Residential Astrobiology CPD


“Astrobiology is a fantastic way to bring excitement and relevance to students’ foundational learning in physical, life, and earth/space sciences.  This workshop gave me insight into both ongoing research, as well as ideas I can use in my classroom immediately.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy


Residential Astrobiology Course

The residential two and a half day CPD event (Monday morning to Wednesday lunch) is designed to give primary and secondary trainee teachers and teachers with an interest in astrobiology the opportunity to learn at the interface of some of the most exciting cutting edge questions in science today such as: How did life originate on the Earth? Is there life elsewhere? The initiative focuses on giving participants an insight into astrobiology and the development of curriculum-relevant lesson plans and activities.

“Informative, educational and eye opening. A great concept and perfect interdisciplinary learning project.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

What will I learn?

Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary field that engages with diverse subjects from astronomy, to biology, chemistry and the geosciences.

You DON’T need a background in science to take part. We have many teachers who come to the course to learn some science and see what is happening in astrobiology. We assume no prior science knowledge.

The Astrobiology Academy empowers teachers to bring the excitement of science to their students in a multi-disciplined science field which is a central focus of current space missions and frequently in the media.

At the academy, attendees learn about how planets form; how life adapts to extreme environments on the Earth such as deep sea hydrothermal vents and cold Antarctic environments; whether life exists on other planets; the latest advances in the exploration of Mars and the possibility of human bases on other planets and moons.

The Academy provides an ideal framework to accomplish several objectives in primary and secondary education:

  • Support teachers in using Astrobiology to create classes, workshops and lesson plans to explore a wide range of scientific questions.
  • Develop new teaching materials such as lesson plans and activities that are then made available to schools.
  • Exposure to researchers and the excitement of active scientific research.
  • Teach new scientific knowledge in cutting edge areas and in interdisciplinary fields.

Why Now?

“Fantastic opportunity to bring cutting edge research into the classroom to support the curriculum. Great, fun lesson plans to engage students in STEM.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

With new discoveries of Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars and the landing of remarkable instruments such as NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, astrobiology is an area of vibrant activity that gives school pupils the opportunity to engage in a rapidly changing field of great public interest.

“A great way to think about teaching biology from a different angle.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

Where and When

The residential CPD initiative is hosted by the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh between academic term times. You can register your interest in the 2018 academy through the registration page. We will announce on the website when the academy is fully subscribed. For our residential two and a half-day course, participants come to Edinburgh and are provided with catered accommodation for the duration of the course which is all provided at no charge thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.  Residential catered places are limited to 15, with a further 10 places for those able to commute in to Edinburgh each day. For our one day astrobiology CPD events, these are held at locations in the UK. The 2018 three day CPD will be held from July 9th to the 11th (Monday morning to Wednesday lunch).

“A phenomenally enriching experience with fantastic resources and opportunities.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

What Level?

The initiative has places for anyone who is keen to be involved in creating lesson plans and activities for primary and secondary schools. Teachers from primary and secondary school who are enthusiastic and self-motivated with interests in any area of science are welcome, but you don’t need a background in science! We have had many primary and secondary school teachers with no direct background in science. Teachers from remote schools or smaller schools with limited resources will be preferentially selected to attend.


The Academy runs with the generous support of a number of sponsors and therefore selected applicants attend for free (all you need is to meet your transport costs) and attendance at the academy fulfills a year’s worth of CPD requirements for teachers.


“Interesting course with lots of opportunities to ask questions.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

  • Talks. You will learn about cutting-edge astrobiology research embedded within basic teaching on principles in physics, chemistry, biology, geology and astronomy. Regardless of science specialty or non- science background, teachers should find the material approachable and relevant with the opportunity to dive deeper into any topic.
  • Lesson Plan and Activities Development. Working together in groups you will formulate new lesson plans and activities for schools.

Interested in applying?  See the Registration Page to register your interest.

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