UCL Astrophysics Group


Shift25-UCLAstro Summer Research Studentships

12 May 2022

The Astrophysics group, in collaboration with the Shift25 initiative, are offering three studentships to undergraduates or secondary school students interested in pursuing research projects over the summer.

Shift25 Logo

The key aims of these studentships are to give motivated, under-represented students from Black and minority-ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to work on an astrophysics-related research project, and gain experience in presenting their research to their peers. SHIFT25 (https://www.shift25.org.uk) is a campaign led by senior and influential Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic professionals and business organisations, who are striving to equalise opportunities in education, recruitment and progression by 2025.

Please state in your application if you are applying for an online-project or an on-campus project. Please note that on-campus projects may be restricted in the summer depending on governmental or College guidelines in response to the ongoing pandemic. Students submitting on-campus projects can also submit an alternative online-project in the same application should the on-campus projects not be possible.

Deadline for applications is 24 June, 2022. General enquiries should be directed to the email: shift25@star.ucl.ac.uk


· Applicants should be from one of the following eligible groups:

(i) Undergraduates in the UCL department of Physics and Astronomy, or UCL Natural Sciences undergraduates with Physics as main stream.

(ii) Secondary school students over the age of 16, who should prepare their applications with help from a Sponsoring Teacher at their school.

· The main supervisor of the project must be a current academic in the UCL departments of Physics and Astronomy or Space and Climate Physics.

· Students will be provided a bursary of £2000 (undergraduate) / £1000 (secondary) during the studentship and are expected to work on the summer project for a total duration of 8-10 weeks (undergraduate) / 4-6 weeks (secondary).

Application Instructions

Guidance for application is given in the following sections for Undergraduate and Secondary students.

Undergraduate Students

· The student should contact a prospective supervisor ahead of time and the student and supervisor should develop the project and application together.

· Proposals should be in the form of a one-page motivation letter highlighting why the student is interested in the programme, a 1-side A4 case for support describing the proposed project, and a 1-side A4 CV of the student.

· The case for support should include the name and department of the supervisor, and the name and UCL student number of the student.

· Deadline for applications is 24 June, 2022. The motivation letter, case for support and CV should be combined into one PDF document and emailed to shift25@star.ucl.ac.uk.

Secondary School Students

· The student should firstly contact a teacher from their school who is willing to sponsor their application. The student should then prepare the application with help from the Sponsoring Teacher as needed.

· Applications should be statements of around 300 words describing why you are interested in and inspired by space science or astronomy (you may also add one or two illustrative images or other media to your statement, if you wish).

· The application should also include the names of the student and Sponsoring Teacher, and the name of the school where the student is currently attending.

· Applications should, for example, give some information about the applicant, their particular interest in astronomy / astrophysics, and how it arose; and what it means to them in connection with this opportunity. Note that there is some scope for 'creativity' here by using illustrations in different media as outlined above. There is no official requirement for a letter of support from the school / teacher, but of course you may include such a statement as an additional attachment, if you wish.

· Deadline for applications is 24 June, 2022. The statement and supporting information should be combined into one PDF document and emailed to shift25@star.ucl.ac.uk.

Assessment of Applications

· A panel consisting of UCL Astrophysics group members and Shift25 professionals will assess the applications, and successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline for applications.

· With help from their supervisors, the participating students will have the option to present a short seminar on their research work, at the end of the project, to

Astrophysics group members and Shift25 personnel. For successful secondary applicants, a project supervisor will be assigned, according to the student’s own interest as much as possible, and in consultation with the student and their Sponsoring Teacher.