Friday, November 5, 2010

And now a word from our sponsors

Opportunities to do planetary science may be somewhat limited in Canada, so it behooves us to spread them as widely as possible when they arise. I'll be starting work with this program on December 1st as part of the 2010 round of fellowships (Post by me on this to follow in a few weeks, I hope!). The good news is that the program will also be selecting fellows next year (2011) as well. The advert is pasted below. Interested? Feel free to contact the folks listed below below, or myself, or make a comment below and I will get back to you!

NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program
MSc, PhD, Post Doctoral Fellow positions available 2011

Astrobiology is broadly defined as the scientific study of the origin, evolution, distribution, conditions and destiny of life in the universe. This new, transdisciplinary science is based on two scientific revolutions - the recent realization that microbial life is extremely hardy and can thrive in very harsh environments previously thought uninhabitable on Earth and the explosion of space technologies that are driving the robotic exploration of Mars and other planets in the search for life in our solar system. The Canadian Astrobiology Training Program (CATP) is the first Canadian cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral training program in Astrobiology and is a NSERC–funded Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE) (2009-2015) located at McGill University, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, and the University of Winnipeg. CATP by its very nature will be accomplished through collaborative and integrative research approaches containing elements of geology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, microbiology, and robotics. CATP trainees (~70 graduate & undergraduate students, PDFs over the next 5 years) will be exposed to innovative research and training approaches, combining fieldwork at unique Canadian analogue sites, including those in the high Arctic, with laboratory work at cutting edge analytical facilities at participating university, government, and industry partners. Shared expertise within and among institutions will be provided by means of course and seminar videoconferencing, and interdisciplinary supervision. Professional training will be enhanced by training rotations with our collaborators at CSA, MDA Space Missions, and our international partners, including NASA Ames. CATP HQP trained in various aspects of astrobiology will be at the forefront of the search for life beyond the Earth. Indeed, CATP will address the recognized lack of HQP in space science and lead to new scientific opportunities and promote Canadian participation in future missions to Mars. The skills acquired through this program will be directly transferable to various other disciplines, such as Earth and environmental sciences, robotics, medicine, and astronomy.

We are presently seeking applicants for Graduate Student Fellowship (MSc and PhD) and Post Doctoral Fellow (PDF) positions available in 2011.

Successful applicants will have a strong interest in astrobiology and have an excellent background in microbiology/ molecular biology, geology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and/or robotics or other related disciplines.

Applications will be received until January 14, 2011.

For detailed information on the CATP and how to apply, please visit the CATP website ( or please directly contact:

Mr. Robert Oxley
NSERC CREATE CATP Project Coordinator
McGill University
Telephone: (514) 398 7901 Email:

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