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Recruitment 2024/2025

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center invites applications for astronomy and astrophysics PhD studies

The Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (CAMK PAN), a leading institute of the GeoPlanet Doctoral School, offers the opportunity to carry out graduate studies leading to a PhD degree in astronomy. The PhD studies are related to subjects pursued at CAMK PAN including observational and theoretical astrophysics as well as cosmology. Our senior scientists participate in the H.E.S.S., CTA, Hyper-Kamiokande, GADMC, DarkSide, LUMI-Q, and VIRGO/LIGO/Kagra, ET and EGO projects and are involved in instrumental projects concerning the astronomical satellites eROSITA, ARCUS and ATHENA. CAMK PAN represents the Polish astronomical community in the SALT consortium which operates an 11-m optical telescope in South Africa. The Center's scientists are leading participants in the Polish scientific satellite project, BRITE, dedicated to precise stellar brightness measurements, and in the project ARAUCARIA, dedicated to the calibration of the cosmological distance scale. They also operate Cerro Murphy Observatory in Chile and SOLARIS – a network of southern hemisphere small robotic telescopes committed to stellar astronomy, the search for exoplanets, and quantum satellite communication.

Studies last 4 years and begin on October 1, 2024. During the 4-year period, students are required to take specific courses, lectures (including interdisciplinary lectures) and participate in seminars, as well as prepare the doctoral thesis. All seminars and lectures are in English. The regulations of the doctoral school, including the program of the Studies, are posted on the CAMK PAN web page.

Students are based and take their courses in Warsaw or in Toruń according to the location of their supervisors. Students based in Warsaw may apply for accommodation in the student house run by our Center.

An information about the proposed research topics and their supervisors is attached to this announcement. Candidates can apply for up to two topics, but should indicate the preferred one. Before applying, candidates should contact their potential supervisors to obtain more details on the proposals.

Students in the doctoral school receive a scholarship for the period of 4 years. The amount of scholarship is set in the Law on higher education and science and is 3466,90 PLN/month, gross (ca. 3077 PLN/month net), before the mid-term evaluation (years 1–2) and 5340,90 PLN/month, gross (ca. 4740 PLN/month, net), after the positive mid-term evaluation (years 3–4).

For the application, candidates should provide their complete application documents including:

  1. The application for admission to the doctoral school together with GDPR statement (following the templates available for download in the online application form; address given below).
  2. A copy of their master’s/university and bachelor’s degree diplomas. In case master’s degree diploma is not yet available, it must be provided before the candidate is admitted to the school.
  3. A transcript of grades (Bachelor and Master Courses).
  4. A Curriculum Vitae including an education and employment records, list of publications, information on involvement in scientific activities – membership in scientific groups/societies, participation in scientific conferences, internships and training, awards and distinctions.
  5. A letter of motivation containing a short description of the candidate's interests and scientific achievements, and justification of the intention to undertake education at the Doctoral School.
  6. English language certificate(s), if available.

All documents should be in the PDF format, including scans, and should be submitted via

an on-line application form  (recruitment closed)

by April 7th, 2024. In the online system, choose "Register" and "Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences". After giving your consents, you will be able to enter your data and upload your application documents and select a topic. After uploading the documents you should receive an email confirmation.

In addition to application documents given above, at least one recommendation letter should be sent directly by the referee to: phdstudies@camk.edu.pl, before the application deadline (April 7th).

The Recruitment Board will select candidates for the interview, which will take place on May 6th –  May 17th, 2024 (9 am – 4 pm, CEST). Decisions about admission will be made by the end of May 2024 and all the candidates will be notified by e-mail. For additional information contact the coordinator of the doctoral school, Dr. Radosław Smolec (smolec@camk.edu.pl) or the Center’s secretary office (Mrs. Katarzyna Morawska, kasia@camk.edu.pl).

Warsaw, March 6th, 2024                   

Attachment: Proposed topics of PhD theses:

Subject: Science with gravitational waves in the era of LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA Discoveries

 Supervisors: dr hab. Michał Bejger (contact: bejger@camk.edu.pl) and dr hab. Brynmor Haskell (contact: bhaskell@camk.edu.pl)

Gravitational-wave (GW) astrophysics is now an exciting, expanding branch of astronomy, with a number of breakthrough discoveries: the binary neutron star (NS) system merger accompanied by a short gamma-ray burst and a kilonova, highly-asymmetric mass ratio binary systems composed of black holes (BHs) and NS-mass objects, very massive BH system, with the intermediate mass BH final remnant, evidence of objects populating mass gaps etc. These observations are cornerstones of novel studies on the NS dense-matter equation of state, rates and populations of compact objects, GW Hubble constant cosmology, tests of theories of gravity etc.


The 2nd generation (''Advanced Era'') LIGO and Virgo global network of detectors is expanded by the Japanese KAGRA interferometer; the LVK Collaboration will further improve its capabilities. In addition to hundreds of binary BH inspiral events, the LVK collaboration searches for long-lasting GWs, unmodelled burst-like emission (for example from supernovae), and stochastic background from whole populations of sources.


The project is funded by the NCN (2023/49/B/ST9/02777) and included in the LVK activities. It aims at the exploration and implementation of new data analysis solutions, and studies of astrophysical models of GW emitting sources, in order to optimally exploit the data registered by the LVK detectors' network. The candidate should have a strong background in astrophysics and programming, and experience in the computational methods and statistics. Experience in machine learning will be a definitive advantage.      

Location: Warsaw

Funding: Grant fellowship: 5 000 PLN/month, gross, for 4 years PhD.

Note: A separate ranking list will be created for this topic



Subject: Novel detector concepts for future Dark Matter experiments

Supervisor: dr André Cortez (Astrocent/CAMK PAN; contact: acortez@camk.edu.pl) and dr hab. Marcin Kuźniak (Astrocent/CAMK PAN; contact: mkuzniak@camk.edu.pl)

Abstract: The presence of Dark Matter (DM) in the Universe is nowadays an established, yet still mysterious, paradigm: deciphering its essence is one of the most compelling tasks for fundamental physics today. Dark Matter accounts for 26% of the mass-energy density of the observable universe (while ordinary matter accounts for only 4.6% and the remainder is attributed to dark energy). However, the exact nature of dark matter (and dark energy) is still unknown and its origin is, at present, one of the most important questions in physics.


Compelling astrophysical and cosmological evidence for the existence of dark matter (DM) has led to numerous direct detection DM experiments searching for particle candidates, including DarkSide, XENON, LZ, etc. These experiments rely on signals induced by elastic scattering of WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) on nuclei in noble liquid detectors sensitive to vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) scintillation or scintillation and ionization. Experiments relying on such detectors are leading today direct DM searches with the most stringent upper limits in the 1000 GeV WIMP mass range.


Dual-phase noble liquid time projection chambers (LXe and LAr dual-phase TPCs) have proven to have the strongest detection sensitivity at the level that no other technologies can reach in foreseeable future. Experiments relying on such detectors often make use of the combined information of primary (S1) and secondary (S2) scintillation to perform particle identification. In order to explore low-mass WIMP regions (sub-GeV masses), these experiments depend only on the analysis of S2 signals, “S2-only”, as only a few prompt scintillation photons (S1) are produced, thus falling below the energy threshold. Even though S2-only analyses allow an increase in the sensitivity for low mass candidates, particle discrimination and z-coordinate information is lost. As a result, a large number of events are observed for which the lack of a full background model limits the sensitivity of low-mass DM searches. Therefore modeling such mechanisms and developing a solution to mitigate the occurrence of delayed (spurious) emissions resulting from unextracted electrons at the gas-liquid interface in such detectors will be essential to explore sub-GeV DM models. In addition, exploring recent R&D developments in MPGDs, namely the integration of wavelength-shifting materials in novel optical amplification structures with floating capability, will allow us to tackle the mentioned challenges


Aim: The goal of this project is to contribute to the advancement of noble gas and liquid optical Time Projection Chamber (TPC) detectors for rare-event searches, in particular Dark Matter (DM). The main objective is to develop novel optical amplification structures based on Micropattern Gas Detectors (MPGDs) technology, incorporating wavelength-shifting materials (for which Astrocent/ CAMK PAN is a driving force), capable of providing improved light collection and greater operating stability at higher gains. These new proposed optical amplification structures may help to improve the sensitivity of these experiments, namely in terms of low mass (below 10 GeV/c2 mass), while addressing some of the main challenges faced in the scaling-up of Dark Matter experiments.


The work plan will be carried out mainly at Astrocent and our cleanroom facilities at CEZAMAT. The selected candidate will participate in the design, simulation, construction, assembly and testing of the new optical amplification structures, as well as in the data analysis. The project will be performed in collaboration with Instituto Galego de Fisica de Altas-Enerxias and University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), LIBPhys and LIP from Portugal.         

Location: Warsaw

Funding: by the institute, as set in the announcement. Possibility to switch into grant funding in later years.

Note: A single ranking list will be created for this and other topics, except the first.


Subject: Astroparticle physics with neutrinos (and/or muons)

Supervisor: dr Piotr Kalaczyński (contact: pkalaczynski@camk.edu.pl), dr hab. Piotr Gawron (contact: gawron@camk.edu.pl) or dr hab. Artur Ukleja (contact: artur.ukleja@ncbj.gov.pl), depending on the topic choice.

Neutrinos are certainly not what typically comes to mind when hearing the word astronomy. Nevertheless, together with the gravitational waves they are gaining importance in studies of the cosmos today. They allow probing otherwise impenetrably dense regions, while retaining directionality, since they are not deflected by the magnetic fields.


Detecting them has been a challenge, successfully tackled in the previous century. Now we are entering an era of multimessenger astronomy with neutrinos and precision measurements of their properties. Both areas are covered by the network of underwater Cherenkov neutrino telescopes currently constructed at two sites in the Mediterranean Sea by the KM3NeT Collaboration. The range of possible topics includes (but is not limited to):
    • self-veto study
    • neutrino oscillation analysis: sterile neutrinos, non-standard interactions, …
    • neutrino flux studies: prompt and cosmic components, diffuse fit, seasonal dependence
    • neutrinos from transient sources: FRBs, GRBs, SNe, …
    • reconstruction of muon and neutrino events using ML methods (classical or quantum)
    • acoustic neutrino detection
    • correlation between the neutrino flux and earthquakes
    • measurement of the Earth's radius with cosmic ray muons
    • cosmic ray composition measurement
The PhD candidate should ideally have some prior experience with astroparticle physics, programming and data analysis.  

Location: Warsaw

Funding: by the institute, as set in the announcement. Possibility to switch into grant funding in later years.

Note: A single ranking list will be created for this and other topics, except the first.


Subject: High energy astrophysics

Supervisors: Prof. dr hab. Włodzimierz Kluźniak (contact: wlodek@camk.edu.pl), Dr Bhupendra Mishra (contact: mbhupe@camk.edu.pl), Dr Miki Čemeljić (contact: miki@camk.edu.pl)

Topics in high energy radiation and the astrophysics of compact objects (singularities, black holes, neutron stars), including the structure and emission of accretion disks, and exoplanets around compact stars.

Location: Warsaw

Funding: by the institute, as set in the announcement. Possibility to switch into grant funding in later years.

Note: A single ranking list will be created for this and other topics, except the first.



Subject: Numerical simulations of relativistic jets from black holes

Supervisor: dr hab. Krzysztof Nalewajko (contact: knalew@camk.edu.pl)

Relativistic jets are powerful collimated outflows observed in certain active galaxies, stellar X-ray binaries, gamma-ray bursts, etc. They are thought to be driven by the magnetospheres of accreting rotating black holes. Global numerical simulations of relativistic jets can be performed by numerical simulations of magnetized plasma in the Kerr metric. The Ph.D. candidate will be introduced to general relativistic numerical codes, high-performance computing, theory of relativistic jets, etc. Knowledge of numerical methods, fluid dynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, plasma physics or general relativity will be preferred, but is not mandatory.

Location: Warsaw

Funding: by the institute, as set in the announcement. Possibility to switch into grant funding in later years.

Note: A single ranking list will be created for this and other topics, except the first.