The BIUST-MPG African Astronomy School 2023 (BMAAS 2023) is a two-week residential astronomy school for around 30 graduate and advanced undergraduate students starting astronomy research in Africa. The objective is to teach students specific aspects of astronomy, astrophysics, and space science, focusing on topical research, future opportunities, and practical skills. The School will take place at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in Palapye, Botswana, 270 km northeast of Gaborone.
There will be various topics on various subjects, including hands-on activities across different disciplines. The topics include:
- Observing the panchromatic universe
- Radio astronomy, including the AVN and SKA
- Optical and near-infrared astronomy
- Virtual Observatory: using online databases
- Statistical methods of data analysis
- Introduction to machine learning
- Stellar astrophysics
- Galactic astrophysics
- Cosmology and extragalactic astrophysics
- High energy astrophysics
- Outreach and communication
Night-time observation with small telescopes and social events, including a day trip on the weekend, would also be organised for the participants.
Dates and deadlines
- 15 November 2022: School announcement and application portal open
- 15 January 2023: Deadline for applications (School and grants), including letters of recommendation
- Early February 2023: Successful candidates notified (for School and grants)
- Monday, 26 June to Friday, 7 July 2023: School takes place
Travels and Logistics
Accommodation and meals will be provided on campus at BIUST. The conference organisers cover the costs for these for all participants. Arrival is on Sunday, 25 June and departure Saturday, 8 July. Furthermore, arrangements would be made to ensure that the School operates as requested by the COVID-19 guidelines.
International participants will probably want to fly to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) in Gaborone. Check with the official websites of Botswana and/or the country you are travelling from for the required entry documents (passport, visa, vaccination requirements, invitation letter, etc.). Travel costs will be partially or fully covered for those students who obtain a grant from the conference. These participants will be contacted in due course about travel arrangements. All other student participants must book and pay for travel themselves. Private bus transport will be arranged from GBE to BIUST on 25th June and back on 8 July. Details will be made available nearer the time.
Attendance at the School is via a successful application. The School is targeted primarily at Masters and starting PhD students, but promising advanced (Honours) Bachelor students are also welcome to attend. To be eligible, students must be registered at an African university for a course in astronomy, (Astro)physics or a closely related field.
To apply, the following documents are required (in English, as this is the language of the School) as PDF files:
- Completed application form (available from this link). On this form, you also indicate if you are applying for travel support;
- CV (maximum two pages);
- Official documentation of registration/matriculation to your current degree course (PhD, Master, Bachelor);
- Copies of transcripts of university degree courses taken (or in progress) and grades received. These should include an indication of the range of grades possible (e.g. “8 out of 10”) and whether a high or low number is a better or worse score. If the transcripts are not in English, please provide certified translations;
- One letter of recommendation from an academic-level staff member (e.g. professor) familiar with your work.
All applicants must submit their complete application through the online application system by registering and uploading the required documents. Kindly note that only PDF files will be accepted.
Applicants can save their application, complete the upload of documents and submit their application by the deadline by clicking the “submit” button. Once successfully submitted, an automatic confirmation email will be generated and sent to each successful applicant. In addition, the system will ask the applicants to provide the name and email address of their references, which the system will then contact. To this end, all applicants are urged to notify their referee beforehand. Also, the applicants will be notified once the referees have uploaded the letters. The letter will be treated confidentially (the applicant cannot see it in the system).
Note that the application system refers to your “job” or “vacancy” application, but be assured that this is an application for the School.
The Scientific Organising Committee will use the above information to decide who can attend the school and who will be awarded travel support. The selection criteria include the student’s academic standing and background, the school’s value to the student, and achieving diversity (esp. in gender and geographical origin) at the School.
By applying for the School, students commit to attending it for the full duration (two weeks).
Please check here for more information regarding the School.
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