PhD in particle physics within the REALDARK project on the ATLAS experiment at the LHC




Manchester U.


Caterina Doglioni

Closing Date:


Deadline: October 20th, 2021


In the ATLAS group at the University of Manchester, we are looking for prospective students to work on trigger and dark matter searches within the REALDARK project. REALDARK is a project funded by the European Research Council that will run from Autumn 2021 to Autumn 2026 and led by Caterina Doglioni. Further details on the REALDARK project can be found on this website.

The student will contribute to the development, commissioning and innovation of the ATLAS software trigger at the Large Hadron Collider’s upcoming data-taking run (Run-3), test new machine learning techniques for data handling at the high-luminosity LHC, and search for signs of dark matter processes using real-time analysis methods. 

Dissemination and communication of the results, as well as knowledge exchange with different fields and researchers will also take place within the following initiatives and projects:
  • The Dark Matter Science Project for reproducible and sustainable data analysis in the European Open Science Cloud within the ESCAPE project (link to more information
  • The initiative for DM in Europe and Beyond for creating a platform for dark matter knowledge exchange (link to kick-off meeting
  • The High Energy Physics Software Foundation
  • The SMARTHEP MSCA International Training Network that will start in Fall 2021 and recruit students in Fall 2022, on the topics of real-time analysis, machine learning and hybrid computing architectures 


The ideal candidate is someone who:
  • is a student who has completed or will complete their undergraduate degree in physics, computer science or software engineering by January 2022; 
  • A minimum of a 2i UK Masters honours degree or international equivalent is required, or a first degree with an additional Masters degree or international equivalent. The full list of requirements can be found at this link.
  • has some experience of working within, or collaborating with, particle physics experiments (any particle physics experiment, not only LHC experiments);
  • enjoys scientific software development (C++, Python) as well as physics analysis; 
  • is passionate about open data and open source software;
  • enjoys working in a diverse and inclusive team (see https://www.physics.manchester.ac.uk/about/culture/), within a University group embedded in a large collaboration;
  • Is willing to spend long periods of time working at CERN, usually one year during the second year of PhD.

Funding notes

The PhD position project is funded for 3.5 years starting from January 2022, and covers tuition and living costs for applicants of any nationality. 
We will also consider applicants who are partially or entirely funded by other sources, please specify this in your application if this is the case. 

How to apply

Please prepare the following material and send it by e-mail to caterina.doglioni@manchester.ac.uk by October 20th, 2021: 
  • Your CV, including your expected or past undergraduate degree date;
  • A single-page statement on why you would like to apply to this position and what your perspectives and expectations are. (For more information on how to write a personal statement see this link. A dedicated research proposal is not required, but you are encouraged to outline in your personal statement if you have a specific interest on the topics listed in the description above.)
  • A grade transcript (with an explanation of the grading scale used); 
  • Two reference letters to be sent to the e-mail address above from supervisors or University teachers who know your work. We will not request references on your behalf, so it is your responsibility to make sure the references are available. 
  • If English is not your first language, we would also like to have proof of your English language ability. If you have already taken an English language qualification, please include your certificate with your application. We will also consider your application without this document, but if we choose to make you an offer, the conditions will include that you take a language test equivalent to the IELTS (full conditions are here: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/programmes/list/05510/phd-particle-physics/entry-requirements/#course-profile).
  • [Optional] A link to one of your recent software projects (e.g. GitHub), if you have any you’d like to share. 
  • [Optional] A pdf copy of your Master’s thesis or its outline, if you already have it available. 

All submitted material should be in English. 

You are also welcome to send questions or informal inquiries prior to submitting your application material to caterina.doglioni@manchester.ac.uk
If you are shortlisted for an interview, you will be contacted by the first week of November or earlier. Note that we will not be able to contact unsuccessful candidates with an outcome until the recruitment is completed.  

Further background

Working in the Manchester particle physics group

The Manchester ATLAS group comprises more than 30 members, with six academic members of staff, and around ten research staff and fifteen PhD students. The Manchester group is strongly involved in many areas of ATLAS, including the study of events containing Higgs, W, and Z bosons, and top quarks, as well as searches for new phenomena. Manchester has also major roles in the ATLAS trigger, as well as in upgrades to the tracking detectors and trigger. 
The Manchester ATLAS group currently has particularly strong activities and leadership in the ATLAS trigger system, as well as in dark matter searches and Standard Model measurements relevant to this project.  

The Manchester High-Energy Physics group is one of the largest UK particle physics groups and is also involved in the ATLAS, BESIII, SuperNEMO, DarkSide, DUNE, g-2, MicroBooNE, Mu2e, and SBND experiments, with relevant contributions and activities in dark matter experiments. It has a strong theory group with involvement in QCD, BSM, particle cosmology and quark flavour phenomenology. 

Working in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Manchester
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Manchester is one of the largest and most active departments of physics in the UK. We have a long tradition of excellence in both teaching and research, and have interests in most areas of contemporary research.
For more information about postgraduate studies in the Physics and Astronomy Department, see: https://www.physics.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/ 

Working for the University of Manchester

The University of Manchester strives to make our community a welcoming, caring and enthusiastic one, fuelling ambition with opportunities and support to help us all achieve our personal and professional goals.
We care deeply about career and personal development, offering a structured induction programme for new PhD students, as well as performance and development reviews, staff training for all career stages and mentoring opportunities to support your career development. We have a genuine commitment to equality of opportunity for our staff and students, which is also reflected in the ATLAS group.
As a global institution, situated at the heart of a lively, culturally diverse city, we welcome applicants of all nationalities. To help international job applicants plan for life in the UK, we also provide useful information on passports and visas, travel to the UK, accommodation and a number of other practical considerations.

Contact: Caterina Doglioni

Letters of Reference should be sent to: caterina.doglioni@manchester.ac.uk