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.

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