Applications now open for Alpbach Summer School

7 February 2017

The Alpbach Summer School will be held from 18 to 27 July 2017, and its topic will be ‘Dust in the Universe’. University students and young graduates have until 31 March  to apply.

Held annually since 1975 in the beautiful Austrian Alps, the Alpbach Summer School enjoys a long tradition of providing in-depth teaching on different topics of space science and technology, with the aim of advancing the training and working experience of European graduates, post-graduates, young scientists, and engineers. 

The purpose of the Summer School is to foster the practical application of knowledge derived from lectures, to develop organisational and group skills, and to encourage creativity. Teams will compete to design the best project, and will be judged by an independent jury of experts.

This year, 60 students and graduates in engineering and science from ESA’s Member, Associated and Cooperating states* will be selected to participate in the 41st edition of the Alpbach Summer School.

Andromeda Galaxy in infrared and X-raysAccess the image

For ten days, participants will attend stimulating lectures on dust in the Universe, its composition and structure and associated scientific challenges, as well as why and how to observe dust remotely.  They  will work intensely to define and design a space mission, all under the supervision of noted scientific and engineering experts within the field. This edition’s topic will offer students the opportunity to learn how space missions covering the electromagnetic spectrum from X-rays to mm wavelengths have benefited from the understanding of dust, its role in and use as a diagnostic for cosmic.

Students will be split into 4 teams. Each team will define the scientific objectives of a space mission to further explore the dusty Universe, and will provide a preliminary end-to-end design of a spacecraft and its scientific instruments, as well as mission and science operations that will meet their stated objectives. Students will select and research the problem to be addressed by their specific space mission, and will work with their team members to meet difficult deadlines.

On the last day of the Summer School, each team will present a short mission study to a panel of experts, as well as to all the other teams, tutors, and lecturers.

The selected Summer School students will be exposed to some real-life challenges, such as 20-hour working days (before proposal submission) and an expectation that they are able to immediately apply knowledge and techniques that they have only recently been exposed to. They will also have to handle the trials of establishing and maintaining an international and multi-disciplinary team composed of both scientists and engineers. They will need to balance scientific objectives and requirements with the realistic constraints of mission design, spacecraft design, and mission cost. 

One of the study designs presented on the last day will be chosen for further elaboration by 15 selected Summer School students during the Post-Alpbach Summer School event, which will take place between 20 and 24 November 2017 at the ESA Academy’s Training and Learning Centre in Redu, Belgium.

Application Deadline: 31 March 2017

Online Application:

The Alpbach Summer School is organised by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). It is co-sponsored by ESA and the national space authorities of its Member, Associate, and Cooperating States. A traditional partner is the International Space Science Institute. It is also supported by Austrospace, the association of Austrian space industries and research institutions. EuroPlanet offers support for student grants.

*ESA Member States:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Associated states:
Canada and Slovenia

Cooperating States:
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia

Glowing jewels in the Galactic PlaneAccess the image

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