About us

NOVA stands for ‘Nederlandse Onderzoekschool Voor Astronomie’, i.e., the ‘Netherlands Research School for Astronomy’. It is the alliance of the astronomical institutes of the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden, and Nijmegen. Astronomy is considered to be top-science in The Netherlands. NOVA was selected as top-research school in 1998 following an open national competition, and is as such receiving substantial funding by the Dutch Ministry of Education. NOVA’s mission is to carry out frontline astronomical research in the Netherlands, to train young astronomers at the highest international levels, and to share our new discoveries with society.

NOVA: collaboration

The astronomical institutes at the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden and Nijmegen together form NOVA. Click on the icons below to find out more about these astronomical institutes.

NOVA closely collaborates with the two other research institutes that are active in the field of astronomy in the Netherlands: The space research institute SRON and the radio astronomy institute ASTRON. NOVA astronomers rely heavily on the world-class facilities of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), most notably the VLT telescopes and the ALMA array. A large fraction of the instrument projects that NOVA participates in are targeted at these facilities, as well as the future European Extremely Large Telescope.


Information on the people involved in the organisation of NOVA can be found here.

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Want to know who is researching what at NOVA? Here you will be able to go to lists of faculty, emeriti, postdocs and PhDs working at each of the NOVA institutes.

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Dutch PhD's

Click on the button below to find lists of PhD students at each of the NOVA institutes, along with the topic of their thesis work.

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Our work

The work of NOVA covers a very broad range of topics in modern astronomy. NOVA researchers work on scales ranging from the evolution of the large scale structure of the universe down to molecular processes occurring on the surface of grains of ices in the interstellar medium. We observe the universe from the blue end of the visible all the way to the low-frequency radio end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Many of our astronomers work on performing new and better observations of the universe while others work on the theory, modelling and simulation needed to interpret and understand these observations. Yet others are involved in developing the next generation of instruments that will help us unlock even more of the universe's secrets.

All of us at NOVA share a deep fascination of the marvellous universe that surrounds us and are driven to increase our knowledge about it. In the movie below (part Dutch part English), NOVA researchers tell about this fascination and highlight some of our work.

For more information, click on the icons below the movie to go to the Research, Instrumentation and Documentation sections.

Please click here our most recent brochure NOVA 2020 Impact en Inspiratie.


This is where you can find information on the NOVA research programme and how it is structured into three focussed but interlinked research networks.
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Interested in the technological marvels that are required to do front-line astronomical research? Click on the button to see all the instrumentation projects we are currently working on.
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We make all our key public documents such as strategic plans and reports available through this site. Click on the button to access the documentation section.
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Education & Jobs

All graduate astronomy education in the Netherlands is concentrated in NOVA, but NOVA is also monitoring and coordinating the Astronomy MSc education in The Netherlands. Four university institutes offer Astronomy MSc studies: the Anton Pannekoek Institute at the University of Amsterdam, the Kapteyn Institute at the University of Groningen, Leiden Observatory at Leiden University and the Department of Astrophysics at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. These MSc studies are being monitored by the Dutch National Astronomy Education Committee, overseeing both the MSc and the PhD education. The Netherlands also has an internationally acknowledged reputation for Dutch PhD's in astronomy. Dutch PhD students succeed very well on the international job market, including the most prestigious fellowships worldwide.

Workshops & Visitors

Budget is limited, we want to point you to the possibility of NWO funding.

NOVA funds for workshops and visitors: proposal guidelines Introduction The NOVA research program is carried out by interuniversity teams of researchers and also involves international collaborations. It requires a vigorous exchange of people and regular workshops. In addition NOVA stimulates the organization of ‘concentration periods’, in which a small group of experts work together for a period of a few weeks in one location. NOVA’s budget for supporting workshops and foreign visitors is about € 65.000 per year. This budget is specifically intended to complement, and not to replace, already existing avenues for support of visitors and workshops (e.g., NWO, KNAW, LKBF, Foundations).

Guidelines and procedures Proposals can be submitted at any time by electronic application form Click here for application form If the form does not give you enough space for your motivation, please send a separate proposal (in PDF format) to nova@strw.leidenuniv.nl 1.The applicant should have a permanent position at one of the university astronomical institutes in the Netherlands. 2.NOVA will generally only fund part of the total costs. Existing avenues for visitor and workshop funding have to be explored in depth, as availability of partial funding from non-NOVA resources is one of the criteria for a NOVA contribution. The NOVA contribution will generally be limited to € 4.500 per workshop or visitor. 3.The NOVA Board has directed the NOVA Office to run the workshops and visitor program. The intention is to decide on each request within one month after receipt. 4.The workshop must be held in the Netherlands / the visitor must be hosted in the Netherlands.

Recommended funding at NWO:

Visitor’s Travel Grant

NWO Scientific Meetings and Consultations Domain Science

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Public outreach

The NOVA Information Center (NIC) is led by outreach officer Marieke Baan, and is located at the Sterrenkundig Instituut ‘Anton Pannekoek’, University of Amsterdam. NIC collaborates with outreach officers at universities and at astronomical institutes and organizations in the Netherlands as well as abroad. NIC operates the Astronomische Persdienst, an electronic ‘press agency’ that distributes the latest Dutch astronomical news (in Dutch).  The popular scientific NIC website offers news, information about NOVA and about upcoming events, and ‘ask a question’ service. Promotional and educational material (posters, CD-roms, brochures, exercises) is also available. We organize, or help organize, media events and outreach activities that put Dutch astronomy and science in general in the public mind. Contact: NOVA Informatie Centrum (nova@astronomie.nl) Public interest in astronomy is immense. Popularization of astronomy is an excellent vehicle for stimulating interest in the natural sciences in general, which is of great importance at a time when the interest in university studies in some of these disciplines is declining. NOVA endorses the IAU Charter for Communicating Astronomy with the Public.

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