ThunderKAT Postdoctoral Fellowship


Supervisors: Prof. Patrick Woudt and Prof. Rob Fender


Postdoctoral Fellowship in radio transients and big data

The construction of MeerKAT, the southern hemisphere's most powerful radio telescope, is approaching completion and a five-year science survey programme is expected to commence by early 2019. The department of Astronomy at The University of Cape Town leads or co-leads several of the approved programmes on MeerKAT. Amongst these is ThunderKAT, led by Profs Woudt (UCT) and Fender (Oxford and UCT), in which we will study transients and variables in the radio image plane. Astrophysical sources of transient radio emission include relativistic accretors such as black holes and neutron stars, stellar explosions and related cataclysmic phenomena, all of which probe some of the most extreme physics in the local universe. Uniquely amongst radio transients surveys, ThunderKAT is supported by the MeerLICHT optical telescope which will provide simultaneous optical observations of the MeerKAT field.

We are looking for a postdoctoral research fellow with experience in radio astronomy and/or big data, to work at UCT on several aspects of the ThunderKAT project. These include:

  1. Commensal interrogation of all data sets at IDIA, to search for moderate- to slowly-evolving synchrotron transients

  2. Developing the symbiosis between MeerKAT and MeerLICHT, such as developing combined radio-optical transient identification and classification techniques

  3. Continuing development of an automated fast (seconds) transient search capability for MeerKAT, with a goal of investigating the brightest nonthermal transients such as Fast Radio Bursts.

In addition, the post holder will be invited to join any and all of the existing ThunderKAT science teams, and to fully participate in the planning, execution and exploitation of the five-year ThunderKAT programme. 

More information about the ThunderKAT programme can be found here:



  • Applicants should have obtained a PhD within the last 5 years.


Queries may be directed to

To apply for this job, please send a cover letter, CV and statement of research to Please also arrange for three letter of reference to be sent to, for attention: Ms Nicky Walker.


Please note the closing date is 31 May 2018. No applications submitted after the closing date will be considered.

Job Type: 
R350 000 p.a.

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