A summer school for upper-level undergraduates and early graduate students with career interests in astronomical instrumentation.

July 20-24, 2020.  University of California, Berkeley.

COVID-19 status: The 2020 AstroTech Summer School scheduled for July 20 – 24, 2020 at UC Berkeley is cancelled. More information about our considerations and response to COVID-19 is available here.  Further questions may be directed to astrotech@ucsc.edu .

The 2020 AstroTech Summer School application is closed. 

Application deadline January 23, 2020.  All applicants were notified of their application status on February 21.

Want a reminder for 2021?  Add your contact information to this short form, and we will email you as the application deadline approaches. 

We invite applications from students in any of the fields composing the astronomy instrumentation workforce: astronomy, engineering, physics, or computer science.  The summer school is designed for upper-level undergraduates (year 3+ in fall 2020 or recently completed undergrad degree) and early graduate students (masters students or in year 1-2 of a masters+PhD program).

A core goal of AstroTech is to help reverse the underrepresentation of people of color, women and gender minorities, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups in astronomy instrumentation.  We especially encourage individuals from historically underrepresented groups to apply.  We will consider applications from individuals interested in making instrumentation more equitable and inclusive. 

For more information on selection criteria, see our FAQ page.

Summer School Aims

AstroTech aims to:

  • Establish an equitable and inclusive community that supports the success and advancement of people from diverse backgrounds
  • Increase the participation of women and other groups currently underrepresented in the field of astronomical instrumentation

AstroTech participants will gain skills, knowledge, and mindset to advance in the field of instrumentation, including:

  • Confidence and experience working with lab hardware and instrumentation processes
  • Designing, building, and testing an astronomical instrument
  • Demonstrating knowledge of physical principles that underlie instrument design
  • Employing professional skills for a lab and team setting
  • Adopting strategies and attitudes supporting persistence in the field of instrumentation

Summer School Details

The AstroTech Summer School will feature hands-on lab activities that build upon one another toward the goal of building and testing an astronomical spectrograph.  There are additional discussions and activities supporting professional skills and possible career pathways in instrumentation.  A preliminary agenda is available here.

More details on the summer school can be found on our FAQ page.


Participating Organizations

The 2020 AstroTech Summer School is hosted by the University of California, Berkeley and the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Participating organizations include:

W.M. Keck Observatory

AstroTech is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and by the National Science Foundation through the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) project.


Cost of Participation

Our aim is for AstroTech to be an affordable opportunity for as broad a set of participants as possible.  All applicants selected to participate in AstroTech will be provided with substantial financial assistance for travel and accommodations.  AstroTech is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and by the National Science Foundation through the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) project – these funding sources allow us to significantly reduce costs to participants.  Below is an itemized list of which costs are covered by AstroTech, and which participants must cover on their own or with support from their home institution.

Registration fee: waived for all accepted participants

Lodging: AstroTech will arrange double-occupancy lodging in campus student housing or a basic hotel.  AstroTech will cover the costs of lodging for all participants.

Airfare: AstroTech will cover the cost of economy-class airfare for all participants.  Participants will need to purchase their own ticket, and will be reimbursed after the summer school.  The closest airports to UC Berkeley are Oakland (OAK) and San Francisco (SFO).  

Ground transportation to UC Berkeley:  AstroTech will cover the cost of ground transportation to UC Berkeley from OAK or SFO airport.  In most cases AstroTech will reimburse transportation costs for participants who use alternative options to air travel, subject to prior approval.

Ground transportation between participant home and local airport: participants flying to attend the Summer School must cover their own transportation costs between their home and airport of origin.

Lunches during summer school: AstroTech will cover the costs of catered lunches during the Summer School (July 20-24).

Other meals: participants must cover the cost of all meals except for lunches on July 20-24.

Other costs: participants must cover all other costs and incidentals.


Important Dates

November 2019 application opens

January 23, 2020 – application deadline

February 21, 2020 – accepted and waitlisted applicants informed

March 18, 2020 – commitment deadline for accepted participants

July 20-24, 2020Summer School at UC Berkeley CANCELLED



AstroTech is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and by the National Science Foundation through the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) project (AST #1836016).


Individuals with questions about AstroTech should contact: