Marie-Curie Early Stage Researcher in experimental particle physics - ATLAS

We invite applications for the post of Marie-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) at Nikhef, Amsterdam as part of INSIGHTS (International Training Network for Statistics in High Energy Physics and Society).  INSIGHTS is an EU-supported "Marie Curie Action" project, which funds PhD students in an interdisciplinary programme that includes specialised schools, workshops and secondments in industries and research centres. The ESR candidate will be enrolled in the PhD programme in the the university of Amsterdam and carry out a thesis in High Energy Physics with the ATLAS Collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.  The candidate must not have been resident in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the start date (further eligibility criteria are given below).
The INSIGHTS network is focused on the development and application of statistical methods for elementary particle physics, as carried out, for example, at research facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, near Geneva.The supported researchers will develop and apply research tools for physics from fields such as machine learning, software engineering, parametric modelling and Bayesian computation.  An important component of the network involves knowledge exchange with areas outside particle physics, including finance, risk modelling, volcanology, and climate science. 
The INSIGHTS Consortium consists of partners from the UK the United Kingdom (Royal Holloway University of London, University of Edinburgh), Italy (PANGEA, University of Naples, INFN), the Netherlands (Nikhef), Germany (Max-Plank Institute), Switzerland (CERN), Sweden (Lund University) and Norway (University of Oslo). 

About Nikhef and the ATLAS group

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. Among the research collaborations Nikhef participates in are the ATLAS, LHCb and ALICE experiments at CERN, the KM3NeT neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean, the VIRGO interferometer in Pisa, the Xenon1T dark matter experiment in Gran Sasso and the Pierre Auger cosmic rays observatory in Argentina. Nikhef also hosts well staffed theoretical physics and detector R&D groups. Nikhef itself is a collaboration between five major Dutch universities, including the University of Amsterdam, and the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO-I). The Nikhef ATLAS group consists of groups in Amsterdam and Nijmegen, for a total of 17 staff, and typically 5 postdocs and 15 PhD students. We have constructed part of the semiconductor tracker (SCT), part of the barrel muon chambers, and elements of muon chamber readout, alignment, slow control, trigger and data acquisition.  Our group has responsibilities in trigger and muon reconstruction software and we have been active in several analyses in Higgs, SUSY, exotic and top physics.

The position

With the discovery of the Higgs boson in Run-1 of the LHC, an key goal of the ongoing Run-2 to make a precise assessment of the properties of the Higgs boson to determine if it is precisely the particle the Standard Model predicts, or if it is subtly different. The goal of this position is to develop the statistical analysis tools that will be required for such precision tests of the Higgs boson. The candidate will contribute to the development of a new class of statistical models that move away from the simplified assumptions that were made for the discovery and implement the concepts of Higgs Effective Field Theory direct into statistical models used in LHC data analysis  At Nikhef you will be embedded in a strong team of Higgs physics analyses specialists with a broad range of expertise and a strong analysis track record in the ATLAS collaboration, and be supervised by experts in statistical data analysis (prof. dr. Wouter Verkerke and dr. Pamela Ferrari). You will perform this work as part of a team with another PhD student and postdoc. Part of the training program of this PhD student is a 4 months secondment to KMPG Big Data Analytics devision and a one-year secondment to CERN/


We are looking for a candidate with a (almost) completed master degree in high-energy physics, or a closely related field. The ideal candidate has interest in data analysis, has software skills, has some research experience in experimental particle physics and an active interest in statistical data analysis. The candidate is expected to start in the summer of 2018, but no later than Sep 1st 2018. 
Marie Sklodowska-Curie eligibility rules require Early-Stage Researchers to have at most four years' research experience, counting from the date at which they have been awarded a degree that allows them to embark on a PhD. To satisfy Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility criteria, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the start date (short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account). The Marie Sklodowska-Curie programme places no restrictions on nationality: applicants can be of any nationality and currently resident in any country worldwide, provided they meet the eligibility requirements set out above.


The position is offered for 4 years, the first three years are offered on the conditions of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie programme, the fourth year is offered under the regular employment conditions of PhD students in the Netherlands.  The candidate will be employed by the Dutch Foundation for scientific research NWO-I for the full duration of the contract and be based at Nikhef in Amsterdam. The conditions of employment of the NWO-I-foundation can be found at The educational program of the Dutch research school for subatomic physics offers annual graduate schools for PhD students, as well as frequent series of lectures on advanced topics in particle physics.

Information and Application

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply by clicking  on the 'apply now' button at the bottom of the page. Please be prepared to upload a curriculum vitae including a brief description of your research interests, and have the email addresses of at least two referents ready, who are willing to send a letter of recommendation on your behalf. This opening closes on Friday May 4th, tetters should arrive by the end of Monday May 7 for full consideration. Our aim to select candidates for an interview in mid May and hold interview with selected candidates in late May / early June
Further information on this positions can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Wouter Verkerke (

Apply now