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.

RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on Space Weather and the Solid Earth (March 2021)

The RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting “Space weather and the solid Earth: the hazard to technology at the Earth’s surface” is to be held remotely on Friday 12 March 2021 from 10.30–15.30. It will be convened by Juliane Hübert, Gemma Richardson, Neil Rogers, and Alan Thomson. Abstracts can be submitted here and should be submitted by the end of Friday 22 January 2021. To register, visit the RAS website for the meeting (free for Fellows and £5 for non-Fellows). The meeting will be held on Zoom.


The technological impacts of space weather at ground level are the result of space physics processes driven by solar activity and by geophysical processes both external and internal to the solid Earth. Space weather causes geomagnetically induced currents that can damage power transformers and safety systems. It enhances voltage differences in metal gas transmission pipelines, which increases corrosion rates in pipe steel. Large surface electric fields during space weather may also trip rail circuits. To tackle questions such as where, how big and for how long do impacts last, requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The NERC ‘Space Weather Impacts on Ground-based Systems’ (SWIGS) project therefore brought together a broad spectrum of scientific expertise to answer such questions. SWIGS reaches its end in 2021 and this discussion meeting is intended for the scientific community to take stock of what we have learned about space weather and its impacts at ground level, in the last few years, as well as to discuss the scientific and operational breakthroughs that are still required. Given recent UKRI support for development of operational space weather services in the UK, the timing of this meeting seems particularly appropriate, as we look to a next generation of space weather models and applications.


RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on Comparative equatorial Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere coupling

The RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting “Comparative equatorial Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere coupling” is to be held remotely on Friday 12 February 2021 from 10.30–15.30. It will be convened by Tom Stallard, Greg Hunt, and Beatriz Sanchez-Cano. Abstracts can be submitted here and should be submitted by the end of Tuesday 12 January 2021. To register, visit the RAS website for the meeting (free for Fellows and £5 for non-Fellows). The meeting will be held on Zoom and Gather.town.

The main goal of this meeting is to bring a bridge between different planetary communities that would help to understand how equatorial magnetic fields link the atmosphere with the surrounding space environment across a range of planetary bodies, providing us with a comparative view of how these regions interact, the currents, and dynamics that these interactions produce; click through to read the abstract.

Read more: RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on Comparative equatorial Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere...

RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on Space Weather Energy Pathways and Implications for Impacts

The meeting will take place via Zoom and Gathertown on Friday 08 January 2021. The programme, including Gathertown links, can be downloaded here. The abstract book can be downloaded here.

Registration is now open, with a deadline of midnight Thursday 07 January 2021. Registration links and details are available on the meeting website here: https://ras.ac.uk/events-and-meetings/ras-meetings/space-weather-energy-pathways-and-implications-impacts.

For questions, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Solar Orbiter school in 2021


A school dedicated to Solar Orbiter is to be held at the Ecole de Physique des Houches, 6–9 April 2021.

The exploitation of the ESA Solar Orbiter mission will shape the activity of the international heliophysics community for the years to come. Its success will depend on our ability to combine in situ and remote sensing data. This school held in the French Alps, will provide training to young scientists in using the extremely various datasets and the tools specifically developed to analyze them. It targets an international audience primarily composed of PhD students and junior postdoctoral researchers.

It will provide short presentations of the mission instruments and first results, hands-on activities for data analyses, as well as sessions for presentation by students. The school is organised by the French community, but is open to everyone.

While we are still facing an on-going worldwide pandemic, the conference center may open but only to a very limited amount of participants. Furthermore, different situations from different locations in the world may mean that international travels will not be possible at the time the school will be held. Therefore, we will provide a live access to the online lectures/hands-on sessions/presentations as well. We will need interested participants (for both on-site and remote participants) to register online, to assess the interest in the community (note that registration for remote participation will be capped to allow proper online interactions).

While we monitor the situation, the current calendar is as follows: pre-registrations will open on 15 December 2020 on the school website and will close on 31 January 2021. Applicants will be notified in early March 2021 at the latest.

For more information about the program and updates visit the school website.

Virtual meeting on GOLD, ICON and COSMIC

The science teams of GOLD, ICON, and COSMIC, in conjunction with ground-based observers, will hold a workshop entitled Geospace discovery science in a new decade (GDS workshop) on 8–10 February 2021. Each day will comprise two separate sessions, each of which will last two hours, for a total of twelve hours of content. This is a follow-up to a meeting from 2016, and the summary text is below.


Three new space missions, COSMIC-2, GOLD and ICON, provide remarkable avenues for new investigations of the geospace system, in collaboration with a growing network of ground-based observatories and their associated research teams. With a broad slate of new capabilities, the geospace research community is presented with unprecedented opportunities for new research and a revitalised capacity for solving significant outstanding problems in near-Earth space weather. The two NASA missions, ICON and GOLD, observe the thermosphere and ionosphere using optical and in-situ instruments. The international COSMIC-2 mission comprises a constellation of six satellites that map the ionosphere using GPS radio occultation, in-situ measurements, and beacon signals for space to ground measurements. Enhanced ground-based observatories, cubesats, and other satellite constellations, also provide essential new measurements. Combining these tools to effectively address questions in ion-neutral coupling and upper-atmosphere dynamics requires a comprehensive scientific strategy for broad community participation. Therefore we are holding an online workshop from the 8-10 February 2021. This workshop will discuss the space-based missions, and complementary ground-based observations, modelling, and data synthesis.