PhD researcher in lightning studies using LOFAR radio telescope
  • Expertise
    Radio Astronomy
  • Section
    Astronomy & Operations
  • Hours
  • Closing date

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a strong background in data analysis and interest in exploring the physics of radio emission from lightning using data from the LOFAR radio telescope.

PhD researcher in lightning studies using LOFAR radio telescope

You will perform independent research on lightning data obtained with the LOFAR radio telescope.

The LOFAR radio telescope, although primarily designed for radio astronomical research, provides extremely precise and accurate images of lightning propagation with nanosecond and meter-scale resolution. Studies exploiting these data have been performed, but more research is needed to fully understand the wealth of information that can be obtained. It is not even clear why lightning emits VHF radio radiation. This project will focus on understanding why lightning emits radio energy by using LOFAR’s high precision to explore the amplitude, polarization, meter-scale structure, and spectral behavior of lightning radio emission. Through LOFAR, as a supplier of lightning data, ASTRON is part of the Pithia-NRF consortium, a H2020 funded consortium that brings together many European institutes. The student will be jointly based at ASTRON and the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen.

Job requirements

  • A master’s degree in physics, astronomy or a related discipline (or close to finishing)
  • Experience in experimental data analysis
  • Good verbal and written communication in English
  • Strong coding skills (C,C++, Fortran, or python)
  • Skillsets in statistics, antenna systems, and Fourier-frequency based analysis is a plus

Employment conditions

  • Full-time, 38 hours/week temporary appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of in total 4 years
  • A starting gross monthly salary of € 2,441 on a full-time basis (OIO salary scale, WVOI)
  • 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.
  • Employment conditions tailored to your needs (part-time appointment, parental leave, working from home, etc.)
  • Opportunities and encouragement to grow and develop yourself and your career
  • Ambitious colleagues driven by collaboration in an international work environment
  • Beautiful premises in the heart of one of Drenthe’s National Parks

Additional information

This PhD program is through the Kapteyn Institute, University of Groningen, in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering. The student will be positioned in Groningen, which is a lively student city, while also spending research time at ASTRON.

For more information about ASTRON please visit or contact the HR department via:

How to apply

You can apply for this job by submitting your curriculum vitae and covering letter via the “Apply button” below. The first closing date is 30 September 2022. Candidates will be considered until the position has been filled.

Word of a staff member
Andre Gunst
Group leader

My work at ASTRON is very interesting! Mainly because I can solve many challenging and complex problems. To solve these problems, I use the latest technologies. I think it’s important that I help astronomers to unravel the puzzle of the universe. The most inspiring of my work is that I work together with colleagues from […]

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