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

Python in Heliophysics (PyHC) Fall 2019 meeting

The Python in Heliophysics Community (PyHC) Fall 2019 meeting will take place at LASP in Boulder, Colorado, over 4–6 November 2019. This meeting focuses on delving further into topics brought up in the Spring 2019 meeting, as well as considering several other relevant themes brought up since said meeting. We will be revisiting PyHC governance and standards, discussing funding opportunities for PyHC and PyHC community members' funded projects, and discussing and working in tandem on various other topics deemed important by the PyHC group. The meeting will generate a report with findings and recommendations that will be presented to the community.

The first two days (Monday and Tuesday) are full days, whereas the last day (Wednesday) is a half day. All days will have coffee/snacks provided, while full days will also feature catered lunches. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

Autumn MIST 2019

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.

Autumn MIST will be held at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London, on Friday 29 November 2019. The meeting will commence at 10:30, with registration from 10:00 onwards, and will include a poster session, lightning talks, and oral sessions. 

Abstracts

Contributions are welcome from all areas of MIST science. We will not have a theme this year, and we would like to instead celebrate the broad variety of science in the MIST community. Professor Mathew Owens (University of Reading) will be giving an invited talk as follows

Sun to mud: The challenges of forecasting within the coupled space-weather system."

Forecasting space weather with a lead time of more than an hour requires propagation of information through the whole Sun-Earth system. Changes in the dominant physical processes, as well as the characteristic spatial and temporal scales, means this is best achieved using separate models for each physical domain (e.g., the photosphere, corona, heliosphere, magnetosphere, ionosphere, etc). The fundamental sources of uncertainty and available observational constraints differ greatly across these models, meaning coupling them presents a wealth of scientific and engineering challenges.

Abstracts should be submitted by completing this form by the end of Friday 18 October

Lightning Talks

This year we are also accepting lightning talk submissions, which can be submitted in addition to abstracts. Lightning talks are short (up to 2 minutes) with a maximum of 1 presentation slide. This format is ideal for presenting datasets, upcoming missions, analysis techniques, or public engagement projects that would be of interest to the MIST community. We emphasise that lightning talks should not be a poster advert.

Lightning talks should be submitted by completing this form by the end of Friday 18 October.

 

Registration fee

Due to the venue hire it is necessary to charge a registration fee of £20, or £10 for students. We will provide receipts, to allow you to claim with the rest of your travel expenses, but please make sure you bring the registration fee in cash on the day.

 

Although the meeting will start at 10:30, we will have access to the building from 10:00. Tea and coffee will be provided during the afternoon poster session.

 

Radiation belt modelling in the post Van Allen Probes era

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting on the topic of “Radiation belt modelling in the post Van Allen Probes era” will be held on Friday 10th January 2020 at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House. This meeting will include keynote talks from Lauren Blum (NASA GSFC), Ewan Haggerty (Airbus Space and Defense), and Yuri Shprits (UCLA & GFZ Potsdam). Further details can be found on the RAS website.

Abstracts can be submitted through a Google Form. The deadline for abstract submission is 4 October 2019.

RAS discussion meetings can provide a slightly different forum to that of a standard scientific meeting. It may be beneficial to particularly consider the "discussion" aspect of the meeting when submitting an abstract, i.e. open questions and future challenges, hypotheses, possible collaborations, negative results etc. Therefore, in addition to "standard" abstracts, we particularly welcome talk, poster and lightning talk abstracts that are specifically aimed at generating discussion.

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.

Ensemble forecasts in space weather: Science and operations workshop

A Lorentz Center @ Snellius Workshop will take place in Leiden, Netherlands, between 2–6 September 2019, with the aim of making concrete steps towards improving space weather forecasts by implementing ensemble techniques. Researchers from academia, operations, and industry across all space weather disciplines will learn from experts in terrestrial weather forecasting and discuss next steps. The workshop is convened by Eelco Doornbos, Jordan Guerra, and Sophie Murray.

There are limited workshop spaces still available, therefore the co-convenors invite applications to attend the workshop. Please register your interest before 12th July via the workshop page on the Lorentz Center website, where you will also find more information. Note that there is no registration fee to attend, and some limited travel support may also be available (please indicate if this is needed in your application).

 

Ensemble techniques, which use a set of predictions to improve on a single-model output, have been very successful in improving operational weather forecasting and are also used in many other fields such as data science and economics. Their use in space weather forecasting could not only improve forecast accuracy but also provide simple model uncertainties that are crucial for improving end-user understanding of the products available. The main goal of this workshop is to make concrete steps towards improving the SW forecasting capabilities by implementing ensemble techniques that have been successful in other forecasting fields, especially terrestrial weather.

 

STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School 2019 at Aberystwyth University

The STFC Introductory Solar System Plasmas Summer School will be held during 26–30 August 2019 at Aberystwyth University. Details about the summer school can be found on the school's website.

This school will provide a broad introduction of the latest scientific issues in Solar System plasma research, including the current challenges that drive research in this field. As well as the core subjects presented by leading experts, there are specialist sessions on new missions, new ground-based telescopes, and high-performance computing. Students will arrive on Sunday afternoon for registration. Formal activities will run from Monday to Friday, with an excursion planned for Wednesday afternoon. Looking forward to welcoming you to Aberystwyth ISSP19 in August!