The Santa Fe Institute – a private, not-for-profit theoretical research and education facility – is seeking applicants for a postdoctoral fellowship to develop a theoretical and computational framework for agnostic biosignatures to be used in a variety of astrobiological contexts. The research program seeks to assess the signs of life at the most general theoretical level, evaluate existing biosignatures and data from a broad team of researchers, and to propose novel biosignatures. The research will draw on a wide range of techniques spanning mathematical biology to machine learning. 

The successful candidate should have a strong quantitative background coupled with an interdisciplinary set of combined skills and training. For instance, candidates might combine a background in quantitative modeling and theory development with detailed knowledge of theoretical/mathematical biology, evolution, bioinformatics, or physiology.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Prof. Chris Kempes at the Santa Fe Institute in conjunction with the Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures (LAB) which is a NASA-funded project consisting of 15 investigators at 7 Institutions and spanning a variety of theoretical and experimental expertise. The ideal candidate should enjoy and be able to take advantage of these diverse research contacts.

The position includes collaborative funds and a competitive salary with a generous benefit package. Initial appointments will be for one year, with possible renewal for up to two additional years. Ideally, the successful applicant would start during the winter of 2018-2019, but the start date is negotiable.


To apply, please send an email containing your CV and a 1-page research statement to with the subject line “SFI Program Postdoc, Theoretical Astrobiology.” Please include names and contact information of at least three references as well as a possible start date. Candidates who have applied to the SFI Complexity Postdoctoral Fellowship can be considered for this position without submitting any additional materials; they should however indicate their interest to the email above. Finalists for the position will be brought to SFI for the opportunity to present research, meet with Prof. Kempes, and interact with the SFI community. For additional information regarding scientific matters, email


The Santa Fe Institute and LAB are equal opportunity employers.  Women and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.