Leiden Observatory and the European Space Agency invite applications for the Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Programme for Summer Students (LEAPS).
LEAPS is a highly competitive programme for students with a keen interest in astronomy, astrophysics, solar physics, and planetary sciences to perform a 10-12 week summer research project in collaboration with a research scientist from Leiden Observatory or ESA. The programme is open to all students not currently studying for a Ph.D., but who are enthusiastic about pursuing research in the space sciences. Students at the senior-undergraduate or masters level, in particular, are encouraged to apply.
Candidates for the programme will be selected based on their academic merits and research potential. Students will be matched to projects based on their indicated research interests and relevant experience and skills. The positions are open to candidates from all countries; however, applications for projects with ESTEC advisors are restricted to nationals belonging to ESA member or associated states (http://spaceinimages.esa.int/Images/2013/02/ESA_Member_States_and_Cooper...). Candidates must also have good proficiency in English. Projects will begin in June 2014 and end before mid-September 2014. In 2013 the programme had 16 successful candidates. We expect to make a similar number of appointments this year, depending on interest and the number of available projects which are suited to the applicants' research interest and skills.
Leiden Observatory, founded in 1633, is the oldest university astronomy department in the world. With about 25 faculty, over 40 postdoctoral associates and about 65 PhD students it is the largest astronomy department in the Netherlands. The Observatory is active in many different research areas including cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution, interstellar matter and star formation, stars and planetary systems, computational astrophysics, high energy astrophysics, laboratory astrophysics, astrochemistry, and instrumentation. More information about research at Leiden Observatory can be found at http://www.strw.leidenuniv.nl/research/
ESTEC is the main technical centre for the European Space Agency. ESA develops and manages many types of space missions, including space science, exploration, earth observation, human space flight, telecommunications, and navigation. The Science Support Office at ESTEC consists of approximately 25 staff scientists and 15 research fellows, with research interests relating to ESA's space science missions, ranging from solar, heliospheric, and magnetospheric physics, to planetary physics, observational astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum, and fundamental physics. Due to security requirements at ESTEC, LEAPS students who work in collaboration with the ESTEC research fellows will be based primarily at Leiden Observatory and will meet with their advisor on a regular basis.
Students accepted into the programme will be provided with travel costs to and from Leiden, accommodation near the observatory, and a modest stipend to cover living costs. Leiden is a small, picturesque university town located between the major cities of Amsterdam and The Hague with a large international community. English is widely spoken throughout the Netherlands.
Application forms and instructions are available at http://www.strw.leidenuniv.nl/summerstudents/
Applicants are requested to upload a one-page document describing their research interests (related to a research area in Leiden Observatory or ESA), contact details of an academic referee (who can comment on the applicant's research skills and potential), and a transcript of undergraduate/masters courses and grades. Applicants can also upload a curriculum vitae (optional).
The deadline for applications is 15th February 2014.