Internship (Science) Communication

Geplaatst op: 16-12-2019 | Solliciteren voor: 01-02-2020

LOFAR ten-year anniversary at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, ASTRON, in Dwingeloo designs, manages and conducts research with the Westerbork telescope and the LOFAR telescope, currently the largest radio telescope in the world, and contributes to building the Square Kilometer Array, the future largest radio telescope in the world . The data from the telescopes is used for research by astronomers both at ASTRON and worldwide. In addition, ASTRON designs and makes pioneering technology for its telescopes, such as a computer board that can process many terabits of data per second and software for a Science Data Centre.

The LOFAR telescope, whose core is in Exloo, with stations spread throughout Europe, was opened in 2010. It is a very special telescope, because it does not use moveable dishes but individual antennas that are selectively aimed at the sky through software. In addition, it is the most sensitive radio telescope at the low radio frequencies and therefore extremely suitable for research into pulsars, exoplanets and space weather, among other things. The telescope is celebrating its tenth anniversary on 12 June 2020.

ASTRON wants to take the opportunity to point out to three important target groups (government, industry and the general public) the added value of the telescope for science and the Netherlands BV, and what it takes to keep this facility up and running.

Goals / messages

  • Politicians will appreciate the innovative power of LOFAR for the regional and national economy and the scientific output and are aware of the risks if LOFAR is less able to function due to RFI (Radio Frequency Interference, disruption of our telescopes by human activities such as windmills, solar parks and 5G).
  • The business community knows how to find their way to ASTRON for cooperation within the technical upgrade of the LOFAR telescope and the construction of the SKA telescope.
  • The general public knows that the centre of the world's largest radio telescope is in Drenthe and what that telescope means for the Netherlands and the world.

Internship assignment

The intern analyses the goals and messages that ASTRON aims for with the ten-year anniversary of LOFAR. The intern then devises one or more suitable means or other forms of expression with which the goals can be achieved, within an available budget. Examples are a serious game for the government, a mini-LOFAR-kit for schools, a speed date for the business community or an online public campaign. But it can also be something completely different, you can come up with your own solutions. And hopefully your idea will become reality on 12 June 2020.

Internship conditions

The (science) communication student will receive a monthly allowance of € 400 gross (based on a fulltime position, otherwise scaled to working time). ASTRON is difficult to reach by public transport. Travel allowance and/or pension costs are possible.

Your workplace is in Dwingeloo, on the edge of the Dwingelderveld nature park; the most beautiful office environment in the Netherlands, if we may be so modest. You will work in the five-member communication team, with supervision of Frank Nuijens, head of communication, and/or Alice Spruit, science communication adviser. Working remotely is possible, but we expect to see you at least one day per week in Dwingeloo. The start and duration of the internship is flexible, but will be 10 weeks at minimum and end no later than half June 2020. Of course the products need to be ready at least a month before that date.


For more information you can contact Frank Nuijens, Head of Communications.


Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4

7991 PD Dwingeloo

Tel. 0521 - 595 216


Applications can be sent to the Internship Bureau,


ASTRON is the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. We investigate the signals that the universe emits in the form of radio waves. Our mission is to make discoveries in radio astronomy happen. That is why we do not only do fundamental astronomical research. We also design, build and manage radio telescopes that are among the best in the world, and push the boundaries of technology to create ever better and more sensitive instruments.

Our engineers and astronomers are internationally renowned. Astronomers do groundbreaking research on our own Milky Way and galaxies far away. Engineers develop innovative antennas, high-tech electronics and smart software. Thanks to good cooperation between engineers and scientists, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) is still one of the best telescopes in the world after fifty years. LOFAR (the Low Frequency Array), designed, built and managed by ASTRON, is a unique instrument that measures the earliest phases of the universe, as well as fast radio bursts, rotating neutron stars and colliding black holes. ASTRON works with institutes from all over the world to construct the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. The knowledge we have gained with LOFAR and WSRT is of great importance for the design and construction of the SKA.

ASTRON is part of the institute organisation of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).



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