B.Sc. Summer Internships

An artistic representation of a variety of exoplanets. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
An artistic representation of a variety of exoplanets. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Open Competition : Trottier Research Fellowship and Sureau Science Communication Fellowship 2023 Competition for iREx Summer Students

 

The Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), affiliated with the Department of Physics of the Université de Montréal (UdeM), offers summer internships for undergraduate students from Canadian universities each year. Our program of excellence have included the Trottier Research Grants since 2015 and the Sureau Science Communication Grant since 2022.

The summer internships last 4 months (May to August). They are a unique opportunity for students at the undergraduate level to join iREx’s dynamic team and to get involved in cutting-edge research in astrophysics or work in science communication. Interns will be able to actively participate in breakthrough scientific and outreach programs linked to exoplanets and related topics.

To learn more about our interns, their projects, and their experience with us, take a look at the stories of students who joined us in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

 

Trottier Research Grants

The Trottier Research Excellence Grants are offered each year to five or six outstanding candidates to conduct scientific research with our members.

Projects are offered in various themes related to the detection and characterisation of exoplanets, working with data obtained from various space (K2TESSJWST) and ground-based (OMMCFHTGemini, La Silla) observatories using different techniques (velocimetry, transit, eclipse and transit spectroscopy, direct imaging). Projects will also be available on other astrophysical topics related to exoplanet science, such as the search for low-mass companions and isolated objects, the identification of young stars that are plausible exoplanet hosts, or the study of stellar activity that can hinder the detection of exoplanets. Finally, other projects will allow students to work on the development of instruments for various observatories and on the conception of future space missions for astronomy. More details on the scientific programs of iREx are available on the Institute’s website. 

This award is named in honor of the Trottier Family Foundation, which supports this summer internship program as well as a large portion of the research and education activities of our Institute.

Location: The internship will take place at the Université de Montréal (Professors Björn BennekeRené DoyonDavid Lafrenière and Adjunct Professor Jonathan Gagné, as well as researchers Loïc Albert and Étienne Artigau), McGill University (professor Andrew Cumming and Eve Lee) or Bishop’s University (Professor Jason Rowe).

Selected interns will have the possibility to participate in one or more observing programs at the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic during the summer, if the sanitary restrictions at the time allow it. Also, one intern may be offered the possibility to work at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope over the course of a few weeks, on the Big Island of Hawai’i in the United States, conditions permitting.

Grant Amount: This scholarship can be combined with an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA):

  • NSERC scholarship holders receive $8000 ($2000 from iREx and $6000 from NSERC).
  • Non-NSERC scholarship holders receive a minimum total amount of $7000 ($4000 from iREx and at least $3000 from their supervisor).

Eligibility requirements: To be eligible, applicants must be registered in a Canadian university in a program leading to a bachelor’s degree in physics, astronomy or a related field.

 

Sureau Science Communication Grant

Since 2022, the Sureau Science Communication Grant has been awarded annually to an outstanding candidate to work on projects related to science communication. The Institute has a vibrant education and public outreach (EPO) program with a number of initiatives led by professional science communicators with the support of iREx researchers.

A child observing the Sun through a telescope (Credit: M. Boyce)

Our education and outreach program includes public talks and events, as well as visits to schools, camps, libraries, and astronomy clubs. We leverage a number of communication channels: podcasts, live broadcasts, educational videos, blogs, social media, traditional media, etc. Our YouTube channel features a number of our projects, and we are always looking to expand our reach and explore new formats! We believe in training the next generation of scientists not only to be better researchers, but also better communicators. Our Sureau intern may gain skills in communications, public speaking, event organising, social media management, scientific writing, and much more.

This fellowship is named in honor of Philippe Sureau, who sponsors this grant and whose generous donations and guidance have helped shape the iREx communications strategy.

Location: The internship takes place at the Université de Montréal with the iREx communications team, under the supervision of Nathalie Ouellette. The intern can generally participate in one or more observation missions at the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic during the summer.

Grant Amount: The selected candidate receives a $7000 scholarship (minimum).

Eligibility requirements: To be eligible, applicants must be registered at a Canadian university. Preference will be given to students enrolled in a degree program in physics, astronomy or a related field, but we also welcome applications from students in journalism, communications, education or a related field.

 

To apply

To apply for a Trottier Grant, a Sureau Grant, or both, fill out the following form: https://forms.gle/HpDXyc4aYy6qxJWN6.

Poster to download : JPG, PDF.

You can attach your application document. This document must include, in a single PDF file :

  1. a short cover letter explaining your motivations for obtaining this internship and your preferences among the iREx’s research themes (maximum 1 page)
  2. a curriculum vitae (2 or 3 pages),
  3. your last transcripts. If you are currently in your first university semester, please include your CEGEP (or grade 12, if from outside of Quebec) transcript, on which your Cote R (or global average) is indicated. We prefer official transcripts, but non-official ones are also accepted.

If you are interested in coming to Hawai’i or have a preference for a specific institution or supervisor and their research interests, you are encouraged to indicate this in your application.

Deadline: December 20, 2022

Successful applicants will be notified in January/February 2023.

Contact Marie-Eve Naud at irex-applications@umontreal.ca if you have any questions.

Note on the sanitary situation : Should the public health situation ever require it, the 2023 summer internshipsmay be offered in a remote setting, an in person setting, or a combination of both. The iREx is committed to respecting health measures imposed by government agencies and will endeavour to take into account the situation of our selected candidates.

 

About the iREx

The iREx consists of a growing team of about 60 people working on a variety of observational, theoretical and instrumental projects related to the study of exoplanets and other related fields of astrophysics. They work within several research institutions located in Quebec, Canada (Université de Montréal, McGill University, Bishop’s University, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium of Space for Life, Université Laval). Our professors, researchers, and students are actively involved in large international projects related to the detection and characterisation of exoplanets, notably the James Webb Space Telescope, the SPIRou and NIRPS spectrographs, and have privileged access to time and data from these instruments.

The iREx has also a vibrant science education and outreach program led by astrophysicists who are seasoned science communicators. We believe in the importance of training scientists who have exceptional scientific research skills, but also outstanding communication skills. All of our members are involved in bringing science to a wide audience in a variety of ways.

The iREx advocates for diversity, inclusion and employment equity. We strongly encourage applications from women, visible and ethnic minorities, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to apply. With the support of our EDI committee, we are committed to the professional integration of people from groups that are traditionally under-represented in the physics research community.

If you have any questions about the iREx, the Trottier Excellence Grants or the Sureau Grant, please contact Marie-Eve Naud, irex-applications@umontreal.ca.