For many European scientists, getting a chance to work with the European Space Agency (ESA) is an opportunity not to be missed. So, there were celebrations when the Irish Research Council revealed that two Irish scientists had beaten off stiff competition from others across the country in a recently held competition.

As part of their prize, the two researchers will join the traineeship programme at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid, Spain.

The first winner is Amy Joyce from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, who has a master’s degree in experimental physics from NUI Galway. She will work on developing tools for mission cross-calibration, and will also learn about the scientific uses of x-ray satellites as well as the challenges and procedures of operating a space mission.

The second winner is Cillian Murphy from Dundrum, Co Dublin, who has a master’s degree in space and science technology from University College Dublin. He will work on the Gaia mission to assist in completing an astrometric survey of stars, using spacecraft observation. He is also a future analogue astronaut candidate with the Austrian Space Forum.

Peter Brown, director of the council, said: “The Irish Research Council and ESA first partnered in 2016 with the aim to give Irish-based science and engineering graduates a chance to make their mark in the field of space exploration.

“This traineeship offers the life-changing opportunity to pursue a career in Europe’s gateway to space. The council is committed to supporting the development of Europe’s space capability and ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. We are delighted to support both Amy and Cillian on this project, and look forward to continuing to collaborate with ESA on this initiative.”

Colm Gorey

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