Professor Michael Kosch


Research Interests


I am an experimental space scientist with a background in electronic engineering. I was born and raised in South Africa and have subsequently worked in many countries and continents, including Antarctica, Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, South Africa, USA and the UK.


My primary research activity is in the high-altitude (above 80 km altitude) polar atmosphere and near-Earth space environment, mainly using high-power radar as well as bespoke night-vision optical systems. I study the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling (e.g. Joule heating, current flows and neutral winds), unusual auroral phenomena (e.g. super-fast auroral waves, black aurora), mesospheric dusty plasma (e.g. polar mesospheric radar echoes), atmospheric contraction (e.g. climate change), and space weather effects (e.g. ozone destruction). In addition, I use the upper-atmosphere as a free laboratory to perform active experiments to study fundamental wave-particle interactions and resonances in space and dusty plasmas using high power radiowave facilities located in Alaska, Norway and Russia. This includes experiments which artificially generate auroras.

For images and video clips of some of my work, please visit

Career details

  • Chief Scientist (SANSA, Cape Town, South Africa), 2014-2019
  • Visiting Professor (NIPR, Tokyo, Japan) 2014
  • Associate Dean Research (FST, Lancaster) 2011-13
  • Visiting Professor (STELab, Nagoya, Japan) 2010
  • Distinguished Fellow (LaTrobe, Australia) 2009
  • Professor (Physics, Lancaster) 2008
  • Reader (DCS, Lancaster) 2006
  • Research Fellow (Boston, USA) 2004/5 & 2006
  • Senior Lecturer (DCS, Lancaster) 2003
  • Lecturer (DCS, Lancaster) 2001
  • Scientist, Max-Planck Institute (Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany) 1991-2000
  • PhD Space Physics (Durban, South Africa) 1991
  • Antarctic Expedition (SANAE, South Africa) 1984-86 & 1988/89
  • BSc Electronic Engineering (Durban, South Africa) 1984


Space Research and Applications manager at the South African National Space Agency.


Currently none.


I co-direct EnviroVision Systems (, a company that specialises in protecting commercial forests, urban interface and environment with automatic camera systems. EVS is a fast growing SME with over 300 installations worldwide and 120 employees.


I like to travel and do unusual activities. For images and video clips of some of my activities, please visit