PhD researcher in lightning studies using LOFAR radio telescope

PhD researcher in lightning studies using LOFAR radio telescope

Published Deadline Location
21 Mar 1 May Dwingeloo

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Job description

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.

Despite being a common and energetic event, lightning is still poorly understood. We do not know how it initiates, propagates, or even why it emits radio energy. Our group uses the LOFAR radio telescope which, although primarily designed for radio astronomical research, provides extremely precise and accurate images of lightning propagation with nanosecond and meter-scale resolution that allows us to probe lightning on the small scales needed to uncover the physics behind lightning phenomena.

In this project the student will use LOFAR data to analyze lightning in order to understand how lightning initiates and grows, where there is flexibility to adjust for the student’s interests. This will include contributing to our analysis pipeline by either improving existing techniques or developing new analyses, in addition to applying analyses to better understand lightning physics.

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.




  • A Master’s degree in physics, astronomy, engineering 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.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

  • 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 € 2,590 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.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences; Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2590 per month
  • University graduate


Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD, Dwingeloo

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