This document exposes the context of the proposed Official Doctoral Degree in Space Research and Astrobiology, proposed by the Space Research Group (SRG-UAH) of the Departments of Physics and Automation of the University of Alcalá together with the Center for Astrobiology (CAB) ) of INTA-CSIC, according to the regulatory framework of RD 99/2011.
The proposed program has its origins in the old Doctorate Programs “Computer Architecture and Signal Processing Techniques Applied to Telecommunications”, jointly taught by the Departments of Automation and Signal Theory and Communications the University of Alcalá and that of “Mathematics and Physics” jointly taught by the Departments of Mathematics and Physics, both since 1999. These doctorate programs were widely accepted, which is reflected in the number of students enrolled and the number of theses read, with a very high percentage of students from other universities. Of these theses read, ten were specifically on topics of Science and Space Technology. Subsequently, and in accordance with Decree 56/05, the Official Postgraduate Program in Space Research was launched, associated with the Official Master’s Degree in Science and Technology from Space. Given the short period of validity of this doctorate, and because the theses begun in the old programs were maintained in them, to this day has not yet completed any of the theses begun in the program of Space Research.
At this time we are forced to reformulate the doctoral program to adapt to RD 99/2011. The most novel of this modification is the inclusion of the Astrobiology Center of INTA-CSIC as a proponent, together with the SRG-UAH group. With this new proposal of Official Doctorate Degree the aim is the “Training of high level researchers, capable of contributing new ideas and solutions in the space field, the exploration of other celestial objects, and the investigation of the origin, evolution and distribution of the life in the universe. ” The general objectives pursued are the following:
Establish an ideal framework for innovation and production of relevant scientific advances, leading to the realization of doctoral theses of high scientific quality.
Offer a rigorous third cycle training for new researchers and organize research teams that can successfully meet the challenge of expanding knowledge in the field of space and astrobiological science and technology.
Collaborate in the training of university teaching staff, with special emphasis on the research training of teachers.
Improve the professional, scientific and technical development of the graduates, with a special interest in the improvement of Research, Development and Innovation activities related to the field of Space and Astrobiology.
The main aspects that justify the need of the program are the following:
Social demand: The Autonomous Community of Madrid concentrates a large number of companies whose activity focuses on the space field. The training of research personnel that can contribute to the development of these companies is important. In this sense, the participating research groups maintain contacts with companies in the sector, which have led to a large number of collaborations in research projects. The collaboration with these companies has allowed some PhD students to enjoy research grants linked to signed contracts.
In the international arena, the active Spanish participation in the European Space Agency (ESA) should be highlighted, which includes many topics that are closely related to the research lines of this doctoral program.
Experience of the group of researchers who make the proposal: The departments of Automation and Physics and Mathematics of the University of Alcalá and the Center of Astrobiology have extensive experience in space research.