UCL Astrophysics Group


Shift25-UCLAstro Summer Research Studentships

4 May 2023

The Astrophysics group, in collaboration with the Shift25 initiative, are offering three studentships to 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. The projects, at the time of writing, are expected to be conducted mainly in person, and mainly based at the UCL campus.

Deadline for applications is 19 June, 2023. [Late applications received by 12:00 midday on Friday 23 June may possibly still be taken under advisement by the panel]. General enquiries should be directed to the email: shift25@star.ucl.ac.uk


· Applicants should be secondary school students over the age of 16, who should prepare their applications with help from a Sponsoring Teacher at their school.

· The principal supervisor of the project must be a current academic in the UCL departments of Physics and Astronomy or Space and Climate Physics. Collaborative principal supervisions are also permitted between these Departments and academics from other UCL MAPS Departments, who would like to work on cross-disciplinary projects with a significant astrophysics component.

· Students will be provided a bursary of £1000 during the studentship and are expected to work on the summer project for a total duration of 4-6 weeks.

Eligibility / Application Instructions

To be eligible, students must:

· Be over 16 years old and in Year 12 or 13.

· Belong to an ethnicity under-represented in Physics and Astronomy at UCL – details can be found here, for example: UCL-MAPS-EDI-Strategy (Appendix G).

· Be in full-time, state-funded education in the Greater London Area. UK-based/UK-resident eligible students from outside London are able to apply if they are able to access UCL for the duration of the internship, however UCL is unable to reimburse accommodation / travel costs.

· Have at least 5 GCSEs at Level 6 or above including Maths, Physics and English

· Be studying or planning to study Physics at A-level or equivalent

· Be available for 4-6 consecutive weeks over July and / or August to collaborate with an internship supervisor/s.

Students must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

· Be living, or have lived, in local authority / association housing.

· Are currently or have experience of being in care (residential / foster / local authority)

· Be entitled to / eligible for free school meals, either now or at any time in the last six years.

· In receipt of, or entitled to, discretionary payments at school / college (e.g., EMA, 16-19 Bursary Fund)

· Be the part of the first generation in your immediate family to participate in higher education. This means that none of your parent/s / carer/s have participated in higher education, either in the UK or another country, but if your siblings have attended higher education institutions and your parent/s / carer/s have not, you are still eligible.

Application Procedure

· Students who fit the eligibility criteria above 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 give some information about the applicant, their particular interest in astronomy / astrophysics, and how it arose; and how this opportunity could further support their own personal goals and aspirations. Note that there is some scope for 'creativity' here by using illustrations in different media as outlined above. Please also include, as an additional attachment, a co-signed letter of support from the school / sponsoring teacher, and parent / carer.

· Deadline for applications is 19 June, 2023. [Late applications received by 12:00 midday on Friday 23 June may possibly still be taken under advisement by the panel]. 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 applicants, a project supervisor/s will be assigned, according to the student’s own interest as much as possible, and in consultation with the student and their Sponsoring Teacher.