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Characterisation of ionospheric irregularities

   Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering

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  Dr Biagio Forte  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Bath United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering Astrophysics Data Analysis Geography Mathematics

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2021.

Project team: Dr Biagio Forte

Informal queries should be directed to Dr Biagio Forte - [Email Address Removed]


The Earth’s ionosphere can affect the propagation of radio waves that traverse it. Ionospheric disturbances associated with adverse space weather conditions introduce perturbations on trans-ionospheric radio waves that translate into fluctuations of signal intensity and phase, known as scintillation. Large-scale structures in the ionospheric electron density (typically associated with plasma instability mechanisms) cascade into smaller scale structures in a turbulent fashion. It is the presence of these small-scale ionospheric structures (i.e. irregularities) that introduces scintillation on radio waves. Here, we will use sophisticated radars, radio telescopes, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio receivers to answer fundamental questions about ionospheric turbulence. We will investigate the spatial scales over which ionospheric irregularities form and the type of plasma instability that determines them. You will join a vibrant team of researchers at Bath. We will use new data from EISCAT/ESR incoherent scatter radars in the European polar and auroral located at Tromso and Svalbard (Norway). There is considerable scope for the Student to take the project in new and exciting directions. There will be strong international collaboration with groups in Canada, Europe, and South America.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, an undergraduate Masters first class degree or MSc distinction (or equivalent from a non-UK top-tier University) in Physics, Mathematics, or Engineering. No prior knowledge of ionospheric physics and radio propagation is necessary: suitable training will be provided. English language entry requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding, see Postgraduate English language requirements for international students (


Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form. Please state if you intend to apply for a Global Doctoral Scholarship as part of the URSA PhD studentship competition.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Expected start date: 4 October 2021

Fee status:

Information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website

Funding Notes

An URSA PhD studentship includes ‘Home’ tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3.5 years. For 2021/22 the Faculty of Engineering & Design has two Global Doctoral Scholarship awards. These awards will be allocated in conjunction with the URSA PhD studentship competition and will cover the difference between home fees and overseas fees.


Forte, B, Coleman, C, Skone, S, Häggström, I, Mitchell, C, Da Dalt, F, Panicciari, T, Kinrade, J &
Bust, G 2017, 'Identification of scintillation signatures on GPS signals originating from plasma
structures detected with EISCAT incoherent scatter radar along the same line of sight' Journal of
Geophysical Research: Space Physics, vol 122, no. 1, pp. 916-931. DOI: 10.1002/2016JA023271.
Fallows R. A., B. Forte, I. Astin, T. Allbrook, A. Arnold, A. Wood, G. Dorrian, M. Mevius, H.
Rothkaehl, B. Matyjasiak, A. Krankowski, J. M. Anderson, A. Asgekar, I. Max Avruch, M.
Bentum, M. M. Bisi, H. R. Butcher, B. Ciardi, B. Dabrowski, S. Damstra, F. de Gasperin, S. Duscha,
J. Eislöffel, T. M.O. Franzen, M. A. Garrett, J.-M. Grießmeier, A. W. Gunst, M. Hoeft, J. R.
Hörandel, M. Iacobelli, H. T. Intema, L. V.E. Koopmans, P. Maat, G. Mann, A. Nelles, H. Paas, V.
N. Pandey, W. Reich, A. Rowlinson, M. Ruiter, D. J. Schwarz, M. Serylak, A. Shulevski, O. M.
Smirnov, M. Soida, M. Steinmetz, S. Thoudam, M. C. Toribio, A. van Ardenne, I. M. van Bemmel,
M. H.D. van der Wiel, M. P. van Haarlem, R. C. Vermeulen, C. Vocks, R. A.M.J. Wijers, O.
Wucknitz, P. Zarka, P. Zucca, (2020), A LOFAR observation of ionospheric scintillation from two
simultaneous travelling ionospheric disturbances, J. Space Weather Space Clim., 10, 10, DOI:
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