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Research Kapteyn Institute Vacancies

PhD positions

Announcements for PhD positions currently available, including opportunities

PhD positions in the area of galaxy formation and evolution (5.0 FTE) (V23.0678)

Job description

The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen invites applications for 5 PhD positions in the area of galaxy formation and evolution. Here we give a brief description of each position.

1) Cool gas flows in the circum-galactic medium
Supervisor: Prof. Filippo Fraternali

Gas accretion into galaxies is the engine of galaxy formation and evolution as it provides new material for the process of star formation. However, despite decades of research, we still do not know how it actually takes place. In this project we will study the cool gas in the circum-galactic medium (CGM) of galaxies, seen via absorption-line observations towards background QSOs, with the aim of detecting gas accretion. The main goal will be to quantify the inflow rates at different locations in the CGM. The main novelty with respect to previous work is the use of a new methodology that combines ultra-high-resolution magnetohydrodynamical simulations with global CGM-scale models. The PhD candidate is expected to run such simulations, for which we will have a dedicated computer cluster, and develop the global model. Once the technique is available we will apply it to large samples of galaxies to determine gas accretion properties across cosmic time.
This project if part of the ERC Advanced Grant "FLOWS" project, led by Prof. Fraternali. More information can be found at

2) Dissecting galactic winds
Supervisor: Prof. Filippo Fraternali

Galactic winds, powered by supernova explosions and active galactic nuclei, are thought to play critical roles in shaping galaxy scaling relations and solving current problems like the missing baryon problem. However, the properties of the gas outflows produced by galactic winds remain largely undetermined and the theoretical models poorly constrained. In this PhD project, we will study galactic winds visible through spectroscopical emission-line observations of ionized/neutral gas. The main goals are to precisely constrain their properties, such as their mass loading factors, and compare them with theoretical predictions. The PhD canaidate is expected to developed a new 3D code based on previous work that will also allow us to precisely fit the wind parameters. A large amount of spectroscopic data obtained with state-of-the-art facilities will be used together with mock data from hydrodynamical simulations to carry out this study from the present-day Universe to high redshifts.
This project if part of the ERC Advanced Grant "FLOWS" project, led by Prof. Fraternali. More information can be found at

3) Galaxies around the Epoch of Reionization from Euclid Deep Surveys
Supervisors: Prof. K. Caputi (University of Groningen) and Dr R. Bouwens (Leiden University)

The recently launched Euclid space telescope will obtain deep near-infrared images in blank fields over more than 50 sq. deg. of the sky, providing a unique resource for the search of the brightest and most rare objects at high redshifts. This PhD project will be focused on the study of z>6 galaxies selected from Euclid deep images. The main goals are: to understand the selection efficiency by exploiting the multi-wavelength data existing in the Euclid auxiliary fields; and to select new z>6 candidates from the Euclid Deep Survey to conduct statistical studies and follow up of the most interesting sources with other major telescopes.
The PhD candidate will be based in Groningen and will be expected to visit UL on a regular basis.

4) Connecting spatial and spectral information of galaxies
Supervisor: Prof. Reynier Peletier

The aim of this project is to study the relation between the spectral and spatial information of nearby galaxies, with the ultimate aim to derive a considerable amount of physical information, which one usually obtains from spectroscopy, from much more easily obtainable and cheaper imaging. While IFU-spectroscopy is expensive to obtain, in terms of availability, observing time and field of view, deep imaging, in contrast, allows to observe fainter sources but discards the majority of the spectral information by integrating the light in dedicated photometric filters. As an example, younger galaxies show much more substructure than older ones. The PhD student will work deep IFU and deep imaging data. Several methods, including population synthesis and surface brightness fluctuations, will be used.
The PhD candidate is part of the EDUCADO Doctoral Network, a collaboration between researchers in astronomy and computer science. The students will collaborate with others in the network, and will develop novel analysis methods. There will be several network schools to attend, and a 3-month secondment to Dr Kai Polsterer at the University of Heidelberg to learn about applying machine learning techniques to this problem.

5) Dusty galaxy evolution
Supervisor: Dr Lingyu Wang

Understanding the assembly of massive galaxies is critical for both cosmology and galaxy evolution studies. To achieve an unbiased census of massive galaxies in the early Universe, it is imperative to account for the dust-obscured galaxies. This dusty population can be most effectively probed in the far-infrared/sub-millimetre which traces emission from dust heated by star-formation activity and supermassive black hole accretion. However, our understanding of the dusty galaxies as a population in a cosmological context of massive galaxy evolution is extremely limited. One of the main difficulties is the relatively poor spatial resolution of single-dish observations at these wavelengths. With new ground-based sub-millimetre imaging surveys, we can expect to detect large samples of dust-obscured massive galaxies all the way to the cosmic dawn, thanks to the huge improvement in spatial resolution compared to previous space missions. The PhD candidate will work on source detection and photometry, as well as cross-identification of the sub-mm sources in deep optical and near-infrared surveys (such as from Euclid). Using the extensive multi-wavelength information, the PhD candidate will then focus on systematically studying the abundance, physical properties (such as mass, star-formation rate, contribution from the central supermassive black hole, etc), and environment at different cosmic epochs.

For detailed questions about a particular project, you can also email the prospective supervisors:
Please write a clear reference in the email subject (e.g. number(s) of the project you are applying for and/or name of the supervisor(s).


The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute is part of Faculty of the Science and Engineering and of the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA). With 16 faculty members and about 60 PhD students, it is the second-largest astronomical institute in the Netherlands and recognised worldwide for the quality of its research in multiple areas of astronomy. Groningen, a historic University town in the Northern Netherlands, occupies a strategic place in Dutch astronomy, hosting also 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.


We seek excellent candidates 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 Master's degree in Physics, Astronomy or a related field, or equivalent degree by the starting date of the position. Previous research experience and skills will be important criteria for the selection.

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,770 in the first year to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year (PhD salary scale), based on a full-time position
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a position for four years. The selected PhD candidates will be first offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years.


A complete 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 application as a single pdf file as your ‘Letter of motivation’.

Please also arrange for two letters of reference to be sent to phdkapteyn by 30 November 2023, directly by your referees.

You may apply for this position until 30 November 11:59pm / before 1 December 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

On-site interviews are planned for the week January 22-26, 2024.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Informal inquiries are welcome and should be sent to, phdkapteyn

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.


Last modified:17 October 2023 3.45 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands