The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) , is pleased to announce the "United Nations / European Space Agency Fellowship Programme on the Large Diameter Centrifuge Hypergravity Experiment Series (HyperGES)" as part of the UNOOSA's "Access to Space for All" Initiative and in cooperation with ESA and the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). The fellowship programme is aimed at providing opportunities for scientists and researchers with a team of students from Member States of the United Nations with particular attention to developing countries to conduct their own hypergravity experiment series at the LDC facility located at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
In order to further understand and describe the influence of gravity in systems, the LDC facility has been developed by ESA allowing the acquisition of a broad gravity spectrum in the range from 1g to 20 g (where g is the gravitational acceleration at the surface of the Earth). It is part of the Life and Physical Sciences Instrumentation and Life Support Laboratory (LIS) at ESTEC, dedicated to serve the science and technology user communities throughout Europe, and now open to all Member States of the United Nations through this fellowship programme.
The diameter of the LDC is eight metres. The LDC has four arms, each of which can support two gondolas with a maximum payload of 80 kg per gondola. In practice, however, up to six gondolas can be used for an experiment plus one additional gondola in the centre for control or reference purposes. The hypergravity field inside the gondolas is simulated by the centripetal forces due to rotation. The LDC facility can provide a hypergravity environment for cells, plants, small animals, physical science and technological experiments. In particular, biology, biochemistry, microbiology, optical physics, material sciences, fluid dynamics, geology and plasma physics investigations can be undertaken in this facility. The LDC is flexible in terms of experiment scenarios, duration and possible equipment to use. This means that the system is able to execute and manage experiments that last from one minute up to six months, without stopping.
The HyperGES fellowship programme is contributing to the promotion of space education and research in hypergravity around the world, particularly for the enhancement of relevant capacity-building activities in developing countries.
The HyperGES fellowship programme is open to research teams from entities that are located in Member States of the United Nations with particular attention to developing countries. Each team should consist of one academic supervisor (Team Leader - Prof./PhD, not a student), and several Bachelor, Master and/or PhD students.
It is further required that the proposed experiment be an integral part of the students' syllabuses, that is, part of a Bachelor thesis, a Master thesis, a PhD thesis, or another form of research project associated with the applicants' studies at their respective universities.
The final number of team members who will participate in the experiment on site at the LDC facility depends strictly on the requirements of the experiment and is subject to approval by the Selection Board of the HyperGES Fellowship Programme. The Board reserves the right to change or limit the team size if considered necessary.
Changes to the composition of the team are NOT allowed once the application has been submitted. If, for exceptional reasons, changes are absolutely necessary, they will be subject to the approval of the Selection Board. Priority will be given to teams that have not previously participated in an experiment at the LDC facility and/or research projects that have never been conducted at the LDC facility.
The applying academic supervisors (Team Leader) will supervise the work of the students. This person must belong to the same entity as at least one of the students and will be expected to endorse the entire application (including the experiment proposal and team composition) by signing the application form, take care of development process of the team, and bear responsibility for the execution of the experiment.
In addition to the endorsement of the application form by the Team Leader, each Team Member (Team Leader and each student) must be able to show that they have their respective institutions' support through a Letter of Endorsement from their respective institutions. When seeking the Letter of Endorsement, the complete application forms should be presented to their institutions. Team Members belonging to same institution may provide one Letter of Endorsement from that institution.
The latest information on the ground-based experiments, including the HyperGES Fellowship Programme, is available here.
The information on "Access to Space for All" initiative is available here.
For further information regarding the fellowship programme, please contact Mr. Aimin Niu at UNOOSA at aimin.niu(at)un.org.