PhD Position in Dark Matter Research

University of Amsterdam Institute of Physics

PhD position in Dark Matter Research - experiment

Publication date 27 January 2021

Closing date 15 April 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-049

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to work on the XENONnT direct Dark Matter detection experiment.

The experiment uses scintillation and ionization signals from a liquid xenon target to look for Dark Matter interactions and is expected to become one of the world’s most sensitive Dark Matter detectors. The construction of the XENONnT detector is completed and its commissioning is ongoing. The experiment is located in the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy and run by an international team of scientists. The Amsterdam group is closely involved in all aspects of XENONnT and will take an important role in the upcoming operations and data-analysis.

What are you going to do?

The successful candidate will focus on the analysis of low-energy data from the XENONnT experiment. This topic has received much interest recently due to a yet unexplained excess of events observed by the XENON1T experiment. This may point towards a not well understood backgrounds, or maybe even new physics.

The project is a close collaboration between the Experimental Dark matter group and the Nikhef theory department, where a theory PhD student will be hired.

What do we require?

The successful candidate should:

  • have a Master’s degree in Physics or equivalent (expected to be received by fall 2021);
  • excel academically, as indicated by grade transcript and curriculum vitae;
  • fluent in spoken and written English;
  • have the ability and interest to work in a collaborative team;
  • have an interest in sharing science with the wider non-scientist community.

Strong software skills are highly desirable.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract (38 hours a week), exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and the Nikhef Institute

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Dark Matter group is embedded at Nikhef, the national institute for subatomic physics in the Netherlands. At Nikhef, approximately 175 physicists and 75 technical staff members work together in an open and international scientific environment at Nikhef. Jointly, they perform excellent theoretical and experimental research in the fields of Particle- and astroparticle physics. Among the research collaborations Nikhef participates in are the ATLAS, LHCb and ALICE experiments at CERN, the KM3NeT neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean, the Virgo interferometer in Pisa, the XENON Dark matter detector in Gran Sasso, Italy and the Pierre Auger cosmic ray observatory in Argentina. Nikhef is a collaboration between six major Dutch universities and the Nikhef research institute. The Dark Matter Group is also part of GRAPPA, a collaboration between UvA’s Institute of Physics and the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Prof. Auke-Pieter Colijn
    T: +31 (0)6 4681 2133

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 15 April 2021. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a cover letter;
  • a research statement (past research activities including master thesis, future interests);
  • a transcript of the grades;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • the name and email address of two referees, who will be asked to upload their recommendation letters directly.

Applications received until 15 April 2021 will receive full consideration. Position remains open until filled.

No agencies please


Apply now