PhD position in gravitational waves (experimental)

PhD position in gravitational waves (experimental)

Published Deadline Location
16 Dec 8 Feb Maastricht

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The department of Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Physics (GWFP) at the University of Maastricht, part of Nikhef, offers a position for a PhD student under supervision of Dr. Jessica Steinlechner and Prof. Dr. Stefan Hild.

Job description

The successful candidate will explore phenomena related to coating thermal noise, which limits the sensitivity of current gravitational-wave detectors, working closely with the relevant groups within the LIGO and Virgo collaborations and within Nikhef.

The project will be mainly experimental, conducted in table-top setups and at the ETpathfinder prototype, but will also include simulations and modelling. Furthermore, the project will include operating an ion implantation facility for sample preparation.

The goal is to explore an alternative method for realizing highly-reflective mirrors with low optical absorption and thermal noise suitable for cryogenic gravitational-wave detectors such as the Einstein Telescope.


Maastricht University (UM)


Applicants should have a Master degree (or equivalent) in physics and excellent English communication skills. Experience with experimental lab work is desirable as well as Matlab and/or Python skills.

Conditions of employment

  • We offer a rewarding career at a young university in the heart of Europe, with a distinct global perspective and a strong focus on innovative research and education;

  • The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website > About UM > Working at UM.

  • We offer a full-time employment contract as a PhD candidate. The employment contract will be for a period of 1 year and will be extended for another 3 years after positive evaluation.

  • The salary will be set in the PhD-candidate salary scale of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (€ 2541 gross per month in the first year up to € 3247 gross per month in the fourth year). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% year-end allowance;

  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as reduction on collective health insurance, substantial leave arrangements, optional model for designing a personalised benefits package and application for attractive fiscal arrangements for employees from abroad.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and about 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. For more information, visit

Faculty of Science and Engineering
The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is home to several outstanding departments and institutions covering education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as the liberal arts and sciences.


​​​​​​​Department Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Physics

The Department for Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Physics (GWFP) was founded in 2019 and is involved in gravitational wave research in context of the upcoming Einstein Telescope, and with particle physics research at the LHCb experiment at CERN. Both experiments are world-leading in their research, discovering a wealth of new facts about the fundamental forces of nature and the evolution of the universe after the big bang.

The gravitational-wave group under the lead of Prof. Stefan Hild, works on both experimental and theoretical aspects of gravitational-wave research. While the group in Maastricht is relatively new, a large fraction of our (very international) team are experienced gravitational-wave researchers and long-term members of the LIGO and Virgo collaborations. GWFP is also a member of Nikhef (, the Dutch national research institute for sub-atomic particles.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2022.559


Maastricht University (UM)

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Duboisdomein 30, 6229 GT, Maastricht

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