Call for the Online 2021 ESA/ELGRA Gravity-Related Research Summer School



ESA’s Education Office and the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) are joining hands again to organise the sixth edition of the ESA/ELGRA Gravity-Related Research Summer School, which will take place online from 21 June to 2 July 2021.  

The Summer School offers an overview of the current research under microgravity and hypergravity conditions in both Life and Physical Sciences, and explains the interest and benefits of performing research and technology demonstrations in altered gravity. 

ESA expert discussing the flight profile of a parabolic flight

Following the successful edition last year, the Summer School will take place again online. Over ten days, 30 university students will attend stimulating lectures and work in teams to devise ideas for prospective altered gravity experiments. Students will learn the impact of altered gravity research, as well as career possibilities in the European space sector.

All trainers are international experts and part of ESA and/or ELGRA, freely sharing their experience and know-how with students, including their day-to-day work and research experience in biology, human physiology, physics and engineering. 

ELGRA expert giving an overview of gravity-related research topics

Students will be evaluated via a team project and will receive a certificate of participation and a course transcript upon completion of the Summer School, allowing them to request ECTS credit(s) from their respective universities.

The team project can also be a first step towards an application for one of ESA Academy’s Hands-On Experiment Programmes. For example, the members of the Summer School 2020 student team Noah’s Arc further developed their initial experiment idea, applied to the  Spin Your Thesis! Programme and have been selected for this year’s edition.

Preliminary schedule:

Week 1 (21-25 June 2021)
Day 1 Introduction to ESA, its programmes and opportunities
Introduction to ELGRA and SELGRA
Gravity-related research overview
Gravity and gravity-related research platforms
ESA Education Office and hands-on programmes
Develop a Gravity-Related Experiment
Team Project Introduction
Day 2 Presentations by Former Student Teams of ESA Academy’s Hands-On Programmes
Life Science Gravity-Related Research Lecture 1
Physical Science Gravity-Related Research Lecture 1
Human Physiology Gravity-Related Research Lecture 1
Team Work
Day 3 Life Science Gravity-Related Research Lecture 2
Physical Science Gravity-Related Research Lecture 2
Human Physiology Gravity-Related Research Lecture 2
Team Work
Day 4 Life Science Gravity-Related Research Lecture 3
Physical Science Gravity-Related Research Lecture 3
Human Physiology Gravity-Related Research Lecture 3
Team Work
Day 5 Team Project Topic Pitch
Week 2 (28 June-2 July 2021)
Day 6 Project Management Workshop
Team Work
Team Meetings with Tutors
Day 7 Systems Engineering and Requirements Definition Workshop
Team Work
Team Meetings with Tutors
Day 8-9 Team Work
Team Meetings with Tutors
Day 10 Team Project Presentations

Who can apply?

In order to participate, students must fulfil the following criteria at the time of application: 

  • aged minimum 18 years old. ESA Academy and ELGRA will only appraise applications from students who have no or limited professional experience in relevant engineering or scientific topics;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Canada, Latvia or Slovenia;
  • be enrolled as a Bachelor (starting from 2nd year) or Master student in a university for the year 2020-2021 (not graduating before the Summer School); 
  • be studying an engineering or scientific subject;
  • have never taken part in any gravity-related research activity and never been sponsored by ESA’s Education Office or ELGRA.

Selected students will be requested to attend all 10 days.

How to apply?

  • Complete the application form;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (Europass format, PDF, maximum 2 pages);
  • Upload a formal recommendation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, including signature, no images) from a university professor or academic supervisor of current university (if not possible due to current confinement situation in your country please ask a university professor or an academic supervisor to send a recommendation email to [email protected]);
  • Upload a copy of academic records (PDF).

All answers and documents should be in English (except academic records if not available).  

The deadline for applications is 3 May 2021, 23:59 pm CEST.

For further information, please contact [email protected].

University student team discussing the scientific objective of their experiment