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Published Online: 21 October 2009

Survey on Astrobiology Research and Teaching Activities Within the United Kingdom

Publication: Astrobiology
Volume 9, Issue Number 8


While astrobiology is apparently growing steadily around the world, in terms of the number of researchers drawn into this interdisciplinary area and teaching courses provided for new students, there have been very few studies conducted to chart this expansion quantitatively. To address this deficiency, the Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB) conducted a questionnaire survey of universities and research institutions nationwide to ascertain the current extent of astrobiology research and teaching in the UK. The aim was to provide compiled statistics and an information resource for those who seek research groups or courses of study, and to facilitate new interdisciplinary collaborations. The report here summarizes details gathered on 33 UK research groups, which involved 286 researchers (from undergraduate project students to faculty members). The survey indicates that around 880 students are taking university-level courses, with significant elements of astrobiology included, every year in the UK. Data are also presented on the composition of astrobiology students by their original academic field, which show a significant dominance of physics and astronomy students. This survey represents the first published systematic national assessment of astrobiological academic activity and indicates that this emerging field has already achieved a strong degree of penetration into the UK academic community. Key Words: Research—Teaching—United Kingdom—Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB). Astrobiology 9, 717–730.

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Published In

cover image Astrobiology
Volume 9Issue Number 8October 2009
Pages: 717 - 730
PubMed: 19845444


Published online: 21 October 2009
Published in print: October 2009


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Lewis R. Dartnell
CoMPLEX (Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology), University College London, London, UK.
The Centre For Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck, University College London, London, UK.
Mark J. Burchell
School of Physical Sciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK.


Address correspondence to:
Lewis R. Dartnell
The Centre For Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck
University College London
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
E-mail: [email protected]

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