Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

2 PhD positions on Supermassive Black Hole Formation funded by the H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019 Project "BiD4BEST"

    National Observatory of Athens
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    01/04/2020 00:00 - Europe/Athens
    Greece › Penteli
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Two 3-year PhD studentships are available from Sept. 2020 on the formation of supermassive black-holes at the centres of galaxies. The projects will focus on observational studies of the environment and the accretion properties of Active Galactic Nuclei. The positions are funded by the H2020 MSCA-ITN "BiD4BEST: Big Data analytics for Black-hole Evolution Studies". For Application Details look at the "Additional Information" tab below. A detailed description of the projects offered at the National Observatry of Athens:

Studying the distribution of accreting supermassive black-holes on the cosmic web: explore the role of environment in the activation of supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies. Tools and methods will be developed to measure observationally the local density of galaxies in the vicinity of Active Galactic Nuclei. Semi-empirical models will be used/constructed to interpret these results and link the distribution of AGN on the cosmic web with different scenarios for the fueling of supermassive black holes. The PhD project requires both observational and modeling work. This is a collaborative project between the National Observatory of Athens and the University of Southampton. The successful candidate will enroll to the PhD programme of the University of Southampton but will be physically based at the National Observatory of Athens. For informal inquiries please contact Dr. Antonis Georgakakis (age@noa.gr)

Testing evolutionary scenarios of the obscuration properties of Active Galactic Nuclei: this project will use multiwavelength observations to study the accretion properties of AGN (e.g. Eddington ratio) in relation to the incidence of dust and gas clouds in the vicinity of the active nucleus that absorb the light emitted by the accretion process. These observations will be interpreted in the context of either evolutionary scenarios for the origin of the obscuring material (e.g. inflows of gas and dust clouds that feed the black hole), or  simple orientation models (random orientation of an obscuring screen relative to the observer). A systematic association of obscured AGN with fast-accreting black holes (high Eddington ratios) would provide strong evidence for the evolutionary scenario. Forward-models are expected to be developed for the interpretation of the data. This a joint project between the National Observatory of Athens and the Durham University and will use the diverse expertise on both observations and theory offered by the BiD4BEST nodes. The successful candidate will enroll to the PhD programme of the Durham University but will be physically based at National Observatory of Athens. For informal inquiries please contact Dr. Antonis Georgakakis (age@noa.gr)


Benefits: The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Early Stage Researchers. It includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months. The researchers will benefit from a variety of dedicated training activities that include secondments to BiD4BEST academic and industrial partners, as well as courses on topics that range from astrophysics to big-data analytics and soft skills.

Eligibility criteria

Eligibility: successful candidates must be early stage researchers within the first four years of their research career (measured from the date they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a PhD). EU mobility regulations also apply: at the time of their selection, the candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Greece for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

Selection process

Application details: Applicants should sent a covering letter, a statement of purpose (one page describing interests, academic profile, motivation to pursue a PhD and explaining the choice of the specific project), a Curriculum Vitae (including any research experience), all relevant University transcripts and proof of adequate knowledge of the English language to Dr. Antonis Georgakakis (age@noa.gr) by 01/04/2020. Two recommendation letters should also be sent to the same email address. The PhD degrees for each of the two projects will be awarded by the Universities of Southampton and Durham respectively. For that reason, full applications should also be submitted electronically to the Astronomy Group of the University of Southampton and/or the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy of the Durham University. Note that deadline and application requirements for Southampton and Durham may be different. The recruitment process will follow the European Code of Conduct for Recruitment.

Recruitment Process: candidates will be interviewed by a committee that includes at least two BiD4BEST members. Interviews can be carried out remotely.

Equal Opportunities: the BiD4BEST partners value diversity and equality.

Personal Data: any  personal data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 679/2016 EU (GDPR) on the Protection of Individuals.

Additional comments

Work Location: successful candidates will be based at the premises of the Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) of the National Observatory of Athens. They will also be enrolled in one of the Astronomy Group of the University of Southampton or the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy of the Durham University, which will award their doctorate degrees.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 860744.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Astronomy: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • Solid background in Physics, Mathematics and Astrophysics.
  • Good programming skills.
  • Team working: ability to collaborate with a large international and multidisciplinary team.
  • Enthusiasm towards science and discovery.
  • any research experience in astronomy, physics or related fields is a plus.
  • applicants should be prepared to take extended secondments to both the academic and industrial partners of the BiD4BEST consortium. They are also expected to participate in the extensive outreach activities of the BiD4BEST network.

Map Information

Job Work Location Personal Assistance locations
Work location(s)
2 position(s) available at
National Observatory of Athens
I. Metaxa and Vas. Pavlou

EURAXESS offer ID: 480075


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