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Collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and ASTRON

The Department of Astronomy of the University of Cape Town (South Africa), ASTRON and the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) have decided to set up a collaboration of graduate education and research. The collaboration will consist of scientific projects centered around joint PhD positions, and visits of PhD students, postdocs and staff members from South Africa to the Netherlands and vice versa.

The aim of the collaboration is to strengthen the research in research areas of common interest. All institutes have strong, world-leading, radio astronomy groups, that are working towards the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). In that process the new technology Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has been constructed by ASTRON in the Netherlands. Also, a multi-receiver front end instrument is being made for the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT), called Apertif, increasing the field of view of the telescope by a factor 25. In South Africa, a SKA-demonstrator of 64 13.5-m dishes, named MeerKAT, is being constructed in the Karoo desert. The institutes also have large optical/infrared groups, which can use the new Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) telescope, one of the largest telescopes on earth, which is opening new research areas in e.g. galaxy evolution as a function of environment and redshift, dark matter contents of galaxy, and the search for black holes. Apart from this the research being conducted at these institutes covers a large range of other topics, see here for Kapteyn, here for ASTRON and here for Astronomy UCT. The projects are funded by all 3 partners.

The collaboration consists of

  • Common PhD projects. This programme is meant for students who have finished, or soon will finish their Masters at UCT or other South African universities. Positions will be for 4 years, to be spent for 1 year at UCT in Cape Town and 3 years in the Netherlands at ASTRON and/or Groningen. The selection will be made by a committee consisting of 1 representative from Kapteyn/RUG, ASTRON and UCT. We will soon be offering 1 position.
  • Visits between the partners. These can be visits for up to 6 months by Masters and PhD students, postdocs or staff members. For these visits funding from NWO is available. For more information, please contact RenĂ©e Kraan-Korteweg, Head of the Department of Astronomy, UCT, or Reynier Peletier, Director Kapteyn Astronomical Institute.

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