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The Radio Astronomy Data Imaging and Analysis Lab (RADIAL) is an intentional partnership between NRAO, 14 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) of higher education, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M) Center for High-Throughput Computing (CHTC) to establish a virtual institute (‘RADIAL’) for data-intensive research in radio astronomy.

RADIAL seeks to accomplish its goal of placing MSIs at the forefront of data-intensive radio astronomy research within six “pillars:”

  • Collaborative, research-based, and student-centered K-12, undergraduate and graduate curricula that integrate astronomy, computer science, and data science. Educators and faculty will receive hybrid module training
  • Research and training experiences opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at the NRAO, 12 MSIs, UW-Madison, or industry, as well as an annual Big Data in Radio Astronomy Summer School for undergraduates
  • Research and training experiences opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at the NRAO, 12 MSIs, UW-Madison, or industry, as well as an annual Big Data in Radio Astronomy Summer School for undergraduates
  • In-depth professional and personal development programs for educators, faculty, and students
  • A virtual affirmative space, administered by the students, where undergraduate and graduate students can meet to discuss academic, professional, and personal challenges and receive support
  • A public outreach program focused on underrepresented minority community members (e.g., STEM students’ parents and home communities, Grade 5-12 students). The outreach program is designed to explain the importance of careers in STEM and the opportunities that are possible with a career in STEM. 

ODI provides project management expertise and administrative staff to support the work of the partnership. RADIAL program manager, and representative to RADIAL, Jennifer Bates, meets with RADIAL partners regularly to determine needs, co-design projects, and assess progress, particularly in the areas of academics, infrastructure, human resources, and budget. Jennifer is able to coordinate resources to implement projects that fill those needs, providing support beyond what is possible at the individual institutions.

Additionally, representatives from all partner MSIs gather annually for the RADIAL Development Lab, where they are able to share individual accomplishments and needs, and refine the collective work towards project goals. Partner MSIs are: Agnes Scott College; Florida A&M University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, New Mexico Tech, Norfolk State University, South Carolina State University, Spelman College, Texas Tech University, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, University of Texas San Antonio, University of the Virgin Islands, and the University of the West Indies.

Current Research Opportunities for Students

Opportunity 1

The University of Wisconsin Madison (UW) Astronomy Department, in collaboration with the Astrophysics Group of the UW Physics Department, will host a Research and Training Experience for Undergraduates Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics for six RADIAL under-represented minority1 (URM) students in Madison, WI, for ten weeks from May 29th to August 4th, 2023.

Students will be mentored by UW Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, Prof. Eric Wilcots, and other leading UW astronomy and astrophysics researchers, in data-intensive projects focused on radio astronomy, specifically radio galaxies and radio jets. At this time, UW plans to host this RTE Program in Madison, WI, but depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer, the program may be converted to a virtual-only program. Given the ungoing uncertainty due to Covid-19, these dates are also subject to change, and should be taken as a general guideline only. The program includes a directed research project, an engaging weekly lecture series, professional development workshops, organized weekend field trips, and other less structured social events such as Summerfest in Milwaukee. Students will also be encouraged to participate in the successful (and fun!) NSF/Wisconsin outreach program Universe in the Park (pending state of the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer of 2022). The UW Program includes a stipend and food allowance of ~ $6,800, as well as reasonable travel expenses to/from Madison, WI. Students will be housed as a cohort and with those participating in other summer research programs, and will access to campus recreational facilities, from the library to sailing on Lake Mendota.

1 Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and women.

Program Dates: May 29 - August 4, 2023
Application Due Date: 11:59pm ET on February 1, 2023.
Eligibility: Participants must be citizens, permanent residents of the US or possess a valid US visa, identify as an under-represented minority1, and an undergraduate student registered for a STEM degree at one of the RADIAL partner institutions

Applications are available at: (select the ‘RADIAL’ checkbox under the ‘Program’ section).

Opportunity 2

The University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in partnership with NRAO, Norfolk State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio is providing a summer 2023 Research and Training Experience (RTE) for URM students in STEM fields including Astronomy, Radio Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science and Data Science.
The cohort will include selected students from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez who will attend a Research and Training Experience at either Norfolk State University or the University of Texas at San Antonio and selected students from Norfolk State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio who will attend a Research and Training Experience at the University of Puerto-Rico Mayaguez.


  • Generous summer stipend ($6,000 + funding for travel and lodging)
  • Guided research project with mentorship
  • Field trips and site-specific activities before and during the summer
  • Professional development workshops
  • Opportunity to receive 3 credit hours

Program Dates: late May-early August 2023 (program dates may vary slightly by site)
Application Due Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 11 PM EST ------ EXTENDED TO Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 11 PM EST
Eligibility: Current undergraduate students at UPR-M, NSU, or UTSA that have completed basic coursework in computer science/programming, physics and calculus.

Applications are available at:

How To Get Involved

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.