PhD grant in Dynamics of Black-Hole Systems


University of Coimbra opens a call for one research fellowship, in the framework of the GRAVITY project “Gravity in the Galactic Center” (reference: PTDC/FIS-AST/7002/2020 , financed through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology I.P./MCTES, through national funds (PIDDAC) in the following conditions:

Scientific area: Astrophysics.

Skills/Qualifications/Admission requirements: master’s degree graduate in one of the following areas: Astrophysics, Physics or Mathematics, enrolled in a doctoral degree in one of the above areas or enrolled in a course not conferring an academic degree integrated in the educational project of a higher education institution

“Courses not conferring an academic degree” must be related to the research fellowship’s activity type. “Courses not conferring an academic degree” are the courses referred to in paragraph e) of number 3 of article 4 of Decree-Law no. 74/2006, of 24 March, in the current wording, provided that they are developed in association or cooperation between the higher education institution and one or more R&D units, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph e) of article 3 of the Regulation for Research Fellowships of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P.

Although the recipients must be enrolled in a cycle of studies leading to the attribution of an academic degree or in a course not conferring an academic degree, at the time of application it is not necessary for the candidate to have made such an enrolment, and proof of enrolment must be presented until the fellowship is contractualized. Candidates are only required to meet the requirements to enroll in the training offer. If there are candidates already enrolled (including attending a course), they compete on an equal footing with those who are not enrolled.

Work plan/ Objectives: Research grant in Dynamics of Black-Hole Systems

Observations unveiled a large number of young and bright stars near the supermassive black-hole (SMBH) at the galactic center. The distance between these stars and the SMBH can reach thousands of astronomical units. However, the extraordinary mass of the SMBH, estimated to be around 4 million solar masses, causes the stars to rush around at dizzying speeds and to complete one revolution in only a few decades. These extremely important observations awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez.

In this research work we aim to study the dynamical effects that may contribute to modify the orbits of the stars around the SMBH (spin-orbit interactions, tidal effects or perturbations from less massive companion black-holes. By doing so, we can estimate the magnitude of each effect separately and determine which ones might be occurring. These assessments will be contextualized with the observational capabilities and limitations of the GRAVITY instrument at ESO, and will allow us to better understand the objects that exist at the center of our galaxy..

Regime: The attribution of the fellowship does not generate or entitle a relation of a legal-labour nature, and the fellowship is undertaken in an exclusive dedication regime. The fellowship holder is awarded the Fellowship Statute of the UC, in its current wording, according to the Research Fellowship Holder Statute , and according to the Regulation for Research Fellowships of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., both in their current wording.

Location: Department of physical of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology at the University of Coimbra.

Duration: 12 (twelve) months.

Renewal: The fellowship is Eventually renewable, not exceeding the project end date.

Scientific orientation: Professor Alexandre Carlos Morgado Correia .

Financial conditions: The amount of the fellowship is € 1.104,64 corresponding to the monthly compensation stipulated in the FCT table (, plus social security (Seguro Social Voluntário, first level contributions) and personal accidents insurance. The payment will be made by bank transfer. This amount will not be increased during the entire period of the fellowship duration.

Selection methods: Curricular Evaluation (75%) and Interview (25%)..

Selection criteria: Evaluation of the curriculum (75%) based on the following criteria:

Curriculum Vitae (30%), Letter of Motivation (25%), Letters of Recommendation (20%).

In the Interview (25%) based on the following criteria:

Knowledge in the area (15%), ability to communicate in English (10%).

Each of the selection methods is eliminatory, so candidates who obtain a classification lower than 12 points (a maximum of 15) in the Curriculum Assessment (not going to the next stage) and 3 points (a maximum of a maximum) are considered excluded from the selection process. of 5) in the Interview. The maximum total rating in the sum of the two components is 20 points

Jury responsible for selection: Professor Alexandre Carlos Morgado Correia, Professor João Pedro Trancoso Gomes Rosa, Professor Paulo Jorge Valente Garcia .

Formalization of application: Documents required for the application: Curriculum Vitae, Letter of Motivation, two Letters of Recommendation, Copy of the Master’s degree certificate, Copy of the Bachelor's degree certificate, Copy of the list of subjects held during the Licentiate Degree and Masters (or Integrated Masters) with the respective final classification, enrollment or expression of intention to enroll in a doctoral or non-degree course.

Declaration on the honor of the candidate(s) with the indication of the fellowship(s) of the typology to which the contest was held and the respective duration(s).

Applicants with academic degrees obtained abroad will be required to present a Certificate of Recognition in accordance with applicable law. This document is mandatory only in the contractualization phase.

Applications submission: Applications must be sent by email to: (com a reference: BI - 750708)

Submission of applications: Between 06/08/2021 and 20/08/2021.

Submission deadline date: 20/08/2021.

Additional information: The evaluation results will be announced within 90 working days after the end of the applications submission deadline, by notifying the applicants via email. After the announcement of the results, candidates are considered automatically notified to, if they wish to do so, comment on the results on a preliminary hearing period within 10 days after that date. After this, the selected candidates will have to declare in writing their acceptance. Unless a justification worthy of consideration is presented, if the declaration is not submitted within the referred period, it is considered that the candidate waivers the fellowship. In case of resignation or withdrawal of the selected candidate, the next candidate with the highest evaluation score will be notified immediately.

Once the selection process is completed, the fellowship contract will be drawn up in accordance with the draft contract provided by the FCT.

After the contracted period, the fellowship holder and supervisor must prepare the final report in accordance with the respective assessment criteria that were established.

Selection reserve list: A selection reserve list will be created for a period of 6 (six) months