Every year many undergraduate students undertake research placements in the SPAT group, making invaluable contributions. We are always looking to engage UG students in our research, and these pages provide more information about how you can get involved.

Current/upcoming UROP projects

UROP Opportunities

The following UROP Projects are currently being advertised for Summer 2021:

  1. Developing new sonification techniques for ultra-low frequency space plasma waves
  2. Satellite measurements of power station pollution
  3. Analysing large-scale numerical simulations of plasma turbulence

If you are interested in any of the projects, described in further detail below, please in the first instance email the potential supervisor enclosing a CV, statement about why you are interested in the project, and any questions you may have. The potential durations and financial support for these projects will vary, so please enquire about these with potential supervisors.


"I'm a Space Person" Careers Postcards (applications now closed)

Supervisor: Dr. Simon Foster (simon.foster1@imperial.ac.uk) & Dr. Martin Archer (m.archer10@imperial.ac.uk)

Recent educational research has found the main issue in uptake of STEM being whether they see it as for “people like me”, with perceptions about its usefulness in careers playing a key role in this (L. Archer+, 2013, 2020). Typical one-off outreach approaches are known to have limitations in affecting STEM aspirations, whereas interventions that also target young people’s key influencers, such as parents and teachers, appear to be more successful (M.O. Archer+, 2021). The space sector incorporates a wide range of careers in space manufacturing, operations, applications and ancillary services (London Economics, 2019), however, careers information typically reinforces stereotypes that space-related jobs are only for scientists and/or are unattainable (e.g. astronaut). We therefore propose to address this through the creation of a set of space careers resources for use by teachers and parents. Space Lab is a network of excellence at Imperial College London bringing together academics whose research covers a broad range of space-related fields. It is therefore uniquely placed in facilitating the links required in the creation of a careers resource spanning the entire space sector. The project will apply and expands an existing approach developed for physics, designed to align with the Gatsby career benchmarks and highlighting to young people the personal attributes associated with different jobs. The UROP will see you research a wide variety of space-related careers, through links across Imperial’s Space Lab network, compiling their key attributes, required qualifications, and relevant curriculum links. You will also develop process and impact evaluation plans for their roll-out across local school networks and community engagement events.

This project has funding from the Physics Education Research group in the Department of Physics 


Developing new sonification techniques for ultra-low frequency space plasma waves (applications now closed)

Supervisor: Dr. Martin Archer (m.archer10@imperial.ac.uk)

Ultra-low frequency analogues of sound waves (fluid plasma waves) in near-Earth space can have critical effects on our technology and lives e.g. they can create “killer electrons” in the radiation belts which damage or “kill” the many satellites we depend on.  One novel technique in navigating, mining, and analysing this data is through sonification, the process of converting an oscillatory time-series into audible sound. These audible datasets then lend themselves well not only to researchers but also citizen scientists. The results can also be used to bring space physics to life for the public. The internship will concern developing new tools to sonify data from numerous different space-based missions and simulations.

Skills required:

  • Computer programming (e.g. C++, Matlab, Python)
  • Self-motivation / independent organisation
  • Audio analysis (desired)

This placement would be beneficial to someone interested in pursuing research (time series analysis fields particularly space plasma physics or audio), gaining experience in working with data and/or machine learning, or with interests in science communication and media production. This project can be undertaken remotely if required due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This project has funding from the Ogden Trust


Satellite measurements of power station pollution (applications now closed)

Supervisor: Dr. Edward Gryspeerdt (e.gryspeerdt@imperial.ac.uk)

Coal power stations produce large amounts of sulphur dioxide. If this is not captured in 'scrubber' systems, it can have a visible impact on nearby clouds. In this project you will use satellite data to identify these (and other similar) sources of pollution across the globe.

This project has funding from the Royal Society


Analysing large-scale numerical simulations of plasma turbulence (applications now closed)

Supervisor: Dr. Julia Stawarz (j.stawarz@imperial.ac.uk)

Highly nonlinear, turbulent dynamics play an important role in particle heating and acceleration in plasmas throughout the Universe, including those which surround the Sun and Earth. The complex nature of the fluctuations within a turbulent plasma has traditionally made turbulence a challenging problem to solve analytically and, therefore, the analysis of numerical simulations and comparison with the detailed measurements that can be made by spacecraft in the near-Earth’s plasma environment are among the most powerful tools for exploring this enigmatic problem. This project will involve analysing data from pre-existing high-performance numerical simulations modelling the behaviour of turbulence within space plasmas. The project will aim to explore the detailed behaviour of small-scale turbulent fluctuations, which will feed into and motivate ongoing research within the group on turbulence in the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere.

Through this project, you will:

  • Develop an understanding of the nonlinear dynamics of collisionless space plasmas
  • Gain experience working with the outputs from large-scale numerical simulations
  • Learn how to implement techniques used to analyse complex turbulent systems
  • The opportunity to work with high-resolution spacecraft observations to explore the dynamics of turbulence may also be possible if an applicant were interested.

Some experience coding in a language such as MATLAB or Python will be necessary. The project will be possible to undertake remotely if necessary due to COVID restrictions. However, the applicant will require their own computer in that case.

This project has funding from the Royal Society

Previous UROP projects in SPAT

UROP projects 2020

UROP students 2020
Project TitleStudentSupervisor
 Detecting drift orbit birfurcations using simulations and MMS data  Benyam DEJEN Dr Paulo CEPPI
 Forecasting radiation in the Earth's magnetosphere  Luana WILLIAMS Dr Ravindra DESAI
 Energy deposition in the upper atmosphere of Saturn  Xinmiao (Anna) HU Professor Marina GALAND
Using a neural network to understand Titan's atmospheric chemistry George KORODIMOS Dr Ravindra DESAI
Sun-to-earth simulations of flux-ropoe corona mass ejections Visakan BALAKUMAR Dr Ravindra DESAI
Examining electron vortices in Earth's magnetotail using the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission Madalina TUDORACHE Dr Julia STAWARZ
Propogating solar energetic particles in the outer heliosphere  Xinni WU Dr Ravindra DESAI
Shocks in the inner heliosphere Samuel BENNETT Dr Heli HIETALA
Global simulations of dayside magnetospheric transients and their impacts Nicholas RAYNS Dr Heli HIETALA
Future changes in carbon isotopes in the terrestrial biosphere Leonardo BOSSI Dr Heather GRAVEN
Comparison of observed wind speed and direction across London Emir SEZIK Dr Heather GRAVEN
Future changes in ocean carbon-13 Elleanor LAMB Dr Heather GRAVEN
Future changes in ocean carbon-13 Daisy BLAKE Dr Heather GRAVEN
Understanding relationships between El-Nino, wildfire emissions and regional climate change using Earth system model data Clara BAYLEY Dr Matthew KASOAR
SPAT UROP projects summer 2020
Summary of the table's contents

UROP projects 2019

UROP students 2019
Project TitleStudentSupervisor
The role of clouds for natural climate variability and forced climate change Paul Curtis Dr Paulo Ceppi
Cassini magnetometer studies: End of MIssion dataset Daniel Gillies Prof Michele Dougherty & Dr Greg Hunt
Investigating the use of compressional mirror-mode fluctuations in space plasmas for the calibration of magnetometer instruments Gabriel Maheson Chris Carr
ASTRAEUS James McKevitt Dr Ingo Mueller-Wodarg
Software support for JUICE Magnetometer Development Clovis Parker-Jervis Alex Strickland
Solar system science Katherine Sephton Dr Adam Masters
Data analysis of JUICE Magnetometer ground test campaign Anne Soltow Richard Baughen
Analysing the substructure of magnetic flux ropes using data from NASA's magnetospheric multiscale mission Madalina Tudorache Dr Julia Stawarz
Quantifying forcing, feedbacks and climate sensitivity in global climate models Lisa Winkler Dr Paulo Ceppi
To develop a performance prediction model of magnetic field in Python Jie Sing Yoo Chris Carr
Calculating Cassini's potential: A high-performance computing study Zeqi Zhang Dr Ravi Desai
Parker Solar Probe measurements of the near-Sun solar wind Ronan Laker Prof Tim Horbury
To develop a performance prediction model of magnectic field in Python Jie Sing Yoo  Chris Carr
SPAT UROP projects summer 2019
Summary of the table's contents

UROP projects 2018

UROP students 2018
Project TitleStudentSupervisor
 Partitioning of heat transport between ocean and atmosphere  Jack Carlin  Arnaud Czaja
 Mirror-mode structures in the Earth's magnetosphere investigated using data from the Cluster FGM magnetometers  Han Yau Choong  Chris Carr 
 Development of magnetoresistive sensors for space weather monitoring  Claudia Cobo Torres  Chiara Palla 
 Building a database of simulations for the Forum mission  Xinmiao Hu  Helen Brindley
 Analysis of PDRMIP solar experiments  Elliott Kasoar  
 Predicting the space weather effects of coronal mass ejections  Ronan Laker  Tim Horbury
 Studies of oceanographical tracers  Elleanor Lamb  Heather Graven
 Development of a magnetic moment inversion system for the screening of magnetic parts to be used in an instrument in development for the ESA JUICE Mission  Adrian Lamoury   Patrick Brown 
 Using machine learning to reduce uncertainty in climate change predictions  Gerald Lim   Peer Nowack
 Developing a novel ozone parameterization to speed up climate change simulations  Qing Yee Ellie Ong   
 ITCZ shifts in an intermediate complexity atmospheric model  Burhanuddin Pisavadi  Arnaud Czaja
 Mirror-mode structures in the Earth's magnetosphere investigated using data from the Cluster FGM magnetometers  Jiatianfu Qu   Chris Carr
 The intertropical convergence zone in past and future climates  Rhidian Thomas  
 Study on SFG in the ocean  Henry Throp   Heather Graven
 Analysing data from the Helios Solar Mission to explore the process of magnetic reconnection  Hanae Tilquin   Jonathan Eastwood 
SPAT UROP projects summer 2018
Summer 2018 UROP students and projects