This call is now closed but will re-open in the fall 2017

Three post-doctoral fellowships on origins and conditions for the emergence of life at PSL Research University


Applications are solicited for three post-doctoral fellowships on the origins and conditions for the emergence of life at Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University. Fellows will be appointed initially for one year, renewable for a second year on the basis of satisfactory performance. Fellowships will normally start in the Spring of 2017 and no later than Fall 2017.


Applications are solicited for three post-doctoral fellowships on the origins and conditions for the emergence of life at Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University ( ). PSL Research University was founded in 2010 and is a federation of 26members, including 18 prestigious higher education institutes in humanities, arts and sciences. Through its initiative around the origins and conditions for the emergence of life, PSL Research University through the IRIS-OCAV project wishes to contribute to this questioning around three main lines of enquiries:


  • Conditions for the appearance of life in the solar system and beyond
    • Are the Earth and the solar system unique?
    • What is the chemical diversity in the solar system and what is its origin?
    • What are the conditions prevailing on exoplanets?
    • What might be the detectable signatures of biological activity on planets, satellites or exoplanets, and what sort of environments may be conducive to the appearance of life?
  • Emergence of living matter: a stepwise multiscale process with many outstanding questions
    • What defines a living system?
    • What are the minimal chemical systems capable of evolution?
    • What is the probability that life will emerge given the right conditions?
    • What are the major transitions leading to the emergence of life and the evolution of complex organisms and what drove these transitions?
    • How might biological activity change the conditions of a planet?
  • How do we perceive life, cultural variations and artistic representation
    • What are the cultural variations in the perception and conception of life?
    • How did the question of the origin of life become a scientific topic?
    • What are the relations between scientific instrumentation and definition of life?
    • What are the relations between artistic representations of life and scientific representations?


Fellowships are open to applicants of any nationality. Research plans can address one or several issues described above and must be developed in coordination with a team from PSL Research University. Post-doc candidates are expected to make contact and apply with a one of the host lab of the project in PSL institutions (see steering committee)


Applicants should provide:

–          a CV (1 page maximum);

–          a two-year research program including a plan for the first year (4 pages maximum);

–          a complete list of publications;

–          at least two letter of recommendations;

–          the full application form completed with the hosting team or laboratory


The fellowship includes a 5,000euros stipend to cover travel and equipment.


Applications must be submitted electronically at appels-ocav @

before January 15th 2017.


Additional information on the program and instructions to apply can be found at


Inquiries can be directed to members of the steering committee:

Stéphane Mazevet (Observatoire de Paris),

Observatoire de Paris: Dominique Bockelee-Morvan and Jacques Laskar

Collège de France: Alain Joliot, Perig Pitrou and Alain Prochiantz

EHESS Charlotte Bigg and Antonella Romano;

ENS: Régis Ferrière, Ludovic Jullien and Antoine Triller

ESPCI: Andrew Griffiths, Philippe Nghe and Paul Rainey

Institut Curie: Bruno Goud ;