The Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics (formerly ISIMA) brings together scientists with a wide breadth of technical skills and research interests to solve topical outstanding problems in astrophysics. It operates every summer for 6 weeks and is hosted by the Santa Cruz campus and various institutions world-wide, in alternate years.


Program description

The Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics runs for 6 weeks (nearly) every summer in alternance between various institutions world-wide and UC Santa Cruz. It hosts up to 15 established faculty, 15 post-doctoral researchers and 15 graduate students in addition to the local scientists. In Santa Cruz, the Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics is associated with TASC (Theoretical Astrophysics at Santa Cruz), a multi-departmental research group of UCSC scientists from Applied Mathematics and StatisticsAstronomy & AstrophysicsEarth & Planetary Sciences and Physics.

The Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics combines the concept of a long-term workshop with graduate student training through research projects. The six-week long program begins with a one-week workshop on the topic of the year, with morning introductory lectures by invited faculty and afternoon short contributed presentations. Informal discussions during lunch and designated sessions help design innovative research projects for the students.

In the five following weeks, the students are teamed with the senior participants and are expected to make significant progress on their selected project. During that time, the program hosts one seminar per day in the mornings, while the rest of the day is dedicated to research. The students are required to present their research project to all participants during the last two days of the program and are expected to publish the results, with their collaborators, either in the form of a refereed paper or a conference proceeding in the subsequent year.

Our Charter


  • By inviting scientists at different stages of their career (graduate students, postdocs and established faculty) and from diverse backgrounds, the Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics is creating a unique friendly and supportive community where ideas and people are free to blossom. Participants can come for a short period or for the whole duration of the program, and are encouraged to come back year after year.


  • The Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics is by design a pluridisciplinary program, hosting scientist from all fields of astrophysics as well as participants from Physics, Earth Sciences, Ocean Sciences, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science. It encourages participants to think outside the box, and provides every day the intellectual stimulus for the emergence of fundamental and innovative ideas.


  • The program fosters excellence in both research and education. The participating senior scientists are world-caliber researchers, dedicated to training the younger generation of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.