Traineeships in science operations with massive arrays
  • Expertise
    Radio Astronomy
  • Section
    Radio observatory
  • Hours
  • Closing date

The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE) have positions available for


Traineeships in science operations with massive arrays



The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE) announce the availability of a minimum of two grants for their Traineeship in Science Operations with massive arrays.  The programme enables astronomers (post doc, PhD or graduate student level) to spend a trimester (12 weeks) at the institute in Dwingeloo in the Netherlands. Under the supervision of Telescope Scientists, you will be exposed to the science operations of massive arrays. You will develop fundamental skills and novel experimental methods on systems using technologies that produce cutting-edge science now and contribute to the development of the SKA. ASTRON & JIVE are committed to increasing their staff diversity, and we are especially interested in applications from all traditionally under-represented groups.

This programme will be sponsored by ASTRON and the Joining Up Users for Maximising the Profile, the Innovation and the Necessary Globalisation of JIVE (JUMPING JIVE) project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730884.

The available positions are open to applicants from all countries. JUMPING JIVE will specifically sponsor the positions for applications from African countries.


Successful candidates will acquire a deep/inside knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the operations of world-class instruments. Moreover, they will strongly benefit from the daily interaction with our scientists, engineers, and support staff, who all work in close collaboration at our institute.

We anticipate that the 12-week traineeship programme will be divided into 10 weeks to provide the full exposure to LOFAR operations, and 2 weeks to introduce VLBI operations at JIVE from the viewpoint of the European VLBI Network (EVN).

At the beginning of the LOFAR training, the applicant will be initiated to the capabilities of the hardware and the software pipelines and their data products. She/He will be exposed to the active complex array science operations, learning how to master them independently. The involved procedures will include:

  • Proposal preparation and submission
  • Planning and conducting observations
  • Monitoring of the observing system
  • Introduction to digital signal processing
  • Handling multi-terabyte Cycle projects data
  • Data quality assessment
  • Full-day activities in the LOFAR control room
  • Handling operational challenges
  • Communication and co-operation with engineers, developers, and users
  • Involvement in commissioning of new functionalities
  • Organization and chairing operational meetings and activities
  • Data processing tutorials

At the end of the traineeship, it is expected that the candidates will also have the opportunity to contribute towards a LOFAR science project.

The JIVE training will provide exposure to VLBI operations, data acquisition and processing. Specifically, these will include:

  • Planning and conducting VLBI observations
  • VLBI systems & Correlations
  • Theory and practice of phase referencing

Students will attend EVN observations/correlation of user and network monitoring experiments.

The traineeship programme will also include lectures and activities with the support groups such as visits to the LOFAR core, to the LOFAR and JIVE/EVN correlators; production cluster sites; and one of the LOFAR Long-Term Archive sites.

Profile requirements

  • Master’s degree or higher; PhD or post-doctoral experience preferred
  • Knowledge of radio interferometry
  • Sufficient programming skills and good experience with Linux and Python
  • Good oral and written command of the English language

Timeline and subsistence

The traineeship programme will run between 6 April – 26 June 2020 and it will be assumed that applicants will be available for the full period.

The traineeship grants will provide successful candidates with accommodation near the institute in Dwingeloo and a modest stipend for the duration of the traineeship. Travel expenses will not be included, unless the applicant is from an African country. Candidates who do not require financial contribution should clearly state so in their application, as this may increase the number of available positions.

The Organisation

ASTRON operates the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), a cutting-edge, low-frequency, multi-field aperture array telescope that is using transformational technologies and novel software approaches to explore the Universe between 10-240 MHz. ASTRON also operates the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) which is equipped with the new APERTIF phased array feeds, greatly increasing the survey speed of the telescope.

JIVE is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium which operates the main data processor centre of the European VLBI Network (EVN) and is leading the development of real-time e-VLBI in Europe.


More information about ASTRON and JIVE can be found on our websites and

For more information about the traineeship, please contact Roberto Pizzo, Head of Science Operations & Support of the Radio Observatory at ASTRON, e-mail: or phone: +31 (0) 521595783.


You can apply for this programme via the ‘Apply now’ button below. All applications should include (i) curriculum vitae, (ii) a cover letter stating your motivation, (iii) and two reference letters to be sent by the referees directly to

All applications received before the deadline of 15 January 2020 will be considered in full by the selection panel.


Word of a staff member
Bram Veenboer
PhD researcher

After studying computer science I wanted to continue in the direction of my master: High Performance Computing. Besided, I wanted to get my doctorate, so I ended up at ASTRON. At ASTRON there was a nice position available within the Dome project. At Dome I can apply the theory into practice and I can immerse […]

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