Many students dream of a career in academia. Research experience is crucial to securing a PhD position, but not all students have this opportunity. Despite their talent and motivation, some students have less chance of a future in science because of their socio-economic or cultural background. Students who live or study in a country where research opportunities are scarce are often at a disadvantage. With ASPIRE, the renowned Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy wants to change this.
A sense of community and belonging
The university benefits from a wide diversity of researchers, whose unique personalities, backgrounds, cultures and talents enhance our progress in science. For this reason, the Anton Pannekoek Institute founded ASPIRE: the Astrophysics Summer Program for International Research Experience. With ASPIRE, young researchers can gain research experience, regardless of their socio-economic position or background. By supporting the Annual Fund, you can help make the summer school possible.
Christian Ginski, postdoctoral researcher at the Anton Pannekoek Institute, is a mentor for ASPIRE participants. ‘I love to see how the students grow during the project. I find this really rewarding,' he says. ‘ASPIRE is important to me, because it helps students to overcome biases and barriers in science. Increasing diversity in our field is not only good for science, but also for society.
‘Increasing diversity in our field is not only good for science, but also for society'.
Former participant Vivian Adhiambo Otieno from Kenya also stresses the value of the summer school. ‘The best thing about ASPIRE is the sense of community and togetherness,' she explains. 'When you are working on the project, you feel that you are not alone.' Thanks to the scholarship, she did not have to worry about the costs of her flight and visa, so she could fully focus on the study programme. After ASPIRE, Vivian followed a Research Master’s programme at the University of Leeds and she is now doing a PhD at Delft University of Technology and the University of Amsterdam.