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 project will focus on science exploitation of the LOFAR telescope and in particular, the ongoing LOFAR Two Metre Sky Survey which is the largest radio survey by source density. The project is aimed at the discovery and follow-up of new and exotic populations of radio sources that could not have been found in previous radio sky surveys such as exoplanets, brown dwarfs and the slowest spinning pulsars. The project can also have a theoretical component depending on the interests and 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. It led the design and construction of the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) which is the most sensitive low frequency radio telescope. ASTRON is also playing a leading role in the Square Kilometre Array Project. The student will work closely with ASTRON staff astronomers Harish Vedantham, who will be the PhD adviser, and Prof. Jason Hessels. Dr. Vedantham is leading the exploitation of LoTSS survey data for stellar, brown dwarfs and exoplanet science and Prof. Hessels is leading the pulsar discovery effort with LOFAR.

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 Dutch 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 about this position, please contact Harish Vedantham, Staff Astronomer, e-mail:

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


You can apply for this position via the ‘Apply now’ button below. Applications must include a single PDF file containing (i) a  one-page cover letter including a description of why the candidate wishes to pursue a PhD, (ii) a one-page essay on the applicant’s research background (iii) a recent CV that must include the names and contact details for two researchers from whom references letters may be solicited. All applications received before the deadline of September 5, 2021 will be considered in full by the selection panel.

Word of a staff member
Gemma Janssen

From an early age I knew I wanted to become an astronomer, and I chose to study astronomy after high school. During my PhD research, that focussed on the precise measurement of radio pulsars, I gained a lot of experience in observing with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope. The wide range of project that I […]

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