RFG AbGradCon11


Welcome the Astrobiology Research Focus Group (RFG) Workshop 2011! This year marks
the third annual RFG Workshop for early-career astrobiologists. RFG 2011 will be held at
El Western Resort in Ennis, MT June 2nd - 4th, immediately preceding AbGradCon 2011 in
Bozeman, MT.

New to this year’s workshop is a proposal writing training session to be led by Michael New from
NASA HQ. You won’t want to miss it! So, mark your calendars: applications for RFG 2011 open
March 8th!

For questions related specifically to the RFG, please direct your emails to rfgw11@gmail.com.

To stay up-to-date, join our RFG 2011 Facebook group!


About the Research Focus Group Workshop

The Astrobiology Research Focus Group Workshop is an independent training workshop
that brings together early-career astrobiologists from diverse academic backgrounds for
an intensive three-day collaborative proposal writing experience. The central objective for
workshop participants is to create an original proposal on a topic relevant to the current
state of astrobiology research, which must be presented to a body of peers. Participants are
encouraged to use the workshop as a forum for exploring creative and original research topics.
The workshop culminates in a peer-review panel discussion on each teams’ presented work,
leading to a final anonymous vote on the best proposal.

The 2009 and 2010 workshops produced several original research ideas. Highlights include:
work leading to a successfully funded research grant through the NAI director’s discretionary
fund (Proposal Title: Perchlorate, Water and Life: the Geomicrobiology of Mars Analog Soils);
and an internationally recognized space policy paper proposing a METI protocol for messaging
extraterrestrial intelligence (Atri, DeMarines, and Haqq-Misra, 2011).

To encourage collaboration beyond the workshop participants will have the opportunity to apply
to the new Young Investigators (YIA) award! More information on the YIA coming soon ...


Participation in the RFG Workshop

Although RFG 2011 is being held in conjunction with AbGradCon 2011, we are an independent
workshop and have a separate application form and deadlines.

To participate in the 2011 Workshop, please fill out our online application by April
8th, 2011. You will be notified of your acceptance to participate in the workshop by no later than April 15th, 2011.



To participate in the RFG workshop you must be either:
1. A graduate student (Masters or PhD Level)
2. A Postdoctoral Researcher within two years of obtaining your PhD

Participants from prior RFG workshops are welcome to apply as long as they still meet the
eligibility requirements.


Travel Funding

Lodging, meals and travel between the RFG venue and Bozeman, MT will be provided for all
accepted participants.

Participants funded to attend AbGradCon will be allowed to schedule flights into Bozeman, MT
early to participate in the RFG. All other participants are responsible for their own airfare/
travel to/from Montana.



Important Dates

  • Applications Open: March 15th at latest
  • Priority Application Deadline: April 8, 2011*

*Applications considered based on availability after the priority deadline

  • Applicant Notification: on or before April 15th (for priority applicants)
  • Workshop dates: June 2nd - 4th 2011

Workshop Format

Day 1 - Thursday, June 2, 2011
**All Participants arrive in Bozeman MT by 2PM
3:00PM Depart Bozeman, MT for Ennis, MT
4:00PM Arrival & Check-in at El Western
4:30PM Introduction to RFG and Snacks
5:00 - 7:00PM Proposal Writing Workshop led by Michael New
7:00 - 9:00PM Group Dinner in Ennis MT
11PM Revised Letter of Intent Due


Day 2 - Friday, June 3, 2011
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:00AM - 12:30PM Participants work in groups on drafting proposal
12:30PM Lunch
1:30AM - 3:00PM Participants work on finishing proposal draft
3:00 PM Proposals Due & Snacks/Coffee Break
3:30 - 5:30PM Groups peer review proposals & start working on presentations for evening session
6:00PM Dinner & Reviews Returned to Teams
9:00 PM Group Presentations


Day 3 - Saturday, June 4, 2011
8:00AM Breakfast
10:00AM Panel Discussion & Review Board
12:00PM Proposal Voting
12:30PM Lunch & Results, Top three proposal announced
1:30PM Afternoon Activity and/or Early Departure
5:00PM Leave for Bozeman, MT & AbGradCon Welcome BBQ