Deep-space weather: improving protection of critical space infrastructure

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Accurate space weather forecasting in real-time is of critical importance to commercial satellite operators and space agencies. Satellites are critical infrastructure for the underpinning of modern economic activities such as communications, accurate position-finding, and weather forecasting. Assets in space can be damaged or destroyed by space weather – the harsh electromagnetic and cosmic ray conditions produced by Solar activity (coronal mass ejections, CME). The candidate will use the University of Tasmania’s unique space physics infrastructure to study the magnetic fields, propagation speeds, and particle energy spectra of CMEs in order to develop a framework under which satellite operators can be warned of space weather events before the CME damage is done.

This project will utilise the tracking of spacecraft with UTAS radio telescopes to provide insights into the fundamental physics that governs space weather. The student will coordinate observations with the UTAS antennas and collaborate with space missions from NASA and the European Space Agency. The candidate will work in close collaboration with a team of three supervisors, whose combined expertise covers radio observations, instrumentation development, analysis of large data sets, and astrophysics theory.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Guifre Molera Calves

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Bachelor Hons in Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Engineering or a closely related discipline
  • Good communication skills
  • Proficient computer skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Python, Matlab, C++ is advantage
  • Interest in space and solar physics

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Guifre Molera Calves, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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