Below is a detailed description of the yearly Spin Your Thesis! programme.
A. Project definition and writing of proposal by selected applicants
During this first phase, the applicants will build their team, find an endorsing professor or academic supervisor and start thinking seriously about their project.
After defining their project, the students must think about how their experiment will be realised. At the end of this process, they will be expected to have a very accurate knowledge of the scientific theory behind their project, as well as the way they will realise their experiment – in both a qualitative and quantitative way.
The experiment proposal should focus on the scientific and/or technological objectives of the project and on the technical details needed to implement their experiment. In other words, participants are invited to explain what they intend to investigate and how they are going to implement their experiment. Students should show that they have very good knowledge of their project topic using references to bibliography and scientific literature in the field, and giving details of the results expected.
Documents expected: Experiment proposal
B. Review of the proposal and selection of the winning teams
The review board will select up to four experiments to be performed in the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) and, in collaboration with ELGRA, propose mentorship from an expert in gravity-related research. The selection of up to four teams and the allocation of ELGRA mentors are expected shortly thereafter.
C. Experiment preparation
Based on the proposal, the selected teams will start to implement and build their experiment helped by qualified professionals and their ELGRA mentor. The cost of the building is partly supported by ESA's Education Office. The students should prepare their experiment by taking the 'LDC Experimenter User Manual' (list of documents) into account and by consulting with experts from ESA’s Education Office and the Life and Physical Sciences Instrumentation and Life Support Laboratory (LIS).
During the preparatory phase, the students will have to fill out some parts of the experiment report template. The aim of this document is to serve both as a reference document throughout the preparation and execution of the experiment and as a final report once the programme ends.
Documents expected: Experiment report. Three versions will be delivered to ESA’s Education Office and LIS before the campaign.
D. Education hypergravity campaign
Selected teams will perform their experiments in fourth quarter of the year. ESA’s Spin Your Thesis! campaign takes place in ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The campaign lasts two weeks, and each team benefits from 2.5 days to perform their experiments in the LCD.
A few weeks after the campaign, the teams must deliver a feedback report with their inputs as well as their opinion about the programme and campaign to ESA’s Education Office.
Documents expected: Feedback report
Deadline: 2 weeks after campaign
E. Analysis of results
The teams will analyse the results obtained during the hypergravity campaign and send the final version of their experiment report to ESA's Education Office within 4 months of having performed their experiment. In the future they will be expected to write a scientific paper co-authored by their ELGRA mentor (if applicable). Some students may also be sponsored to attend international conferences (such as the ELGRA Biennial Symposium) and present their results to the scientific community.
Documents expected: Final version of the experiment report
Deadline: February following year
Please note that the schedule detailed above is subject to change.