MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

A Summary of the SWIMMR Kick-Off Meeting

The kick-off event for the Space Weather Innovation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk Study (one of the Wave 2 programmes of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund) took place in the Wolfson Library of the Royal Society on Tuesday November 26th. Seventy-five people attended the event, representing a range of academic institutions, as well as representatives from industry, government and public sector research establishments such as the UK Met Office. 

The morning session of the meeting consisted of five presentations, introducing the programme and its relevance to government, the Research Councils and the Met Office, as well as describing details of the potential calls. The presentations were as follows:

  •  Prof John Loughhead (Chief Scientific Advisor to BEIS) - Space Weather Innovation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk Programme (a governmental perspective). The slides from Prof John Loughhead's talk are available here.
  • Prof Chris Mutlow (Director of STFC RAL Space) - SWIMMR: Project funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund (a perspective from STFC).  The slides from Prof Chris Mutlow's talk are available here.
  • Jacky Wood (Head of Business Partnerships at NERC) - Space Weather Innovation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk (SWIMMR) - A NERC perspective.  The slides from Jacky Wood's talk are available here.
  • Dr. Ian McCrea (Senior Programme Manager for SWIMMR) -  SWIMMR: Space Weather Innovation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk: A wave 2 programme of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund.  The slides from Dr Ian McCrea's talk are available here.
  • Mark Gibbs (Head of Space Weather at the UK Met Office) - SWIMMR (Met Office perspective and detailed description of the calls.  The slides from Mark Gibb's talk are available here.

During the lunch break, the Announcement of Opportunity for the five NERC SWIMMR calls was issued on the NERC web site.  The afternoon therefore began with a brief introduction by Jacky Wood to the NERC Announcement of Opportunity, and the particular terms and conditions which it contained.

The remainder of the afternoon session was spent in a Question and Answer session in which attendees were able to ask questions to the speakers about the nature of the programme and the potential timing of future calls, and finally to an informal discussion session, in which participants gathered into groups to discuss the opportunities for funding which had been outlined. 

2019 RAS Council elections

As you may have seen, the nominations for RAS Council are currently open with a deadline of 29 November. MIST falls under the “G” (Geophysics) category and there are up to 3 councillor positions and one vice-president position available. MIST Council strongly encourages interested members of the MIST community to consider standing for election.
 
Clare Watt (University of Reading) has kindly volunteered to be a point of contact for the community for those who may wish to talk more about being on council and what it involves. Clare is a councillor on RAS Council, with her term due to complete in 2020, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

 

Outcome of SSAP priority project review

From the MIST mailing list:

We are writing to convey the outcome of this year’s priority project “light touch” review, specifically with reference to those projects within the remit of SSAP. We would like to thank all the PIs that originally submitted ideas, and those who provided updates to their projects over the summer. SSAP strongly believe that all the projects submitted are underpinned by strong scientific drivers in the SSAP area.

The “light touch” review was undertaken with a unified approach by SSAP and AAP, considering factors that have led to priority project development (in STFC or other research councils) or new funding for priority projects (1/51 projects in the STFC remit) in the last 12 months. After careful discussion, it was agreed by SSAP and AAP not to select any project where the remit clearly overlaps with UKSA (i.e. space missions or TRL 4+), reflecting STFC’s focus on ground-based observations, science exploitation and TRL 0-3 development. Whilst in no way reflecting the excellence of the science, or community scientific wishes, this approach has resulted in some changes to the list of SSAP priority projects. However, now, unlike at the time of the original call, it is clear that such projects cannot move forwards without UKSA (financial) support, and such funds are already committed according to UKSA’s existing programme. SSAP remain strongly supportive of mission-led science in solar-system exploration, so SSAP have strongly recommended that the high-level discussions between UKSA and STFC continue with a view to supporting a clear joint priority projects call in future, more naturally suited to mission and bi-lateral opportunities.

The priority projects (and PIs) identified by SSAP for 2019/20 are:

  • Solar Atmospheric Modelling Suite (Tony Arber)
  • LARES1: Laboratory Analysis for Research into Extra-terrestrial Samples (Monica Grady)
  • EST: European Solar Telescope (Sarah Matthews)

SSAP requested STFC continue to work with all three projects to expand their community reach and continue to develop the business cases for future (new) funding opportunities. In addition, SSAP have requested that STFC explore ways in which the concept of two projects—“ViCE: Virtual Centres of Excellence Programme / MSEMM Maximising Science Exploitation from Space Science Missions”—can be combined and, with community involvement, generate new funding for science exploitation and maximising scientific return in solar-system sciences. Initially this consultation will occur between SSAP and STFC.

We would like to thank the community again for its strong support, and rapid responses on very short timescales. A further “light touch” review will occur in 2020, with a new call for projects anticipated in 2021. SSAP continue to appreciate the unfamiliar approach a “call for proposals with no funding attached” causes to the community and are continuing to stress to STFC that the community would appreciate clearer guidance and longer timescales in future priority project calls.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Helen Fraser on behalf of SSAP

The Global Network for the Sustainability In Space (GNOSIS)

The Global Network for the Sustainability In Space (GNOSIS) is an STFC Network+ with the goal of helping researchers within the Particle, Nuclear and Astrophysics areas to engage with researchers from other research councils and industry to study the near Earth space environment. For more details, visit the GNOSIS website or see this issue of the GNOSIS newsletter.

Over the next few years we expect a large increase in the number of satellites in Earth orbit. This will lead to unprecedented levels of space traffic much of which will end as debris. The aim of this network is to understand the debris populations and its impact on space traffic management with a view to enabling a safer environment.

The free GNOSIS lunch event will be held on 18 November 2019 at the British Interplanetary Society at Vauxhall, London, with a video link to the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to facilitate participation from across the UK. Tickets can be obtained here.

GNOSIS will be producing a programme of meetings for both space operations specialists and subject matter novices and will be able to support the development of collaborative ideas through project and part graduate student funding. Details of our first workshop will be announced in the next month.

If you are an academic with no direct experience but have knowledge of areas such as observations, data analysis, simulation or even law, then register your interest on our website. If you are a currently working in the space sector or if you are just interested in the aims and goals of the network please also register your interest and get involved.

SWIMMR: A £19.9M programme of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund

Space Weather Instrumentation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk (SWIMMR) is a £19.9M programme of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund.

MIST would like draw the attention of the research community to the potential opportunities which will become available as a result of this programme, which received final approval from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in August. The programme will run from now until March 2023 and is aimed at improving the UK’s capabilities for space weather monitoring and prediction. UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund provides a means for linking research council investment to governmental research priorities, hence the areas being emphasised in the programme reflect space weather threats to critical infrastructure, as reflected in the UK national risk register.

The programme will be delivered jointly by the STFC and NERC, mainly through open grant calls, but including some elements of commissioned work to be delivered through open competitive tenders. The first calls are expected to appear during the coming weeks. More information about the programme is available through the RAL Space website, and is forthcoming from the NERC web site.

To mark the official launch of the programme and provide more details of the planned activities, a kick-off meeting is being held in the Wolfson Library of the Royal Society on Tuesday 26 November 2019, from 10:30. Pre-registration is required for this event and can be done using this link. We hope that many of you will be able to attend.

Nominating colleagues for awards

There are a multitude of awards available which recognise research done by geophysicists, and MIST physicists have been successfully nominated for these awards in the past. The list below may not be complete; if you have any suggestions for awards not listed, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Awards in the UK

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)

The RAS presents several awards and prizes annually which are available to MIST researchers. The main family of RAS awards have a deadline for nominations at the end of July each year, and are available for everyone from postdocs to the most senior professors, as well as recognising consortia such as EISCAT or SuperDARN (both previous winners). The awards are paired, with geophysics and astrophysics equivalents for each.

The RAS also awards the Annie Maunder medal (with a deadline for nominations on the last Friday in September) for achievements in outreach. This has so far been won by outreach professionals rather than by academics with strong public engaegment records, but this may change over time.

Finally, the Keith Runcorn thesis prize has a deadline for nominations at the end of January, and is for the best PhD thesis in geophysics in the preceding year.

Institute of Physics (IOP)

The IOP have a large family of awards and medals but we think that the following two medals are those that are relevant to the MIST community. The nominations period for these awards runs from October to the end of January.

  • The Edward Appleton Medal (formerly the Chree Medal) is awarded for contributions to environmental, Earth or atmospheric physics, and has been won by MIST physicists such as Michele Dougherty and Michael Lockwood.
  • The Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Medal is awarded for contributions to plasma, solar or space physics. This medal has also been won by MIST physicists; most recently Steven Schwartz. 

International awards

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

The AGU also has a large family of awards, the deadline for which is in March. The list of awards given by AGU as a whole can be explored on their website, and of particular relevance to members of the MIST community is the John Adam Fleming Medal. The Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) section of AGU also gives honours to eligible physicists, and the most relevant honours they bestow are listed below.

Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)

COSPAR's awards and medals are given annually at the COSPAR Scientific Assembly, and nominations must be received by the Secretariat by the end of November in the preceding year. COSPAR awards five awards soley, three awards in collaboration with other organisations, and one final award, as follows:

  • Space Science Award for "a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to space science"
  • International Cooperation Medal for "a scientist who has made distinguished contributions to space science and whose work has contributed significantly to the promotion of international scientific cooperation"
  • William Nordberg Medal for "a scientist who has made a distinguished contribution to the application of space science in a field covered by COSPAR"
  • Massey Award for "outstanding contributions to the development of space research, interpreted in the widest sense, in which a leadership role is of particular importance"
  • Distinguished Service Medal for "extraordinary services rendered to COSPAR over many years"
  • Vikram Sarabhai Medal for "outstanding contributions to space research in developing countries"
  • Jeoujang Jaw Award for "scientists who have made distinguished pioneering contributions to promoting space research, establishing new space science research branches and founding new exploration programs"
  • Zeldovich Medals "are conferred by the Russian Academy of Sciences and COSPAR to young scientists for excellence and achievements"
  • COSPAR Outstanding Paper Awards for Young Scientists for "first authors under 31 years of age at the time the manuscript is submitted for publication in Advances in Space Research or Life Sciences in Space Research"

European Geosciences Union (EGU)

The EGU's awards and medals are given out annually, and have a deadline for nominations in mid-June. We have tried to list the most relevant awards below, but we encourage members of the community to browse the full list.

European Physical Society

The Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society has three awards which are awarded annually. Each award has its own deadline, but all of them appear to be in November.

European Space Weather Week

European Space Weather Week awards three medals annually to researchers in the field. At the time of writing, the deadline for nominations appears to be the start of September.

  • The Kristian Birkeland medal, for "a unique ability to combine basic and applied research to develop useful space weather products that are being used outside the research community", and whose contributions have significantly advanced the field.
  • The Baron Marcel Nicolet medal, for demonstrating an ability to link the space weather community in the spirit of peace and friendship, and who has educated both inside and outside the community.
  • The Alexander Chizhevsky medal for outstanding and innovative achivements in space weather research by a young researcher.