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

Extended deadline for MIST Council elections

The deadline for voting in the MIST Council elections has been extended until 20:00 BST on 29 July, so please cast your vote this week! All members of the mailing list should have received information on how to vote; if you have not, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will help you.

The nominees are:

  • Sarah Badman, Lancaster University
  • Biagio Forte, University of Bath
  • Ian McCrea, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
  • Rob Shore, British Antarctic Survey
  • Simon Thomas, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Their statements are as follows!

Sarah Badman, Lancaster University

“MIST council plays an important role in communicating within the MIST community and representing its interests to other organisations. If elected I will broaden the Council’s representation of region (north-west) and research area (outer planets) while carrying out this role.”

Biagio Forte, University of Bath

“My research interest is on ionospheric scintillation and the effects the ionosphere can have on systems such as GPS, Galileo, EGNOS. This is an example of the impact adverse space weather conditions may have on our society.”

Ian McCrea, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

“I am a senior scientist at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, with a background in ionospheric physics as studied by ground-based radars. I have been a member of MIST Council since 2013 and Chair since 2014. I am standing again with the aim of continuing the initiatives which we have taken in the past three years, including the biennial Spring MIST meetings and closer links with the solar community in education and training. I also hope to work towards more support for doctoral training and thematic funding, on the NERC side of the STP community.”

Rob Shore, British Antarctic Survey

“I am a postdoctoral researcher currently based at the British Antarctic Survey. My 9-year research career has thus far focused on novel methods of discovering the workings of the Earth and its space environment via the magnetic field. I think that this post would be an excellent opportunity to learn the inner workings of MIST in more detail, and to provide a meaningful contribution to the ongoing health of the MIST community.”

Simon Thomas, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

“I’ve been in the MIST community now for 5 years and have been very active with MIST event during this time, attending almost all meetings and giving a number of presentations. I am currently a PDRA at Mullard Space Science Laboratory studying space weather with Prof. Lucie Green after completing a short PDRA with Prof Chris Owen on solar wind particles. My PhD was at the University of Reading with Dr. Matt Owens and Prof. Mike Lockwood on cosmic ray modulation in the solar wind. I also have an undergraduate in Physics from the University of Bath and an MSc in Meteorology from Reading. Therefore, I have a broad background of MIST science ideal for a council role. Throughout my career so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed MIST events when the community joins together and I have learnt a lot from the friendly community at meetings such as Autumn and Spring MIST. I am keen to keep up the excellent work of previous council members in promoting the work of early-career scientists and assisting in their development through these meetings and the giving out of awards such as the Rishbeth Prize. Furthermore, I am very keen to help to promote the work of members of the MIST community through outreach, be it through social media or by helping to organise public engagement events in our research area. I have gained a lot from the MIST community and standing for MIST council is an excellent way to give something back to the community. Therefore, I would be open to suggestions from MIST members for new ways to improve the community and our science output.”

Amendment of MIST Charter

December saw MIST Council propose an amendment to the MIST Charter which increases the size of the Council from five to six members. The amendment was passed with no objections from the MIST community, so the Charter will be amended accordingly, with the changes taking effect at the next MIST Council election.

Rishbeth Prizes 2015

Congratulations to Maria Walach (Leicester) and Joe Dods (Warwick) for winning this year's Rishbeth prizes for their presentations at NAM/MIST at Llandudno in July.

Maria won the prize for the best student talk, which was "A test of ionospheric convection predictions from the expanding/contracting polar cap paradigm"

Joe won the prize for the best poster, for "Network Analysis of Geomagnetic Substorms Using the SuperMAG Database of Ground Based Magnetometer Stations".

Articles by both winners will appear shortly in A&G!

Jim Dungey 1923-2015

It is with sadness that we report the death of Prof. Jim Dungey last Thursday (7th May), at the age of 92.

Jim was, of course, a pillar of the MIST community and a regular at MIST meetings until quite recently. His intellectual achievements need no introduction to anyone familiar with our field. Below is a short appreciation by Prof. David Southwood:

Jim Dungey passed away last week. A light went out for me. I feel some echo of that must have been felt by everybody in the MIST community. He was an extraordinary scientist, someone out of the ordinary. His style was terse. In two pages in Physical Review Letters in 1961 he resolved the basis of solar-terrestrial interaction. He famously conceived it whilst stirring a coffee at a pavement café on Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris. Almost every sentence contains a nugget. Conversations with him could be as dense. I suspect that I am not the only one of his students for whom meetings during his PhD supervision were a matter of grasping clues and only later, often much later, appreciating the true import of what had been said. Indeed, in respect of his 1961 paper, it took the community as a whole almost 20 years to grasp the basic idea. The enormity of the 1961 paper's ultimate impact distracts from the number of other seeds he sowed: geomagnetic pulsations were standing MHD waves in the magnetosphere, Kelvin-Helmholtz instability could be important at the magnetopause, that the radiation belts had an external origin, that whistlers could determine the equilibrium of the belts, that magnetospheric MHD waves could be excited by bounce-drift resonance. I could continue and will, indeed, say more elsewhere. Moreover, he was a theorist but he welcomed any kind of experimental data, ground-based, space based and he also appreciated, long before I did, the interpretation of computer simulations. He was a MIST community member and a regular attendee at early meetings. His students and 'grand-students' are all around us. Everybody in the UK MIST community should feel the loss but, I hope, also a small pride that he was one of us.