Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

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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..

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.

Minutes from meeting on 11 September 2018

Approval of minutes of previous meeting

  • The minutes of the last face-to-face meeting were approved
  • Jim Wild is now the AGP grants chair
  • Newsletter
    • We were going to restart the newsletter but this fizzled—it may be the case that this is not something the community want?
    • It was suggested that we should do either the newsletter or individual emails from the list, not both
    • Nuggets were eventually divorced from newsletters and they are currently flourishing under Jasmine
  • Tweets were successfully sent during Autumn MIST and this was generally a success
  • We found out about why people didn’t attend MIST@NAM, which basically translated to lack of good advertising, cost, difficulty of going to Hull, and other good meetings
  • Spring MIST and EWASS occurred
  • Geophysics fora did not continue owing to the combination of the research councils into UKRI
  • The last teleconference minutes were discussed and the actions had been completed

Welcomes to MIST Council

  • Oliver was welcomed and John was re-welcomed to MIST Council

A&G special issue

  • Sarah to construct a list of A&G articles that it would be good to reprint in a virtual issue
  • Sue Bowler needs pictures
    • John has asked for images for aurora from [redacted]
    • Councillors to seek pictures of the aurora for the article and contact Sue Bowler
    • John sought conference photos from the mailing list and has specifically emailed [redacted] about the recent Spring MIST photos
    • John to submit his conference writeup to A&G
    • John to chase pictures if not enough have been submitted by the time he’s back from leave
    • Oliver to let Mike Lockwood know that his article is with Sue Bowler and thank him for writing it
    • It’s ended up looking like a great issue!

Spring MIST 2018

  • Rishbeth prize articles are in A&G and winners will be notified
  • [redacted]

Autumn MIST 2018

  • On 30 November
  • Announcement to go out on 1 October
  • Abstract deadline on 1 November
  • Ian got a new quote and put arrangements in place for the meeting at the GeolSoc
  • We have the venue
    • Costs approx £1800 (so charge £20 per person)
    • From 9:30–17:30
    • Meeting to run 10:30–17:30
    • Ian said 100 attendees
    • 15 double-sided poster boards
    • Tea with biscuits in the afternoon
    • We’re allowed to bring lunch into the library
  • John to look up stickers for attendees
  • We have to have someone on the door (as per GeolSoc rules)
    • Ian to ask Sue Caldwell to do this
  • Organisational details:
    • Theme: Radiation belts
      • Keynote talk and the morning session
      • Emphasise planetary radiation belts?
    • Ian to ask Richard Horne to deliver the keynote speech
    • Jasmine to organise the meeting
      • Oliver to co-organise
      • Organisers to ask people to write notes for the article
      • John to construct a document which guides the logic of assigning the oral presentations
    • Jasmine to include requests for lightning talks in abstract submission forms
      • A third type of presentation
      • Not for poster adverts
      • Designed for public engagement efforts, techniques, datasets, etc.
    • Jonny to consult the UCL diversity/inclusion rep about how best to navigate the location of the after-meeting socialising

Future NAM/Spring MIST meetings

  • NAM 2019 SOC will be set up by the end of the month
  • Then the call for sessions will go out (approx. November, deadline January)
  • Should Council construct a basic schedule of key sessions it would be useful to have (some interdisciplinary)? Should we avoid the open MIST session?
  • Ian to contact Mihalis M:
    • Get UKSP’s opinion on what sessions they would like to see
    • And which ones would make good cross-disciplinary sessions?
    • Have a few hour long UKSP+MIST joint forum embedded in NAM?
    • Councillors to think about this and come back at the next teleconference
      • End of Oct/beginning of Nov
    • Sarah to push NERC involvement in the community sessions
    • Is there scope for a joint UKSP+MIST out-of-town meeting after NAM?
  • NAM 2020:
    • Jonny to ask RAS Council what they have planned
  • We should consider UKSP/MIST joint meetings!

G-MIST discussion meetings

  • Three upcoming meetings
    • Jasmine’s Sandhu’s storms and substorms meeting
    • Steve Miller and Nick Achilleos‘ H3+ meeting
    • Richard Harrison’s L5 space weather meeting
      • John to put this on the website
  • Should we encourage people to suggest meetings?
    • Ian to check with Mark Lester whether ideas are ‘in the pipeline’
    • The deadline will probably be March 2019
  • The MIST+PE occurred:
    • One of the meeting outcomes was that a press list would be useful
      • John to contact the RAS about their press list
      • John to include a note about a press list on the MIST website
        • Possibly with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      • One outcome was that continued discussion would be good
        • John to email Sheila at RAS to see whether there’s scope for getting funding for a series of MIST+PE meetings under the RAS200 banner
        • John to suggest MIST+PE session to NAM 2019
        • Encourage lightning talks at Autumn MIST?
      • Is the MIST website/social media aiming at the public? Should it be?
        • John and Jasmine’s gut feeling is ‘no, and no’. The MIST website is aimed at the community.
      • How do we use online resources to support the MIST+PE community?
        • New page on the website to highlight MIST+PE work
          • John to populate this and then announce it to the community for feedback
        • #public-engagement channel on Slack

Summer schools

  • We think that [redacted] would be a good host for 2024
    • Last year Jonny had an action to sound them out for a future summer school
    • Jonny to check whether that happened/follow that up
  • Ian to talk to Mihalis M to see what the plan is for the next phase of summer schools
  • John to get any extant feedback from Rob Fear and Claire Foullon
    • With a view to passing it to the 2019 summer schools
  • It might be best to avoid having two institutions be the same affiliation (UKSP/MIST) in the same year

Community consultations

  • Last consultation was the SSAP consultation
  • These are often announced very close to the deadline
  • Should we have venues to discuss MIST tactics on funding? A “MIST forum”?
    • Solar missions forum is (somewhat) the UKSP equivalent
  • Sarah and Jonny to discuss a MIST forum in or near Lancaster for the day after NAM
    • RAS out-of-town meeting?

Geophysics forums

  • Jonny to ask MISTHOGS whether Geophysics Forums are a good thing and get ball rolling on re-establishing them
    • On proviso that every group needs to send 1–2 people
    • Chaired by Mark Lester
    • Follow-up actions to be taken

RAS and other awards

  • John to resubmit his Maunder award nomination
  • We could nominate [redacted] for [redacted] next year
  • IOP award deadline coming up in January
    • Submit RAS award nominations to the IOP award?
  • John to add the Alfvén award and the AGU awards to the website

MIST website

  • It has received an upgrade courtesy of John and Q
    • John to chase Q to see how to pin posts (e.g. on the Nuggets page)
    • John to look at whether This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and other email addresses could be set up to redirect to various members of Council
    • John to look at getting a Twitter widget embedded on the website
    • John to split summer school list into past/future schools
    • John to check whether we have analytics


  • Jasmine has been doing great work on nuggets
  • John to replace ‘Science’ tab with ‘Nuggets’ tab on main menu
  • Jasmine to give guidelines on appropriate level for nuggets
    • Aimed at undergrad physics knowledge
    • No references!
    • Short text
    • One figure

MISTHOGS mailing list

  • Being used, and has generally been well-received

Doctoral Training Partnerships/Centres for Doctoral Training

  • Jonny fed into NERC at a relatively high level that a CDT is necessary
  • Next one is not us, but we think we are on the list of upcoming ideas
    • Jonny to see whether we’re still on the list
  • If CDTs are supposed to be cross-council, what about NERC+STFC?
  • How will UKRI affect this? They have a CDT on artificial intelligence
    • Jonny to speak to Robyn Thomas on how this has evolved
  • Lancaster has a PhD student starting on the new STFC data science CDT
  • Jonny put a comment into the SSAP consultation to use the UK spaceport for sounding rocket flights, balloons etc as a way to have PhD students (and the wider community) designing, building, analysing such missions
    • SSAP may endorse it in the report of unselected bits
    • If this occurs, Jonny to touch base with UKSA to try and move it forward

MIST Council membership

  • Ian was elected Chair
  • Ian and Sarah will be at the end of their terms next year
  • We need to start thinking about who should succeed Ian
  • Some people asked whether they needed to be in post throughout the term they were standing for, and the answer is no — we should highlight that in future elections

MIST Charter

  • John to put amendments to the vote with the MIST community
  • John also to remove “No intermediate counts will be revealed. Final vote totals will be released only to the candidates.”

Any Other Business

  • We discussed the Strategic Priorities Fund:
    • Ian McCrea talked to Janet Seed, one of the things that UKRI do is look for overlapping bid ideas and combine them when they’re found
    • Other bodies are also allowed to bid into the process e.g. UKSA, Met Office
    • Ian McCrea requested STFC funding for a space weather idea. Others similar:
      • [redacted]
    • Ian’s idea is going through to phase two
  • Ian to talk to Lucy Carpenter to look at success rates of NERC standard grants