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Three million euros to train future researchers in Space Weather and Solar Physics

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

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 Centre (CITEUC) of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FCTUC).

The 4-year-programme SWANET will focus on training the next generation of researchers in Space Weather 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 Navigation Satellite Systems) signals, electrical networks, among others.

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

In addition to the involvement in the doctoral programme, the FCTUC team will also be responsible for the “development of new methods for analyzing solar activity, which mau allow monitoring the sun activity that may benefit certain economic sectors”, says Teresa Barata, coordinator of the project in Portugal.

The researcher from the Earth and Space Research Centre of FCTUC stresses that “for about eight years, our research has focused on Space Weather and its impact on society. This research is obviously a consequence of the UC vast collection of solar and magnetic observations. It 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 programme, but it also allows us, as researchers, to integrate a team of scientists of 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"(

Original news article in Portuguese: Cristina Pinto