Research projects are one of the most important components of the Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics. They help train students, offering them the opportunity to learn new skills or new fields. The project should also ideally lead to publishable results in the following year. See the archives for examples of student projects and the exciting science they have led to.

Project Timeline

The timeline for the projects is the following:

  • Before the beginning of the program, students should read the current year project list and identify 5-6 projects they are particularly interested in. Note that this page is password protected, reserved for program participants only..
  • By the end of the first week of the program, each student will have to decide which project he/she will be working on for the remaining 5 weeks. Long lunch hours are reserved for discussion to give everyone ample opportunity to refine the scope of the project.
  • On Monday of Week 2, each student should be prepared to give a 5-minute presentation on the basic idea of their project, to the rest of the program participants.
  • On Wednesday-Friday of week 6, students have 30 minutes to present their results to their peers and to postdocs and faculty in the summer program. The presentations will be posted online
  • Before the end of August, students are required to write a short project report on their results, which will also be published online
  • By the end of the following year students and advisors should try to publish these results in a journal or present them at an international conference. Published work should acknowledge support by the program, and authors should notify the program director of the publication.

Guidelines for project selection

Younger students (1st-2nd year) are encouraged to select projects close to their own area of expertise, but which may use different techniques from the ones they use in their PhD. More experienced students (3rd yr + ) are encouraged to select a project in a different field, to broaden their research interests. They may, for example, take this opportunity to try out a field they may be considering for future postdoctoral research.

The summer program is an intense experience, that will require a lot of work under time-pressure. Student should select a project they are excited about!

Students should investigate for how long a proposing faculty/postdoc is planning to stay. If the person is not staying for the entire program, the student should make sure there is someone else who can take over the advisor's role on that project once the proposing advisor has left.

Students and their advisors should make sure the required computational resources for the project are available, or can be obtained through different means

Students should try to determine the nature of the project through discussion with their future advisor. Is this an exploratory, open-ended project, of the "high risk/high return" kind, or is this a well-posed problem with a predictable answer in sight? Both are perfectly acceptable, but the student should be aware of the distinction and be comfortable with their choice.

Finally, there is one strict rule about project selection: no student may work on something exactly based on their PhD research nor work with their own PhD advisor.