PhD Positions in Experimental Particle Physics
University of Amsterdam Institute of Physics

PhD positions in experimental particle physics (ATLAS, Higgs)

Publication date 18 March 2021

Closing date 18 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 21-183

For Nikhef the Institute of Physics (IoP) is looking for multiple PhD students to join the programme on Higgs boson physics. The Higgs boson is hypothesized to play multiple key roles in our current understanding of Nature, ranging from the origin mass of elementary particles to the breaking of the electroweak symmetry, and is the only particle with a non-zero vacuum expectation value. Since its discovery in 2012, the ever-increasing samples of Higgs bosons produced at the LHC provide an opportunity to precisely study these key roles of the Higgs boson. At Nikhef we focus on three major topics: the Higgs as origin of mass of all generations of fermions, Higgs self-couplings, and studies of Higgs properties in differential distributions, the intrinsic width, as well high-energy tails that are extra sensitive to non-SM effects.

The positions offered here are part of a NWO-funded physics programme “At the heart of the Higgs”, which will comprise 7 PhD positions and 3 postdoctoral positions at Nikhef in the period 2021-2026 all focused on Higgs boson physics, complemented by 9 Nikhef staff scientists that offer supervision, networking opportunities and a specialized training programme in data analysis techniques and Higgs boson physics.

What do we require?

We are looking for PhD candidates with an (almost) completed Master degree in high-energy physics or in a closely related field. The ideal candidate has a strong interest in data analysis, has good software skills (C++, Python, ROOT) and has (some) research experience in experimental particle physics.

Our offer

We 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). This 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. You will be enrolled in the national research school for subatomic physics that offers multiple summer schools as well as a continuing advanced education programme in particles physics. During the doctoral programme there is the possibility to stay at CERN for a period of 1 year.

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 fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is 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. In addition to this vacancy more PhD positions are available paid for by NWO-I foundation. For details about the NWO-I conditions of employment conditions can be found here.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


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

  • Prof. Wouter Verkerke

About the faculty

The UvA’s Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, 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 Institute of Physics (IoP) is located in the center of the Amsterdam Science Park. The IoP – as part of the Faculty of Science –is housed in a modern building with excellent labs and technical facilities. Surrounded by several national research institutes and with our partners at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the institute is part of a strong physics center of international standing. One of the institutes that the IoP has very close ties to is Nikhef, the national institute for subatomic physics in The Netherlands. The present vacancy is fully embedded in the ATLAS group of Nikhef.

About Nikhef

Nikhef is 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. Together, they perform theoretical and experimental research in the fields of particle and astroparticle physics. The Nikhef institute is a collaboration between six major Dutch universities and the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO).

The Nikhef ATLAS group

The Nikhef ATLAS group consists of groups in Amsterdam and Nijmegen, for a total of 15 staff, and typically 5 postdocs and 20 PhD students. As a founding member of the ATLAS collaboration, the group has a long-term involvement in both detector construction (the semiconductor tracker, barrel muon chambers, readout, alignment, and data acquisition) as well as operations (trigger and muon tracking reconstruction). For the phase-2 upgrade (2025-2027), we will assemble and commission one of the end-caps of an new all-silicon inner tracking system (ITk) in Amsterdam and develop a new universal readout system (FELIX) for all ATLAS detector systems. 

The group also has a strong record in physics data analysis, with strong focus on Higgs boson physics, top quark physics and searches for new physics signatures. Nikhef also hosts an ATLAS Tier-1 data processing center, and offers substantial additional computing resources for end-user data analysis and simulation.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize 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 18 April 2021. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • curriculum vitae;
  • email addresses of at least two referees who are willing to send a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
Apply now

No agencies please


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