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STFC Support for Short Courses and Summer Schools

STFC is inviting bids against its budget for short courses and summer schools to be held in 2021.

The STFC’s Education, Training and Careers Committee conducted a review of the summer schools in 2019 and recommended supporting the following fundamental schools:

  • Introductory Course in Astronomy for New Research Students
  • British Universities Summer School in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics (BUSSTEPP)
  • Introductory Course in Solar and Solar-terrestrial Physics
  • Nuclear Physics Summer School (biennial)
  • High Energy Physics (HEP) Summer School

The courses and schools listed above will be expected to submit a satisfactory bid should they wish to have support in 2021. All other proposed summer schools will be considered in competition for the remaining budget of approximately £143k and priority will be given to schools in areas not covered above and those schools that were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Courses or schools must be held in a core research activity supported by the STFC studentships programme (astronomy, solar and planetary science, particle astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, accelerator science and nuclear physics) and must be aimed primarily at STFC-funded PhD students. Every student should have the opportunity to attend a STFC supported summer school. Courses of a specialist technical nature will not be supported.

All bids must be contained within three pages and provide the following information:

  • The dates and venue ¹ of the proposed course or school.
  • Justification for the course, in terms of its relevance to the STFC studentships programme.
  • The number of STFC PhD² students who would benefit from the course or school.
  • A detailed breakdown of the budget requested using the attached template and including justification of these costs.  A maximum of £500 per summer school for management fees has been introduced. Directors’ fees will not be paid in addition to this.  Previously schools have employed postdocs and students to assist with running the school and found these a valuable source of support. These costs can be claimed as part of the £500 management fee.  The maximum for any social excursion and/or conference dinner should be £50 per student (£60 in London).  5% of the total cost or £1500 (whichever is the least) will be permitted for contingency.
  • Information on funding or in-kind contributions to be provided from other sources. We expect holders of summer schools to seek commercial sponsorship wherever possible whilst retaining the scientific ownership of the school (for example, for a company logo to be included on the event website, branded notepads for attendees or a specific, identifiable contribution such as a conference dinner, transport. 
  • Details of the proposed lectures and courses (all courses should include sessions on public engagement*, broader issues of undertaking a PhD including mental health and introductory courses should include a session on careers advice covering both academic and non-academic careers). There is an expectation for Ernest Rutherford Fellows to participate as lecturers or tutors and you may also approach UKRI Future Leader Fellows in the STFC remit.

STFC is committed to ensuring that its policies and practices reflect the diverse needs and experiences of its employees and other stakeholders.  Accordingly, organisers of an STFC-funded summer school are required to ensure that the arrangements for the school comply with the STFC equality and diversity policy in particular that they place no barriers in the way of participation by students from any of the protected groups and involve no discrimination or bias against any of the protected groups in the selection of lecturers.  Furthermore, recognising the important part played by role models in retaining under-represented groups in the STFC funded community, organisers should seek to ensure that the diversity of lecturers reflects that of the wider community.

If successful, organisers are required to provide a report to the STFC Education, Training and Careers Committee upon completion of the course.  The report should include student feedback and gender balance between students.  The report will be shared with future hosts.

Bids must be submitted as an e-mail attachment to studentships@stfc.ukri.org by 17:00 on 25 September 2020. The bids will be assessed by the Education, Training and Careers Committee against the following criteria:

  • Breadth of subject and fit with STFC objectives
  • Speaker, Lecturer and Tutor EDI considerations
  • Quality of subject matter
  • School programming
  • Skills building content
  • Risk Management
  • Value for Money

Guidance for 2021 Course Organisers

*advice on public engagement content can be obtained from Neville Hollingworth.

¹Once the bid is approved the venue should not be changed without prior approval from STFC
²STFC-funded & self-funded students can claim their attendance travel expenses from STFC


2020 short courses and summer schools for STFC PhD students’

Name of School Date Host Organisation
Introductory Astronomy School for New Research Students January 2021 Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
British Universities Summer School in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics (BUSSTEPP) 11 January -5 February 2021 Queen Mary, University of London
Introductory Solar Plasma Summer School 24-28 August 2020 University of Birmingham
High Energy Physics 28 February - 12 March 2021 Lancaster University
Data Intensive Science 12-16 October 2020 University of Liverpool
10th NExT PhD Workshop March 2021 Royal Holloway, University of London
Solar Stellar Connection 14-18 September 2020 University of Warwick
Introductory Astrobiology (ASB) 2-9 November 2020 Open University
Nuclear Physics Graduate Schools To be confirmed University of Liverpool


Please contact studentships@stfc.ukri.org if you require any further information.

Last updated: 21 October 2020


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