Dr. Sean Elvidge PhD

Dr. Sean Elvidge

Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
Lecturer in Space Environment

Contact details

Mechanical Engineering Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sean Elvidge is a Lecturer in Space Environment in the Space Environment and Radio Engineering (SERENE) group in the School of Engineering.

Space weather events are one of the major risks facing society as it becomes increasingly dependent on technology. Sean's research is focused on using innovative mathematical methods to create the next generation space weather forecast models. He was selected for the inaugural Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 list in the Science and Healthcare category.

Sean is a passionate communicator of science on a range of topics. He frequently gives talks to groups and schools across the country, reaching over 1,500 people a year.


Lecturer in Space Environment

  • PhD in ionospheric modelling, University of Birmingham, 2014
  • MSci (Hons) in Mathematics, University of Birmingham, 2011


Sean Elvidge qualified with an MSci (Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Birmingham in 2011. His masters project investigated complex reflection groups. During his undergraduate degree he was also a keen member of the University Astronomical Society which inspired him to shift his focus for his PhD. He studied for a PhD in ionospheric and thermospheric modelling in the School of Engineering, graduating in 2014. During his PhD Sean won a Fellowship to work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the USA.

After his PhD Sean undertook a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Space Environment and Radio Engineering (SERENE) group at the University of Birmingham. During this time he developed the Advanced Ensemble electron density (Ne) Assimilation System (AENeAS). A physics-based data assimilation model of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. In 2016 he was named on the inaugural Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 list in the Science and Healthcare category.

In 2019 Sean was appointed as Lecturer in Space Environment and is involved with the University’s new Aerospace Engineering degree course.

Sean is also a passionate science communicator, regularly given talks on a wide variety of topics to audiences all over the UK. He is closely involved with the Villiers Park Educational Trust, who are working towards a future in which all students experience a challenging and inspirational education, leading to an improvement in social mobility in the UK.  


Engineering Mathematics 1

Postgraduate supervision

Dr. Elvidge is always happy to consider inquiries and applications from prospective PhD students interested in topics in mathematical modelling, space weather and extreme value theory.

Prospective applicants prior to approaching Sean should prepare a short statement of proposed research (no more than two sides of A4, in addition to a CV) indicating the following:

  • Identify an area of new work (what is worth pursuing?)
  • Show a reasonable understanding of existing work in the field (what is the state-of-the-art?)
  • Have concrete goals and deliverables for the first year (how do you intend to start this and how can I help as a supervisor?)
  • Indicate that you know how to achieve the aims (what are you specific skills and experiences that make you a suitable person to study for a PhD?)


Sean's research is focused on two main themes: ionospheric/thermospheric forecasting and extreme statistics and risk analysis.

For forecasting, Sean is developing new models to produce accurate and actionable forecasts of the ionosphere and thermosphere (regions of the Earth's upper atmosphere). These forecasts could be used by space weather operational centres to help protect critical systems.

Sean is also interested in using extreme value theory to rigorously determine the probability of extreme space weather events. With very few data points of extreme events it is important to appropriately quantify the future likelihood of such events.

Other activities

  • International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Early Career Representative
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU) Radio Science journal Associate Editor
  • Villiers Park Educational Trust: Tutor & Mentor (2012 - Present)


Selected Publications:

  • Elvidge, S., M. J. Angling (2019), Using the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter for Upper Atmospheric Modelling, Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate.
  • Elvidge, S. (2018), A newly found early example of weather forecast validation, Weather.
  • Elvidge, S., M. J. Angling (2018), Using Extreme Value Theory for Determining the Probability of Carrington-Like Solar Flares, Space Weather.
  • Angling, M. J., S. Elvidge, S. B. Healy (2017), Improved model for correcting the ionospheric impact on bending angle in radio occultation measurements, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques.
  • Elvidge, S., Godinez, H. C. and Angling, M. J. (2016), Improved Forecasting of Thermospheric Densities using Multi-Model Ensembles, Geosci. Model Dev.
  • Elvidge, S., M. J. Angling, and B. Nava (2014), On the use of modified Taylor diagrams to compare ionospheric assimilation models, Radio Sci., 49, 737–745.
  • McNamara, L. F., M. J. Angling, S. Elvidge, S. V Fridman, M. A. Hausman, L. J. Nickisch and L.-A. McKinnell (2013), Assimilation procedures for updating ionospheric profiles below the F2 peak, Radio Sci., 48, 143–157.

View all publications in research portal