Early Stage Researcher (Marie Curie ITN BiD4BEST)
As part of the European Commission Innovative Training Network (ITN) BiD4BEST, Durham University is hiring an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) to undertake a PhD to explore the obscured phase in the growth of supermassive black holes (SMBHs). The successful student will work under the supervision of Prof David Alexander in the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy within the Department of Physics. They will develop cutting-edge machine-learning techniques to optimise the selection of obscured AGN, even within strongly star-forming host galaxies. From this selection the student will construct the multi-wavelength spectral energy distributions of the selected AGN and derive their physical properties; e.g., the SMBH accretion rate, the host-galaxy mass and star-formation rate, the presence of strong AGN-related radio emission. With these data the student will distinguish between the two competing models for AGN (the orientation model and the evolution model) and confront their results with world-leading numerical simulations to place them within the broader cosmological context of the growth and evolution of SMBHs. This work will be used to develop the methodology for on-going and future AGN surveys (e.g., eROSITA; 4MOST; SPICA; Athena). As part of the PhD project, the student will undertake research placements at the National Observatory of Athens, Leiden University, in addition to industry placements to learn about machine-learning techniques and communication in science.
About BiD4BEST: Big Data Applications for Black Hole Evolution Studies offers doctoral training in one of the most visible areas of astrophysical research, the formation of SMBHs in galaxies. It brings together leading scientists in observational and theoretical studies of SMBHs and galaxies, industrial experts in state-of-the-art big-data technologies, and professionals in science dissemination. The proposed research training programme aspires to generate individuals that in addition to academic competences, master big-data analytics and have the capacity to apply these technologies to solve problems in different sectors (research, industry, non-academic) by developing innovative products and services. Academic partners in the BiD4BEST ITN include some of Europe's most prestigious universities. Overall there are 13 PhD positions available in BiD4BEST across 10 different institutions in the UK, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain, one of which will be hosted at Durham University. We encourage all eligible candidates to also consider applying for PhD positions at the other BiD4BEST institutions; for more information on BiD4BEST please see:
https://wwwmpa.mpa-garching.mpg.de/~kdolag/BiD4BEST/index.html If you are successful in obtaining this position you will be required to apply for a PHD at Durham University. Please see the following link for more information:
https://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/postgraduate/prospectivestudents/howtoapply/ Gross Living Allowance: total amount €39,240 per year.
Mobility Allowance: total amount €7,200 per year. Family allowance: total amount €6,000 per year (eligibility depends on supporting evidence that at the time the ESR position starts the ESR is married, in a partnership equivalent to marriage in the country it was formalised or have dependent children).