Graduate School of Space Technology is a collaboration between Luleå University of Technology and the Institute of Space Physics, IRF, which started in 2002. The third round has started with twenty new doctoral projects in six different research areas. The idea is that the interdisciplinary breadth will lead to new perspectives and innovations in space related research.
It was during the event Space Innovation Forum, arranged by the RIT-project, in Kiruna that Marta-Lena Antti, head of the Space Research School, talked about why to focus on interdisciplinary collaborations.
– Interdisciplinary research in the graduate school is important partly because space research has a variety of research questions and also because the PhD-students, which belong to different research subjects, in some cases are alone in their groups to have a space focus in their research. It is thus important that they meet other researchers in space technology to see their research in new perspectives. We have also seen from the previous rounds of the graduate school that interdisciplinary research can give rise to new research questions and collaboration between different research subject, and that is something we encourage.
Other graduate schools often have PhD-students from the same or similar subjects and in that aspect the Graduate School of Space Technology at LTU is different in that we have PhD-students from a variety of subjects. The graduate school has different courses including space environment, introduction to space technology, product innovation with space applications, project management with ESA-focus. The course introduction to space technology has just ended and the doctoral students are so far satisfied. Carol Norberg from Umeå University, has led the course. The Graduate School has selected a multidisciplinary approach in order to attract more talent and creative minds to the space sector.
– It has been very interesting, we built our own rockets and learn about the northern lights and many general things related to space. The most fascinating is probably how to keep rockets stable, meaningthat the “center of pressure” must be about 1.5 diameter below the “center of gravity”. without this rule of thumb you will never be able to create a good rocket, says Magnus Neikter, PhD student in engineering materials.
In the graduate school, there are twenty students participating, from the research subjects Atmospheric Science, Onboard Space Systems, Applied Physics, and Machine Elements, Engineering Materials Product Innovation.
– Introduction to Space Technology was super. I got a lot of insights, mainly into rocket science, but also into areas such as the northern lights and microgravity. It was very interesting. The practical part of the rocketbuilding increased my understanding of how the rocket development is done. The visits to both EISCAT and POLSTRACC were exciting. I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity, says Angelica Lindwall, PhD student in Product Innovation.