SKIES Project: Train the Trainer

 SKIES Project: Train the Trainer

Developing skilled scientists

The EU-funded SKIES project aims to provide for PhD and first year postdoctoral researchers in the field of astronomy with a new set of skills, integrating open science, innovation and entrepreneurship.

With this, they will be gaining substantial experience equipping them for a career to fulfil their potential and to contribute to society and economy. A ‘Train the Trainer’ programme will build the capacity of the teaching staff so that they have the training and tools to continue the programme beyond the life of the project. Online training will be made available to support the partner and other organisations interested in running similar courses.

Training Programme Development

During the last week of August, all consortium partners met in a hybrid setting at ESA-ESTEC and the ECE in Rotterdam. The representatives of all the partner institutes (Leiden University and the International Astronomical Union’s European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU E-ROAD), Dotspace (Noordwijk), Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE Rotterdam),  Max-Planck Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften (Heidelberg), The Polish Astronomical Society (PTA Warsaw), The University of Porto Astrophysics Centre (CAUP), and the University of Cape Town (South Africa) met for a 4-day workshop to develop a training programme about open science, social innovation and entrepreneurship topics targeted to PhD students in the field of astronomy. The focus was on transferable skills from academia to industry.

In the kick-off session at ESTEC, Mr Jos de Bruijne  (GAIA archive Scientist) gave a lecture about the GAIA instrument and the added value for society. During the morning session of each day all trainers actively participated in workshops about the principles of entrepreneurship (empathy mapping/ design thinking), including the entrepreneurial process, competencies and motivations. In the afternoon, speakers (of whom many astronomy alumni) from HE Space, Leidse Instrumentmakers school, S&T and a start-up entrepreneur (Polariks) shared their experience about career/ skills development. For inspiration, the participants visited relevant start-up and innovation eco systems in the South of Holland (YES!Delft, ESTEC, RDM Campus, Green village and The Old observatory in Leiden). 

The coming weeks the consortium follows up with the trainers about follow-up steps in the co-creation process of the modules and local implementation. In 2022, an equivalent of a three day training session will be rolled out at the various partner institutes.    

Call for mentors

To support the aspiring PhDs, the local programmes will facilitate a mentoring programme. It is within the scope of the programme to match the local networks in an international context. In case you have an interest in becoming a mentor or want to be kept informed about the local curriculum please reach out to:

Find out more about the SKIES project here.

A project description can also be found on the EU Cordis page here.

Remco Timmermans

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