML algorithms addressing problems in space plasma science, and focussing on knowledge generation and information extraction from sparse and heterogeneous in-situ, ground-based, and remote-sensing datasets, in the heliosphere, in planetary magnetospheres, and/or in coupling the ionised and neutral planetary atmospheres, are especially encouraged. Applications of AI/ML to signal extraction and/or noise reduction would also have wide utility for high impact applications in space and plasma science in both host departments.

The successful candidate will be expected to build a strong independent research program, and to collaborate with researchers in space science, space exploration, space technology, and/or laboratory and fusion plasma research in the host departments, and in interdisciplinary space research projects across campus. For example, opportunities exist to partner with the student-focussed AlbertaSat cubesat program (, and with broader aerospace partnerships, including with the Edmonton airport targeting accelerating business by commercializing ideas for local and international markets. The successful candidate will supervise graduate students and teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Candidates must also demonstrate how they will work to expand the diversity of the host departments through a statement about equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).  In the EDI statement, candidates should describe how they plan to incorporate these considerations into their teaching, research, and service to the scientific community. Candidates are also encouraged to describe how they will contribute to increasing the diversification of ideas within the Departments of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

To apply:

A CV, list of publications, statement of research interests, summary of teaching interests and an EDI statement are required. Please combine these into one .pdf document. 

At least 3 confidential reference letters should be submitted electronically. Please ask referees to address their letters to:

The Selection Committee

Department of Physics

University of Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2E1

Referees should email their letters directly:

To: Suzette Chan <>

Subject: Space Plasma Science AI & Machine Learning Competition #A100150628

To assist the University in complying with mandatory reporting requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (R203(3) (e)), please include the first digit of your Canadian Social Insurance Number in your application. If you do not have a Canadian Social Insurance Number, please indicate this in your application.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Review of applications will begin April 3, 2023 and will continue until position is filled, with a targeted start date of July 2023.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Note: Online applications are accepted until midnight Mountain Standard Time of the closing date.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. If suitable Canadian citizens or permanent residents cannot be found, other individuals will be considered. The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.