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Space Medicine

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ESA / About Us / EAC

Astronauts face many health challenges when living and working in space, including the impacts of microgravity, radiation and isolation.

Based at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), ESA’s Space Medicine Team comprises medical doctors, biomedical engineers, exercise physiologists, psychologists, IT specialists, education coordinators, administrators and project managers. Each plays a vital role in ensuring the health and well-being of astronauts during all stages of a mission.

To better support astronauts during current missions to the International Space Station and prepare for human missions beyond low Earth orbit, the Space Medicine Team is working to identify, evaluate and develop new space technologies and procedures.

This process involves collaborating with ESA’s technology teams and Human Research Office to identify existing space-relevant technologies and scientific knowledge, and looking outside of ESA at terrestrial technology developments and the wealth of current science knowledge concerning human health.

To achieve their goal, the Space Medicine Team works in close partnership with national space agencies, industry, research institutions and universities from across ESA’s Member States. The team also regularly coordinate workshops for the next generation of space physicians.

Find out more about ESA’s research into human health here.

Internship opportunities

In support of the space medicine team, and International space medicine, REDI (Research, Education & Development Initiative) through academic collaboration and educational partnerships seeks to promote technical (research and development), and individual (education and training) readiness for current, and future human space missions.

As part of this, we offer a limited number of internship places each year to students of medicine, the biomedical sciences or biomedical engineering and – where appropriate – those with specific expertise in analytics/programming or educational/outreach.

Our internship projects may involve the collection and/or the analysis of medical/research data (in collaboration), performance of systematic literature reviews, elements of medical hardware evaluation/development, database management, or the generation of analytical models/simulations

Our internships are within the following domains:

  • Identification and evaluation of medical risks (incl. radiation) associated with Low Earth Orbit and Deep Space vehicles/habitats.
  • Optimisation of in-flight exercise countermeasures (for ISS and Exploration).
  • Evaluation and optimisation of non-exercise management of astronaut health.
  • Identification, development, validation and implementation of medical technologies and strategies to mitigate medical risks associated with spaceflight.
  • Optimisation of post-flight rehabilitation strategies.
  • Evaluation of the suitability and applicability of ground-based analogues of micro- and hypogravity.
  • Identification and evaluation of medical risks and requirements associated with hypogravity (lunar) operations.
  • Development, delivery and accreditation of international space medicine education/training.

 

In order to optimise productivity and applicability, we encourage the use of a range of open-source tools. Please highlight in your application if you have expertise/experience in the use of:

  • Rayyan: for systematic reviews.
  • Mendeley: for Citation management.
  • Python(or MatLab, R or SPSS): for data/statistical analysis. 
  • OpenSim/Anybody: for biomechanical simulation.

In addition, please highlight any experience in educational/outreach delivery/development, database management, programming or physiological data capture/analysis.

Students of medicine should note that the space medicine team is not a clinical environment, and that due to the highly confidential nature of our flight surgeons’ activities, it is not possible to involve students in day-to-day astronaut medical support.

The minimum duration of an internship with the space medicine team is three months. However, six-month internships are considered optimal.

Internship start dates are flexible. Candidates should be available for three to six months.

Applications will be received until 30 November 2019.

To apply, please visit the Career Opportunities: Intern in the ISS Operations and Astronaut Group page and follow instructions to submit your application online.

Interested students are asked to familiarise themselves with the general terms and conditions of ESA internships here.

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