8 PhD positions at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen has an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 35,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, we are truly an international place of knowledge.

The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute is part of the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and is recognised worldwide for the quality of its research in multiple areas of astronomy. With 15 faculty and 50 PhD students, it is the second-largest astronomical institute in the Netherlands. Groningen, a historic town in the northern Netherlands, occupies a strategic place in Dutch astronomy, hosting both the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, the low-energy astrophysics division of the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) and the NOVA sub-mm lab. The Kapteyn Institute has a strong connection with the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) in Dwingeloo, a European centre of radio astronomy research. Staff and PhD students at the Kapteyn Institute frequently collaborate with SRON and ASTRON scientists and engineers. There are also strong interdisciplinary connections with other institutes in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. English is the common language spoken at the institute.

Job description

The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen invites applications for 8 PhD positions:

• One position in the group of Dr Betsey Adams (ASTRON/Kapteyn) to study the neutral hydrogen content of dwarf galaxies using APERTIF-survey data.
• One position in the group of Prof. Erwin de Blok (ASTRON/Kapteyn) to study neutral-hydrogen data of nearby galaxies from the MeerKAT radio telescope.
• One position in the group of Prof. Inga Kamp to work with JWST mid-IR spectra from planet-forming disks using thermo-chemical models.
• Three positions in the group of Prof. Léon Koopmans to work on Reionization and Cosmic-Dawn data (LOFAR, AARTFAAC and NenuFAR), and forward data-models of space and lunar-based instruments (e.g. NCLE).
• One position in the group of Dr Else Starkenburg to study the early history of the Milky Way galaxy from the properties of its most metal-poor stars, using data from Gaia as well as photometric and spectroscopic surveys.
• One position in the group of Dr Lingyu Wang (SRON/Kapteyn) to study the role of mergers in galaxy evolution, taking advantage of new KiDS and upcoming Euclid data, and new merger detection techniques and simulations.

Detailed information on the individual projects offered and how to apply is given at https://www.rug.nl/research/kapteyn/vacatures/phd-positions

For detailed questions about a particular project, please email the prospective supervisors: https://www.rug.nl/research/kapteyn/institute/people/medewerkers


We seek excellent students with a strong background in the physical sciences who desire to obtain a PhD degree from a top European university. A successful candidate must hold a Masters degree or equivalent by the starting date of the position. Previous research experience and skills will be important criteria for the selection.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

These PhD positions are paid according to the CAO Dutch Universities, which means that they earn competitive salaries (the current annual gross salary, including allowances, increases from about € 33,000 in year 1 to about € 42,000 in year 4) and are eligible for both social security and retirement benefits. All PhD positions are funded for four years.

Job Application

A complete (concatenated in a single PDF file) application includes the following:

1. A general cover-letter motivating your application and detailing the motivation to apply for one or more of the proposed PhD projects. Please clearly indicate which projects you apply for, why you apply for them, and rank them in your order of preference. Without motivation and ranking, your application will be harder to assess (2 pages max)
2. A research statement (2 pages max) describing your personal research interests and previous research projects
3. Your CV/resume
4. 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, upload your single PDF file as your ‘motivation letter’.

Two reference letters should be sent by 4 January 2021, to: recruitment@rug.nl

You can submit your application until 3 January 11:59pm / before 4 January 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Selection of candidates will start on 4 January 2021, and will continue until all positions are filled.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), http://nvp-plaza.nl/download/?id=7714 and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers, https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

For informal inquiries

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220402-09

Digital application form