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Professor of Space Physics and Director of CUAVA, University of Sydney

Professor Iver Cairns has over 30 years of experience in space physics and space weather research. His primary expertise is in the theory, simulation, and analysis of plasma waves and radio emissions. Iver has over 300 published, refereed, papers in journals and books. He is a Co-Investigator on NASA's STEREO mission and, since June 2019, on NASA's two new SMEX missions, PUNCH and TRACERS. Prof. Cairns has held multiple leadership positions in Australian and international scientific societies, including the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS, where he was Secretary General and President of ST Section), the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR, where he chaired the Program Committee for the COSPAR-2021 hybrid Assembly in Sydney), International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA), and the Solar Terrestrial and Space Physics (STSP) Group of the Australian Institute of Physics. Currently he is Chair of COSPAR’s Finance and longtime Co-Chair of the Australian Space Research Conference.

Within Australia Iver led the 2010-2019 Decadal Plan for Australian Space Science and chaired the Academy of Science’s National Committee for Space Science 2004 – 2011. Subsequently he has worked to convince Australia to invest in the space sector. He led the INSPIRE-2 CubeSat project, which launched in May 2017 and re-entered still working in November 2018. Currently Iver works on space physics and space weather, including leading CUAVA, the ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and Their Applications, which is training people, solving research problems, and working on commercial outcomes for its industry, academic, and governmental partners. Iver is the leader of the CUAVA-1 CubeSat project, as well as the Waratah Seed ride-share CubeSat project with NSW Government and multiple partners.


  • 2021–present
    Director, Waratah Seed Project
  • 2009–present
    Professor in Space Physics, The University of Sydney
  • 2017–present
    Director, CUAVA (The Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and Their Applications)
  • 2003–2009
    Australian Professorial Fellow, The University of Sydney
  • 1998–2003
    ARC Senior Research Fellow, The University of Sydney
  • 1986–1998
    Assistant / Associate Research Scientist, The University of Iowa