MIST

Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial

Latest news

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..

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

COSPAR ISWAT working meeting

The inaugural working meeting of the COSPAR International Space Weather Action Teams (ISWAT) will be held on 10-14 February 2020 at the Radisson Resort, Port Canaveral, Florida, USA. The ISWAT initiative is a global hub addressing challenges across the field of space weather. Information about the ISWAT initiative is available on the website. This meeting also comes inside the launch window of the Solar Orbiter spacecraft from nearby Cape Canaveral. You can register for the meeting now, and the deadline is 13 December 2019.

ISWAT consists of teams that focus on a variety of key problems and topics in space weather research and forecasting. The teams are organised into clusters (by domain, phenomena, impact, or overarching activities), to facilitate collaboration and ensure complementarity. On the ISWAT website you can register a new team and request to join registered teams.

Read more: COSPAR ISWAT working meeting

Strikes' impact on Autumn MIST

MIST Council appreciates that the following news will inconvenience some Autumn MIST attendees, but after much discussion, we feel that this is the best way to proceed to ensure a vibrant and constructive meeting.

There is a significant risk that Autumn MIST will not occur as scheduled. We recommend making travel arrangements as late as possible.

As some of you may already be aware, a few days ago the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) called strike action for 25 November–4 December, and Autumn MIST is scheduled for Friday 29 November.

If the UCU strike action has not been cancelled by 22 November, Autumn MIST will either be cancelled or rescheduled, pending the result of an advisory survey that will be circulated on that date.

Please note: UCU says "You should not take part in any action until you have joined UCU". Therefore, MIST Council recommends that non-UCU members do not participate in this strike action. For more information, visit the UCU website.

Autumn MIST programme and abstracts

Autumn MIST is to be cancelled or postponed, so we will not be holding the meeting on 29 November as originally planned. Click here for more details.

The programme and list of abstracts have been announced for the Autumn MIST meeting scheduled for Friday 29 November. Please note that we will not be providing paper copies on the day.

As a UK-based community meeting, we believe that it is important to accommodate all submissions, and that has been our philosophy when putting together the schedule. Therefore we have a busy schedule this year. We look forward to engaging with attendees both during and after the meeting, to discuss the planning of future meetings. Please note that we will be back in the larger Geology Society venue in 2020. The current plan is then to continue using Geology Society indefinitely.

For more information about Autumn MIST, see the initial meeting announcement.

 

UK Solar Orbiter Workshop 2020

The third UK Solar Orbiter Workshop will take place at the University of St Andrews between the 13–14 January 2020, just prior to the launch of Solar Orbiter in February 2020. Abstract submission and registration are open, and you can do both on the meeting webpage. The chairs of the SOC are Duncan Mackay and Gherardo Valori.

Information on travel to St Andrews and possible options for accommodation in both hotels and B&Bs can be found here. We recommend booking of accommodation as early as possible as St Andrews is a tourist destination.

Please note the key dates below:

  • Abstract submission closes : 5th December 2019
  • Scientific Program announced: 15th December 2019
  • Registration and payment closes: 6th January 2020
  • Workshop begins: Monday 13th January 10:30am
  • Workshop closes: Tuesday 14th January 4:30pm

RAS Specialist Discussion – Cometary science with Rosetta: Striking, timely, and more to come

Contributions are invited to the upcoming RAS Specialist Discussion, “Cometary science with Rosetta: Striking, timely, and more to come” which will be taking place on the 13 December 2019 at the RAS in London. More details can be found on the RAS website. If you would like to present your work, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday 15 November 2019 with a title, a short abstract, and whether you prefer an oral or poster presentation. Contributions from PhD students and early career scientists are particularly encouraged.

The invited presentations are:

  • “The active surface of comet 67P witnessed by Rosetta” by Ramy El Maarry (Birkbeck University, UK)
  • “The surprising plasma environment at comet 67P revealed by Rosetta” by Pierre Henri (LPC2E, Orléans/Observatoire de Nice, France)
  • “The future Comet Interceptor mission” by Geraint Jones (UCL, UK) — given by C. Snodgrass
  • “Future plans in cometary science building from what we have learned from Rosetta” by Dominique Bockelée-Morvan (Observatoire de Paris, France)

The abstract for the meeting is as follows:

The Rosetta mission was the first mission to escort a comet, a possibility to witness the evolution of the coma and the nucleus as it approached perihelion and departed from it. This dataset has been complemented by the measurements from the Philae lander, first probe to land on a cometary nucleus (November 2014), and by Earth-based observations. This RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting will highlight the great scientific advancement in cometary science which Rosetta has brought. It is extremely timely as the official post-operations period of the mission ended recently (September 2019) and a consolidated and enhanced dataset is becoming available to the scientific community via the ESA Planetary Science Archive (PSA). Finally, the Meeting will offer us a forum for highlighting and exploring new directions after Rosetta, including the recently-selected ESA “Comet Interceptor” mission.

Full programme to be available early December on the RAS website. The meeting will open at 10 am with the first presentation at 10:30 am.

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.