BIUST-MPG African Astronomy School 2023 (BMAAS 2023)

BMAAS 2023 is a two-week residential astronomy school for around 30 graduate and advanced undergraduate students who are starting on astronomy research in Africa. The objective is to teach students specific aspects of astronomy, astrophysics, and space science, with a focus on topical research, future opportunities, and practical skills.


The programme, below, comprises lectures, hands-on exercises, discussions, flash talks, outreach at a local secondary school, remote observing, site tours, and some social events.

Dates and deadlines

  • 15 November 2022: School announcement and application portal open
  • 15 January 2023: Deadline for applications (School and grants) including letters of recommendation
  • Mid February 2023: Successful candidates notified (for School and grants)
  • Monday 26 June to Friday 7 July 2023: School takes place


The School will take place at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in Palapye, Botswana, 270 km north east of the capital Gaborone.


Accommodation and meals will be provided on campus at BIUST. The costs for these are covered by the conference for all participants. Arrival is on Sunday 25 June, departure Saturday 8 July.
COVID-19: We are hoping that the pandemic won't present problems by mid 2023, but we will of course adapt to any testing or mask-wearing requirements.


International participants will probably want to fly to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) in Gaborone. Check with the official websites of Botswana and/or the country you are travelling from for the required entry documents (passport, visa, vaccination requirements, invitation letter, etc.). Travel costs will be partially or fully covered for those students who obtain a grant from the conference. These participants will be contacted in due course about travel arrangements. All others student participants must book and pay for travel themselves. Private bus transport will be arranged from GBE to BIUST on 25th June, and back on 8 July. Details will be made available nearer the time.


Attendance at the School is via successful application. The School is targeted primarily at Masters and starting PhD students, but promising advanced (Honours) Bachelor students are also welcome to attend. To be eligible, students must be registered at an African university for a course in astronomy, (astro)physics or closely related field.

To apply, the following documents are required (in English, as this is the language of the School), as PDF files:

  • Completed application form (available from this link). On this form you also indictate if you are applying for travel support.
  • CV (maximum two pages).
  • Official documentation of registration/matriculation to your current degree course (PhD, Master, Bachelor).
  • Copies of transcripts of university degree courses taken (or in progress) and grades received. These should include an indication of the range of grades possible (e.g. “8 out of 10”) and whether a high or low number is a better or worse score. If the transcripts are not in English, please provide certified translations.
  • One letter of recommendation from an academic-level staff member (e.g. professor) familiar with your work.

Application instructions
You must submit your complete application through the online application system (link). You first register with the system, then upload the required documents. Please only provide PDF files: files in other formats will not be read. You can log out and complete the upload of documents later, but make sure you submit the application by the deadline (listed above) by clicking the "submit" button. Once successfully submitted, you will receive an automatic confirmation email. The system will ask you to provide the name and email address of your recommendation letter writer, who will then be contacted by the system. Make sure you ask them in advance whether they are willing to support your application. You will receive an email notification from the system once they have uploaded their letter. The letter will be treated confidentially (the applicant is not able to see it in the system).
Note that the application system refers to your "job" or "vacancy" application, but be assured that this is an application for the School!

The Scientific Organizing Committee will use the above information to decide who can attend the school and who will be awarded travel support. The selection criteria include: academic standing and background of the student; value of the School to the student; achieving diversity (esp. in gender and geographical origin) at the School.

By applying for the School, students commit to attend it for the full duration (two weeks).

Code of conduct

All participants are expected to follow the following code of conduct.

  • Be respectful of one another.
  • Communication must be appropriate for a professional environment.
  • Criticise ideas, not people.
  • Harassment or discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to: racist or sexual comments, jokes, or images; intimidation; unwelcome sexual attention.
  • The code of conduct applies for the entire time of the school, also outside of the lectures.
  • Anyone not behaving appropriately may be asked to leave the school.
  • Violations of this code may be reported to any of the organizers at any time.


  • Coryn Bailer-Jones (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany)
  • David Buckley (South African Astronomical Observatory, South Africa)
  • James Chibueze (North West University, South Africa)
  • Olayinka Fagbemiro (Astronomers Without Borders, Nigeria)
  • Ignacio Garcia de la Rosa (IAC, Spain)
  • Michelle Lochner (University of the Western Cape and South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, South Africa)
  • Paul McMillan (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Yamila Miguel (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
  • Mirjana Povic (Space Science and Geospatial Institute [formerly ESSTI], Ethiopia; Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain)
  • Zara Randriamanakoto (South African Astronomical Observatory, South Africa, and University of Antananarivo, Madagascar)
  • Luis Sarro (National Distance Education University, Spain)


For enquiries, email

Scientific Organizing Committee

  • Coryn Bailer-Jones (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Germany) - SOC chair
  • James Chibueze (North West University, South Africa)
  • Roberto De Propris (BIUST, Botswana)
  • Brenda Namumba (Wits University, South Africa)
  • Benard Nsamba (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), Germany)
  • Mirjana Povic (Space Science and Geospatial Institute [formerly ESSTI], Ethiopia; Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain)
  • Zara Randriamanakoto (SAAO, South Africa; University of Antananarivo, Madagascar)
  • Prospery Simpemba (Copper Belt University, Zambia)

Local Organizing Committee

  • Michael Bode (BIUST, Botswana)
  • Roberto De Propris (BIUST, Botswana) - LOC chair
  • Adams Duniya (BIUST, Botswana)
  • Rhodri Evans (BIUST, Botswana)
  • Gregory Hillhouse (BIUST, Botswana)
  • Thapelo Mabaka (BIUST, Botswana)
  • Ceren Ulusoy (BIUST, Botswana)

The School is funded by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, the African Astronomical Society, and SKA Africa.