ING Banner
Home > Astronomy > The ING Support and Research Studentship Programme
Text: Normal textBigger tyextBold text

The ING Support and Research Studentship Programme

ING student besides the INT

ING student besides the INT telescope

Applications for the 2021/2022 studentship programme
closed on 31st March 2021.


The 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) is operated at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain) by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING). The INT is used for astrophysical research by a large community of astronomers worldwide. It currently hosts two highly competitive instruments: the Wide Field Camera (WFC), which offers one of the largest broad- and narrow-band filter sets available for wide field imaging, and the Intermediate Dispersion Spectrograph (IDS), a versatile long-slit spectrograph. The following poster is a summary of the programme: "Student training at the telescope in the 10-m era".

Its imaging and spectroscopic capabilities make the INT a unique hands-on training facility for students just starting their careers in astronomy and astrophysics. The INT offers visitor-mode observations only, so a high degree of interaction with visiting astronomers working in a wide variety of topics is guaranteed. Further information on the facilities, staff, and achievements can be found at our web site.

The following videos feature the Isaac Newton Telescope:

The INT Experience by an Observer, by Moein Mosleh:

Inside the Isaac Newton Telescope, a movie by Brady Haran:

The INT Support and Research Studentship programme offers astronomy and astrophysics PhD, MSc and undergraduate students a unique opportunity to spend one year at ING as INT support astronomers, and to be involved in ING projects related to instrumental, optical, or software development, improvement and/or characterisation. The rest of the time (~60%) is devoted to their thesis work or other research interests. Students interested in any field of observational astronomy and/or astronomical instrumentation are welcome.

The following video shows the participation of one of the ING students (Liam Hardy, from Univ. of Sheffield) in the movie Exoplanet transit by the journalist and film maker Brady Haran, included in the series "Deep Sky Videos".

A Night at the Isaac Newton Telescope:

Accommodation for the whole year is provided by the ING. The flats are within walking distance of ING's sea level headquarters. Students also receive a monthly stipend to cover their living expenses on La Palma. Several nights at the INT are usually available for observations related to the students' research activity.

ING is a widely recognised astronomical research institution which also runs the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT). The WHT is one of the most scientifically productive and versatile telescopes of its class in the world. The INT student support astronomers will also have a chance to be exposed to the instrumentation and observations at the WHT. In 2021-2022, the INT students may have an opportunity to help with the commissioning of the WHT's ambitious new 1000-fibre multi-object spectrograph, WEAVE, and/or to help with WEAVE survey operations.

Milky Way over La Palma, timelapse by Thomas Davison:

The ING headquarters are located in Santa Cruz de La Palma and have modern computing, data reduction, and communication facilities. Access to a library, meeting rooms, etc. is also provided. Joint seminars with other institutions on scientific or technical topics and also visits to other ORM telescopes will be organised. The astronomical family on La Palma is relatively large, so professional and social contacts are frequent.

Each year, the ING students can volunteer to participate in some outreach activities organised at the ING sea level office and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM), such as guiding the visitors, students or amateur astronomers to visit our telescopes, participate in astro-photography activities, get involved in school visits and historical celebrations of our telescopes.

ING observing student in the INT control room


The candidate must meet the following requirements:
  1. EU or UK citizenship or possession of a EU or UK national student residence permit. Although after Brexit rules are still being defined, the ING will help sort out any requirements for students who are UK nationals.
  2. Hold the status of "registered student" throughout the year to be spent on La Palma, i.e. enrolment in an astronomy PhD (preferably the early years of the PhD) or MSc program or in the final years of an undergraduate astronomy or physics course at a recognised university or research institution.
  3. Possession of a valid driving licence by the time of taking up the position on La Palma.
  4. A strong interest in observational astrophysics and/or astronomical instrumentation.
  5. A good working knowledge of English (and knowledge of Spanish is an advantage).
  6. Ability and willingness to work during day or night, occasionally also on weekends or public holidays, at an altitude of 2400 metres above sea level, and to take up residence on La Palma for the duration of the studentship.
  7. The placement is conditional on the student undergoing a medical examination (usually in the home country, to be reimbursed by the ING) to ensure the student's fitness for duty, especially at the altitude of the Observatory on La Palma.


Candidates meeting any of the following (non-mandatory) criteria are particularly welcome:
  1. Citizenship of (or residence in) one of the three ING partner countries: Spain, UK or the Netherlands.
  2. A working knowledge of the Linux/UNIX operating systems and the IRAF astronomical data-reduction software.
  3. Research interests similar to those of ING staff (see ING research staff and their interests).
  4. Experience of observing and data reduction.
ING students visiting the Magic telescope and ORM observatory

ING and NOT students hiking in La Palma ING students at ORM above Caldera de Taburiente

Sunset and shadow of Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma

Other activities during the ING studentship program in La Palma

Contract terms

  1. The duration of the studentship is one year, usually starting at the end of September. Six positions are offered in this call.
  2. Students are not employees of ING, but receive a monthly stipend during their stay. Financial support for travelling to and from La Palma plus one round trip for mid-term vacation, and accomodation for the whole year, are provided by the ING.
  3. Students have the right to 25 days leave during their 1-year stay at the ING.
  4. The working week is of 37 hours. Duty at night and over weekends are compensated with free time.
  5. When on duty at the observatory, transport, accommodation and subsistence are provided by ING.
  6. Office space and appropriate computer facilities at ING headquarters in Santa Cruz de La Palma are provided.
  7. Students work under the authority of the Studentship Programme Manager, INT Telescope Manager and the Head of Astronomy who will determine and coordinate the tasks to be performed during the support nights and any work related to telescope and instrument performance.
  8. In addition to regular INT visitor support, some students may have the opportunity to carry out observations with the INT, sometimes in collaboration with astronomers awarded observing time, and these observations typically result in co-authorship of publications.
INT WFC color composite image of Crab Nebula (M1) by ING student Abel de Burgos

Total Lunar eclipse 20/21 Jan 2019 above the INT dome by ING student Thomas Davison

Public-outreach photographs taken by the 2018/19 students.

How to apply

Applicants should state in a cover letter (1-2 pages) the candidate's past and present experience, compliance with the above requirements, motivation for working at ING, and any other information the candidate wishes to submit for consideration. A CV must be also attached, and the names of two referees willing to provide letters of recommendations should be given. The ING may subsequently request references for short-listed candidates.

Applications should be sent by e-mail, NOT LATER THAN Wednesday 31st March 2021, to both ING studentship program managers: Ovidiu Vaduvescu ( and Lilian Dominguez ( Applications may also be posted to:

Studentship Programme Manager
Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
Apartado de correos 321, E-38700, Santa Cruz de La Palma, SPAIN
Fax:+34 922 425 401

Top | Back

Contact:  (Studentship Programme Manager)
Last modified: 25 May 2021