PhD Fellowship in Unveiling the mysteries of the Universe with massive galaxy surveys
The doctoral fellowship programme INPhINIT ”la Caixa” is devoted to attracting talented Early-Stage Researchers—of any nationality—who wish to pursue doctoral studies in Spanish or Portuguese territory. Sponsored by ”la Caixa” Foundation, it is aimed at supporting the best scientific talent and fostering innovative and high-quality research in Spain and Portugal by recruiting outstanding international students and offering them an attractive and competitive environment for conducting research of excellence.
The Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona is a research centre accredited with the Spanish Seal of Excellence María de Maeztu in 2020, the perfect place to carry out your PhD project through an INPhINIT Incoming fellowship.
The ICCUB Physical Cosmology group has been studying connections between theory and observations - via interpretation of data - since 2007. Our main research interest is making the link between cosmological observations and theoretical physics beyond the standard cosmological model, hoping to shed some light on the “open questions” in cosmology, whose members of the group have actively contributed to. These are questions such as, what are the properties of dark ma8er, what is dark energy, which is the mass of the neutrinos or whether there is new physics beyond the standard model of cosmology. Our collective expertise ranges from galaxy evolution to inflation model building, but our main strengths are in analysis and interpretation of large-scale structure surveys. Members of the group are involved in the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and in the Euclid consortium. These highly international collaborations aim to survey massive areas of the sky in order to generate the largest 3D galaxy maps. Exploiting the statistical properties of these maps we can infer the underlying physics of the Universe. In particular DESI is expected to produce data on a timescale shorter than the studentship offering a unique opportunity to exploit this data. The student will join the research group led by Prof. Licia Verde, world expert in physical cosmology, and will have the chance to become member of international collaborations such as DESI and Euclid. The student will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other universities which the group has tight links, including the University of Padova, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris and Imperial College in London. The group offers a diverse and vibrant learning and research environment.
Job position description
The current understanding of the Universe is highly incomplete. According to the standard cosmological model, its dynamics is governed by two mysterious components which represent 95% of the energy content of the Universe: dark matter and dark en- Physics ergy. For each of these components, we have multiple and independent indirect evidences and fragmentary theoretical comprehension. Unveiling the nature of these dark sector components represents the next frontier in fundamental physics. The next-generation galaxy surveys, such as DESI and Euclid, will play a crucial role.
The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will measure the effect of dark energy on the expansion of the universe. It will collect optical spectra for tens of millions of galaxies and quasars, which will allow the creation of the largest 3D map spanning the nearby universe up to 11 billion light years. DESI has already started collecting spectra in 2020 and is expected to continue to do so for another 4 years at least. Several intermediate data releases and publication of cosmological results are expected. The student will have access to these non-public datasets to develop their research in some of the following topics: better understanding the properties of General Relativity at cosmic scales, unveiling the properties of dark energy, measuring the growth of cosmic structure, detecting a neutrino mass signature, or detecting a primordial cosmological perturbations signature. The research on any of these areas is expected to have a massive impact along this decade and will contribute to answering the big open puzzles introduced above.
The student will work alongside the rest of the team to develop the appropriate techniques to be applied to DESI data to perform any of the research topics mentioned above. The student will be fully involved with the cosmological interpretation and publication of the results.
Prof. Licia Verde
Research product / Research group
Description of the members of the group
Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument
Euclid mission webpage
Other members of the group webpage
The maximum total payment amount will be €122,592, as broken down below:
- An annual payment of €35,800 to the institution to cover the Fellow’s contract, who will receive a gross annual income around €28.000. This amount might vary if there are modifications in the legal framework.
- €3,500 per year, as an additional amount for conferences, courses, research stays, consumables, equipment, charges for the use of intellectual property, etc.
The ”la Caixa” Foundation will award a prize of €7,500 (subject to taxes), which will be paid to the fellows who deposit their thesis within 6 months after the third year of their fellowship has ended.
- The tuition fees to the official doctoral programme
In addition to financial support, the fellowship includes a training programme on transversal skills, which has been specially designed by leading international institutions in the sector.
For more information on the employment conditions, please refer to this document.
Working at the Institute of Cosmos Sciences
The Institute of Cosmos Sciences is a research institute of the University of Barcelona. It is an interdisciplinary centre dedicated to fundamental research in the fields of cosmology, astrophysics, and particle physics. In addition, the institute has a strong technology program through its participation in international collaborations in observational astronomy and experimental particle physics.
Moreover, the ICCUB participates in many key international scientific consortia and projects, such as the Large Hadron Collider, the Gaia astrometric space mission, the MAGIC / CTA high-energy astrophysics telescopes, and the Virgo gravitational wave detector, among others. Additional information about the Institute and the University of Barcelona can be found here.
You will be encouraged to contribute and interact with other researchers in the vibrant and international research environment as well as to participate in our outreach initiatives, more information at serviAstro and serviParticules.
As part of the University of Barcelona, the ICCUB is a recipient of the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research (HRS4R) Award, which recognises, among other achievements, respect for equal opportunities and the capacity to attract talent in a positive working environment that promotes the pursuit of successful research careers. The ICCUB respects the principles of open, transparent, merit-based selection. We strongly encourage women and underrepresented minorities in physical sciences to apply. For additional information please see the Diversity, equity and inclusion Commission.
The ICCUB is located in Barcelona, considered the 8th World's Best Cities 2021: one with near-perfect weather year-round, miles and miles of beaches, iconic parks, striking architecture and colourful neighbourhoods that march to their own beat—artistic, sophisticated, bohemian. Moreover, it is a pole of attraction for the technology sector, a top choice to establish a company in this sector, and it hosts some of the world's major technological events, such as the Mobile World Congress and the Smart City Expo. In addition, Barcelona and its metropolitan area is a leading destination on the map of global technological ecosystems and has infrastructures such as science parks, universities and the 22@ district.
In order to be accepted, candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Experience: At the call deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree or be in a position to apply for one.
- Studies pursued: Applicants must hold a higher education degree that makes them eligible to enroll in a doctoral programme before starting at their host institutions.
The host university will verify, upon starting the admission process to the doctoral programme, that the studies taken up by the selected candidates make them eligible to enroll in an official doctoral programme in accordance with the regulations in force in Spain or Portugal. Should they be found not eligible after verification, the fellowship will be withdrawn.
Under no circumstances may candidates have previously enrolled in the same doctoral studies for which they are applying for the fellowship.
- Geographic mobility: Candidates must not have resided or have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline. Short stays, such as holidays, done in a country other than their country of usual residence (where they carried out their main activity), will be considered as time spent in their country of usual residence.
- Level of English: Candidates must have a demonstrable level of English (B2 or higher).
For more information on the candidates requirements, please refer to this document.
Inquiries about the application submission can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline: Please submit your applications by January 25th 2023 at 2pm.
The process is comprised of three phases:
- Eligibility screening: all applications received are reviewed to check the accomplishment of the eligibility criteria published in the rules for participation
- Remote evaluation (shortlisting): an evaluation panel will review the applications and those that receive the highest scores will pass to the next stage.
- Personal interviews: shortlisted candidates are invited to a remotely interview before a multidisciplinary committee on May 23, 35 and 25 2023.
The rating criteria that govern the selection process can be found in the Evaluation of applications section of the ”la Caixa” Fellowship Programme website.
For more information on the selection process, please refer to this document.
Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No713673.
The co-funded part of the programme runs from 01/10/2016 to 30/09/2021 and finances the researchers recruited under Call 2017 and 2018.