Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (3-year PhD) - mergers in fuelling Active Galactic Nuclei (BiD4BEST)

Job title Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (3-year PhD) - mergers in fuelling Active Galactic Nuclei (BiD4BEST)

Department Physics

Salary Starting salary £32,750 (inclusive of pension) £37,750 (exclusive of pension) The mobility allowance of (€600/£439.37)/family allowance (€500/£366.14)

Grade N/A

Placed on Monday 13 January 2020

Closing date Sunday 01 March 2020

Interview date To be confirmed

Reference CC7371

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We seek applications for a 3 year PhD Fellowship.

This is a fully-funded contract of employment with a requirement that the successful candidate registers for a PhD.

As part of the European Commission Innovative Training Network (ITN) BiD4BEST, the University of Bath is hiring a PhD student working on the role of mergers and instabilities in the fuelling of supermassive black holes under the supervision of Dr Carolin Villforth.

You will use machine learning techniques to compare cosmological simulations to observed galaxy morphologies. Using these cutting-edge techniques, you will set black hole accretion in a cosmological context and determine the intrinsic contribution of mergers and instabilities to black hole accretion. This work will be used to develop methodology for future surveys (LSST, Euclid). As part of the PhD project, you will undertake research placements at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany), Observatoire de Paris (France) and University of Southampton, as well as an industry placement in data science at Unbound.

We invite members of the community with expertise in astronomy, education, disability, cultural heritage, people from different racial groups, ethnicities, religious groups, members of the LGBTIQ+ community, different genders, language groups, ages, socio-economic status, and other marginalized groups, including individuals who occupy the intersections of these identities.

About BiD4BEST:
The BiD4BEST ITN will offer doctoral training in one of the most visible areas of astrophysical research, the formation of supermassive black holes in galaxies. A coordinated research training effort in this field is needed now to mobilise the community in Europe and prepare a core group of young scientists in anticipation of new observational data in the early/mid 2020s from future space missions with strong European involvement. These data will have the quality and volume to yield transformational science on the formation of black-holes in galaxies, as long as the necessary expertise and synergies among observation, theory and data analytics exist within the European astronomy community. We will achieve this goal by setting up a research training network that brings together leading scientists in observational and theoretical studies of black holes and galaxies, industrial experts in cutting-edge big-data technologies, and professionals in science dissemination. The proposed research training programme aspires to generate individuals that in addition to academic competences, master big-data analytics and have the capacity to apply these technologies to solve problems in different sectors (research, industry, non-academic) by developing innovative products and services.

The University of Bath is a campus University overlooking the World Heritage City of Bath. Facilities are outstanding and working conditions excellent.

Applicants may be from anywhere in the world, but must not have resided, or carried out their main activity (work or studies), in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior.

Applicants must:

•    comply with the EU definition of Early Stage Researchers (specifically, not having previously been awarded a doctoral degree);

•    be in possession of, or be expected to be awarded prior to commencement of the Fellowship, a masters level (four year) degree, or equivalent experience following a three year degree: 

o    in one of the following fields: Maths, Physics, Computer sciences or related degree

o    at a level of a first or upper second class grade, or equivalent; and

•    meet the English language requirements of the University of Bath Doctoral College (currently a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 6.0 in each of the four components).

All candidates must complete a PhD application by the closing date advertised above as well as submitting an application for this post.

Please visit: and complete an application for a PhD programme in Physics (full-time). 

It is suggested that you complete the PhD application first, stating on the application form that you will be applying for the MSCA Fellowship.  With the PhD application, you should upload:

•    a scan of your undergraduate degree certificate and your postgraduate degree certificate if you have one

•    a scan of your degree transcript and your interim degree transcript if you are still studying

•    an up-to-date CV

•    a supporting statement or covering letter detailing your interest and suitability for the role

•    an English language certificate (e.g. Academic IELTS) if appropriate

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Carolin Villforth (, however, please ensure that your application is submitted via the University website.

When you complete your job application, you will need to upload your CV and a covering letter but there is no need to replicate information or documents that you have already provided as part of your PhD application.

Appointments to commence: 01/10/2020 and are on a fixed term basis of up to 3 years.

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Further details:
The University of Bath is an equal opportunities employer and has an excellent international reputation with staff from over 60 different nations. To achieve our global aspirations, we welcome applicants from all backgrounds.