European universities and companies come together to establish PhD program in Space Weather

The University of Coimbra (UC) is the Portuguese higher education institution that participates in the consortium, through the Physics (DF) and Mathematics (DM) departments and the Earth and Space Research Center (CITEUC) of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FCTUC).

Eight European universities and companies have come together to establish a unique PhD program in Space Weather (Space Meteorology) in Europe, within the scope of the SWANET project – Space Weather Awareness Training Network- which has just won three million euros in funding from the H2020 program (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Tarining Newtworks).

SWANET, with a duration of four years, will focus on training the next generation of researchers in Space Meteorology and Solar Physics, combining research and knowledge transfer for the benefit of society, taking into account that the Space Weather area has a strong impact on economic sectors such as aviation, GNSS (Global Satellite Navigation Systems) signals, electrical networks, among others.

The young researchers will attend a doctoral program at the university for which they are applying, but the research for the doctoral thesis includes exchanges between the universities involved in the consortium and the companies.

The FCTUC team, in addition to training in the doctoral program, will also be responsible for the “development of new methods of analyzing solar activity, which allow monitoring the activity of the Sun that may benefit certain economic sectors“, says Teresa Barata, coordinator of the project in Portugal.

The researcher from the Earth and Space Research Center of FCTUC stresses that “for about eight years, our research has focused on Space Meteorology (Space Weather) and its impact on society.
Naturally, this investigation is a consequence of UC’s vast collection of solar and magnetic observations. This is a recent research area, mainly in Portugal, and this project is of great importance to us, not only because we will have funding to have young researchers attending a UC doctoral program, but it also allows us, as researchers, to integrate a team of scientists of recognized international merit ”.

In addition to the University of Coimbra, the consortium includes the universities of Helsinki and Turku, in Finland, the University of Eotvos Lorand, in Hungary, the University of Leuven, in Belgium, Di Roma Tor Vergata University, in Italy, Marie Curie University, in Poland , and the Academy of Athens, Greece. The Portuguese company involved in the consortium is the technological company Present Tecnhologies.

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