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.

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. 


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!

Stephen Hawking Fellowships

The Stephen Hawking fellowships will support and develop the next generation of visionary scientists in theoretical physics at the beginning of their career. UKRI are providing funding for five annual calls delivered jointly by EPSRC and STFC. Round one is now open and intentions to submit must be received by 20 June 2019. Please direct any queries to 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..

MIST Council would like to draw the community’s attention to the UKRI webpage for the fellowship:

The scope of the fellowships extends beyond Stephen Hawking’s active areas of research such as cosmology, general relativity and quantum gravity and UKRI wish to invite other aspects of theoretical physics such as classical gravity, string theory, statistical physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, particle astrophysics, theoretical astronomy, solar and planetary physics.
As such, we believe that any member of the MIST community who is currently focusing on modelling work would be eligible to apply for this fellowship.