Early Career Event: AbGradEPEC’24 – 8th September 2024

Early Career Event: AbGradEPEC’24 – 8th September 2024

We are back! EPEC will once again team up with AbGradE for EPSC 2024, expanding network opportunities for early career scientists and students.

This year we invite you on Sunday, September 8th for a symposium at the Freie Universität comprising of contributed talks and a workshop on career development given by an ESA fellow and a former ESA intern. The event fee is 10 euros, details on payment will be sent to you in due course.

The deadline for registration is June 30th and can be accomplished with the following form.

The deadline for abstracts is June 1st. For contributed talks, please send a short abstract (max. 200 words) using the template to abgrade@eana-net.eu. We invite early careers to present the work that they either present as a poster at EPSC2024 or any other project not presented at EPSC2024. Letters of acceptance will be sent out by mid-June.

More information can be found at abgrade.eu/abgradepec24.

We look forward to meeting you all in Berlin for what promises to be our biggest joint event yet!

Call for Applications for Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Committee Co-Chair

Call for Applications for Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Committee Co-Chair

The EPEC network is organised by early-career researchers, for early-career researchers, and includes volunteers from across the Europlanet international community, with the support of the Europlanet Society. The focus of EPEC is to form a strong network among young professionals by organizing early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects through Working Groups (WGs).

The EPEC Committee, composed of all the WG Co-Chairs, is led and coordinated by two Chairs whose duty is to make sure all the working groups are working nominally, fill periodic reports on ongoing activities, and liaise with the Europlanet Society Executive Board.

The Chair of the EPEC Committee plays a key role in bringing the WGs and their activities together, making key decisions that benefit the EPEC network as a whole, encouraging new and innovative ideas, and expanding the Early Career Network.

The EPEC Committee is looking for one elected Committee Co-Chair for the next term to help sustain the Committee activities. The term of the elected EPEC Committee Co-Chairs will be two years with an option to extend for an additional year. The expected time commitment of the elected EPEC Chair is approximately two hours per week averaged over one year. However, an increased commitment is expected during the EPEC Annual Week and the run-up to EPSC.

This is a great opportunity to join a vibrant community of early career researchers and learn leadership and managing skills alongside an experienced Co-Chair who can help you make the most of this experience. The Europlanet Society is a developing community that values its early career members and can help raise their profile in a supportive environment.

Key responsibilities of the elected EPEC Chair:

  • Liaising with WG Chairs and keeping up-to-date with EPEC WG activities
  • Engaging in the EPEC forums on WG activities and discussions
  • The EPEC Committee Chair acts as the main contact person with the Europlanet Society Executive Board
  • Represeningt EPEC at EPSC (General Assembly) and at the EPEC Annual week 
  • Writing twice yearly reports on EPEC Committee activities (with help of WG Chairs)
  • Guaranteeing smooth transition with the next EPEC Committee Chair*

*In case the Co-Chairs need to leave EPEC, they should give enough notice to organise the transition

Eligibility to apply: 

The candidates for the EPEC Chair position must fulfil the following requirements:

  • The candidate must be a member of the Europlanet Society
  • Leadership: You will work with a diverse community and need to make sure all points of view are heard and respected, but if needed you and the other Co-Chair are expected to move the needle towards the best decision for the network;
  • Weekly availability on Slack: EPEC uses Slack as the main platform for brainstorming and exchange. You should check new messages at least twice per week;
  • The candidate must be an early-career planetary scientist and/or space professional whose last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) was obtained a maximum of 7 years ago (excluding parental leave, serious illness, and similar delays).

We encourage applications from a diverse early career community (undergraduates, graduates, doctoral researchers, and postdocs)!

How to apply:
If you are interested to become EPEC Co-Chair, please submit your application via the form below by 8th September 2023.

After the deadline, the EPEC committee will meet for a discussion, and will then proceed with a formal vote among the candidates. 

The new Co-Chairs will be announced at the joint EPSC-DPS meeting, taking place in San Antonio (TX) between the 1st and 6th of October 2023.

PostDoc life

Stairway to Space
Stairway to Space
PostDoc life
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We are talking about Postdoc life. The aim is to help PhD students interested in starting their career in academia have a clear vision of a Postdoc position. You will listen to some of our personal experiences as postdocs in different parts of the world.

EPEC website: https://www.europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/epec.epn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/epec_epn
Episode presentation: S. Tanbakouei, Iris van Zelst, Ines Belgacem, Solmaz Adeli
Production team: I. Di Pietro, F. Karakostas, E. Luzzi, M. Mirino, J.E. Silva, S. Tanbakouei, G. Tognon, J. Dias
© Europlanet Society 2023

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR EPEC COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR

The EPEC network is organized by early-career researchers, for early-career researchers, and includes volunteers from across the Europlanet international community, with the support of the Europlanet Society. The focus of EPEC is to form a strong network among young professionals by organizing early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects through the different Working Groups (WGs) such as EPEC annual week, EPEC@EPSC, Future Research, Early Career Support, Outreach, Diversity, and Communications.

The EPEC Committee, composed of all the WG Co-Chairs, is led and coordinated by two Chairs whose duty is to make sure all the working groups are working nominally, fill periodic reports on ongoing activities, and liaise with the Europlanet Society board.

The Chair of the EPEC Committee plays a key role in bringing the WGs and their activities together, making key decisions that benefit the EPEC network as a whole, expanding the EPEC Committee by encouraging new and innovative ideas from the EPEC Committee, facilitating progress across the whole Early Career Network.

With the exponential growth in EPEC activities across EPEC working groups since its launch and with the term of our current EPEC committee Co-Chairs ending, the EPEC Committee is looking for one elected Committee Co-Chair for the next term to help sustain the Committee activities. The term of the elected EPEC Committee Co-Chairs will be two years with an option to extend for an additional year. The expected time commitment of the elected EPEC Chair is approximately two hours per week averaged over one year. However, an increased commitment is expected during the EPEC Annual Week and EPSC organizing weeks.

This is a great opportunity to join a vibrant community of early career researchers and learn leadership and managing skills alongside an experienced Co-Chair who can help you make the most of this experience. The Europlanet Society is a developing community that values its early career members and can help raise their profile in a supportive environment.

Key responsibilities of the elected EPEC Chair:

  • Liaising with WG Chairs and keeping up-to-date with EPEC WG activities
  • Engage in the EPEC forums on WG activities and discussions
  • EPEC Committee Chair acts as the main contact person with the Europlanet Society Executive Board
  • Represent EPEC at EPSC (General Assembly) and at the EPEC Annual week 
  • Writing bi-yearly reports on EPEC Committee activities (with help of WG Chairs)
  • Guaranteeing smooth transition with the next EPEC Committee Chair*

*In case the Co-Chairs need to leave EPEC, they should give enough notice to organize the transition

Eligibility to apply: 

The candidates for the EPEC Chair position must fulfil the following requirements:

  • The candidate must be a member of the Europlanet Society
  • Leadership: You will work with a diverse community and need to make sure all points of view are heard and respected, but if needed you and the other Co-Chair are expected to move the needle towards the best decision for the network;
  • Weekly availability on Slack: EPEC uses Slack as the main platform for brainstorming and exchange. You should check new messages at least twice per week;
  • The candidate must be an early-career planetary scientist and/or space professional whose last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) was obtained a maximum of 7 years ago (excluding parental leave, serious illness, and similar delays).

We encourage applications from a diverse early career community (undergraduates, graduates, doctoral researchers, and postdocs)!

How to apply:
If you are interested to become EPEC Co-Chair, please submit your application via this link by 31st of May 2023 at 7 PM CEST.

After the deadline, the EPEC committee will meet for a discussion, and will then proceed with a formal vote among the candidates. 

The new Co-Chairs will be announced at the joint EPSC-DPS meeting, taking place in San Antonio (TX) between the 1st and 6th of October 2023.

We wish you all the best with the applications!
If you have any questions, please write us via epec.network@gmail.com
 

The EPEC committee

PhD Life – Part II: Finding and Starting the PhD

Stairway to Space
Stairway to Space
PhD Life - Part II: Finding and Starting the PhD
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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: https://www.europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/epec.epn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/epec_epn
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 I: Changes and Adjustments

Stairway to Space
Stairway to Space
PhD Life - Part I: Changes and Adjustments
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The first of a series of episodes dedicated to PhD life. The series is made to help all of those students who are interested in starting a PhD and want to have a better idea about this commitment. We will share our personal experiences that we hope can help you clarify the challenges and the positive aspects of a PhD. We dedicate this first episode to the changes and adjustments that PhD life may request.

EPEC website: https://www.europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/epec.epn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/epec_epn
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
© Europlanet Society 2022

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

The EPEC week at the Europlanet Science Congress

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Stairway to Space
The EPEC week at the Europlanet Science Congress
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On the second episode of “Stairway to Space”, we talk with Noah Jäggi, chair of the EPEC at EPSC Working Group. We present the activities of our network at the imminent Europlanet Science Congress.

EPEC website: https://www.europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/epec.epn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/epec_epn

Episode presentation: N. Jäggi, F. Karakostas

Production team: I. Di Pietro, F. Karakostas, E. Luzzi, M. Mirino, J.E. Silva, S. Tanbakouei, G. Tognon

© Europlanet Society 2022

EPEC introduction

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Stairway to Space
EPEC introduction
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Welcome to the first episode of “Stairway to Space”, the EPEC Podcast. We introduce our network’s activities and we present our new communication effort. Do you want to participate in one of those great projects? Join us now!

EPEC website: https://www.europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/epec.epn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/epec_epn 

Episode presentation: I. Belgacem, 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

© Europlanet Society 2022

Europlanet Early Career Network (EPEC)

Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network is organised by early-career researchers, for early-career researchers, and includes volunteers from across the Europlanet international community. The EPEC network is open to all students, doctoral candidates and early-career planetary scientists and space professionals whose last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) was obtained a maximum of 7 years ago (excluding parental leave, serious illness and similar delays).

One of the main objectives of EPEC is to form a strong network between young professionals by organising early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects amongst the different working groups (see website for more details on working groups). Furthermore, the EPEC community aims to bring a young voice into Europlanet Society to shape the future of planetary and space sciences and engineering.

EPEC was officially launched during EPSC 2017 in Riga.

Check out the latest EPEC news and activities.

Get involved with EPEC!

The EPEC Committee and the nine EPEC Working Groups are constantly looking for interested early-career professionals who are willing to spend some of their academic time with the organising elements of various EPEC activities. By getting involved with the EPEC Committee or one of the Working Groups, you not only get a chance to build a diverse professional network across Europe and abroad, but also build important soft-skills such as leadership qualities and management experience by working with a very friendly and energetic community. 

You can also get involved in EPEC via the Early-Career Officers of your Europlanet Society Regional Hub.

For any questions and enquiries, and interest to join us in building a stronger early career network, please contact epec.network@gmail.com

Upcoming events

See EPEC News.

EPEC Newsletter

If you would like to receive news (e.g., about the annual EPEC week or the next activities planned at EPSC), please sign up here. We will not spam you with lots of emails, but only send a few emails per year with relevant information.

EPEC Logos

Download the EPEC logo pack.

International Spring School: Hydrothermal Vents

EANA International Spring School: Hydrothermal Vents

17-21 May 2021

Application deadline: 14 May 2021 at 23:59 CEST. Registration form

Hydrothermal systems are crucial environments for astrobiology: they are thought to be the theatre of life’s origins, host unprecedented polyextremophilic biodiversity, and are key targets in the search for life throughout the Solar System, especially on Mars and icy moons.

Join the first EANA online school to learn about hydrothermal systems from interdisciplinary perspectives at the interfaces of geology, biology and chemistry. From May 17th–21st, 2021, there will be one or two talks each day on a particular aspect of hydrothermal systems.

The school is free of charge and is an ideal opportunity to discover or deepen your understanding of these unique environments. For more information about the lecturers and to register for the school, please visit http://www.eana-net.eu

The workshop is supported by Europlanet 2024 RI.

Organising Committee

Barbara Cavalazzi, EANA and EUROPLANET
Ruth-Sophie Taubner, EANA and AbGradE
Lena Noack, EANA
Anita Heward, EUROPLANET
Nina Kopacz, AbGradE
Keyron Hickman-Lewis, AbGradE
Frederic Foucher, EANA

EPEC Social Media Pages

The EPEC Communication Working Group is responsible for the presence of all the EPEC activities. The aim of the social media pages is to highlight the contribution of young professionals within the space sector. Currently, we are active on two platforms, Twitter and Facebook, and we plan to expand our presence in the future also in other media, with the objective to reach and connect as many Early Career people as possible. If you would like to get updates for the EPEC activities, job and funding opportunities, new research and open candidacies within our network, follow us and help us to spread the news!!

Facebook EPEC page:
https://facebook.com/epec.network
@epec.network

Twitter EPEC account:
https://twitter.com/epec_epn
@epec.epn

New space companies and planetary science

New space companies and planetary science

This article has been contributed by Hans Huybrighs and Ottaviano Ruesch of the EPEC Future Research Working Group.

In the news, we often hear about New Space companies and their goals to ‘revolutionise’ the access and use of space. Think, for example, of Blue Origin and their planned Blue Moon lunar lander. These new opportunities to access planetary bodies are not, however, always considered in the planetary science community as serious options.

We wonder: are private space companies overlooked because there is some uncertainty as to whether they will eventually launch? Is it worth considering such opportunities when we think of the future of planetary science?

Here at the EPEC Future Research Working Group, we want to explore whether New Space companies will affect how we do research in the future. To find out more, we spoke with Dr Thorben Könemann, Deputy Scientific Director of the ZARM Drop Tower Operation and Service Company at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Bremen, and Dr Erika Wagner, payload sales director at Blue Origin in Kent, Washington.

‘Complementary’ is the keyword that Dr Könemann uses to describe the opportunities provided by New Space companies. His engineering team at ZARM integrates and supports microgravity experiments that have also flown onboard Blue Origin’s reusable launch vehicle, New Shepard, and Dr Könemann has been involved in those experiments from the beginning. 

‘Blue Origin provides complementary access to space with a different set of boundary conditions for the payload than was previously available,’ Dr Könemann says. ‘Examples of such boundary conditions are: payload mass, duration and quality of microgravity, performance of the vehicle, and finally pricing. The availability of a new option increases the chance of finding a launcher that meets the requirement of an experiment and thus the chance to obtain an opportunity to fly.’

Although those experiments are generally more focused on microgravity research and less on planetary science, ZARM’s experience of becoming involved with Blue Origin still gives us lessons that can be applied to planetary science.

Through talking to Dr Könemann, it is clear that today, we are not necessarily witnessing a radical change in how space missions are developed, but rather an increase in the ways that space can be reached and studied. Flights provided by Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard rocket are an example of such new methods.

Dr Könemann states, ‘ZARM reached out early to potential new launch providers a decade ago. We not only contacted Blue Origin but also spoke to other upcoming companies, some of which don’t exist anymore.’

Therefore, even though the flight opportunities from new space companies for planetary science beyond Earth do not exist at present, it does make sense to establish relations with these companies early, so as not to miss out on these new opportunities later down the line.

Blue Origin's Blue Moon lunar lander. Credit: Blue Origin.
The Blue Moon lunar lander. Credit: Blue Origin.

Looking at the future and at rockets that can reach deep space, Dr Wagner says,  ‘Blue Origin will be able to bring a considerable mass and volume of payload onto the surface of the Moon with the Blue Moon lunar lander. This would offer the opportunity to build heavier and more voluminous instruments.’

This is somewhat contrary to the trend of miniaturisation. It is the view of the EPEC Future Research WG that being aware of these opportunities from now will enable the community to develop instrumentation that makes optimal use of the new diverse platforms when they become available (and planning space missions is a long process – check out our series on the ESA Voyage 2050 white papers).

Dr Wagner also explains that of the 100 experiments to have flown on New Shepard, only 3 were funded by European agencies. Thus, it seems that there is a slower uptake on commercial opportunities in Europe when compared with the USA.

Dr Wagner suggests, “If early career researchers want to see an increase in this uptake, they could enable this change by advocating for the potential use of these new opportunities.”

For example, early career researchers can include these possibilities in white papers for government surveys equivalent to the US decadal survey, or through bodies such as the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).

We conclude that new space companies could provide further opportunities in the future to reach our planetary destinations. To make the most of these opportunities, however, it helps to establish connections early, and early career researchers can encourage a move in this direction by advocating for links between planetary science and future launches by private space companies.

What are your thoughts about new space and planetary science? Let us know:  epec.futureresearch@gmail.com

Find out more about the EPEC Future Research WG.

Banner image credit: Blue Origin.