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.

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.

RAS Awards 2015

Congratulations to Mike Lockwood, who has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal in geophysics. The Gold Medal is the highest award in the society's gift, and is awarded as recognition of a lifetime's work. The society's announcement says:

Prof. Lockwood is one of the most eminent researchers today in space physics. He has made defining contributions in several different fields, from the ionosphere, via the magnetosphere and the heliosphere, to the Sun and its influence on the Earth's climate. Among the highlights of his broad career are his early discovery of a 'fountain' of ions populating the polar magnetosphere from the ionosphere. Thereafter, his novel analysis using ground-based radar combined with space-based particle measurements yielded new quantitative insights into magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause. This helped to illuminate how this most fundamental of plasma processes operates.

His most recent work has focused on the impact of the variable solar output on the heliosphere and the Earth's climate, including founding a new field of study of the long-term variability of the Sun's magnetic field. Quite remarkable is the fact that this now vibrant research area arose from Prof. Lockwood's very first paper in solar physics, reporting that the Sun's coronal magnetic has doubled in the last 100 years. Throughout his career, Prof. Lockwood has provided novel and far-reaching insights that have subsequently become accepted paradigms, and paved the way for further study.

Sincere congratulations are also due to our colleague in the UK Solar Physics community, Alan Hood, who has been awarded the RAS's Chapman medal for investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics.

Further information about all of this year's medal and award winners is available on the Royal Astronomical Society's web site.