Download CSET UNISA SETI PhD bursary 2024 (pdf)

Project description:
The focus of the project is the search for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence with the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa. You will work on the development and use of highthroughput technosignature detection pipelines for deployment with BLUSE, Breakthrough Listen’s commensal SETI survey system attached to MeerKAT. Working closely with
Breakthrough Listen researchers and engineers, you will have the opportunity to explore and evaluate different technosignature detection approaches (including the use of modern machine learning techniques, where appropriate). The specific details of the project can be tailored to your own interests.

The programme is based at the College of Science, Engineering & Technology, University of South Africa (CSET UNISA). The expected start time of the programme is January 2024.
The bursary amount is set at R212 000 per annum for 3 years, with a 1-year extension possibility. In addition, you will have access to the following:

• A funded opportunity to spend three months working with our researchers at one of our collaborating universities outside of South Africa.
• Funding for international conference attendance.
• Significant local computing resources at UNISA.
• Access to BLUSE, Breakthrough Listen’s powerful computing cluster at MeerKAT, consisting of 104+ GPU nodes and 2+ petabytes of storage.
• An equipment grant to purchase a personal computer.

• Prof. James O. Chibueze (
• Dr. Daniel Czech (

What we are looking for:
• Strong interest in SETI, radio astronomy and radio interferometry.
• Knowledge of Unix tools and experience with Unix-based computing systems.
• Strong programming abilities (Python or Julia preferred, but not required).
• Excellent (written and spoken) communication skills.

Application procedure
Applicants should send the following to Prof. James O. Chibueze (;

1. CV and all academic transcripts
2. Cover letter
3. Request two referees to send reference letters directly to

The application deadline is 15 September 2023 and late applications will not be considered.