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An internship and beyond for Callum

4th May 2018

A Northumbria University student has secured an out-of-this-world internship at the European Space Agency, competing against applicants from across the Continent.

Third-year Sport and Exercise Sciences student, Callum Blades, will begin his prestigious internship at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany this summer.

Student Callum Blades on ESA internship from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

These internships are incredibly competitive and are filled by the highest calibre of student. In securing this coveted placement, Callum will have had to compete against applicants from all over Europe.

The internships provide a unique chance to work at the heart of European space medical operations. The interns usually complete a space medicine related research project during the internship as well as working alongside flight surgeons, astronaut trainers and astronauts themselves.

Speaking before embarking on his internship, Callum said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to secure an internship with the European Astronaut Centre and I see that as a brilliant way to translate what I have learned in my Sport Science degree into a different setting.

“At the European Astronaut Centre I’m going to be assisting with research on bed rest, looking at muscle wastage, but I’m also looking forward to getting involved in other projects and gaining experience in a very large European organisation.”

Callum was supported through his application by Dr Andrew Winnard, who himself completed an internship at ESA’s Space Medicine Office prior to coming to Northumbria University to study for his doctorate. 

Dr Winnard, who is a Lecturer in Clinical/Musculoskeletal Biomechanics at Northumbria and leads the University’s Aerospace Medicine Systematic Review Group, said: “Callum has worked incredibly hard to secure this placement, achieving high marks throughout his degree enabling him to prove his academic skills and compete for these international opportunities. 

“Callum will now be spending his summer at the heart of European human spaceflight operations, working alongside Europe’s flight surgeons, astronaut trainers, exercise specialists and international space station controllers.  Callum follows in the footsteps of several of the sport science course alumni that have also gone on to work at the European Astronaut Centre.  That our students repeatedly are able to gain these opportunities and careers demonstrates the excellent employability and beneficial transferable work skills taught during courses here at Northumbria.”

Northumbria University has a long tradition with the ESA’s Space Medicine Office, both through its ongoing research collaborations as well as graduates who have gone on to work for the organisation. A number of students have completed internships at the ESA Space Medicine Office over the past eight years.

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