Tim Peake to attend Portsmouth Schools Conference

Astronaut and University of Portsmouth alumnus Tim Peake has confirmed his attendance at a UK Space Agency Schools Conference to be hosted by the University on Wednesday 3rd November.

The conference will celebrate the work of over a million UK school students inspired by Tim’s Principia mission, which saw the flight dynamics and evaluation graduate spend more than six months on board the International Space Station.

Youngsters will have the chance to present their work through talks and exhibitions to Tim and experts from the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency (ESA), partner organisations, and the space sector.

Tim, who is Britain’s first ESA astronaut, said: “Encouraging students to engage with my Principia mission was always something that I had hoped to do and I am thrilled at the range of different things young people have done to follow my mission. I’m really looking forward to hearing about their work direct from the young people themselves.”

The UK Space Agency has invested £3 million in the biggest education and outreach initiative ever undertaken for an ESA astronaut. Over a million young people have taken part in a broad range of curriculum-linked projects, including scientific experiments, coding challenges, family shows at local science centres, and creative writing.

University of Portsmouth Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said: “It’s a great honour for us to welcome one of our most celebrated alumni back to the University for this prestigious event.

“Tim’s six-month mission on board the International Space Station was an inspiration to schoolchildren everywhere, so we are delighted that he will visiting Portsmouth in November and seeing for himself just how his achievements have fired the imaginations of the next generation of scientists and space explorers.”

A second conference will take place at the University of York on Saturday 5th November.

Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education and Skills for the UK Space Agency, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for students and pupils to find out what it’s like to be part of a professional conference. We want to celebrate the achievements of young people across the whole country, to meet with them and to hear more about what they have done. It’s great that Tim is able to join us for both of these events.”

There is still time for young people to apply to be one of the 500 students that will be invited to attend each conference.

Individuals or groups of young people of school age are able to apply to come to the conference and present or exhibit their work by submitting short accounts or write-ups of their project(s) or work, along with a covering note from a responsible adult. Applications should explain to the judging panel what the young people have done, why they should come to a conference, and what they would present at the conference.

The conferences will be free to attend, with travel bursaries available to help those coming from further distances.

Full details of how to apply are available on the Principia website.

Applications must be received at the UK Space Agency by 12:00pm noon on Thursday 15th September 2016.