PhD position in Radio Astronomy
  • Expertise
    Radio Astronomy
  • Section
    Astronomy & Operations
  • Hours
  • Closing date

The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) invites applicants for a


PhD position in Radio Astronomy


The PhD position is part of the MeerGas project to study how galaxies acquire their neutral hydrogen gas. Using the MeerKAT radio synthesis telescope in South Africa, we are obtaining ultra-deep observations of the neutral hydrogen in 30 nearby galaxies (as part of the MeerKAT MHONGOOSE Large Science Project). We will use these to find and characterise signs of low-column density gas accreting onto these galaxies. MeerGas is funded by the European Research Council.

Aim of the PhD position is to use these uniquely deep MeerKAT observations to study the morphology and dynamics of the low column density neutral hydrogen in nearby galaxies. This can be done by – amongst others – investigating links to star formation, by studies of the dark matter content, or by the exploration of novel reduction and analysis techniques; the direction will depend on the interests and the skill-set of the student.

The PhD appointment will be for four years with a review towards the end of the first year. The student will be jointly based at ASTRON and the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen. ASTRON is among the foremost radio astronomy institutes in the world and playing a leading role in the Square Kilometre Array Project. The student will work within the MeerGas team of postdocs and students, led by Prof. Erwin de Blok.

ASTRON is committed to increasing its staff diversity, and we are especially interested in applications from women and other traditionally under-represented groups.

Job requirements:

  • a Master’s degree in Physics, Astronomy or a related field;
  • good communication skills in English (written and verbal);
  • evidence of research interest;
  • computer programming experience;
  • prior experience with radio astronomical techniques is an advantage, but not strictly necessary.

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Netherlands Collective Labour Agreement Research Institutes.

We offer:

 A fulltime appointment (38 hours), in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I), for the duration of 1 year with a possible extension for another 3 years depending on good performance and a positive evaluation of your eligibility to obtain a PhD at the Kapteyn Institute, University of Groningen, in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen.

  • A gross monthly salary of € 2,441 on a full-time basis
  • A holiday allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.33% of the gross annual salary.
  • A solid pension scheme (ABP).
  • 42 vacation days per year on a full-time basis.

The Organisation

ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Its main mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen, via the development of new and innovative technologies, the operation of world-class radio astronomy facilities, and the pursuit of fundamental astronomical research. Engineers and astronomers at ASTRON have an outstanding international reputation for novel technology development, and fundamental research in galactic and extra-galactic astronomy. ASTRON is part of the institute organization of NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). 


More information about ASTRON can be found on our websites and

For more information on the content of this vacancy, please contact Erwin de Blok, MeerGas and MHONGOOSE PI, e-mail: More information on the MHONGOOSE survey can be found at

More information about the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen can be found on

Information about the Kapteyn Institute can be found at


You can apply for this position via the ‘Apply now’ button below on or before December 1, 2021. Applications must include a single PDF file containing (i) a cover letter including a description of why the candidate wishes to pursue a PhD (two pages maximum), (ii) an essay on the applicant’s research background including research interests and previous research projects (two pages maximum), (iii) your recent CV/resume, (iv) a certified list of grades from your undergraduate degree(s) up to the moment of application (in case your degree has not yet been awarded). Please also arrange for two letters of reference to be sent to Interviews, remote and/or in person, will be scheduled for January 2022.


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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