Maunakea Graduate School | June 2-13 2020

Submit applications here by January 20th 2020.

© Stéphane Courteau

The Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) is proud to announce the 2020 competition for the Maunakea Graduate School in Astronomy (MKGS). The MKGS presents an opportunity for six graduate students in astrophysics to explore modern techniques in observational astronomy. With queue mode operations at modern observatories, opportunities for our next generation of astronomers to learn off-hand about observatory operations have all but disappeared. Hence the emphasis of the MKGS on astronomical instrumentation and observational methods to better educate our students and allow them to hone their skills as astronomers.

The program consists of understanding instruments used in astronomy, learning about observatory operations, conceiving and leading a scientific program on the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (CFHT) and Gemini-North, appreciating the impact of astronomical facilities, and taking in some Hawaiian culture. Resident astronomers, staff and engineers give several presentations, complemented by technical demonstrations and detailed tours of Maunakea Observatories (e.g. CFHT, Gemini, JCMT, Keck, Subaru). Thanks to generous Director’s Discretionary Time (DDT), participants can compete for 2 hours of observing time on CFHT and Gemini-North, each. Participants conceive and write up their projects (based on available instruments), review and rank their own proposals. The CFHT and Gemini-North, which both enjoy Canada’s membership, have hosted the MKGS since its inception in 2010 by Stéphane Courteau from Queen’s University. The MKGS is sponsored by CFHT, Gemini, and iREx.

The 2020 MKGS will take place from June 2-13 2020. Local transportation, lodging, and access to facilities, are provided by the MKGS. Participants must provide their own transportation to Kona, Hawaii, and per diem expenses.

We invite qualified students to apply for the MKGS. Candidates must be pursuing a graduate degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at a Canadian university and demonstrate a genuine interest for astronomical methods and instrumentation. The application consists of a statement of interest (one page), a CV and transcript (BSc+MSc/PhD as applicable), and a letter of reference by the supervisor including a confirmation that airfare and per diem will be provided. Candidates will need a valid passport (foreign students may also need a visa for travel to the United States), health coverage, and will be required to sign a safety release by all the Maunakea Observatories. Candidates will be selected on the basis of demonstrated interest and maximal impact.

The deadline for application is January 20th 2020. Skype interviews for short-listed candidates will be conducted in early February and a final selection will be made shortly thereafter.

Please submit your application here.

Upon submission of the candidate’s application, supervisors will be automatically queried for their letter of reference.

A summary of the 2019 MKGS can be found here.

The MKGS is generously sponsored by the CFHT, Gemini, and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets.

The Institute for Research on Exoplanets promotes employment diversity, inclusion and equity. We encourage applications from women, visible and ethnic minorities, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.