Forbes names Sean Elvidge on inaugural 30 under 30 Europe list

Dr. Sean Elvidge, Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, was named in Forbes’ first ever “30 Under 30 Europe” list in the Science and Healthcare category. The list features 300 young innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders across Europe who are under 30 years of age and who are transforming business, technology, finance, media, culture and more, as judged by some of the most accomplished and acclaimed individuals in each category.

Sean received recognition by Forbes for his contribution to the development of ways to forecast solar superstorms, solar bursts that can disrupt satellite operations, degrate sat nav performance and endanger human health. His work may make it possible for space weather forecasters to know when a storm’s coming and take appropriate measures.

Space weather affects regions of the upper atmosphere. This can interrupting GPS signals and also have the potential to bring entire electricity grids down. These interactions happen daily on a very small scale, but it is estimated that once in every 200 years extreme events occur. The last such major event occurred in 1859 when there wasn’t a reliance on electricity; today, this would have a huge impact on our infrastructure. Research by Sean and the Space Environment and Radio Engineering (SERENE) group sponsored by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Royal Academy of Engineering will help us prepare for the next solar superstorm.

Sean qualified with an MSci (Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Birmingham in 2011. He received his PhD in Ionospheric Modelling in the School of Engineering in 2014. Sean is now Postdoctoral Fellow in the SERENE group at the University of Birmingham.

Sean said

"I became interested in astronomy as a member of the University Astronomical Society whilst studying mathematics at Birmingham. My PhD was the perfect opportunity to combine my interests in mathematics and space."

‘I’m certainly in some really interesting company on the 30 under 30 list! It is great to bring some attention to a fairly niche area which has the potential to be world changing. It can be hard to recruit new people since the topic area isn't taught at Undergraduate level. At the moment our group consists of two full time members of staff, two part time staff members and PhD students. We are hoping to grow as much as possible. We want to be regarded as world leaders in the field.’

The Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list covers 10 categories – Media, Industry, Policy, Retail and E-Commerce, The Arts, Entertainment, Social Entrepreneurs, Science and Health Care, Technology, and Finance. Each of the honorees are vetted by a panel of expert judges in their respective fields.

Randall Lane, Editor of Forbes, said

"Researching, vetting and launching Forbes’ first ever 30 Under 30 Europe list was an incredible task. We scoured the continent to find the most talented millennials and, with the help of our expert judges, are proud to honor 300 of the most important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders and brightest stars in Europe right now."

The criteria for honorees making the list included leadership and disruption in their field; entrepreneurial mindset and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century.

The criteria for honorees making the list included leadership and disruption in their field; entrepreneurial mindset and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century.