PhD Position in ATLAS Top Quark Physics

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: ;

As a member of our team, you will have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing efforts to understand the properties of the top quark, the heaviest elementary particle in the Standard Model. In particular, you will work on analysing the four-top-quark production. This exciting new process in particle physics was recently observed directly for the first time by both the ATLAS and CMS collaborations using data from collisions during Run 2 of the Large Hadron Collider. This is one of the rarest and most massive events measured in ATLAS so far; it has a production rate 70,000 times lower than top quark–antiquark pairs, making it an extremely challenging detection problem.

There are many exciting avenues to take with this analysis during Run 3 of the LHC to search for signs of new physics phenomena. These include:

  • the implementation of new machine learning algorithms to further improve the isolation of the 4 tops signal and look for anomalies
  • the development of advanced analysis techniques and statistical models to extract precise measurements of the properties of the top quark using Effective Field Theory and improve the measurement of the coupling of the top quark to the Higgs boson.

What do you have to offer?

Your experience and profile:

  • a (almost) completed master degree in high-energy physics, or a closely related field
  • ideally a strong interest in data analysis
  • good software skills (C++, python, ROOT)
  • (some) research experience in experimental particle physics

Please note that experience in theoretical physics is *not* required, all theory required will be taught and developed during the PhD.

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). The preferred starting date is negotiable and ideally before the end of 2023.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.We offer a PhD position based in Amsterdam, with the possibility to stay at CERN for a period of up to 1 year.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,541 to € 3,247 (scale P).This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here .

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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.

Nikhef is the national institute for subatomic physics in The Netherlands. The University of Amsterdam is one of the six major Dutch universities that constitute the institute together with the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO). At Nikhef, approximately 190 physicists and 80 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 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 a 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 machine-learning assisted 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.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the Nikhef link (please see application instructions in bold below). We accept applications until and including 15 June 2023

Applications should include the following information: 

  • Curriculum vitae including the email address of at least one referee ready who is willing to send a letter of recommendation on your behalf. .


Only complete applications received within the response period via the aforementioned link will be considered.

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.

No agencies please.


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