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.

Radiation belt modelling in the post Van Allen Probes era

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on the topic of “Radiation belt modelling in the post Van Allen Probes era” will be held on Friday 10th January 2020 at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House. This meeting will include keynote talks from Lauren Blum (NASA GSFC), Ewan Haggerty (Airbus Space and Defense), and Yuri Shprits (UCLA & GFZ Potsdam). Further details can be found on the RAS website.

Abstracts can be submitted through a Google Form. The deadline for abstract submission is 4 October 2019.

RAS discussion meetings can provide a slightly different forum to that of a standard scientific meeting. It may be beneficial to particularly consider the "discussion" aspect of the meeting when submitting an abstract, i.e. open questions and future challenges, hypotheses, possible collaborations, negative results etc. Therefore, in addition to "standard" abstracts, we particularly welcome talk, poster and lightning talk abstracts that are specifically aimed at generating discussion.

Admission to Specialist Discussion Meetings is free for RAS Fellows, £15 for non-fellows (£5 for students), cash or cheque only, collected at the registration desk. Admission to the subsequent Open (Monthly A&G) Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society is open to all, at no charge.

Ensemble forecasts in space weather: Science and operations workshop

A Lorentz Center @ Snellius Workshop will take place in Leiden, Netherlands, between 2–6 September 2019, with the aim of making concrete steps towards improving space weather forecasts by implementing ensemble techniques. Researchers from academia, operations, and industry across all space weather disciplines will learn from experts in terrestrial weather forecasting and discuss next steps. The workshop is convened by Eelco Doornbos, Jordan Guerra, and Sophie Murray.

There are limited workshop spaces still available, therefore the co-convenors invite applications to attend the workshop. Please register your interest before 12th July via the workshop page on the Lorentz Center website, where you will also find more information. Note that there is no registration fee to attend, and some limited travel support may also be available (please indicate if this is needed in your application).

 

Ensemble techniques, which use a set of predictions to improve on a single-model output, have been very successful in improving operational weather forecasting and are also used in many other fields such as data science and economics. Their use in space weather forecasting could not only improve forecast accuracy but also provide simple model uncertainties that are crucial for improving end-user understanding of the products available. The main goal of this workshop is to make concrete steps towards improving the SW forecasting capabilities by implementing ensemble techniques that have been successful in other forecasting fields, especially terrestrial weather.

 

STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School 2019 at Aberystwyth University

The STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School will be held during 26–30 August 2019 at Aberystwyth University. Details about the summer school can be found on the school's website.

This school will provide a broad introduction of the latest scientific issues in Solar System plasma research, including the current challenges that drive research in this field. As well as the core subjects presented by leading experts, there are specialist sessions on new missions, new ground-based telescopes, and high-performance computing. Students will arrive on Sunday afternoon for registration. Formal activities will run from Monday to Friday, with an excursion planned for Wednesday afternoon. Looking forward to welcoming you to Aberystwyth ISSP19 in August!

Stephen Hawking Fellowships

The Stephen Hawking fellowships will support and develop the next generation of visionary scientists in theoretical physics at the beginning of their career. UKRI are providing funding for five annual calls delivered jointly by EPSRC and STFC. Round one is now open and intentions to submit must be received by 20 June 2019. Please direct any queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MIST Council would like to draw the community’s attention to the UKRI webpage for the fellowship:

 
The scope of the fellowships extends beyond Stephen Hawking’s active areas of research such as cosmology, general relativity and quantum gravity and UKRI wish to invite other aspects of theoretical physics such as classical gravity, string theory, statistical physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, particle astrophysics, theoretical astronomy, solar and planetary physics.
 
As such, we believe that any member of the MIST community who is currently focusing on modelling work would be eligible to apply for this fellowship.

Europlanet Networking Activity Workshop on "Uniting Planetary Modelling and Data Analysis: Part 2"

The Europlanet Networking Activity Workshop on "Uniting Planetary Modelling and Data Analysis: Part 2" is to be held at Elite City Resort Hotel, Kalamata, Greece. The workshop will be held over 22–25 July 2019 and is co-convened by Nick Achilleos (UCL) and Nick Sergis (Academy of Athens).

Workshop Format

The large scientific communities involved in the analysis and modelling of ground- and space-based datasets related to planetary environments in our Solar System have, over many decades, developed sophisticated models, algorithms and software for supporting this kind of research. With missions such as Cassini leaving a large legacy dataset for Saturn, Juno expected to do the same for Jupiter, and JUICE in the pre-launch phase of development, now is the time to raise awareness of these resources and in what form their originators have provided or plan to provide them to the wider community.

Following the initial success of the related Europlanet NA workshop which took place last year in Greece, a 'follow-up' workshop is scheduled to take place during July 22 through 25 in 2019.

As before, this workshop aims to unite planetary modellers, providers of data analysis tools/services, and any planetary scientists who wish to find out more about these kind of resources, which could facilitate their research activities.

The format of the workshop will follow the established scheme of a combination of ~30 minute presentations and 'tutorial sessions' on the use of model outputs / data analysis resources. If possible this year, we would like to conduct even more 'tutorial sessions', which could be anywhere up to about 2 hours in duration, according to the wishes of the presenter.

Registration

Registration is done by sending an email confirming your attendance, and containing your presentation title, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (Please note that you will also have to book your room, as outlined above). The registration fee is payable in cash on the first day of the meeting, and will be €100 (for regular attendees), €50 (for students and early career researchers), or free (for invited speakers).

Support

Europlanet can cover reasonable accommodation costs for approximately the first 20 participants who register, for the purpose of attending the meeting itself, during the dates below (invited speakers will automatically have their accommodation costs provided).

Booking Rooms

The hotel have recommended that participants make their reservation by sending an email directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. indicating that they are coming to the `Europlanet workshop', so that they get the special price of approx. €95 (single) / €125 (double). More details are on the conference website. The reduced price also applies to all participants for any number of days, right before or right after the workshop, they may wish to stay in the Elite Resort Hotel.