PhD Scholarship Opportunity (South African Rubin Observatory/LSST Programme 2022 – 2024)

We invite applications for a PhD scholarship funded by NRF in support
of the South African Rubin Observatory/LSST Programme, to be held at
the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

The successful applicant will work with Prof. Matt Hilton on a project
related to galaxy clusters and/or AGN using the combination of existing
deep optical surveys with multiwavelength data from the Atacama
Cosmology Telescope, MeerKAT, SALT, and X-ray telescopes (XMM and/or
Chandra). This may transition to work with early Rubin/LSST data, when
Rubin Observatory starts survey operations in 2024. The student
will be a Junior Affiliate in the South African Rubin/LSST programme
for at least the duration of the scholarship.

The exact project will be defined in discussion with the student,
but may be related to one or more of the following science topics:

  • Evolution of brightest cluster galaxies and the intracluster light
  • Evolution of the stellar mass component of clusters
  • AGNs in galaxy clusters and their impact on cluster selection and
    the intracluster medium
  • Star formation in galaxies in the large scale structure surrounding
    massive clusters

Applications should be submitted by email to Prof. Matt Hilton
(, with the subject line ‘Rubin/LSST PhD 2022’.
The following documents should be attached (PDFs only):

  • 1-page personal statement, providing a brief summary of your MSc
    work, research skills, and your interest in the science topics
  • BSc / Hons academic transcript

In addition, applicants should arrange for a letter of reference
(from their MSc project supervisor) to be sent to
before the closing date.

The initial deadline for applications is 31 January 2022. It is
expected that the project will start in March 2022, but applications
will remain open until the position is filled. Preference will be
given to suitable South African or permanent resident candidates,
and particularly to South Africans from previously disadvantaged
backgrounds. Note that the student must have their MSc award letter
in-hand before they can register for a PhD at UKZN.

The value of the PhD scholarship is R180k/yr (2022 – 2024; 3 years)
and it comes with a generous travel and equipment grant.

Please email Prof. Matt Hilton ( with any

For further information on the Astrophysics Research Centre at UKZN,