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University of York to host major space conference for young people

Posted on 15 April 2016

The University of York has been selected to host a major educational conference on space exploration which will involve hundreds of young people showcasing their projects linked to Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

Spacewalk (credit: ESA NSA Flickr, all rights reserved)

The UK Space Agency is organising two conferences for school pupils later this year.

The conferences will give students the opportunity to present their work to leading experts from the space industry and education teams from the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (ESA).

The conferences will be held at the University of Portsmouth on 2 November and at the University of York on 5 November.

The conferences will include keynote talks from leading figures, presentations from the pupils and the opportunity to meet and talk to experts from the space industry and the Principia education programmes.

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake is currently on a six-month mission to the International Space Station.

He made history earlier this year when he became the first astronaut representing the UK to complete a spacewalk.

He is hoping to attend the conferences at York and Portsmouth, subject to operational requirements.

In addition to the conference days, each University will also be hosting an accompanying day of workshops and talks, which attendees can also attend.

The University of York's Dean of Faculty for the Sciences, Professor Brian Fulton, said: "The Department of Physics does a tremendous job at delivering outreach activities to schools and the public, reaching many thousands every year.

“The Department's observatory, Astrocampus, is the hub for astronomy and astrophysics, both at the University of York and for the local area.

“Staff and students provide a hands-on experience of science and enable schoolchildren and the public to share in the wonders of the Universe.

"I am thrilled that Tim Peake will hopefully be joining us and I look forward to an event which will allow many thousands of people to share in the excitement of the UK space programme."

The conferences will be free of charge, with travel bursaries available to help schools with the cost of travelling to the venues.

Any young person of school age, or groups of young people are able to apply to come to the conference and present their work by submitting a summary of their project or work.

A judging panel, made up of representatives from some of the Principia education projects, will select the projects that demonstrate high levels of commitment, dedication and thoughtfulness and the pupils will be invited to attend the conference.

There is no limit on the size of group that submit an application, but if the application is successful a maximum of six children with up to two accompanying adults will be able to attend.

The closing date for applications to be received is Thursday 15 September 2016. Full details of how pupils can apply to attend the conferences can be found here:  

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UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.

The UK Space Agency:

• Co-ordinates UK civil space activity

• Encourages academic research

• Supports the UK space industry

• Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad

• Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits

• Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers

• Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft

• Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 20 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

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