The Department of Planetary Sciences is delighted to receive applications for the first round of the William Whitehorn Research Grants in Planetary Sciences. The fund will enable third year undergraduate students of Physics, Engineering, Geology, Chemistry, and Biology at the University of Aberdeen to undertake a 12-week research project relating to space and planetary sciences in the Department of Planetary Sciences, led by Prof Javier Martin-Torres.

The summer research placements will be available for summer (approx. June-August) 2022. Research could range from theoretical space data analysis and laboratory work, to field data analysis, covering a wide range of interests within the Department of Planetary Sciences. Examples include:

  • Analysis of data from Mars missions
  • Analysis of remote sensing data from Earth
  • Analysis of data from planetary missions
  • Laboratory experiments in the Astrobiology Lab
  • Field campaigns to analyse Mars analogues on earth
  • Development of space technological demonstrators in the Dr Allan and Norma Young Lab

Students will be awarded a maintenance grant of £1000/month for the three-month duration of their summer research placement. The grant will not cover any associated research costs (e.g., consumables, equipment).

Oversight of the students’ work will be carried out by two supervisors per student from the Department of Planetary Sciences. Interdisciplinary research topics may have additional supervision from other departments within the School of Geosciences, or from another School of the University, where appropriate.

Students with either Home/RUK or International fee status are eligible to apply.

Application process:

Students and their prospective supervisors will submit a joint application to the William Whitehorn Research Grants in Planetary Sciences: Summer Research Programme, by email to consisting of:

(1) a brief research plan (maximum one side A4).

(2) a short personal statement from the student (maximum one side A4).

(3) a CV from the student

The application deadline for the summer 2022 research programme will be 5pm BST, 4 May 2022.

Applications will be assessed and selected by a panel consisting of representatives from the Department of Planetary Sciences in the School of Geosciences at the University. Decisions on applications will be communicated to applicants by 18 May 2022.

Project start dates for the summer research programme will be no earlier than 1 June 2022. The latest end dates for projects will be confirmed when term dates for the 2022/23 academic year are released.


Students who participate in the William Whitehorn Research Grants in Planetary Sciences: Summer Research Programme will be required to submit a written report and give a brief presentation to representatives from the Department of Planetary Sciences – both summarising their research project and its outcomes.

The written research project reports will be submitted in the form of an early draft of a journal or conference paper. The project supervisors may then decide to complete and submit the article to a journal or conference thereafter. In the case of submission, the student will be referenced as co-author of the article/abstract/proceeding.