Budding scientists to reach for the stars at the European Space Agency

Posted: 11 December, 2018

The Irish Research Council has announced today that two Irish scientists have won a national competition to train at the European Space Agency (ESA).

The coveted positions are part of an ongoing partnership between the Irish Research Council and the ESA, which hosts Irish trainees at its centres across Europe.

As part of the programme, the researchers will work on cutting-edge projects and gain practical experience in high-tech space activities such as space science; Earth observation; telecommunications; navigation; mission control and operations; and human spaceflight.

Following a national competitive process, the two top-ranking candidates who were selected to join the traineeship programme at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid, Spain are:

  • Amy Joyce from Clonmel, County Tipperary: Amy has a master’s degree in experimental physics from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She will work on developing tools for mission cross calibration and will also learn about the scientific uses of x-ray satellites and the challenges and procedures of operating a space mission.
  • Cillian Murphy, from Dundrum, County Dublin: Cillian has a master’s degree in space and science technology from University College Dublin. He will work on the Gaia Mission to assist in completing an astrometric survey of stars, using spacecraft observation. He is also a future Analog Astronaut candidate with the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF).

Commenting on the announcement today, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Amy and Cillian to train with the best and to develop their skills at the European Space Agency.

“Supporting a pipeline of talent plays an integral role in taking Ireland forward in its contribution to space research, development and innovation and ensures that we are continuing to contribute and collaborate on an international level.”

Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council also welcomed the announcement, saying: “The Irish Research Council and the European Space Agency first partnered in 2016 with the aim to give Irish-based science and engineering graduates a chance to make their mark in the field of space exploration.

“This traineeship offers the life-changing opportunity to pursue a career in Europe’s gateway to space. The Council is committed to supporting the development of Europe’s space capability and ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. We are delighted to support both Amy and Cillian on this project and look forward to continuing to collaborate with ESA on this initiative.”