The objective of the Space Weather Innovation, Modelling, Measurement and Risk S5 (SWIMMR S5) project is to develop and demonstrate a prototype network of compact instruments for ground-level neutron monitoring, ideally suitable for unattended operation in relatively remote locations.
Instruments should be tested, and test results presented, to verify that such instruments can produce results comparable to those from existing ground level neutron monitors, such that they could enhance global existing capabilities.
As a proof of concept, a small network of two or more such instruments should be operated as part of a test deployment, to provide a data stream capable of being ingested into the Met Office and feeding into the airborne radiation modelling being developed as part of SWIMMR N2.
The S5 project will be implemented in two phases, the design phase and implementation phase.
Applicants must firstly submit a proposal for a design study. Upon the successful completion of the design phase, and subject to funding, the team will be invited to apply for funding for the implementation phase of the project.
Please note that due to this two phase approach, there may be a short gap between completion of the design phase and start of the implementation phase to allow for assessment and peer review, and subject to budgets being confirmed.
Applicants submitting a proposal for the design study must include details of both the design phase and implementation phase within their case for support.
The required deliverables from this opportunity should include:
- a design for a compact ground-level neutron monitor
- two or more working prototypes, based on the above design
- documented results from testing of such prototypes in a recognised neutron test facility, such as STFC’s ChipIr
- demonstrated operation of a small network of two or more prototype instruments in the field, including the provision of a data stream suitable for MOSWOC.
The risk is recognised that the utility of the network might not be clearly demonstrated if there are no ground level enhancement (GLE) events occurring between the deployment stage and the end of the project.
It is expected that some element of research work may be needed in connection with this project, in order to establish some of the principles behind the design of a novel detector. Such research might include one or more of the following:
- conversion of sensor technologies already used for other applications (for example, in agriculture)
- identification of other potential uses for devices capable of ground level radiation monitoring
- development of techniques for validation against data from more established sensors
- development of techniques for autonomous operation in unattended settings.
Other research topics can also be considered if a compelling case is made.
Research must demonstrate that it has the potential to lead to improvements in instrument accuracy, or more comprehensive or durable operations.
Funding is split across the two phases as follows.
A maximum value of £140,000 (this is the research council 80% contribution) is available for the initial design study for up to 12 months.
It is expected that the maximum value of the implementation phase may be £1,260,000 (this is the research council 80% contribution) over a maximum of 24 months (following successful completion of the design phase), but this budget is yet to be confirmed. The implementation phase must be completed by 31 March 2024 at the latest.
UKRI’s funding contribution for proposed projects will be at 80% of full economic cost (FEC) , with the standard exceptions paid at 100% FEC. Indexation at the prevailing rate will be applied at the time of award.
Please note that the award of funding for the design phase does not guarantee funding for the implementation phase.
No projects shall apply for PhD funding as part of this opportunity.