2023 Polar Aeronomy & Radio Science Summer School Announced

The 2023 Polar Aeronomy and Radio Science (PARS) summer school will be held in person at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) between August 1-10, 2023. The summer school provides faculty, graduate, and advanced undergraduate students with exposure to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Subauroral Geophysical Observatory (SAGO) for Space Physics and Radio Science and the HAARP research site in Gakona, Alaska.

The summer school’s goal is to provide student and advisor mentor pairs an opportunity to study the upper atmosphere and ionosphere at polar latitudes, with practical experience built into the learning process. The first week will be spent in the Fairbanks area with lectures and tours of space physics research sites, then relocating to HAARP to run active experiments and brief initial results. Students will be trained in the theory and concepts of ionospheric heating, with an introduction to Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) experiment design, diagnostics, and analysis. All students will have the opportunity to dialogue one-on-one with experienced scientists from multiple U.S. academic institutions. This year’s school will focus on "Making the Invisible Visible" using ground-based HF and VHF receivers, oblique and digital ionosonde transmitters, and HF receivers and beacon transmitters on satellites, sponsored and operated by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, and more.  

Graduate and advanced undergraduate students are encouraged to apply for the school, and attendance is limited. Those candidates who are selected for the 2023 PARS summer school and are enrolled at U.S. Universities/institutions will receive travel support and accommodation to attend this event. Self-funded students from institutions in other countries are welcome to apply as well.

The application form may be accessed here: 2023 PARS Summer School Application Form

To submit an application, please provide the following information:

  • Name (first and last)
  • Email
  • University, college, or academic institution name
  • Institution affiliation (faculty, student, other)
  • Names of collaborators on your project, and/or names of student/advisor pair
  • Brief description of proposed experiment or scientific question
  • (optional) Supporting documents such as a CV, resume, or letters of support

Admission to the school is based upon an application filed by the student that proposes an experiment to be carried out during the school. Applications are ranked according to the merit of the proposals submitted. Credit is given for investigations with a well-defined question to be answered and a proposal that offers a good chance of substantial results using the observations to be made during the school.

The deadline for application submission is March 31, 2023. Notice of acceptance will be sent to participants by April 14, 2023.



As the centerpiece SAGO instrument, and the world’s most powerful and flexible ionospheric heater, HAARP is able to push the envelope of radio frequency plasma heating theory. The IRI can actively probe the sub-auroral D- and E-region ionosphere, while multiple support instruments characterize the resulting processes occurring in both the neutral and ionized atmosphere. Using a phased array of antennas, beams can be formed at multiple frequencies and slewed rapidly across the sky.  The facility has sufficient power to explore nonlinear effects in the plasma - something no other active facility can address.

The HAARP facility was constructed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) starting in 1990, with the objective to answer questions of relevance to the DoD. When those investigations were completed, stewardship of the facility was transferred to UAF in 2015, with the intention of allowing the wider research community to benefit from its exceptional capabilities. As has been the case with other Class 1 and 2 geospace facilities (such as the Incoherent Scatter Radars), the powerful capabilities of the HAARP ionospheric heater are expected to power ground-breaking new discoveries for potentially decades to come. PARS will enhance the United States’ research infrastructure by supporting the first wave of these investigations within the open NSF research community, creating a critical mass of investigators and ideas that will seed future applications and new research focus areas.

The 2023 PARS summer school is funded by the NSF through its Geospace Facilities Program within the Geosciences Directorate and is organized by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.  For more information about both SAGO and HAARP, refer to the HAARP public web page at https://haarp.gi.alaska.edu/.


Contact & Further Information
For more information about the school, please contact Evans Callis, Lead, HAARP Research Support Services at ehcallis@alaska.edu or 907-474-2641.


SAGO PARS 2023 promotional flyer. SAGO PARS 2023 promotional flyer.