PhD position on simulations of astrophysical plasmas

at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Published January 3, 2023
Location Leuven, Belgium
Category Machine Learning  
Job Type Scholarship  


The Center for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics (CmPA) at the Department of Mathematics of KU Leuven (Belgium) is a dynamic, diverse, and international welcoming environment pursuing a broad variety of research topics concerning space plasmas. In the context of a newly created research group, we offer a 4-year PhD position with a focus on numerical simulations of plasmas in astrophysics, employing state-of-the-art simulation codes on supercomputers. The precise scientific goals are flexible and can be agreed upon based on the candidate’s interests, but there is ample ground for diverse applications to astroplasmas both in the Newtonian (e.g., heliospheric environments) and relativistic (e.g., surroundings of compact objects, supernovae, etc.) regimes. Applications are accepted until the end of March 2023, but selection will continue until a suitable candidate is found.

The CmPA of KU Leuven offers one PhD position. The selected candidate will join the group of prof. Fabio Bacchini. During a 4-year period,they will perform numerical simulations of astrophysical plasmas with modern computer codes run on massively parallel computing facilities. They will conduct simulation campaigns, analyze results, and extract physical insight on topics of prime interest in modern astroplasma research such as (but not limited to) magnetic reconnection, plasma turbulence, shocks, and particle acceleration in a variety of astrophysical environments. These studies will be complemented with analytic calculations and comparison with observations wherever possible.


PhD applicants must hold an M.Sc. degree in physics, astrophysics, mathematics, engineering, or a closely related subject. The degree must be dated at the latest one month before the position can betaken up. This PhD position gives preference (but is not limited) to Dutch-speaking candidates. Expertise in plasma dynamics,astrophysics, numerical methods, and/or scientific computing is an asset but not a requirement. Funding for the full PhD (4 years) is guaranteed, but the selected candidate will be requested to submit a proposal for an FWO PhD Fellowship application ( by March 1st, 2023, as a possibility to acquire additional funding and gain valuable grant application writing skills.


The selected PhD students will be offered a 2-year contract, once renewable with 2 more years after positive evaluation. The salary will be commensurate to the standard scale for PhD students in Belgium; it includes social and medical insurance as well as pension rights. The foreseen starting date is October 1st 2023 but can be negotiated.

The successful PhD applicants will have to register at, and comply with, the regulations of the KU Leuven’s Arenberg Doctoral School before final acceptance. Good knowledge of the English language is a requirement to be approved by the doctoral school. The successful PhD applicant will follow a doctoral programme including personal training in management, science communication, and teaching. As part of the doctoral requirements, the student will have to take up a teaching task of on average 4 hours per week in one of the Bachelor (in Dutch) or Master (in English) programmes.


The application will require:

- A curriculum vitae;

- A list of all master courses with corresponding ECTS and individual scores obtained;

- A statement of research interests or research proposal (free format, max 3 pages plus references);

- Up to 3 letters of reference to be directly sent by the reference person(s) to

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Fabio Bacchini, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than March 31, 2023 via the online application tool
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