Who We Are
The Center for Planetary Systems Habitability unites researchers all across The University of Texas at Austin who are interested in exciting interdisciplinary research programs to understand the potential for life to develop, persist and flourish throughout the Universe. These studies include: Co-evolution of Life and Planet: We know that Earth-like planets are common in our Milky Way galaxy. Is there life on these planets, or is life on our Earth a unique phenomenon? Dynamics of Planets and Atmospheres: How does life begin and evolve through its interaction with atmospheric, surface, and subsurface nutrient pathways? Habitability in a Galactic Environment: What regions of the Milky Way galaxy are most habitable for complex life? How susceptible is life to lethal radiation from astrophysical sources?
What We're Fundraising For
Student Fellowships in Planetary Habitability: We wish to fund graduate and undergraduate students to conduct exploratory research projects in planetary habitability. Proposals may cover research in any topic related to planetary habitability, broadly defined, including but not limited to pre-biotic chemistry, origin of life, perseverance of life, mass extinctions/biotic crises, planetary dynamics, nutrient pathways, planetary atmospheres, biosignatures, habitable environments, planetary system dynamics, system and galactic hazards, galactic habitability, instrumentation, and planetary mission design. Students will write small (2-page) proposals to the Center developing their research idea exploring the particular aspect of planetary habitability that interests them. The goals are to develop these student ideas and concepts to the level where they can generate external funding support for the student from NASA or the National Science Foundation, and ultimately to publish the results in scholarly papers led by the student in scientific journals. The fellowship would cover at least one semester student stipend and tuition, as well as research related travel, analytical costs, and necessary equipment costs.
Your gift will stimulate student interdisciplinary research on topics that may well fall in the gaps between our existing academic departments and research units. These research projects will be proposed by the student and supervised by faculty and professional research staff with appropriate expertise in these areas. Since the research topics are initiated by the students, these fellowships will give the students invaluable experience in all aspects of scientific research, from project conception through executing the research project and ultimately publishing the results in a scientific journal. Students will be able to list this Fellowship, as well as any resulting scientific publications, on their resume to make them more competitive for graduate school or job applications.