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This page lists the currently available PhD projects to begin in 2024.

Applications needed to be submitted by November 6th. By mid-December we will invite candidates for a presentation and interviews to be held on 8 and 9 February 2024. 

API staff may be contacted with questions about projects, but please do not email unsolicited application materials to API staff. More information about the recruitment process can be found here


Planets Around Low Mass Stars

Supervisor: Dr. Gudmundur Stefansson (

Towards The Detection of Habitable Planets One of the foremost goals of exoplanet science is the detailed characterization of terrestrial planets that potentially could harbor life. Planets orbiting nearby low mass stars, or M stars, are the most opportune targets for such studies. However, due to their intrinsic faintness, planets orbiting the lowest mass stars have remained relatively poorly studied. This is now changing with the advent of next generation instruments—including space-based instruments such as TESS and JWST, and ground-based spectrographs such as HPF and NEID—which are enabling rapid scientific progress and insights into the planet population around M stars.

The PhD student would work under the supervision of Dr. Stefansson, and would be embedded in a collaborative international team at the forefront of exoplanet science working to understand the exoplanet population around low mass stars. Depending on the interest of the student, there are opportunities to work on different projects, including, but not limited to: a) detecting and characterizing transiting planets from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and/or non-transiting planets with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder spectrograph (HPF), b) characterization of exoplanet atmospheres & architectures with high resolution spectroscopy and/or JWST, c) the prospect of constraining exoplanet magnetic fields for the first time through a combination of precise radio observations with LOFAR and high precision radial velocity observations.


A Multi-wavelength Pulsar Timing Array

Supervisor: Dr. Aditya Parthasarathy (

Pulsar timing array (PTA) collaborations around the world have recently published evidence for the presence of ultra-low frequency gravitational waves; opening a new window into the Universe. Although this milestone result has made the first inroads into the low-frequency gravitational wave spectrum, there is much left to be understood. 

This position offers exciting opportunities to develop novel techniques in precision pulsar timing and characterize the astrophysical origins of low-frequency gravitational waves using radio and gamma-ray observations of pulsars. Detecting the subtle effects of gravitational waves on pulsar timing data requires robust data analysis techniques and a deep understanding of the underlying noise processes. Complimentary to radio pulsar timing, the gamma-ray pulsar timing array uses observations from NASA’s Fermi gamma-ray space telescope and provides a unique opportunity to independently characterize low-frequency gravitational waves without being biased by the interstellar medium - one of the largest sources of noise in radio pulsar data sets.A combination of radio and gamma-ray data will enable the best constraints on understanding the astrophysical origins of the gravitational wave background. 

Successful PhD candidates will be part of the PTA group at ASTRON and will be affiliated with the University of Amsterdam. They will join the core team of "GIGA", an ERC-funded project aimed at pushing the state-of-the-art of PTA science in radio and gamma-ray wavelengths. They will work with a vibrant international community and with large data sets from various telescopes around the world.

We are looking for two Ph.D. candidates who have an interest in scientific data analysis and experience in computer programming. 

To get an overview of the research you will be doing, please refer to a few relevant papers below:


EuroFlash: exploring the origins of fast radio bursts using a network of European radio telescopes

Supervisor: Jason Hessels (

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) present astronomers with a compelling mystery: what is creating these brilliant but ephemeral flashes that travel billions of lightyears before reaching Earth? Whatever is producing the FRBs, it requires an extreme energy density and the conditions for `laser-like’ coherent radio emission to be generated. While recent discoveries show that magnetars are a leading contender, the heterogeneous properties of the known FRB sample strongly suggest that there are multiple FRB source types. If so, then we have multiple mysterious FRB origins to uncover.

Due to the great interest in solving this puzzle, enormous progress has been made in recent years. There are now hundreds of known FRB sources, dozens of which repeat, and some of which have been localised to their exact galactic neighbourhoods. The FRB sample continues to grow at a rapid pace of several new sources per day, thanks to new wide-field radio telescopes. Studying these sources with dedicated follow-up is challenging because they emit sporadically and are only visible for milliseconds or less. At the same time, by casting an even wider net we are likely to discover new types of FRB-like signals.

With EuroFlash, we aim to create a coordinated network of European radio telescopes operating over a broad range of radio frequencies, providing high sensitivity and observing cadence, and achieving the best-possible localisations. We will use this network to perform a world-leading, systematic study of repeating FRBs, to understand their progenitor(s) and their relation to the apparently one-off FRB sources. We will also make a novel exploration of the parameter space of short-duration radio transients by exploiting the large field-of-view of the upgraded LOFAR2.0 and commensal observations to find new sources. In doing so, we aim to discover new types of astrophysical phenomena that probe the extremes of the Universe.

Here we are advertising up to 3 PhD positions to work on the EuroFlash project, using a combination of data from LOFAR2.0, the European VLBI Network (EVN), the Nançay Radio Telescope (NRT), and other European radio dishes.