A Skegness man is hoping to inspire budding young scientists to reach for the stars thanks to an exciting scholarship he has just embarked on.
Ryan Laird, 26, jetted off on Saturday to fly over to Strasbourg for a scholarship run by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency worth 16,500 Euros.
During the nine week intensive programme Ryan, who is a STEM ambassador and science communicator, will get to visit the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), the centre of excellence for astronaut selection and training. He will learn about medical support and surveillance, as well as the support given to astronauts and their families during preparation for and during flight.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity and I would like to tell everyone, and particularly the next generation, all about it so they hopefully gain some inspiration and really reach for the stars,” said Ryan just before he jetted off.
“Each year the SSP convenes in a different location around the world, moving to a new city and country which adds an exciting dynamic as well as new resources and expertise to the programme.
“It is heavily backed by a huge number of industry figures and government space agencies,” explained Ryan.
“We get to meet many key figures from astronauts (both lecturing and in a panel) to space leaders in both industry and agencies,” he added.
Ryan attended Skegness Grammar School until 2005 before completing a degree in Physics with Astrophysics (MPhys) at the University of Leicester.
He is also fond of the starnights held at Gibraltar Point by BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Paul Money and Ryan still attends Horncastle’s Astronomy weekend, which Paul organises each year.
“In fact, Paul has been a source of encouragement for many years and we have retained a close link throughout,” added Ryan
And Paul, who speaks highly of Ryan, says he is proud and impressed with the achievement. He said: “It is gratifying to see Ryan doing so well and taking part in projects all around the world, I am very proud and impressed.
Ryan will be writing about his trip and study on his blog rjmlaird.co.uk and on Twitter @rjmlaird. For further information go to http://www.isunet.edu/news-and-media-center/1240-26th-space-studies-program-on-isu-central-campus .