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Dr Oliver Allanson

Senior Research Fellow / NERC Independent Research Fellow


Research scientist specialising in physics and mathematics of space plasma/space weather.
-My current work considers the fundamental theory, modelling and observations of high-energy charged particle dynamics in the plasma of Earth's radiation belts, within our magnetosphere. This relies upon pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the kinetic plasma physics of resonant interactions between charged particles and electromagnetic waves. This research direction has evolved from a longstanding interest in kinetic physics, including that of current sheet and flux tube equilibria.
-I have worked (and will continue to work) on these problems closely with colleagues and project partners at institutions including but not limited to: University of St Andrews; Northumbria University; British Antarctic Survey; University of California Los Angeles; GFZ Potsdam; US Air Force Research Lab; UCL/Mullard Space Science Laboratory; University of Warwick.
-Please contact me if you are interested in a collaboration on these topics.

Basic info
-I hold a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Independent Research Fellowship (2021-26): The Importance of Nonlinear Physics in Radiation Belt Modelling.
-I am a member of the Environmental Mathematics Research Group; in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science; in the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy
-The University of Exeter has one campus in Exeter (Devon), and another in Penryn/Falmouth (Cornwall). My local campus is Penryn.
- I am an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy

-The link on the right-hand-side of this page is the most up-to-date and definitive list.
-ORCiDWeb of Science and Scopus do not always include everything.

Research Group
Please contact me if you have an idea for a particular space physics/space weather project, or even if you are interested in working on something but don't quite know what :-) ! 

PhD Students:
-Rachel Black (UoExeter, 2022-26, NERC GW4+ DTP, Co-Supervisors Dr Nigel Meredith (BAS) & Prof. Andrew Hillier (Exeter))
Understanding nonlinear wave-particle interactions in Earth’s radiation belts for space weather modelling

Masters Students:
-Joseph Spencer (UoExeter, MMath, 2022, Mathematics Masters Project Prize winner)
Advection and diffusion of electrons interacting with electromagnetic waves 

Academic Education, Employment & Projects

University of Exeter, Penryn/Cornwall Campus, Penryn, UK
Senior Research Fellow/NERC Independent Research Fellow, 07/2021 - present
-Working on NERC IRF: The Importance of Nonlinear Physics in Radiation Belt Modelling

Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Senior Research Associate, then Research Fellow,  09/2020 - 07/2021
-Working with Prof. Clare Watt in the Solar & Space Physics Group
-Continuing on "Rad-Sat" (see below)
-And very briefly on STFC Consolidated Grant Project (2021-25)

University of Reading, Reading, UK
Postdoctoral Research Associate & undergraduate tutor, 06/2017 - 08/2020
-Working with Prof. Clare Watt in the Space & Atmospheric Electricity Group (Meteorology Dept.)
-Working on NERC Highlight Topic "Rad-Sat" (2017-2022):
Modelling the acceleration, transport and loss of radiation belt electrons to protect satellites from space weather

University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK
PhD in Applied Mathematics & undergraduate tutor, 10/2013 - 08/2017
-With Prof. Thomas Neukirch in the Solar & Magnetospheric Theory Group
-On underlying kinetic/Vlasov theory of plasma current sheet & flux tube fluid equilibria
PhD thesis: [Springer book, St Andrews Repository, arXiv]

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Master of Advanced Study in Applied Mathematics/Theoretical Physics (“Part III"), 10/2012 – 06/2013
-St Edmund's College

University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK
Master of Physics in Mathematics & Theoretical Physics, 09/2008 – 06/2012
- Including Masters dissertation work that derived these published results 

Significant Competitive Grants (~ £1,118,000 funded value as PI/Co-I)

PI: NERC GW4+ DTP PhD Studentship 2022-2026
Co-I Nigel Meredith (BAS)

PI: NERC Independent Research Fellowship @ University of Exeter (NE/V013963/1) 2021-2026

Co-PI / Researcher Co-I: STFC Consolidated Grant, Northumbria Uni. (ST/W000369/1) 2021-2025
PI Prof. Clare Watt (Northumbria University) 

High performance Computing proposals.
Total: 7.68 million cpu hours ~ £63,200 cash equivalent

  1. PI: UKRI archer/archer2 HPC projects, 2019-2023 (NE/P01738X/1)
    Co-Is C.E.J. Watt, H. Ratcliffe
    100 M Allocation Units ~ 6.8M cpuh ~£56,000 
  2. PI: 11th call UKRI STFC DiRAC facility, 2019-20 (ACSP189):
    Co-Is C.E.J. Watt, H. Ratcliffe
    600k cpuh ~ £4,900
  3. PI: 10th call UKRI STFC DiRAC facility, 2018-19 (ACSP152):
    Co-Is C.E.J. Watt, H. Ratcliffe
    280k cpuh ~ £2,300

‚ÄčSignificant Councils/Committees/Representation
-University of Exeter "Spaceport Working Group" (2021-present)
-MIST Awards Taskforce: Co-founder, Chair, Member (2019-2021). See here and here
-MIST Council: Councillor (Term 1: 2018-2021), Chair (Term 2: 2021-2022)

-Springer Theses Prize (2018): PhD published as Springer ebook/hard-/paper-back, £500.
(The series “Springer Theses” brings together a selection of the very best Ph.D. theses from around the world and across the physical sciences.)
-Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (2017): Lighthill-Thwaites prize Runner-up
-Royal Society Edinburgh (2011): Robert Cormack Bequest Vacation Research Scholarship.
-University of St Andrews (2009, 2010): Deans List for Academic Excellence

Selected Invited Talks
Introduction to plasma physics, STFC Summer School, St Andrews, 21/08/2023.
University of Warwick Department of Physics. 25/10/2022.
University of Birmingham Space Environment & Radio Engineering Group, 24/10/2022.
Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, 2022 Conference 03/08/2022.
University of Helsinki Space Phsyics Research Group 05/04/2022.
Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 15/11/2021.
University of Leicester, Physics & Astronomy, Planetary Science. 29/09/2021.
Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 08/06/2020.
University of Warwick Department of Physics. 11/11/2019.
University of St Andrews Solar & Magnetospheric Theory Group. 15/05/2019.
Imperial College London Maths of Planet Earth CDT Jamboree. 20/03/2019.
British Applied Maths Colloquium 2017, University of Surrey. 09-12/04/2017

Conference/meeting/session organisation
-Summer School Organiser: STFC PhD Summer Sch., 2025:
PI: Introductory Course in Solar & Solar-terrestrial Physics
-Workshop Organiser: Space Weather Impact Workshop, 2024: Funding secured
-Session: National Astronomy Meeting 2022, University of Warwick (Co organiser):
Open Session on Magnetospheric, Ionospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
-Session: National Astronomy Meeting 2021, University of Bath (Lead organiser):
Open Session on Magnetospheric, Ionospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
-Session: National Astronomy Meeting 2021, University of Bath (Lead organiser):
From Plasma to Galactic Dynamics: Collisionless Physics Across the Universe 
-Meeting: RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting, 01/2019 (Lead organiser):~
Radiation belt modelling in the post Van Allen Probes era. 
-Session: National Astronomy Meeting 2019, Lancaster (Lead organiser):
Radiation Belt dynamics at Earth and Beyond.
-Meeting: Autumn MIST 2019 (Lead Organiser) (Lead organiser):
Annual one-day meetings of the UK MIST community at Burlington House, Picadilly, ca. 90 attendees.
-Meeting: Autumn MIST 2018 (Co-Organiser) (Lead organiser):
Annual one-day meetings of the UK MIST community at Burlington House, Picadilly, ca. 90 attendees.
-Conference: Young Researchers in Mathematics 2016, St Andrews (1/6 organisers; Led scientific committee):
Largest postgraduate Math. conference in the UK, organised exclusively by postgraduate students. Attendance ca. 90.
We raised > £20,000 from external sponsors.

Membership/Fellowship of Professional Bodies
-The Royal Astronomical Society (Member/Fellow)
-The American Geophysical Union (Member)
-The European Geosciences Union (Member)
-Higher Education Academy (Associate Fellow)