PhD grant

PhD position in Fundamental Physics and Astrophysics from Gravitational Waves

Deadline: 27.10.2020      OPEN 
Quantity: 1
Contact email:


The ICCUB is an interdisciplinary center with more than 60 long term scientists, 20 engineers and 80 postdoctoral researchers (55% international) and PhD students (30%international) offering an international and multicultural environment. The ICCUB also hosts a vibrant fundamental research program in cosmology, astrophysics and particle physics, with a strong technology unit supporting our participation in international collaborations in observational astronomy and experimental particle physics.

The Unit of Excellence Maria de Maeztu recognition has been awarded by the Spanish Government in 2020 for the second time to the ICCUB, as a center with a highly competitive strategic research programmes in the frontiers of knowledge. Thanks to this recognition, it is avalaible in the Aid for pre-doc contracts for the training of doctors (FPI 2020 call) the following project, funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation:

- Fundamental Physics and Astrophysics from Gravitational Waves, PI Mark Gieles, Reference CEX2019-000918-M-20-1

Understanding the origin of coalescing binary black holes in LIGO-Virgo from their eccentricities

The LIGO and Virgo interferometers have detected gravitational waves (GW) from several dozens of coalescing binary black hole (BBHs). Several formation channels are able to explain the BBH merger rate, leaving their origin an open question. The dynamical formation of BBHs in dense stellar systems is a promising model and it predicts that a fraction of BBHs have measurable orbital eccentricities, making this a "smoking gun" signal. Thanks to continuous improvements of GW detector sensitivity - to which the Technological Unit of the ICCUB is actively contributing - empirical constraints on BBH eccentricity are starting to arrive. You will use gravitational N-body simulations and a BBH population synthesis model to make predictions for the eccentricity distribution of BBHs that formed in all star clusters in the Universe. Then, by using Numerical Relativity techniques, you will infer eccentricities from the GW data and explore degeneracies with other binary parameters. You will join the ICCUB Virgo group, consisting of PhD students, post-docs, academics and technical staff who all share a passion for GW research. You will also join the Virgo Collaboration and work on the forefront of GW data analyses and interpretation. This project will provide valuable model predictions and test them with the wealth of GW data that is arriving as we speak to shed light on the origin of BHBs.

For more information contact Prof Mark Gieles


Who can apply for a grant for pre-doctoral contracts for the training of doctors 2020?

Applicants may be all those who are enrolled or admitted to a doctoral program for the 2020/2021 academic year, at the time of submission of the application. Applicants may also be all those people who, at the time of submission of the application, not being enrolled or admitted to a doctoral program, are in a position to be on the date on which the contract is formalized, in accordance with article 18

Applications must be submitted online at the URL ( of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación from October 13 to October 27, 2020 at 2:00PM CET. To request the present research project please use the following reference: CEX2019-000918-M-20-1.

Employment conditions:

What is the annual gross amount of the pre-doctoral contracts?

The minimum salary compensation that researchers in training must receive will be 16,250 euros gross per year for each of the first two years, 17,410 for the third year and 21,760 for the fourth year.

What is the duration of the aid?

Four years.

More information here

ICCUB offers and promotes a diverse and inclusive environment (for additional information please see the Diversity, equity and inclusion Commission) and strongly encourages women and underrepresented minorities in physical sciences to apply.