Category: General News

General news item that doesn’t fit under the other categories

Cycle-14 e-MERLIN Call for Proposals

e-MERLIN/VLBI National Radio Astronomy Facility
Invitation for Proposals: Cycle-14
Deadline for Receipt of Proposals:
13:59:59 UT on 18th May 2022
Full Details:

e-MERLIN requests proposals from the international astronomical community for observations to be made during Cycle-14. Proposals are competitively peer-reviewed under standard STFC rules by the Programme Allocation of Telescope Time (PATT) e-MERLIN Time Allocation Group. Allocation will be made on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility alone.

e-MERLIN Science: e-MERLIN observations address a broad range of science topics, and its unique combination of angular resolution (mas) and sensitivity (microJy) provide crucial insights in multiple science areas including:

• Star-formation and black hole growth in galaxies.
• The physical processes which govern the formation of stars.
• The modes of activity in nearby galaxies.
• Transient radio sources.
• Radio spectral lines (masers and in absorption).
• The energetic processes in relativistic outflows from jets generated by black holes and compact objects.
• Along with multiple other applications.

e-MERLIN provides high angular resolution (12 – 150 milli-arcsec) and high sensitivity (micro-Janksy) imaging at cm wavelengths as well as polarimetry, spectroscopy, and astrometry. e-MERLIN is an SKA-pathfinder instrument providing observations with resolutions and frequencies comparable to those that will be provided by SKA1-mid.

Cycle-14 e-MERLIN Capabilities
[e-MERLIN observations between August 1st 2022 and January 31st, 2023 ]
Deadline for Receipt of Proposals:
13:59:59 UT on 18th May 2022
Note change in time from previous Cycles
Ang. res. Sensitivity
L-band (1.25 – 1.75 GHz) ~150 mas ~12 uJy/bm*
C-band (4.5 – 7.5 GHz) ~ 40 mas ~10 uJy/bm*
K-band (19 – 25 GHz) ~12 mas ~130 uJy/bm

* Assumes inclusion of the Lovell Telescope at L/C-band and a full imaging track (~12hrs including calibration). It is envisaged that a limited amount of Lovell time will be available for PATT programmes during Cycle-13. The full invitation for proposals, including technical specifications, and links to the e-MERLIN Sensitivity Calculator are available at:

Access and financial support for e-MERLIN Scientists and Users: e-MERLIN is open to all users with projects allocated solely on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility. Additionally, e-MERLIN is one of the participating infrastructures in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the OPTICON-RadioNet PILOT project which was launched on March 1st, 2021. This programme will provide facility access and financial support for users from eligible projects in Cycle-14. For further information or contact e-MERLIN staff (

EVN+e-MERLIN Observations: The full integration of e-MERLIN telescopes within the European VLBI Network is also available. This mode of observing provides e-MERLIN’s additional ‘short-spacing’ (10 – 200 km) component available to the EVN which allows imaging of a wider range of spatial scales. Proposals for e-MERLIN + EVN observations should be made via the EVN Programme Committee rather than through e-MERLIN directly. The next Call for EVN Proposals (including combined e-MERLIN + EVN observations) is detailed at The next upcoming deadlines for EVN proposal submission are June 1st & October 1st, 2022.

See for a fuller version of this Cycle-14 Call for Proposals document

e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, The University of Manchester,
Jodrell Bank Observatory,
Cheshire SK11 9DL,
United Kingdom to the full article

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Call for Applications to STFC Advisory Bodies and Peer Review Panels 2022 is now OPEN

The Call for Applications to STFC Advisory Bodies and Peer Review Panels 2022 is now OPEN

Do you want to play a role in developing and delivering national and international science programmes?

The details of the Call are published on our webpage
Deadline for applications 15 May 2022

STFC and UKRI are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and the diversity of its panels is a key focus.
If appropriate STFC may open the call up again to encourage a wider pool of applicants and to ensure that we have a balance across the different range of representation and experiences we are seeking.

We encourage to share these details with everyone in your networks and teams.

If you have questions about this call, please contact Natalia Sengkudduvan, Recruitment Call Coordinator for STFC Advisory Bodies and Peer Review Panels.
Email: or natalia.sengkudduvan@stfc.ukri.orgcontinue to the full article

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Special issue “Thermal Imbalance and Multiphase Plasmas Across Scales: From the Solar Corona to the Intracluster Medium” in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to inform you about the launch of a special issue “Thermal Imbalance and Multiphase Plasmas Across Scales: From the Solar Corona to the Intracluster Medium” in the journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences (IF 7):

This special issue is planned as an outgrowth of a dedicated session at the upcoming National Astronomy Meeting 2022:,

and aims at bringing together the most recent observational and theoretical achievements in the physics of plasmas in thermal non-equilibrium in solar and stellar atmospheres, and in the ISM/ICM and laboratory conditions, consolidating our understanding of these fascinating research fields and stimulating an effective knowledge exchange. We welcome submissions of original works and review papers on the following specific topics:

• Manifestations of thermal instability and thermal non-equilibrium (TNE) in any astrophysical setup: from stellar atmospheres to the CGM, ISM and ICM. We also welcome insights from laboratory science.

• Thermal evolution and dynamics of solar and stellar prominences and coronal rain, and their role in the chromosphere-corona mass and energy cycle.

• Effects of imbalance between heating and cooling processes on dynamics and stability of MHD waves in astrophysical plasmas.

• Flare-driven coronal rain.

• The role of instabilities and turbulence in the generation of multiphase plasmas.

• Differences and similarities between the effects of perturbed thermal equilibrium in different astrophysical and laboratory plasma systems.

Submission deadlines (preliminary): 15 August 2022 (for abstracts), 7 November 2022 (for manuscripts).

The Frontiers Journals are known for a fast and open review process, open access policy, and a fee-support program via institutional agreements or individual applications.

Informal enquiries can be emailed to Guest Editors:

Dmitrii Kolotkov (, University of Warwick)
Patrick Antolin (, Northumbria University)
Prateek Sharma (, IISc, Bangalore)… continue to the full article

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The next UK-SOSS on 7th of April, 10:00 (UK time)

Dear All,

We have the pleasure of announcing the next instalment of the UK-SOSS which will take place at 10:00 (UK time) on 7th of April. Our speaker is Prof Gunnar Hornig from University of Dundee.

We look forward to welcoming you all to the talk at that time.

With warmest regards,
Marianna Korsos, Chris Nelson, and Jiajia Liu
Speaker: Prof Gunnar Hornig (University of Dundee)
Title: Magnetic Relaxation, Helicity and Reconnection
Zoom link:
Meeting ID 953 3817 1418

The relaxation of magnetic fields in plasmas with high magnetic Reynolds numbers, such as the solar corona, is constrained by the total magnetic helicity. This constraint is at the heart of Taylor’s relaxation theory, which states that the relaxed state is one that minimises the energy while keeping the global helicity fixed. We will discuss the difficulties encountered in applying this theory to the solar corona and how concepts such as the field line helicity, as well as the unsigned helicity, can be used to better explain the results of numerical relaxation experiments.
For the previous talk, please visit the UK-SOSS website:
The UK-SOSS is supported by Aberystwyth University and Queen’s University Green Fund… continue to the full article

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Summary of SSAP Community Questionnaire Responses and White Papers

[sent on behalf of SSAP]

Dear Colleagues,

As part of updating the Solar System Roadmap, SSAP would like to consult you on a summary of the (science) White Papers and responses to the Community Questionnaire.

You will find these summaries at:

Please note that to keep the document to a manageable length for consultation, these are summaries of the key elements of the science White Papers and questionnaires.

At this stage of the Roadmap update process, SSAP would like to get your feedback on these summaries. Do they adequately capture key future developments? Are there any crucial omissions? It would be particularly useful to SSAP to hear from colleagues involved with Exomars and teams who have submitted proposals to the ESA F/M class calls. All responses will of course be treated confidentially!

Please send your responses by Friday 8th April to

Many thanks!

Ineke De Moortel (on behalf of SSAP)… continue to the full article

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Final reminder: UKSP Survey 2022 (Deadline Friday 18th March)

The UKSP council surveyed the community in 2020 to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the community, and to establish any disproportionate impacts on minorities, economic status, employment status and/or vulnerable people within our community. We would like to survey the community again to examine how things changed in 2021. Previously, a smaller number of early career researchers responded than we hoped, so in addition to filling out the survey, please consider circulating the link among postdocs and PhD students in your research groups. The survey is, of course, optional, as are all questions.

Please complete the survey using the following link:

Please submit your responses by Friday 18th March 2022.… continue to the full article

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STFC Education, Training and Careers News

The Education, Training and Careers Committee (ETCC) ( met on 19 November 2021. The main items on the agenda were: An update on an ETCC report to STFC council; Studentship algorithm; Fellowship Review terms of reference; CDT Call; Short courses and Summer Schools; Ernest Rutherford Fellowships; Fellowship questionnaire.

The Committee welcomed Professor Carsten Welsch as the new chair, and new members Professor Victoria Martin and Dr Stephen Wilkins.

ETCC report to STFC council

ETCC gave an update to STFC council at their September meeting.

Studentship algorithm

The studentship algorithm ( is used to allocate STFC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) students. The information that feeds into the studentship algorithm is gathered every two years, based on data held by STFC which is then verified by departments. The algorithm was amended in 2018 as it had been perceived to be causing some biases in different research areas in the allocation, due to the way grant panels were awarding FEC time.

Fellowship Review terms of reference

ETCC discussed the Fellowship Review terms of reference. The Ernest Rutherford Fellowship (ERF) is the main STFC fellowship scheme and has reduced from thirteen to ten awards per annum over several years. The scheme is very competitive and there is no shortage of high-quality applicants despite the introduction of the UKRI Future Leadership Fellowship (FLF) scheme which is targeted at a similar career stage. STFC did have a postdoctoral fellowship scheme which finished around ten years ago due to funding constraints and there is currently only the Stephen Hawking Fellowship aimed at theoretical physics at the postdoctoral level. ETCC agreed to establish a sub-group to discuss the terms of reference and methodology further.

CDT Call

ETCC discussed the recent call ( for up to five STFC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Intensive Science( The call was opened in September 2021 and a webinar ( was held with the community as part of the launch.  Interest from the community was high and seventeen applications were received by the 11 November 2021 closing date. There are an additional fifteen universities involved, as some applications were made in partnership. The applications were assessed by a panel and interviews were held in January 2022. It is expected that up to five CDTs will be awarded with four students per year funded by STFC with matched funding for an additional two students per year.

Short courses and Summer Schools

Bids had been received for the following short courses and summer schools ( to be held in 2022: BUSSTEPP, Celestial Mechanics Theory and Applications, Data Analysis, High Energy Physics, Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics, Introductory Solar and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, NExT Workshop; Nuclear Physics. Further publicity ahead of the next call will be issued shortly.

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships

ETCC discussed the STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships (ERF) ( The closing date for applications was 16 September 2021 and 174 applications were received in total, similar to numbers received in previous years. Sifting meetings took place in January 2022. This year, STFC have introduced a separate Accelerator sub-panel as there were enough applications in this field to make it necessary.

ETCC also discussed the possibility of organising a STFC fellows’ joint event to celebrate the achievements of Ernest Rutherford and Future Leader Fellows working in STFC areas.

Fellowship questionnaire

ETCC agreed to changes to the Fellowship Questionnaire. The changes include additional questions on outcomes.

continue to the full article

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PATT Call for Proposals for the Liverpool Telescope in semester 2022B

PATT Call for Proposals for the Liverpool Telescope

Semester 2022B

The Liverpool Telescope is a 2.0 metre fully robotic facility sited at Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma, Canary Islands.

The Liverpool Telescope Time Allocation Committee is now accepting proposals for PATT time for observations in Semester 2022B (1st Jul 2022 – 28th Feb 2023). Full details of the telescope, instrumentation and proposal submission process (Phase 1) are available from:

** The deadline for submission of proposals is 23:59 GMT on Friday 8th April 2022.**

Application via PATT is open to members of UK institutes, as well as non-UK applicants who are not eligible to apply for Liverpool Telescope time via other routes.

We would also like to remind our users of the routes to obtaining telescope time outside of the semesterly application process. PATT allocate 20 hours “A” time per semester to Reactive Time. This is time intended primarily for unforeseen targets-of-opportunity and can be applied for via a simple web form. More details can be found here:

We also offer ‘PriorityZ’ time, which is for long-term, queue filling programmes which are a backup to the main science programme of the telescope. We would typically expect to approve a PriorityZ proposal for a period of two years. Again, this time can be applied for via a web form, and details can be found here: to the full article

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Forthcoming Project Peer Review Panel meeting – March 2022

Due to COVID-19 the March 2022 meeting of the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) will now take place virtually via Zoom. The presentation and Q&A session for the proposal is still open to members of the science community to observe. The Panel will be reviewing one proposals. Anyone who wishes to attend should contact Roy Stephen who will send them the Zoom details for the meeting.

The proposals being reviewed, and time of review is as follows:

08th March 2022 from 12.00 – 13.30 hrs : e-MERLIN/VLBI National Facility Operations 2023-28

e-MERLIN is a network of 7 large radio telescopes, including the 76-m Lovell Telescope, across England, operated from Jodrell Bank Observatory as a national facility for UK and international astronomers. By combining the signals from these dishes, which have a maximum separation of 217km, e-MERLIN produces high resolution radio images with a level of detail comparable to the Hubble Space Telescope (and the James Webb Telescope soon to be launched). This resolution at centimetre radio wavelengths is a powerful and unique capability, which allows e-MERLIN to address many of the key questions (frontier physics) faced by today’s astrophysicists and include: imaging the formation of planets from pebble-sized material around young stars; studying the physics of the process of star formation; investigating the evolution of galaxies, including how and when they form the bulk of their stars and testing the role of super-massive back holes in controlling the rate of star formation; tracing the distribution of dark matter via the distortions in radio images produced by gravity; studying new phenomena such as fast radio bursts – brief millisecond flashes of radio emission visible from distant galaxies.

In all these cases radio astronomy brings a unique contribution: it detects high energy material or processes often not visible in other wavebands and it can probe the dusty regions of space where planets and stars form, often obscured to optical telescopes. This project will keep e-MERLIN at the forefront of international astronomy in the period while the Square Kilometre Array is being constructed in Australia and South Africa and will help the UK to maximise the scientific return on its investment in SKA, by training the community and providing the only current facility with comparable frequency and resolution.

In order to keep e-MERLIN operating efficiently and to allow it to further improve its capabilities we also plan to replace key parts of its digital infrastructure, include data acquisition electronics, data links, the central data processor; and we also plan to start the process of building a suite of new receivers at 8-16 GHz which will be important for studies such as planet formation. At the same time we plan to incorporate antennas at Goonhilly in Cornwall to further increase the resolution of e-MERLIN. E-MERLIN has a wide range of impacts across key science areas but also in training scientists and inspiring future scientists. The Jodrell Bank site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognising its unique contribution to the development of radio astronomy as well as its continuing contribution via e-MERLIN. The co-location of the e-MERLIN hub, the World Heritage Site, the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and the HQ of the international Square Kilometre Array Observatory all at Jodrell Bank is a powerful combination underpinned by the word-class science being done by e-MERLIN.

Roy Stephen
roy.stephen@stfc.ukri.orgcontinue to the full article

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Next UK-SOSS talk at 10:00 (GMT) on 10th March (Thursday)

Dear All,

We have the pleasure of announcing the next instalment of the UK-SOSS, which will take at 10:00 am (GMT) on 10th March 2022. Our speaker is Prof Andrew Hillier from University of Exeter.

We look forward to welcoming you all to the talk at that time.

With warmest regards,

Jiajia, Marianna and Chris


Speaker: Prof Andrew Hillier (University of Exeter)

Title: Partially ionised plasma dynamics in the solar atmosphere

Zoom link:

Meeting ID 953 3817 1418

The lower layers of the solar atmosphere are predominantly filled with neutral atoms with only relatively few charged particles. So, despite magnetic fields being a key driver behind many of the dynamics observed, the majority of the particles do not directly feel the Lorentz force of the magnetic field. Instead, this force is transferred through coupling processes like particle collisions and charge exchange. As all these processes happen on a finite timescale, the coupling between the neutrals and the magnetic field is not perfect. So, for example, for dynamics that can be high frequency (e.g. waves and instabilities), naturally high-frequency dynamics (e.g. shock fronts) or physical process that are fundamentally multi-scale like turbulence or magnetic reconnection, neutrals can undergo vastly different motions to those of the charged species. For these processes, it becomes important to model both the ionised plasma and the neutrals as separate fluids to properly capture the dynamics. In this talk I review recent results from my group from our studies of the role of partial ionisation in MHD dynamics looking at how instabilities, shocks and reconnection change when the charges and neutrals are modelled as separate fluids. I will also provide some thoughts on how these processes may manifest in observed dynamics in the solar atmosphere.

continue to the full article

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