PhD student in experimental particle physics - ATLAS

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

The goal of the proposal is to study the trilinear Higgs couplings at the LHC. Direct observation of a Higgs decaying into two Higgses will be an ideal probe for determining the trilinear Higgs self-coupling. At the LHC these events have an extremely small production rate and face large backgrounds. The candidate will focus on the WWbb final state. It will demand pioneering new analysis methods to select those rare events. Advanced multivariate techniques, boosted event topologies and  recent developments on the theoretical description of the signal will  be exploited. The project is ambitious and challenging and is particularly suitable for a candidate with good theoretical knowledge and excellent programming skills. Dr. Pamela Ferrari, Prof. Dr. Bob Van Eijk and a Postdoc will closely collaborate with the candidate and will provide the necessary guidance. 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. Part of the PhD work is an ATLAS authorship qualification task that will be chosen taking into account both the responsibilities of the institute as well as the interests and capabilities of the candidate.


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. The candidate is expected to start in the fall of 2018, with a preference for September 2018.


The position is offered for 4 years. The candidate will be employed by the Dutch Foundation for scientific research NWO-I and based at Nikhef in Amsterdam. All positions foresee a one year stay at CERN. You will receive a competitive salary, and an additional net allowance during your stay at CERN. The conditions of employment are excellent and include extra months' salary payment in May and December and good travel facilities. 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 the 'apply now' button below. 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. The opening closes on Friday the 4th of May 2018, letters 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 position can be obtained from Dr. Pamela Ferrari (, Prof. Dr. Bob Van Eijk  ( and Prof. Dr. Wouter Verkerke (

Apply now