Professor Paul Cannon is both a physicist and an electronic engineer who works at the interface of the two disciplines. He is an academic at the University of Birmingham with experience of working in government research laboratories and in industry. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2003, appointed to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2014 and served as the President of the International Union of Radio Science from 2014-2017.
Paul is a leading figure in radio science and space weather, being interested in a wide range of radio propagation, radio environment and space weather problems and how they impact communications, radar and navigation systems. He has made numerous personal and team leadership contributions to mitigating the impact of the environment on radio systems.
Paul has published many scientific papers including those addressing ionospheric modification, meteor scatter communications, HF communications and radars, space radars and ionosondes. In addition, he is the author of many classified reports and a number of book chapters. Paul initiated and led the Canadian-Norwegian-Swedish-UK project (DAMSON) which defined the environmental requirements for the robust military HF modem, STANAG 4415, now used throughout NATO. His team at QinetiQ developed and transitioned a new generation of real-time (assimilative) ionospheric models from laboratory to the user. His team also participated in ionospheric modification rocket experiments as part of a UK-US collaboration which he initiated. At the University of Birmingham, he and the team have conducted measurements and have built models to describe the impact of the ionosphere on space radars.
Paul has also held many leadership roles. He has served as a QinetiQ Senior Fellow, QinetiQ Chief Scientist (Communications Division) and as the QinetiQ University-Partnerships Director. He was Director of the Poynting Institute at University of Birmingham, Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Radio Science and was President of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI). Paul has served on Government committees and provides consultancy to a number of organisations.
Paul initiated the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) ionospheric space weather programme in 1986 and he led and nurtured it for over 25 years. This he did both as a civil servant within the MOD and, on behalf of the MOD whilst working both in QinetiQ and later also at the University of Birmingham. During these periods, he moved military space weather R&D from a Cinderella topic to a core technology with an articulated military requirement. Much of this was, and continues to be, achieved with the benefit of bilateral and multi-lateral arrangements which he facilitated with the US DoD and other nations thereby providing substantial benefit to the UK.
Paul has served on the UK Cabinet Office, Space Weather Project Board and its follow-on bodies, has been an expert witness to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee and has supported the Prime Minister’s Committee on Science and Technology.