Maximising Impact from Ionospheric Research

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


The ionosphere is the part of the upper atmosphere that is familiar to us as the region where we see the aurora. The ionosphere is very important because it affects radio signals in ways that that can either enhance or degrade our ability to communicate and navigate. For example the BBC world service is broadcast on high-frequency radio signals and is only possible to receive it in remote places because it is refracted back to the Earth by the ionosphere. In a way it is reflected with the upper atmosphere acting a bit like a mirror. On the other hand, your satnav system is affected by the ionosphere in a different way - sometimes the signals are delayed more than other times and may even be lost completely as they pass through the ionosphere.

This fellowship is about making use of research level information about the ionosphere to improve the performance of radio systems in two areas: Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS, satnav) and high-frequency communications. In addition to the aim of improving the reliability and accuracy of such systems it has a further aim of impacting policy. This will all be achieved by accurate simulations of the ionosphere, including the most extreme space weather events (like the famous Carrington Event of solar storms in 1859). These simulations will be translated in a form that can easily be used by the designers of the next-generation of GNSS and HF systems. This will ensure that radio systems are more accurate and reliable, both enhancing the benefit for UK companies and providing resilience for our infrastructure for the future.


10 25 50
Description 1. Since award of grant new applications found in SAR (small ESA contract)
2. Radio science and amateur radio community meeting planned
3. Leadership training completed.
4. US HF project experiment
5. Successful collaboration started with new UK defence sector partner
6. Satellite payload built for Dstl (TOPCAT II)
Exploitation Route To early to say but some impact already

DSTL have contracted a TOPCAT II payload with my group.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment

Description Take up from US partner and from UK industry Take up from UK defence sector Satellite payload built for Dstl (TOPCAT II)
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Impact Types Economic

Description SEIGG
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Protection from Space Weather
Description Babcock 
Organisation Babcock International Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution HF ionosphere expertise
Collaborator Contribution HF ionosphere equipment
Impact Ongoing
Start Year 2016
Description Spirent UK 
Organisation Spirent Communications plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Ionospheric simulations for GNSS
Collaborator Contribution Hardware simulator loan
Impact Software modules
Start Year 2011