Keele University Astrophysics Research Experience Week

Between 6th - 10th July 2020, the Astrophysics Group at Keele University will be hosting a week-long “research experience”, at the Lennard-Jones laboratories on Keele campus. The project is aimed at students with a keen interest in science, technology and computing that are in years 10, 11 or 12 of their school/college studies and who are perhaps thinking of going on to do science at University.

The research experience will involve students working in small teams on research projects that utilise data from world-class observatories, such as NASA’s TESS and GALEX satellites, ESA’s Gaia satellite and Keele’s SuperWASP telescopes. The teams will be responsible for researching the context of their work, analysing data, recording their results, drawing conclusions and then presenting their work to the rest of the group.

The scheme was successfully piloted in June 2016 with 24 students from local schools and colleges (Keele Astrophysics Research Experience Week Report 2016). It ran in 2017-2019 with increasing numbers of participants. This year, the scientific focus will be on the discovery and analysis of eclipsing binary stars with known age, using the TESS and SuperWASP surveys. This forms part of a wider research project that aims to find “benchmark” targets for future NASA/ESA missions. Students will gain experience of working in a university environment, and improve transferable skills such as information sifting; data analysis; logical thinking; communication and presentation. It is also a chance to meet new people and work together on challenging problems in a supportive environment, supervised by Professor Rob Jeffries and other members of the Keele Astrophysics Group.

Interested students should complete an application form, including a short statement (no more than a paragraph) saying why they would like to do this work experience, what they are currently studying and what their career aspirations are, and email this either directly, or through their school/college, to Professor Jeffries ( We request an equally short statement, to be submitted separately, from a teacher or tutor to indicate they believe the student would benefit from this experience and summarising the student’s performance. Places may be limited and applications should be received before 26th February 2020.

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