Expert Exchanges – Call Now Open

Europlanet Expert Exchanges – Call Now Open

A new call has been launched for the Expert Exchange Programme, funded through Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI), which aims to share expertise and best practice within the planetary community, and to prepare new facilities and services for integration into the RI.

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 March 2023. Visits through this call should take place between 1 May and 31 October 2023.

The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week).

Objectives for an Europlanet Expert Exchange might be:

  • To improve infrastructure facilities and services offered to the scientific community by Europlanet 2024 RI laboratories or institutes.
  • To provide training on theoretical or practical aspects of the laboratory/fieldwork required to plan a future TA application.
  • To foster cooperation between academia and industry (SMEs).
  • To support early career professionals to develop skills to use or manage RI facilities or services.
  • To widen participation from Under-Represented States in RI activities and services.
  • To support the inclusion of amateur communities in European planetary science campaigns.
  • To support engagement with wider society e.g. through the involvement of outreach providers, educators, journalists, artists etc.

For more details, see the Expert Exchange Call Page.

Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine is out now!

Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine is out now!

In this issue:

Cover of Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine. Credit: Pixooma/NASA/Europlanet

In Focus
round up of news from Europlanet 2024 RI, the Europlanet Society, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 and the planetary community. 

Back Face to Face

For the first time in three years, the planetary science community had the opportunity to meet face-to-face at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada, Spain. Thibaut Roger (Europlanet/Universität Bern/NCCR PlanetS) and Vix Southgate (Europlanet/Vixen Design) present a selection of EPSC2022 images.

Planetary Perspectives
Ann Carine Vandaele, the new President Elect of the Europlanet Society and Head of the Planetary Atmospheres Group at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA), talks about her career and her vision for Europlanet in this month’s Planetary Perspectives Q&A.

Amanar: A Refuge in the Stars 

Felipe Carrelli, Jorge Rivero González, Andrea Rodríguez Antón, Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio and Diego Torres Machado on behalf of GalileoMobile and the Amanar Task Force explain how the ‘Amanar: Under the Same Sky’ project is using astronomy to support Sahrawi refugee communities through skills development and self-empowerment activities.

The Effects of Climate Change on Astronomical Observing Facilities

Caroline Haslebacher (University of Bern/NCCR PlanetS) and her team look into how climate change will affect ground-based observations.

Observing DART with the Travelling Telescope
Colin Clarke of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium in Northern Ireland visited the Travelling Telescope Team in Kenya through the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

VESPA Comes of Age  
Stéphane Erard (Observatoire de Paris) explores the evolution of Europlanet’s virtual access service, VESPA.

Long-term Sustainability of Small and Mid-scale Distributed RI Projects
Liliana Avila Ospina and Patrick England (MOSBRI), Ana Helman (ESF), and Anita Heward and Nigel Mason (Europlanet) report on a side event session at the International Conference of Research Infrastructures (ICRI) 2022.

Europlanet Impact Case study: Atomki
Béla Sulik explains how the Institute for Nuclear Research (Atomki), Hungary’s national centre of accelerator-based nuclear and atomic physics, became involved with and has benefitted from collaboration with Europlanet.

JWST Sees Red with First Pictures of Mars
Sanje Fenkart, a science communicator and freelance journalist, is the new editorial assistant for the CERNCourier. She took part in the media internship programme at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) from 18-23 September 2022 funded by the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project. Here she reports on results presented at the meeting.

From Online to Granada: Bringing Scientific Conferences to Schools

Ulysse Pedreira-Segade, Education Officer for Europlanet 2024 RI and Scientific Coordinator for Lecturers Without Borders, describes how activities to bring planetary sciences to the classroom has transitioned from online to in-person.

Status of Women in Astronomy: Still a Long Way to Go
Mamta Pommier (LUMP/CNRS, Université de Montpellier, France) and Arianna Piccialli (Royal Belgium Institute of Space Aeronomy, Belgium), on behalf of the IAU Women in Astronomy Working Group, take a first look at factors suppressing the careers of women astronomers around the world.

Hidden in the Noise
Yoshifumi Futaana (Swedish Institute of Space Physics) shows how asking unusual questions can lead to ground-breaking science.

The Europlanet Magazine’s column on science communication by Thibaut Roger (Europlanet/Universität Bern/NCCR PlanetS) reflects on unconventional outreach practices.

The Last Word – A Time for Optimism
Nigel Mason (University of Kent/Atomki) reflects on positive news for the planetary science community.

AbGradEPEC 2023

AbGradEPEC 2023

After 2 years of postponing it, AbGradE and EPEC are pleased to invite you to our joint symposium AbGradEPEC 2023!

The event will take place on the beautiful island of La Palma (Spain) at the Hotel La Palma & Teneguia Princess on May 4-6, 2023 (right before the BEACON conference)!

The symposium is open to all early-careers – from undergraduates to postdocs and professionals. It will be a great opportunity to get to know other astrobiolgists and planetary scientists! “AbGradEPEC 2023” will be a chance to show that the space research family is still vibrant and motivated despite pandemics and natural disasters.

The preliminary programme is as follows: 

  • Wednesday (3.5.2023)
    • afternoon: arrival
    • evening: ice breaker at the pool bar
  • Thursday (4.5.2023)
    • whole day: scientific programme  
  • Friday (5.5.2023):
    • morning: scientific programme
    • afternoon: excursion ti the new Tajogaite volcano
  • Saturday (6.5.2023)
    • whole day: Workshop

The scientific sessions will include contributed talks (and/or posters) by our attendees. This will be a great opportunity to present your work in front of a friendly audience of peers in a stress-free environment.

If you plan to present at both AbGradEPEC and BEACON, we kindly ask you to either contribute a presentation at AbGradEPEC for your BEACON poster, or chose two different topics, in case you contribute presentations for both events.

As soon as you fill in the registration form, we will send you further instructions concerning the format and length of the abstract for either (or both) a contributed talk or poster via email. The registration fee for the AbGradEPEC event will be 30€. Additionally, we will offer an excursion to sites of volcanological interest on Friday afternoon for 35€ extra. The bank details for the payment will be sent to you after completing the registration form. Registration is only completed when the registration fee is transferred.

We are happy to announce that we will be able to offer some accommodation grants! To be eligible, you must submit an abstract and tick the respective field in the registration form. The result of the grant evaluation will be announced in the third week of February to ensure that awardees are able to book their accommodation before the registration deadline (March 1st). 


  • The deadline for abstract submission (and accommodation grant applications) is January 31st, 2023 
  • The deadline for registration to AbGradEPEC is March 1st, 2023. 
  • We would recommend that you stay directly at the venue (La Palma & Teneguia Princess Hotel). Accommodation booking should be done directly through the hotel website. Please note that ALL participants should do their booking on their own. The accommodation booking deadline is March 1st, 2023. Thereafter, accommodation cannot be guaranteed. To book accommodation, please follow the instruction below: 
  1. Go to the hotel’s website 
  2. Fill in the number of people, the arrival and the departure date.  
  3. Fill in the promotion code PHYSICSTOCKHOLM (make sure to use all caps) 
  1. You should be quoted a price of around 75€ per night for one person or around 100€ per night for two people. Please note that this is for an all-inclusive stay.
  2. Please find all information about registration, abstract submission at

EPEC Profiles – Cai Stoddard-Jones

EPEC Profiles – Cai Stoddard-Jones

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Cai Stoddard-Jones is a PhD student in Astrophysics at Cardiff University, UK.

I’m originally from Anglesey in North Wales but spent the first few years of my life living in Los Angeles. My Dad worked for a company there which produced the heat tiles for the space shuttle and parts for the ISS. He’d bring home test pieces and show me electron microscope images of the parts – both this and an obsession with Buzz Lightyear early on prompted a lifelong love of space. 

I originally planned to study Medicine in university until a Physics lesson learning about Kepler’s laws, I thought “This is cool! Oh god, this is really cool”. I quickly switched my offer from Cardiff University to Astrophysics in 2017. Just before uni started I was fortunate to win a scholarship to attend the London International Scientific Youth Forum which opened my eyes to so many different areas of science and collaboration.

I loved the time during my degree. I had so much fun and made friends that I now can’t imagine my life without. Due to COVID, I was not ready to leave Cardiff at the end of the degree. Fortunately, the supervisor of my 4th year project, Paul Roche, was able to offer me a PhD at Cardiff, continuing cometary research that I had started in the 4th year. My project is a mix of analysis of comet 29P and its unusual outbursts, and outreach with the project ‘Comet Chasers’ (follow us on Twitter @comet_chasers). This mix gives me occasionally needed breaks from intense science and data analysis.

I’ve almost finished the first year of my PhD and I’m loving it! I have no idea what’ll happen in the future but, I’m excited to see where I go.

EPSC 2022 is my first large scale conference and I’ve really enjoyed it. While attending I’ve learnt what EPEC offers and I’m very keen to join and get to know other early career researchers.


More information about Can Stoddard-Jones:



Cai Stoddard-Jones. Image credit: Cai Stoddard-Jones.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Winner of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest 2022

The winner of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest 2022 is ’29P & Comet Chasers’ by Cai Stoddard-Jones.

Hi, I’m Cai, a first year PhD student at Cardiff University. I’m from North Wales originally, but made the trek down south in 2017 to start my MPhys. I like to listen to and make music in my free time either singing or playing my guitar. I’m researching comet 29P’s unusual activity, it’s the most observed comet ever yet, we know very little about it. I aim to characterise the comet. In addition, I develop resources and experiments for a project called ‘Comet Chasers’ in Wales. We teach kids about cometary science and giving them LCO telescope time to take their own images. If their images are used by researchers, their schools are credited.

Find out more about #PlanetaryScience4All

More about EPEC

A passion for planets outside of academia

A passion for planets outside of academia

The story of a martian geologist – Dr Tanya Harrison

By Hans Huybrighs, Batiste Rousseau, Nandita Kumar, Prasanna Deshapriya, Ottaviano Ruesch, and the EPEC future research working group. With special thanks to Jatan Mehta.

Academia or industry? A question on the mind of many early career researchers.

We spoke with Dr Tanya Harrison, a PhD Mars geologist, who now works as the Director of Strategic Science Initiatives at the NewSpace company Planet. We learned how we can keep our passion for planetary science and stay involved in the field outside of academia, how in industry your personal values also matter, and how important networking can be.

Tanya_Harrison. Credit_T_Harrison
Dr Tanya Harrison. Credit: T Harrison

The difference between industry and academia: a trade-off in values

A move to industry from academia is often seen as a loss of ‘personal values’. We often think that there won’t be as much freedom to pursue our personal topics of interest in industry. How do you see this?

While I would agree that there is indeed less freedom to pursue one’s path in industry, there could be more space for other values. For example, I really value efficiency in getting things done, which is more important in industry than at universities. Also, in industry there is a much stronger link to your individual performance and career progression. In industry you can get promoted much faster and work your way up the ranks much more quickly. Generally speaking, you can make more money way more quickly.

It’s nice to feel compensated and rewarded for what I am so passionate about. That was not always there on the academic side, where it sometimes just feels like a slog where you’re pouring out your heart just to barely scrape by. You could be the most amazing researcher in the world and still not get grant funding just because there’s not enough funding out there.

So is industry better than academia?

I think it’s totally about your personality. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong decision. Either way it’s about where you personally feel the best. The question is: do you want to throw yourself into research and have a lot of flexibility at the cost of slower career advancement and probably lower pay, or do you want to throw yourself into a career to climb the ladder as quickly as possible in exchange for a potentially more stressful work schedule?

Did you have a “culture shock” when you transitioned to industry?

I think the only surprise was how much of my day would be taken up by Zoom meetings! — Even before the pandemic I spent a lot of time on meetings like sales calls. Meetings about annual contract values and license agreements are so foreign compared to what you’re used to in academia. It’s certainly educational but sometimes you think, “How am I supposed to actually get any work done when I spend my whole day on calls that are about the work I should be doing?!” Otherwise, I did not feel there was a huge culture shock even if I might be biased because I worked in industry before.

How did the work mentality change in industry compared to academia?

The mentality of how the work is approached is very different. I work way more hours in the day in my current job than I did as an academic. Academia was not a consistent level of crazy busy all the time, while I feel in my current job it is crazy busy all the time. Some of that is just being in the startup culture. If you are somebody who wants to throw yourself into your work, startup companies can consume your entire life by doing that. That can happen in academia too but there you are generally representing yourself and your work. Being on the industry side, anything I do has my name on it too but instead I’m representing the company. That adds an extra dimension of stress because if I mess up, it could negatively impact the company. I don’t want to lose my job! [laughs]

Long term networking pays off

How do we get hired by the NewSpace industry?

Networking is extremely important, especially at smaller NewSpace companies. They hire people based not only on what’s on their CV but also on how much they like someone as a person and how much they think they will fit in the team. However, I wouldn’t say this is true for large companies like Boeing, Airbus or equivalents. In the NewSpace companies, your reputation with other people in the community is important. You might get hired because someone knows you and recommends you for a job. These companies are so small and so new that they need good people to get off the ground. So these recommendations come with a lot of weight behind them.

How did you start networking with Planet?

The first connection I ever had with Planet was on Twitter, when one of their engineers asked a question about image processing on Mars. Based on my experience working in mission operations, they brought me to Planet to give a colloquium presentation. Later I got accepted into their science ambassadors program, and gave talks at conferences to demonstrate the potential of Planet data. The more I got to know them, the more interested I became in working for Planet.

Over a period of two years my connection with them developed further. I worked hard to get hired. I think that goes a long way with these companies. It helps to show that you care about the company. That way you won’t be just a faceless name on a resume. A lot of these people start these companies because they’re really passionate about it. They’re not necessarily just in it because they’re trying to make a lot of money, but because they want to change the game when it comes to rocketry or Earth observation.

So networking is essential. Where do we get started?

Going to conferences and any type of networking event is really helpful. The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is an excellent conference to go to for new space networking.

“Change is possible”. A wide variety of career paths are possible after PhD because skills are transferable.

Do you think you will be able to come back to academia or to a faculty position?

I think so. My old boss tried to convince me that if I left academia I could never come back. Maybe 10-15 years ago that might have been the case. However, now people and universities across various domains are appreciating having a broader set of skills like being a better communicator or knowing how to work with more people. Going back is probably not as easy as staying in academia but I think it’s more beneficial in the long run. At least for me, when I went into industry the first time, it gave me a much clearer idea of what I wanted to do for my PhD. After my Master’s, I had no idea of what I wanted to study other than Mars in general. I came back four years later with a clear idea for a project! Working in industry could give you a perspective about how the world works and what you might want from your career.

Tips for transition

How do you transition to a role in industry as a planetary scientist?

It all ties back to knowing how to market the skills that you’ve gained as a planetary scientist in a way that is beneficial to the companies that you’re looking at. Companies aren’t necessarily going to be interested in your knowledge about ice on the moon or the dynamics of asteroids because it doesn’t directly apply to what they’re doing. In general it’s more about the skills that you learned while you were doing research. When you’re making your resume or your CV, it’s good to explain something you did and its result, so they can tangibly see your skills.

Would you recommend to early career scientists who want to switch from academia to industry that a combination of technical and scientific skills is something important to work towards?

Absolutely. If you have skills like analyzing huge datasets or programming that come along with the research you’ve been doing, you can market those and use them to your advantage when applying. It’s a huge thing if you understand the actual technicalities of the things that you’re working with.

You can still be involved in planetary science, but in a different way

We often hear about skills that are transferable to industry, such as data science, But, which jobs are there for planetary scientists coming from academia that are related to planetary science?

That’s tricky if you still want to actually do planetary science. The options are limited but they are growing. I recommend keeping an eye on opportunities at the companies that are going after contracts for NASA’s Artemis and Commercial Lunar Payload Services program or European equivalents. There is not going to be an explosion of these planetary scientists for now but that might change over the course of the next five to ten years.

Introducing EPEC’s New Podcast, “Stairway to Space”

Introducing EPEC’s New Podcast, “Stairway to Space”

“Stairway to Space” is a new podcast from the Europlanet Early Careers (EPEC) Communication Working Group that aims to amplify EPEC’s voice around the planet to reach other early careers with the same goals, the same interests, and the same needs for scientific development. The objectives are to build a ‘trusted companion’ for all the members of the EPEC community, strengthen networks, communicate activities, and provide a forum for deeper reflection and discussion about the needs of the next generation of planetary scientists in Europe.

Listeners can expect a mix of interviews with guests, reports on events, updates on the recent activity of the EPEC working groups and coverage of projects supported by the Europlanet Society. Find out more

Stairway to Space
Stairway to Space

A podcast by the Europlanet Early Career network — A podcast that aims to amplify our voice around the planet to reach other early careers, with the same goals, the same interests, and the same needs for scientific development. Listeners can expect a mix of interviews with guests, reports on events, updates on the recent activity of the EPEC working groups and coverage of projects supported by the Europlanet Society.

PhD Life – Part II: Finding and Starting the PhD
byEuroplanet Early Career network

In our second episode dedicated to PhD life, we dig into the primary steps of a PhD, including searching and applications, timing and consequent interviews and tips for the Resume.

EPEC website:
Episode presentation: I. Di Pietro, F. Karakostas, E. Luzzi, M. Mirino, J.E. Silva
Production team: I. Di Pietro, F. Karakostas, E. Luzzi, M. Mirino, J.E. Silva, S. Tanbakouei, G. Tognon, J. Dias
© Europlanet Society 2022

PhD Life – Part II: Finding and Starting the PhD
PhD Life – Part I: Changes and Adjustments
The EPEC week at the Europlanet Science Congress
EPEC introduction

Back to EPEC

Blending science and engineering to make space missions possible

Blending science and engineering to make space missions possible

The story of a senior planetary scientist in industry – Dr Beau Bierhaus

By J D Prasanna Deshapriya, Nandita Kumari, Hans Huybrighs, Batiste Rousseau, Ottaviano Ruesch, Carina Heinreichsberger and the EPEC future research working group.

Academia or industry? This is no doubt one of the topics that occupies the minds of early career scientists.

In a quest to gather some insights from someone who has had success in the both, we had a chat with Dr. Beau Bierhaus, who is now a senior research scientist at Lockheed Martin. He started off his career in academia with a planetary science-focused PhD at University of Colorado and later ended up transitioningtransiting to industry, where he works on both engineering and scientific aspects of space missions. Here is what we learned.

Engineering and science backgrounds merge to make a versatile planetary scientist

Beau Bierhaus
Beau Bierhaus. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

I’m a senior research scientist at Lockheed Martin, which is a space company with activities spanning across the United States. I’m located just outside of Denver, Colorado and I work within Commercial Civil Space, which is a smaller part of the larger company. 

What do you do for your job?

I partner with space scientists and instrument providers to put together NASA proposals for new mission concepts, such as Maven and Juno mission proposals. I work with the scientists to transform science goals into specific instrument measurements and mission requirements.  For some missions I have the opportunity to be a member of the science team.

OSIRIS-REx is an example where I was involved from the very beginning with the first proposal. I was a member of the engineering team that put together the design of the spacecraft. I was also a member of the science team, thinking about all of the incredible science that we could do at the asteroid Bennu.

Tell us about your academic background

I was a physics major as an undergraduate and got a wonderful exposure to a broad array of concepts. In terms of graduate school, I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder in the aerospace engineering department. I really liked the school and the organisation of the department, because they had a lot of collaboration with the science departments, for example with the astrophysics and planetary science department. Despite being in the engineering department, I was able to take classes in planetary science and Earth’s atmosphere, among others. 

Then I got lucky. Clark Chapman, co-investigator of the imaging-team for the Galileo Mission, was looking for help on analysis of the image data. Even though I was in the engineering program, I loved the science of the mission. I was interviewed for the position and fortunately got it. I started working at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for my graduate research and ended up doing my PhD thesis on impact processes, Galilean satellites and looking at Europa in particular. So I ended up getting a planetary science PhD from the aerospace engineering department. I was a little bit worried that I might not get a good job somewhere because I was from an aerospace engineering department. 

Fortunately, as I was finishing up my career, I met a scientist named Ben Clark with a long background in planetary science and instrumentation. At that time he was working at Lockheed Martin at the facility where I work now. He was looking for somebody comfortable and familiar with both engineering and planetary science. Again I was fortunate that somebody was hiring exactly when I was finishing up my degree, looking for my qualifications. I was very happy to take the job.

A childhood inspiration goes a long way…

You said that you were always interested in space. Was there any defining moment in your life when you decided that you really want to do this ?

Even as a very little kid I just loved space. I can’t pinpoint a particular moment where something happened, but I knew that I wanted to explore space. I’m old enough now that I was alive when the first Star Wars movie came out. I was only four, but I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie and just being amazed. 

Skills? Build your own expertise and also have a sense of the big picture

Could you talk a little about the skills that are necessary for working in industry ?

Engineers have to make things that work in space, with no chance for repair after launch, except for software updates.  This requires incredible attention to detail and a rigorous analysis and test program that evaluates the performance of individual subsystems — such as the power or propulsion subsystems — as well as how those subsystems interact as a system-level spacecraft.  Nothing beats hands-on experience in actually building and testing hardware, even if it’s for something used on Earth, to appreciate the level of detail required.

I would encourage graduate students in science disciplines who are interested in missions, and spacecraft, to learn more about a specific engineering discipline as an entry point to the overall process of designing a spacecraft.  It is also important to keep in mind that your particular subject does not solve the problem alone. Have a sense for community, and work together with people, as all parts of the mission are connected with each other.

I would say in terms of recommendations for interested students, if you’re a scientist, take engineering classes. If you are an engineer, take science classes. At the end of the day these missions are realized not just because of engineers and not just because of scientists but because of both. If you have exposure to those other areas as a student that’s just going to make you a better scientist in the long run, if that is the direction you want to go.

A postdoc looking to transition to industry? Go to conferences, be proactive and make contacts! 

How can a postdoc, beyond taking additional engineering classes, get into industry?

It would be useful to go to conferences where science and engineering overlap because the industry representatives are usually present in such conferences and can be looking to hire. I would encourage you to go to booths of the commercial companies in the conferences and make contacts.

In a nutshell: scientists love ideas, engineers make those ideas work.

You talked about different working philosophies for engineers and scientists. Could you describe it a bit more of how these two sectors approach a problem?

When developing a mission, engineers work, live and design by requirements — that kind of discipline and rigor is necessary to make a mission work. Scientists don’t start out thinking about requirements, they start out thinking about what kind of fundamental questions that they want to answer.  It can take a lot of work to translate the question and hypothesis-based ideas from scientists into mission requirements for the engineers.

Academia vs industry, a choice related to research freedom, teamwork and getting hands-on with stuff that go into space

You transitioned from academia to industry after your PhD. What changes did you notice in the way these two domains work? 

In academia you have the opportunity to come up with your own problems and generally be in charge about what you want to do and what particular problem you want to solve. In industry, your individual efforts are more coordinated with problems that the organization is trying to solve. So I think you trade some intellectual flexibility by working for a company, but you have direct access, responsibility and involvement with actually building satellites that will go into space. 

Fancy being a scientist in industry? The more ‘bilingual’ you are in science and engineering, the better the chances!

Could you reflect on future opportunities for scientists in industry in the next decade or so?

There needs to be a bridge that connects those two to make the missions work. I think it’s always important to have people who are comfortable speaking to both communities, probably because of the different working mindsets of engineers and scientists. So I think if you are interested in industry, I think that interface is really valuable and makes a mission successful.

Find out more about the EPEC future research working group.

EPEC Annual Week 2022 – Call for Applications

4th Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week 2022 – Call for Applications

EPEC is pleased to announce the fourth edition of its training school for early-career scientists who work in the field of planetary/space science and engineering.


Dates: 13-16 June 2022
Venue: Virtual
Deadline for registration: 31 May 2022

The school is organised by EPEC, the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network. One of the main objectives of EPEC is to form a strong network of young professionals by organising early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects through the nine EPEC Working Groups. The EPEC community aims to bring a young voice into the Europlanet Society to shape the future of planetary and space sciences and engineering. More information on EPEC can be found here.

The programme for this year’s EPEC Annual Week will cover:

Introduction, Fundings & How to… Sessions, Social Events, Mental Health, Transnational Access, EPEC Working groups, and much more!

The training school is an opportunity for the EPEC community to better get to know each other and to brainstorm how to further develop the network and the activities of its Working Groups. It is also an opportunity to enhance the interaction with members of the Europlanet Executive Board, who will be invited to give talks throughout the week. The school brings together young scientists from across the EU and beyond, and provides a networking platform where scientific discussion and collaboration can be stimulated via a series of group activities. Download more details of the week’s schedule.

Applicants must either be in their final year of an MSc course (or equivalent), be currently enrolled in a PhD program in the field of planetary/space science or have obtained their PhD qualification not earlier than 2015 (or an equivalent period allowing for parental leave, serious illness and similar delays).

Note that in order to apply to the training school you are NOT required to be a member of EPEC, although this is encouraged. If you fulfil the requirements to be a member and wish to become one, please send an email to, including ‘EPEC application’ in the subject.

To register for the EPEC Annual Week 2022, please complete this form by May 31st 2022.

Successful applicants will be notified via e-mail within two days after the submission deadline. In case of any queries or problems related to the application procedure, please send an email to, including ‘EPEC Annual Week application’ in the subject.

We look forward to seeing you at the virtual meeting!

EPEC Annual Week Organising Team

Erica Luzzi, Jacobs University Bremen (Chair)
Melissa Mirino, Open University
José Eduardo Silva, Observatório Astronómico de Lisboa

Past EPEC Annual Weeks

3rd EPEC Annual Week 2021, Virtual, 7-11 June 2021

2nd EPEC Annual Week 2018, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 20-24 May 2019
EPEC Annual Week 2019 Report
EPEC Annual Week Programme 2019

1st EPEC Annual Week 2018, ISU Strasbourg, 11-15 June 2018

EPEC Profiles – Ilaria di Pietro

EPEC Profiles – Ilaria di Pietro

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Ilaria Di Pietro is currently enrolled as postdoctoral fellow at the Remote Sensing and Planetology Laboratory, University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy.

I started off as a space exploration lover when I was 8 yo thanks to “Armageddon”, the American science fiction disaster film produced and directed by Michael Bay in 1998. Since then, secretly, I always dreamed of being one of those superhero-scientists.

More than 10 years later, I chose to get my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Geological Sciences and Technology, focusing on the planetary branch among those available at the University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti. I received my PhD -which focused on the geology of Mars- in 2019 from the Research School of Planetary Science in Pescara, Italy.
My research generally focuses on sedimentary processes on the surface of Mars, with particular attention to the creation of geological-geomorphological maps of the study areas. In the planetary field, I firmly believe that the geological map is the first and most important step to reconstruct the evolution of a region of interest, especially when it is still not possible to investigate it with human in-situ exploration.

In the last few years, I have been actively working in two Horizon2020 projects: Geologic Mapping of Planetary bodies (GMAP) and In-Situ Instrument for MARS and EARTH dating applications (IN-TIME) that allowed me to improve a lot of transversal skills, team working as a visiting young researcher in a variety of international teams at the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation, Cyprus, the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and the University of Texas at Austin, United States.

I truly wanted to get involved within the EPEC as soon as I heard about it for the first time during the Planetary Mapping Winter School 2022. I’ve found out a community of enthusiastic and passionate young professionals and I can’t wait to deeply work in this amazing and brilliant social-scientific network! Thank you EPEC!

Ilaria Di Pietro
Ilaria Di Pietro. Image credit: Ilaria Di Pietro.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

EPEC Profiles – Luca Nardi

EPEC Profiles – Luca Nardi

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Luca Nardi is currently a PhD student in Information and Communication Technologies at La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

I had my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at La Sapienza University of Rome and now I am finishing my PhD in Information and Communication Technologies at the same university in association with the italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF-IAPS). I have always been in love with planetary science: my Master’s degree thesis was about spectroscopy of the asteroid (25143) Itokawa using data from the Hayabusa mission, and now I am studying the trace gases (water vapour and carbon monoxide) in the Martian atmosphere with infrared data from ExoMars’ TGO and Mars Express.

My other love is science communication: after finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I understood that studying fascinating things wasn’t enough for me, I wanted to share them with other people. So I began to increasingly get involved in science communication activities. First I opened a blog about astronomy and astrophysics (Cronache dal Silenzio) with which I began to learn and practice science writing and social communication, skills that now I also put into practice by writing for some magazines and by contributing with various projects. In 2018 I also began to do space science communication with my social accounts, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and now also and particularly on YouTube, where I talk about astronomy and planetary science and where I weekly interview researchers and communicators about astronomy-related topics. I love social media communication, because social media are perfect tools to reach people and share images, videos, ideas about the beauty of our universe.

For this reason, in 2020 I participated to the EPSC2020 social media internship and, after that, I continued to work as social media manager for the Europlanet Society, where I took part to the communication team. I am very proud to be part of this, since Europlanet is a very important infrastructure aimed at creating a planetary science network in Europe, and I believe in the key importance of communication in order to reach this goal.

After the incoming ending of my PhD, I definitely see my future in space science communication, for which I have a lot of ideas and projects that only waits to be put in practice.

I got in contact with EPEC for the first time during EPSC2019 in Geneva, that was my first science congress as a PhD student and I was really amazed by the enthusiasm I saw in this network. I then worked with the EPEC team during my internship in EPSC2020 and my first impression was confirmed. I think it is very important that young planetary scientist have such an amazing community to which they can refer when beginning this wonderful career. Thank you EPEC!

Luca Nardi. Image credit: Luca Nardi.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

EPEC Profiles – Noah Jäggi

EPEC Profiles – Noah Jäggi

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Noah Jäggi is currently a PhD student in Space Research & Planetary Sciences, at the Physics Institute of the University of Bern.

I started off as a rock lover and slowly drifted into space. My journey had its liftoff when I did my bachelor thesis. The task was simple. There was a lot of data of CAIs collected by a PhD student and now it was up to me to figure out if it was possible to classify the CAIs based on those datasets. Do you find the lack of explanation confusing? Maybe mysterious or even overwhelming? Then you know how I felt – and it was exactly that which gave me the drive to pursue a career in science, or at least to dip my toe into the ocean of possibilities that is research.

After the expedition into the world of CAIs, or Calcium-Aluminium-rich Inclusions, the first condensates forming out of a protoplanetary disk, I had an original idea for an MSc thesis in the same area of research. Sadly, we didn’t get the samples, but as a condolence prize, I was offered to contribute work to a PhD project. The similarity to the bachelor thesis was stunning: There was no data yet of tiny melt droplets that formed in space around 4.5 billion years ago, called chondrules that are used by the PhD student. Now it was up to me to figure out if it was possible to better classify the chondrules. The method? Tomography! I was as fascinated as I was overwhelmed – and agreed to the offer on the spot.

History repeated itself about a year later when I sent in my application for a PhD in Physics. The job description clearly pointed out that an MSc in Physics or equivalent was required, but the topic of space weathering on the Moon and Mercury sounded geological enough for me to take another leap of faith. Now I am here, almost three years into this PhD, and I found great joy in applying all I learned from planetary geochemistry to the world of planetary physics. On the way, I found great friends, side projects that became main projects and, of course, EPEC!

I joined the annual week back in 2019 in Portugal and met all the great people from EPEC there. Initially, I was most interested in early career support, but after having met Solmaz Adheli and Maike Neuland, the former chairs of the EPEC@EPSC working group, I joined them in a flash… and hosted the Science Flash at EPSC 2019 in Geneva. After the virtual Flash (and EPSC) in 2020, both Solmaz and Maike stepped down due to being in a late stage of their early career. Since the beginning of 2021, I’m now chair of the awesome working group which is EPEC@EPSC and can’t wait for the next in-person EPSC!

The EPEC@EPSC working group is the perfect mix of having fun and connecting people. There is no better recompense than seeing early careers connect in the event you (yes YOU!) got off the ground. See you all in person again soon… 3… 2… 1… liftoff!

Noah Jäggi

More information about Noah Jäggi:


Noah Jäggi. Image credit: Thomas de Selva-Dewint.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

EPEC Profiles – Joana S. Oliveira

EPEC Profiles – Joana S. Oliveira

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Joana S. Oliveira is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Space Magnetism Laboratory from the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), close to Madrid, Spain.

She studies the internal (crustal and core) magnetic fields of different planetary bodies: Mercury, the Moon, and Mars. In particular, she is developing a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships Action which uses terrestrial analogs data acquisition and modeling to better understand magnetic sources origin from the Moon and Mars. Understanding the origin of such sources will help to get the full picture of the terrestrial planets’ surface and internal history.

She is a member of the BepiColombo Science Working Team. She also co-chairs the BepiColombo Young Scientists Study Group (BC YSSG), an innovative way to engage early-career individuals in their scientific careers to get maximum scientific output on space missions, while helping to boost their careers.

She was born and raised in Portugal where she completed her Master’s degree in Astrophysics and Instrumentation for Space, at Coimbra University. She got her Ph.D. degree in Planetary Sciences where she modeled Mercury’s core magnetic field using spacecraft data, at the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique (LPG) and Nantes University, France. She had her first postdoctoral experience in the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) where she studied crustal magnetic anomalies of the Moon. She had her second postdoctoral experience at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, where she investigated crustal magnetic anomalies of Mercury and the Moon. 

She was present in the EPEC creation meeting at Riga in 2017, and started to be a committee member while participating in the EPEC@EPSC WG (from 2019 to 2021), and gave support to develop the Communications WG during its first steps in 2020.

Participating in building the EPEC network and watching its evolution is very satisfying, especially when you know it has reached more than 500 young researchers (and keeps growing)!

EPEC is a nice community to improve several soft skills that researchers need to develop their professional careers. The sooner you start, the better skilled you become to develop your research projects!


More information about Joana S. Oliveira:

WebOfScience Researcher ID



Joana S. Oliveira. Image credit: Thomas Cornet.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

EPEC Profiles – Dimitrios Athanasopoulos

EPEC Profiles – Dimitrios Athanasopoulos

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Dimitrios Athanasopoulos is a Ph.D. candidate at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) in Greece. His research focuses on the most ancient asteroid families that have been discovered. He is performing observations to reveal the asteroids’ spin state.

From a young age, I was particularly interested in the Natural Sciences and especially in Astrophysics and Planetary Science. With the ambition to become a researcher, I set a goal to study at the Department of Physics of NKUA. The first step was taken and the journey to knowledge and research began.

During my undergraduate studies, I took part in a European student competition, where I came up with an alternative scenario of Lunar colonization that uses Lunar morphology, namely lunar pits, to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation. As part of this work, I developed code and performed original computational simulations calculating the radiation levels in these structures. Thanks to my performance, I was given the opportunity to do a 6-month internship at the European Astronaut Center (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, of the European Space Agency (ESA). There, I was a member of the Spaceship EAC team, and my work was included radiation shielding simulations for the Moon Village scenario.

In the summer of 2018, I participated in the Alpbach Summer School with the theme “Sample return from small solar system bodies”, where European students are invited to prepare a space mission proposal divided into groups. My group’s proposal was to return a sample from a type D type asteroid in order to find the relationship between asteroids and comets. Our proposal was distinguished with two awards. 

After the Summer School, asteroids were included in my research interests. Hence, I enrolled in the Master in Astrophysics program at my university, and I worked on the photometric observations of the most ancient asteroids. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate, I want to delve into this field and answer research questions that arise about the oldest asteroid families and the information they give us about the early stages of our Solar System. 

In the last years, I am working as a high-school teacher and in the last semester, I was working as Graduate Teaching Assistant at my University, performing lab courses for undergraduate students. Apart from teaching, I also like science communication. As an active member of the “Planets In Your Hand” team (awarded by Europlanet Funding Scheme 2017), I have conducted many outreach activities. I believe that public outreach is the duty of the scientific community so knowledge to be spread in the wider community and everyone can benefit.

Lastly, an international observing campaign, called “Ancient Asteroids”, supports my Ph.D. and was initiated willing to establish a node between professional and amateur astronomers, a Pro-Am collaboration for the characterization of the oldest asteroid families.

Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in the discovery.

The EuroPlanet Early Career (EPEC) network lays a solid foundation for tomorrow’s scientific community in Planetary Science. I am very happy to be part of this multidisciplinary team.


More information about Dimitrios Athanasopoulos:



Dimitrios Athanasopoulos. Image credit: Kosmas Gazeas

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

EANA Lecture: Prospection for Fossil Life on Mars

EANA Lecture: Prospection for Fossil Life on Mars

Nora Noffke, Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA

December 01, 2021 – 4 pm (CET)

For registration, please follow this link:

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Abstract: Clastic sedimentary rocks have long been overlooked with respect to the occurrence of fossil icrobenthos. However, sandstones display a great array of sedimentary structures originally caused by microbial mats interacting with hydraulic and climatological parameters of their paleoenvironment. Modern microbial mats organize their complex internal microfacies by binding, they baffle and trap suspended particles to avoid burial, and they biostabilize their substrate in order to withstand erosion or desiccation. Such interaction results in characteristic microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS), a group of microbialites of much different morphologies than stromatolites. Because Archean rocks on Earth and Noachian deposits on Mars have approximately the same ages, Archean fossils and biogenic structures constitute valuable biosignatures. The large volume of clastic deposits on Mars calls for the investigation of such lithologies on Earth. Archean sandstones include a wealth of MISS. This presentation discusses the significance of genesis, taphonomy and detectability of terrestrial MISS for the prospection of these biogenic structures in Noachian clastica on Mars.

Nora Noffke is a sedimentologist interested in the interaction of microbenthos with clastic deposits resulting in microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS). MISS allow insight into prokaryote evolution since the early Archean time. Such structures also serve the life exploration of comparable lithologies on Mars.

Noffke received her training in geology-paleontology at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. As a student of Dolf Seilacher, she specialized in ichnology of clastic deposits, conducting her Diploma research in the Arenigian of the Montagne Noire, France. For her PhD, she joined the working group of Wolfgang Krumbein and Gisela Gerdes, University of Oldenburg. Here, Noffke was exposed to research on modern microbial mats at the North Sea coast, the Red Sea, and the Mediterrean. Returning to the Montagne Noire, she detected fossil MISS. After a year of lecturing at the University of Frankfurt/M., Noffke migrated to the USA, where she studied with Andy Knoll at Harvard University, exploring Neoproterozoic rock successions with respect to MISS. In 2001, Noffke joined the faculty at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

The webinar is supported by Europlanet 2024 RI

For more information visit the EANA website.

EPEC Profiles – Carina Heinreichsberger

EPEC Profiles – Carina Heinreichsberger

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Carina Heinreichsberger is working on the upper atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars with a 1D hydrodynamic Code developed at the Institute of Astrophysics in Vienna.

My story is not the typical “I have gazed into the night sky since I was a kid” – kind of story. I was actually quite bad at maths and physics during school. However, when Curiosity landed on Mars things changed. I was suddenly really interested in a topic that I have never thought about before. I read all the news I could find and at some point, decided that reading about it was not enough anymore; I wanted to work on it. I want to be at the very front of science, ask my own questions and find answers to them.

At the same time, being very aware of my lacking knowledge in maths and physics, I began wondering if biology might be more suitable (I attended a school that was focused on biology and chemistry). But I went for it. I formed strong bonds with my colleagues, whom I can now call very close friends, and it paid off! I made it through my Astrophysics Bachelor’s Degree and started my Master’s Degree courses in 2018.

During my time at the Institute of Astrophysics in Vienna, I have always been amazed by exoplanetary science. There was a time when I thought I would become a cosmologist, but I quickly decided that my home lies with planetary bodies. Planet formation is especially fascinating for me, and for my Bachelor’s thesis, I worked on a topic that was related to this – the classification of exoplanets through their mean densities. The wake-up call from this highly naïve approach came soon enough, with planets of densities around 1000g/cm^3. This was the point when I first realized that there are many things that seem simple but are highly complicated. I loved it and still do!

For my Master’s thesis, I joined Manuel Güdel’s group, and since then I have been working on upper atmospheres with a 1D hydrodynamic code called Kompot-Code, developed at our institute in Vienna. Currently, I am testing this code with the future goal being the investigation of early Venus’ CO2 mixing ratios, and/or Mars atmospheric escape.

I joined the EPEC annual week with no expectations, and left with new friends and a supportive community behind me. The working groups are an amazing opportunity to form connections with other scientists and I am happy to be part of this wonderful group of people now.

Carina Heinreichsberger

More information about Carina Heinreichsberger:






Carina Heinreichsberger. Image credit: Johannes Seelig

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Announcing the Contenders for the #PlanetaryScience4All Video Contest 2021

Announcing the Contenders for the #PlanetaryScience4All Video Contest 2021

Earlier this year, the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Communication working group invited all early career researchers, including PhD, Master’s and Bachelor’s students, involved in planetary science the opportunity to showcase their research through a 4-minute video contest called #PlanetaryScience4All.

Watch the 2021 Contenders’ Entries

The winner is….

The winner of the 2nd edition of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest will be announced during the EPSC2021 session CE10 – Other Prize Lectures, at 14:20–14:50 (CEST) on Friday 24 September.

The Judging Committee for the second edition of the #PlanetaryScience4all includes eight members of the current EPEC Communications Working Group.  All members have been involved in planetary science research projects as well as several outreach activities. The group is made by people of different nationalities currently working for different institutions and universities.

The group is voting using  a Google form where is not possible to see scores assigned by the other judges. Videos are going to be evaluated according to the following criteria: Scientific content, Structure Presentation delivery Layout, and Visual quality. The scores have been given based on a scale from 0 to 5. The video with the highest score will be considered the winner of the competition.  

The winner of the video contest will receive free registration to EPSC 2022 which will be held in Granada, Spain. 

Help spread the word on social media #PlanetaryScience4All #PS4All #EPSC2021 and join us on Friday 24 September to find out if your favourite entry has won!

EPEC Profiles – José Eduardo Silva

EPEC Profiles – José Eduardo Silva

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

José Eduardo Silva is a PhD Candidate in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) in Lisbon, Portugal. He works with spacecraft imaging data of Solar System planets in order to study the dynamics and features of their atmospheres. 

Though I was curious and interested in other worlds throughout my childhood, my planetary journey only truly began shortly before I enrolled in a Bachelor of Physics course at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon. My initial curiosity was guided towards stellar birth and interstellar medium (in part due to the seductive and beautiful imagery from Hubble Space Telescope), but I’ve found myself steered towards the study of Solar System planets ever since my Master’s course.

What struck me from the beginning as both magnificent and awe inspiring is the diversity of ‘little worlds’ within such a tiny corner of the Universe (our Solar System), from the scorching wasteland of the surface of Venus, to the icy plains of Pluto – taking a left turn into the strange configuration of the gas giants, planets without a surface and with mesmerizing atmospheric patterns.

Currently I’m close to the ‘end of the beginning’ of my astronomical journey (I hope), working to conclude a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, still in sunny Lisbon. My main focus is on the study of the dynamics of atmospheres of several planets – most recently Venus, although I’m always eager to take a few jabs at other targets. This exploration includes using spacecraft and ground based data to study how the atmosphere behaves and find out about the driving mechanisms that sustain wildly different modes of circulation. To do this, I went in search of particular atmospheric features called atmospheric gravity waves on Venus, one possible key ingredient in powering the enigmatic super-rotion of Venus’ atmosphere (at the cloud top the atmosphere of Venus rotates about 60 times faster than the solid globe).

This bubbling curiosity usually spills over, which has made me find a second passion in my life: sharing this wonderful cosmos of astronomy and planetary sciences with whoever is willing to listen to me. I’ve been involved in outreach activities since 2012, usually stargazing with the general public with a little help from portable telescopes but also small lectures and even sailing across the stars as my Portuguese ancestors once did.

During my PhD I also took the opportunity to teach minor physics courses to Bachelor’s students in other areas, including computing engineering and geophysics. Though only an assistant, this adventure has been the seed of my third passion and ambition: teaching astronomy in an attempt to improve education and elevate this field in my country.

Today, as I’m writing this text and my thesis at the same time, I wonder where this road will lead. I can only hope that my skills in image-analysis and atmospheric characteristion will take me to many worlds in the Solar System, so that then I can share that knowledge back to the wider community because, in my view, science is truly for everyone!

In the meantime I’ll try to continue exploring this world, hiking through the landscape, or other worlds through storytelling around the table.

An essential component to scientific research is teamwork and collaboration. EPEC has provided a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with enthusiastic people who have inspired me in more ways than I can count. It is also the best place to cement the important influence early careers can have in shaping up the science of tomorrow. I’ve been continuously thrilled to be part of the team and give a hand to my fellow colleagues on all things concerning our field and hope for a better future for all of us!

José Eduardo Silva

More information about José Eduardo Silva:




José Eduardo Silva. Image credit: J. Silva

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Mentoring@EPSC 2021

Mentoring@EPSC 2021

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network invites you to participate in the third edition of Mentoring@EPSC at the EPSC2021 virtual meeting. Mentoring@EPSC* is an activity organised by EPEC during the EPSC conference which pairs scientists in more advanced stages of their careers with early career scientists to offer the early careers a networking opportunity and a better EPSC experience.

Given the digital nature of the EPSC 2021 and that most of us are still struggling with the effects of the current pandemic, we believe that receiving guidance has become increasingly desired during these difficult times. Mentoring@EPSC aims to fulfill this need by enabling one-to-one meetings between master students, PhD candidates, postdocs and established researchers for informal conversation and exchange of experiences.

Sign up as a MENTEE: if this is your first EPSC conference and you are looking for guidance during the virtual EPSC 2021, if you are a student and are looking for an opportunity to get support in networking and career development, or if you are keen to meet an experienced researcher from a similar scientific field. We will put you in contact with a
suitable Mentor to guide you during the conference.

Sign up as a MENTOR: if you are an experienced scientist who has been to numerous international conferences, feel confident navigating them and are willing to share your own experience and networking tips with an early career. You will be requested to meet virtually at least once with your Mentee during the conference.

Sign up using this link.

The deadline to sign-up to the Mentoring@EPSC program is August 30, 2021.

If you have any queries, please contact us at

If you are interested in a long-term mentoring program, please have a look at the Europlanet Mentorship Platform**. For more information on other resources to aid early careers, please check out the Europlanet Early Careers Training and Education Portal using the links below.

Looking forward to welcoming you to the Mentoring@EPSC,

EPEC-EPSC working group

*Mentoring@EPSC is complementary to both the Education Portal and the Europlanet Mentorship program. Mentoring@EPSC provides a short term mentoring opportunity to support early career professionals in navigating the annual EPSC conference and provides a stepping stone into the long term Europlanet Mentorship program.

**The Early Careers Training and Education Portal provides information on PhD positions, job opportunities, summer schools, and meetings relevant to early career professionals working in planetary science and related fields.

The Europlanet Mentorship program aims to help early career scientists to develop expertise, ask questions and discuss career plans with the support of more established members of the planetary community.

Introducing the new EPEC Co-Chairs

Introducing the new EPEC Co-Chairs

Warmest congratulations to Erica Luzzi and Ines Belgacem, the new Co-Chairs of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network. We are delighted to welcome them in their new roles. You can find out more about them in their EPEC profiles and their pitch presentations from the recent EPEC Annual Week.

Erica Luzzi
Erica Luzzi
 Ines Belgacem
Ines Belgacem
Indhu Varatharajan
Indhu Varatharajan

Warmest thanks too to Indhu Varatharajan, who is stepping down as EPEC Chair, having served in the role since 2017. We are indebted to Indhu for her work in developing the current structure of EPEC and all her efforts to support and raise the profile of early careers within the Europlanet community over the past three years.

EPEC Profiles – Ines Belgacem

EPEC Profiles – Ines Belgacem

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Ines is currently a research fellow at the European Space Agency in Madrid, Spain. She studies the icy surfaces of our solar system and, more particularly, Jupiter’s icy moons in preparation for ESA’s JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission. Her main focus is looking at photometric data – i.e. how the light is reflected off of a surface w.r.t. the geometry of observation and illumination. This is directly linked to the surface microtexture (roughness, shape of particles, etc.) and can help us learn more about the evolution of a planetary body and the processes at play. 

She graduated with her PhD in November 2019 from the Université of Paris Saclay in France for which she was awarded the Amelia Earhart fellowship (Zonta international) in 2018. She completed the first part of her studies at ISAE-SUPAERO and Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France in engineering and astrophysics. 

Ines is also very invested in outreach activities. She loves sharing her passion with the general public and especially getting kids engaged in space science and astrophysics. Recently, she co-created with fellow scientists he Sens’Astro association with the aim to share content to discover space through the 5 senses. Not only is it an original way of looking at astrophysics but the main objective is to make the wonders of space accessible to people with sensory disabilities.

Born and raised in Toulouse, France, she maintains strong ties to her hometown with her outreach and advocacy engagements. She is one of the ambassadors of the OSE l’ISAE-SUPAERO program of the ISAE-SUPAERO foundation aimed at promoting access to higher studies to children from rural and underserved areas. Diversity and representation are subjects very close to her heart. 

She has joined the Europlanet society and EPEC in 2019 as an Early Career Officer for the French hub and has since been very involved in the EPEC committee as well as the communications working group. She is part of the newly formed team managing the social media accounts of EPEC.

EPEC has been a great way to meet young planetary scientists from all over Europe that I would have never crossed paths with. I made new friends and I’m happy to keep building the network and its activities together.


More information about Ines Belgacem:


Ines Belgacem. Image credit: Ines Belgacem

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Новости Омутнинск Любовь и семья Общество Люди и события Красота и здоровье Дети Диета Кулинария Полезные советы Шоу-бизнес Огород Гороскопы Авто Интерьер Домашние животные Технологии Рекорды и антирекорды