Director of ASTRON

Netherlands (NL)
€109.420 to €145.250
April 08 2021
Organization Type
All Industry

Director of ASTRON

ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, is a world leading institute for radio astronomy and instrumentation development. With a long and successful track record in scientific research, it operates two international facilities and carries a wide range of technical expertise for the development of next generation radio telescopes. It is located in the North of The Netherlands.  ASTRON’s scientific interests span the range from new discoveries in galaxy evolution, to radio transients, as well as cosmology and fundamental physics.

ASTRON is at a pivotal moment in its history with the move to global scientific facilities. The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has matured into a globally unparalleled telescope leading to many high impact publications and is currently being upgraded to support further groundbreaking science in the next decade. Simultaneously, the International LOFAR Telescope, now a foundation under Dutch law, will be transformed into a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). Furthermore, the International Governmental Organization for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), for which ASTRON is the national contact point, is just starting up. Our newly launched Science Data Centre currently serves the LOFAR and the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) communities, together with pipelines and data analytics to deliver unrivaled science-ready data products. The Science Data Centre will be expanded to act as a Science Regional Centre for the SKA. After the completion of a final large survey with the WSRT, ASTRON is considering new options for this site.

ASTRON hosts JIVE, the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe and the optical infrared instrumentation group of NOVA (the Dutch Top Research School for Astronomy).

ASTRON is seeking a new Director who will lead this transformation with a strategic vision for radio astronomy in the broader context of astronomy, cosmology and astroparticle physics. The Director plays a key national and international role via the National Council for Astronomy, and via the Boards of the SKA, the International LOFAR Telescope, and the European Research Infrastructure Consortium JIVE. Together with the four astronomy faculties at the Dutch universities, the ASTRON Director will help set the national strategy for the coming decades.

ASTRON is one of nine national research institutes, embedded within the Dutch Research Council Institutes’ Foundation, NWO-I. Located in the north of the Netherlands, ASTRON has over 200 staff (160 FTE) and an annual budget of approximately 20 M€. The NWO institutes perform high-value scientific research and act as important national instruments for science policy. They collaborate closely with research groups at universities and with other public and private partners. The institutes jointly contribute to the execution of the Dutch National Research Agenda, and the ASTRON Director contributes to the strategy and operations of NWO-I. NWO is an equal-opportunity employer, and we strong encourage applications from women and other under-represented groups.

Job requirements

  • You think strategically and have a long-term vision on the pivotal role of radio astronomy with LOFAR and the SKA within the overall context of astrophysical research in the coming decade.
  • You are able to keep ASTRON embedded in the national and international landscape as a key player in global radio astronomy in the scientific, technological and political spheres.
  • You possess the experience and qualities to represent ASTRON as an inspiring and well-respected scientific figurehead.
  • Understanding of astronomical instrumentation is a prerequisite.
  • You are an effective networker in an international setting.
  • You represent the binding factor in the organization, you can motivate and stimulate people in a collaborative and inclusive spirit with an appreciative attitude towards your colleagues and employees.


Employment conditions

The director will be assigned for a term of 5 years with the intention to extend the assignment with a second term, the employment contract will be for an indefinite period of time.
The yearly fulltime salary (incl. holiday allowance of 8% and 'end of year payment' of 8.33%) will range from €109.420 to €145.250 depending on experience (scale 18 in the Collective Labour Agreement for research organisations). In addition, ASTRON offers excellent benefits, including 42 days of annual leave for full-time employees, flexible working hours, a versatile package of employment benefits and good pension contributions (ABP).

Appointment Process and Procedure

Applications should consist of a covering letter addressing motivation and suitability against the person specifications and a full curriculum vitae.

NWO-I is committed to diversity in the workplace and strives for a balanced composition of its leadership teams in terms of expertise, background, and gender. Therefore, NWO-I welcomes applications from people who are currently underrepresented in the field of astronomy.

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to assist the Appointment Advisory Committee. Perrett Laver may be contacted for informal enquiries and questions about the post on +31 (0)20 240 4370 or . Applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference number 5100. The closing date for applications is 9am CET on Monday 10th May.

Applications will be considered by the Appointment Advisory Committee end of May. Perrett Laver will conduct preliminary discussions with longlisted candidates, and the committee will then meet to decide on the shortlist of candidates mid-June. These individuals will subsequently be invited for formal interviews end of June and early July. Selection of and negotiations with the preferred candidate will take place thereafter.

The selection of and negotiation with the preferred candidate will take place in July. A development assessment may be part of the procedure.

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