The Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Programme for Summer Students (LEAPS) 2018
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The Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Programme for Summer Students (LEAPS) 2018 Science

Leiden Observatory and ESA are pleased to welcome applications for the sixth edition of the LEAPS program. Application are carried out through this application form and the deadline is scheduled for February 23, 2018. If you want to know more about the projects on offer, please email the project supervisor directly by clicking on their name below.

  • Start date 01-06-18
  • Duration 10 weeks
  • Level Bachelor | Master
  • Location Leiden
  • Course fee 0.-

Please note: the registration deadline date has passed.

LEAPS is an opportunity for students with an interest in astronomy and astrophysics to perform a 10-12 week summer research project in collaboration with a research scientist from Leiden Observatory or ESA. The program is open to all students not currently engaged in a Ph.D. program, although most past participants have been senior-undergraduate or masters' students who are enthusiastic about research in astrophysics.

Students will be selected for the program based on their academic achievements and research potential, and will be matched to staff projects based on what they indicate their scientific interests to be. Research at Leiden Observatory and ESA takes place on a diverse array of topics (see below), and student projects will likely consist of anything from the analysis of data from world-class telescopes, to large computer simulations, to hands-on work in the astrochemistry laboratories.

Projects will begin in June 2018 and end by mid-August 2018.


Research Projects, Categories and Supervisors

These are the proposed research projects for LEAPS 2018. Please note that not all projects will go ahead and some may still be added in the near future. Final funding decisions lie with the Faculty sponsors. And please make a note that if you are interested in an ESA project, to check if your state is an ESA member or affiliate state.

Who can apply

The programme is open to all international students provided they are not currently enrolled in a Ph.D. programme. ESA projects are only available for students from ESA member or affiliate states (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada). Students from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia (affilliate members) can also apply for ESA projects. The working language of the observatory is English, and students should be sufficiently proficient in English to perform a research project.

How to Apply

Please note: the registration deadline date has passed. 

To apply, there is a web application form opened from 1, January 2018. The deadline of the applications is 23 February 2018. The questions include selecting two projects from the Research Project list below that you are most interested in working on. Please note that the submission page requires the creation of a username and password. On the submission page you will be required to submit the following documents (in PDF format please):

A one-page document describing your interest in an area of astrophysics research relevant to staff members (see below), as well as details of any previous research experience or relevant research skills (e.g., scientific computer programming).
The name and contact details of an academic who has been asked to submit a letter of reference for you. This person should be able to speak to your potential to carry out scientific research, rather than just your performance in undergraduate lectures. Letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline, please make sure your referee is aware of this.

  • A transcript of undergraduate/masters level course grades.
  • A curriculum vitae (optional, but helpful).

Once you have submitted you application, or saved a draft version, an email will be sent to your reference letter writer requesting the letter. Students will be evaluated for participation in the programme on the basis of their research potential and match to available projects in their area(s) of interest.

All fully-completed applications received by 23 February 2018, 23:59 CET will receive full consideration. We expect to inform all applicants on the outcome of their submission by early March.

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About Leiden Observatory and European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC/ESA)

Leiden Observatory

Leiden Observatory is a world-class institute for research in astronomy and astrophysics based in the Netherlands, approximately 35km from Amsterdam. The atmosphere at the observatory is dynamic, with approximately 100 faculty/research scientists and 70 graduate students engaged in astrophysical research on a wide range of topics. Major fields of interest include extrasolar planets, star formation, cosmology, galaxy formation, instrumentation, and astrochemistry. Multiple research projects will likely be available within these fields.

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC/ESA)

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC/ESA)

ESTEC is the main technical centre for the European Space Agency (ESA), responsible for spacecraft integration. ESA develops and manages many types of space missions, from exploration, telecommunications, to earth and space science. The Research and Scientific Support Department at ESTEC consists of approximately 40 staff scientists, with research interests ranging from the geology of planets in our solar system, to plasma physics in the magnetosphere of the Earth, space weather, to observational astronomy with ESA's space missions such as Planck, Herschel, GAIA and EUCLID. Due to tight security requirements for entry to the ESTEC complex, students who work in collaboration with the ESTEC Research Fellows will be based primarily at Leiden Observatory and their advisor will meet with them on a regular basis.


The Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Programme for Summer Students (LEAPS) 2018

Theresa, Sweden review

"This is a great opportunity to get experience in research. I did my bachelor in theoretical physics and now I get to work in astrophysics… and it’s a great way to meet a lot of people with different backgrounds"

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