MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

2021 Astronomy Grants

The closing date for the 2021 Astronomy Grants Round is 4th March 2021. Submissions are accepted from now. The Astronomy Guidelines for Applicants have been revised and can be found via the links below (the PDF with the full guidance is available under the ‘who can apply’ section on both pages):

Applicants should ensure they have read the guidelines in detail and contact the office with any queries ahead of submission.

Key points or revisions from the 2020 guidelines have been briefly summarised below for information:

  • Page Limits – The page limit per project has been simplified and is no longer based on a requested FTE calculation.
  • Applicant/Project FTE – There has been a change to the upper limit for requested applicant FTE (25%, not including PI management time). The guidance for total FTE requests per project has also been updated and must be strictly adhered to.
  • Outreach Projects – Clarification on the page limit for outreach projects/outreach funding.
  • Pathways to Impact – UKRI removed the requirement to submit a pathways to impact plan in March 2020; however applicants should still consider impact as part of their case for support (see guidelines for further information).
  • Publications Table – Updates to the information required in the publications table.

New groups submitting their first consolidated grant proposal or those considering a consortium proposal are advised to inform the office ahead of submitting to the closing date. If you have any queries please contact 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..

2020 Space Census

MIST members are invited to submit to the 2020 Space Census!

The 2020 Space Census is the first national survey of the UK space workforce. It is a 5-10 minute anonymous online demographic survey of individuals for anyone working in the UK space sector in any capacity. The results will be used to improve what it’s like to work in the sector, to tackle discrimination, and to make the sector more attractive to new recruits.

More information about the Census, along with answers to commonly asked questions, can be found here.

The UK Space Agency’s press release about the Census can be found here.

STFC Policy Internship Scheme now open

This year has proved the critical importance of science having a voice within Parliament. But how does scientific evidence come to the attention of policy makers? If you are a STFC-funded PhD student, you can experience this first-hand through our Policy Internship Scheme, which has just opened for applications for 2020/21. During these three-month placements, students are hosted either at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) or the Government Office for Science (GO Science).

POST is an independent office of the Houses of Parliament which provides impartial evidence reviews on topical scientific issues to MPs and Peers. Interns at POST will research, draft, edit and publish a briefing paper summarising the evidence base on an important or emerging scientific issue. GO Science works to ensure that Government policies and decisions are informed by the best scientific evidence and strategic long-term thinking. Placements at GO Science are likely to involve undertaking research, drafting briefing notes and background papers, and organising workshops and meetings.

The scheme offers a unique opportunity to experience the heart of UK policy making and to explore careers within the science-policy interface. The placements are fully funded and successful applicants will receive a three-month extension to their final PhD deadline.

For full information and to see case studies of previous interns, please see our website. The closing date is 10 September 2020 at 16.00.

Applied Sciences special issue: Dynamical processes in space plasmas

 

Applied Sciences is to publish a special issue on the topic of dynamical processes in space plasmas which is being guest edited by Georgious Nicolaou. Submissions are welcome until 31 March 2021, and submission instructions for authors can be found on the journal website. For general questions, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MIST elections in 2020

The election for the next MIST councillors opens today, and will run until 23:59 on 31 July 2020. The candidates are Michaela Mooney, Matt Owens, and Jasmine Kaur Sandhu. 

If you are subscribed to this mailing list you should receive a bespoke link which will let you vote on the MIST website, which will be sent by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you don’t receive this link, please check your junk folder! The candidates’ platforms are on the voting platform, and also reproduced below for your convenience. 

Michaela Mooney

I’m a final year PhD student at MSSL standing for MIST Council as a student representative. During my PhD, I’ve been actively engaged in the department as a Student Rep in the Staff Student Consultation Committee and in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I’m an active member of the MIST research community through proposals for RAS Discussion meetings and NAM sessions on geomagnetic activity. 

My main goals as a MIST Council representative would be to:

  • lobby funding bodies to reduce the impact of the pandemic on PhD students.
  • facilitate the organisation of virtual conferences and careers days to ensure that students continue to have opportunities to present research and access to careers information.
  • support good practises in equality, diversity and inclusion within the MIST community.

My key priority would be to limit the impact of the pandemic on students and ensure equality of opportunities.

Matt Owens

Now, more than ever, it’s vital our community address its diversity problems. If anyone is standing for MIST council from an underrepresented demographic, I’d encourage you to vote for them; MIST needs their experience and insight. If not, I’ll seek to ensure MIST council continues to promote equality of opportunity and diversity in science.

MIST’s primary role is to represent our solar-terrestrial science within the wider discipline. I’m predominantly a heliospheric scientist, but keep a toe in the solar physics community. E.g., I’ve served in editorial capacities for both JGR and Solar Physics, and have a good deal of experience with both NERC and STFC funding. As such, I’d hope to see MIST working closely with UKSP, as we have a lot of common interest. I am also keen that the MIST community coordinate to make the most of the industrial and operational forecasting opportunities that are open to it. Finally, I’m a very recent convert to open science. I would seek to increase the prevalence of research code publication and use of community tools within our field, for reasons of both efficiency and reproducibility.

Jasmine Kaur Sandhu

I am a post-doctoral research associate at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL, with a research focus on inner magnetospheric physics. During my time as a Council member I have led a number of initiatives, primarily the MIST Student’s Corner, the MIST Nugget Series, and the MIST online seminar series. If elected, I will continue to focus on supporting early career researchers in ways that promote diversity of both science and the scientists within our community. This will include developing a set of up-to-date, comprehensive, and informative resources on funding opportunities available to early career researchers for travel funding and fellowships. This will be supported by a mentor-like scheme for assistance and guidance on applications.

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.