Summer school
"Biosignatures and the Search for Life on Mars "
Iceland, 4 - 16 July 2016


The summer school "Biosignatures and the Search For Life on Mars", which will be held in Iceland from 4 to 16 July 2016, aims to cover the subject of the search for life in different environments, both on early Earth, below Earth's surface and on Mars. It will bring together students and researchers from a multitude of different fields. It is co-organised by the Nordic Network of Astrobiology, the European Astrobiology Campus, and the EU COST Action "Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth and in the Universe". Field studies on the colonisation of lava fields and Mars analogue landscapes will complement the lectures. The programme of the summer school comprises:

  • lectures by internationally leading scientists covering a broad range of subjects in astrobiology
  • investigation of colonisation of fresh lava fields and Mars analogue landscapes with in situ life detection techniques
  • excursions to geologically and astrobiologically interesting sites (lava caves, new lava fields):
    • Hveravellir hot spring area
    • Barðabunga lava field
    • Námaskarð geothermal area
    • Krafla volcanic area
    • the Mars analogue landscapes at Askja
    • the Myvatn area with the Skútustaðir pseudocraters and the Hverfjall cinder cone
  • a poster sessions for students and early career scientists
  • participant-led discussions
A multitude of highly merited researchers have agreed to teach at the course (see the Programme page for details. The deadline for application is 31 March 2016 23:59:00 UTC.

A hopefully final programme of the summer course can be downloaded as an .xls file here. Please also refer to the Programme webpage.

Fees and refunds
There are no tuition fees charged for the course. But people have to contribute to their meals and accommodation. Participants will be charged a package rate of EUR 1900,- (roughly USD 2000,-).

This course package fee covers

  • Accommodation in shared quadruple or triple bedrooms with en-suite facilities from 3 July 2016 evening to 17 July 2016 morning
  • Breakfasts, coffee breaks (during lecture days), lunches and dinners from 3 July 2016 evening to 17 July 2016 morning.
  • Excursions as specified in the programme
  • Transfer between the course venues
  • Farewell dinner
  • Course material including consumables

Bursaries are available for around 20 European Ph. D. students and early career scientists (up to 8 years after their first Ph. D.). Selected participants located in countries taking part in the the EU COST Action "Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth and in the Universe" (this covers most European Countries) will get a refund of around EUR 1100,-. The list of these countries can be inspected here. As of 1 January 2016 this includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Purtugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK. Herein it is the country of the institution that the applicant is affiliated to, not the applicant's nationality that counts (i.e. an Australian applicant studying at a Swedish university would be eligible, a Swedish post-doc working at a Brazilian University would not). For participants located in Iceland, however, special rules of refund apply (please contact the organisers for details). The selection of the applicants to be funded will be made by the organisers after the deadline. Accepted participants will be informed about refund formalities after 31 March 2016. Please note that they will only get refunded after the course

Please note: There are earmarked funds for the universities involved in the European Astrobiology Campus:

University of Porto, University of Bordeaux, Open University, University of Utrecht, University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Iceland, Vilnius University, University of Turku and Stockholm University.

Applications from these institutions are thus especially encouraged. From these institutions also Master's students can be accepted.

Unfortunately, there will be no funds available for participants from other countries. They can also apply, but will have to find the financial means for attending on their own. If you fall into that category and want to apply for alternative funding from other sources, we strongly recommend you to do so well before the application deadline. It might be too late to ask for funds after the decision of the evaluation committee.

Venue and Access
Please refer to the Venue and Access webpages for all information

The deadline for application is 31 March 2016 23:59:00 UTC. Please refer to the Application webpage for application procedures. Successful applicants will be notified in the first 2 weeks of April.

For all enquiries please contact the course organiser, Wolf Geppert, preferably by e-mail: or phone (++46-8-55378649). Please also refer to the practical infos and the other information webpages. Most necessary information is likely to be found there.

Velkomin til Íslands !

Hverfjall cinder cone Barðabunga lava field Kerlingarfjöll hot spring area