ESPAS (European Strategy and Policy Analysis System)
ESPAS is an inter-institutional collaboration among the officials of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, and the European External Action Service, with the support of the Committee of the Regions and of the European Economic and Social Committee, which monitors global trends and offers strategic foresight to the EU’s decision-makers.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission’s science and knowledge service with a mission to bring science and knowledge into EU policy making, has made available the Science for Policy Handbook. The handbook is dedicated to researchers and research organisations aiming to achieve policy impact, and provides advice on how to bring science to the attention of policymakers, not just in the EU context. The book is available on this site, which also provides useful information and material on related topics, such as Evidence-Informed Policy and Science Diplomacy.
Europlanet Society Statement on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity
The Europlanet Society is committed to building a diverse, inclusive planetary science community in Europe and to ensuring that individuals within that community experience equal opportunity, regardless of gender, disability, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marital status, age, nationality or socioeconomic background.
Europlanet Diversity Committee
The Europlanet Diversity Committee acts as a strategic task force to advise, coordinate and champion activities across the Europlanet Society that further the Society’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity.
Chair: Vic Pearson (Open University)
Vice-chair: Lena Noack (Freie Universität Berlin)
Secretary/EPEC Representative: Rutu Parekh (DLR)
Regional Hub Diversity Officers:
Benelux Hub: Arianna Piccialli (BIRA-IASB)
Central Europe Hub: Anna Łosiak (University of Exeter)
Since 2010, Europlanet has had an active programme of engaging policy makers with the cutting-edge science and technological challenges of planetary science and exploration. We have organised one-to-one briefings, dinner debates and other events aimed at Members of the European Parliament, European Commission officials and key industry and policy groups.
Latest Policy News
First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council ERC Kicks off Horizon Europe
The EU institutions reached a political agreement on Horizon Europe on 11 December 2020 and set the budget for Horizon Europe at €95.5 billion in current prices. On this basis, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU proceed towards the adoption of the legal acts. The work programme for the European Research Council was adopted on 22 February 2021. >> Read more
Europlanet took part in an exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels, as part of a week of events for the 8th European Innovation Summit (8th EIS) and the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Annual Lecture from 14-18th November 2016. The Europlanet display included a model of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (contributed by the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, BIRA-IASB) and a Virtual Reality experience for exploring the sights and sounds of the surface of Mars using real data from NASA missions (contributed by VR2Planets).
The Europlanet 2024 RI project funds access to and use of a network of telescopes (the Europlanet Telescope Network) for the astronomical observation of Solar System objects and exoplanets. One of the objectives of this network is to train and support amateur astronomers in the observations of Solar System objects (planets, asteroids, comets…), encouraging their participation in pro-am collaborations within the scientific fields of Solar System and exoplanets research.
On May 15, 2021 (Saturday) we will organise a virtual workshop dedicated to the amateur community which aims to demonstrate the use of the telescopes within the Europlanet Telescope Network to amateur astronomers. The workshop will be held in Spanish and will use the Calar Alto 1.23m telescope for practical demonstrations showing its remote use.
First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council ERC Kicks off Horizon Europe
The EU institutions reached a political agreement on Horizon Europe on 11 December 2020 and set the budget for Horizon Europe at €95.5 billion in current prices. On this basis, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU proceed towards the adoption of the legal acts. The work programme for the European Research Council was adopted on 22 February 2021. For additional information: Click Here
European Research Council approved a €1.9 billion financing package to allow some 1,000 top researchers to pursue frontier research.
The funding will support jobs for an estimated 6,860 postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and other research staff employed in ERC-funded teams.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Research, Innovation, Culture, Education and Youth highlighted the importance of the adopted Work Programme as that will support top researchers and their teams to pursue frontier research at different stages of their careers. Top researchers considered as the future of European research.
Additionally, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council welcomed the adopted Work Programme as an important tool to back Europe’s researchers and their most innovative ideas. Thanks to the European Commission’s commitment, and the outstanding dedication of the Executive Agency staff the first call for proposal have already launched in 25 February.
First Calls for proposal in 2021
European Research Council’s Starting Grants as supporting top researchers to start their own independent research team or programme. Total budget: €619 million. The call launched it on 25 February and a deadline of 8 April.
Consolidator grants for researchers who are consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Total budget of €633 million. The call launched it on 11 March and a deadline for applications is 20 April.
European Research Council will launch a call for Advanced Grants for leading advanced investigators. Total budget of €626 million. The call will be launched on 20 May and a deadline on 31 August.
The United Nations/United Arab Emirates Forum focused on ‘Space for our Future’ to maximize the efforts in ensuring that the benefits of space are brought to everyone, everywhere. The 2020 edition sought to facilitate the exchange of best practices and more inter-agency collaboration in support of the SDGs so that space assets, exploration and utilization finally become more universally used as one of the key tools for a better future.
Available materials (Presentations of the online virtual meeting):Click here
Establishing the space programme of the Union and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme / ITRE (Committee on Industry, Research & Energy)
Massimiliano Salini(Rapporteur/EPP) highlighted the importance of the reached agreement for the future of the European strategy in terms of guaranteeing services to the level that its citizens expects and deserves. Space sector is going to be a strategic sector for when it comes to the recovery from COVID 19. For additional information: Click here
13th European Space Conference Space Embracing a Changing World: Green, Digital, Resilience & Security
Charles Michel, President of the EU Council laid out the overall strategy at a particular geopolitical moment for Europe. He stressed the importance of the Space Action in order to reach Europe’s strategic objectives:
Climate and Digital Transition
Mobilized unprecedented means to meet our objectives (Data, Cloud Computing and AI)
Europe should become more strategically autonomous where unified action of the 27 European countries is needed
For additional information (Video recordings): Click here
The 1st Regional Hub Policy – Industry officers meeting took place on December 10, 2020, with the participation of 24 Europlanet policy and industry officers representing most regional hubs.
The local perspective’s importance to build the Europlanet policy strategy and links to the industry was raised. The collection of country-specific space strategies and building a directory of expertise were some of the issues discussed.
Call for Nominations of Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 now open
** DEADLINE: May 15, 2021, 23:59 UT **
To honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person, a prize has been established in recognition of significant contributions in one of the fields of interest of Paolo, which spanned from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularisation, security in space, weapons control and disarmament.
The prize was proposed during the ‘International Workshop on Paolo Farinella, the scientist and the man‘, held in Pisa in 2010, and the 2021 edition is supported by the Europlanet Society.
The eleventh Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning ‘Terrestrial Planets and Super-Earths’, including work on the physics, dynamics and observations of terrestrial planets inside or outside of our solar system. The award winner will be honoured during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021.
For the 11th Paolo Farinella Prize, the terms and rules are as follows:
The nominations for the Paolo Farinella Prize can be made by any researcher that works in the field of planetary sciences following the indications in the attached form. Self nominations are acceptable. The candidates should have international and interdisciplinary collaborations and should be not older than the age of Paolo when he passed away, 47 years, on May 15, 2021.
The winner of the prize will be selected before June 20 by the Paolo Farinella Prize Committee composed of outstanding scientists in planetary sciences, with specific experience in the field. The Prize Committee will consider all the nominations, but it will be entitled to autonomously consider other candidates.
Previous recipients of the Paolo Farinella Prize were:
2011: William F. Bottke, for his contribution to the field of ‘Physics and dynamics of small solar system bodies‘.
2012: John Chambers, for his contribution to the field of ‘Formation and early evolution of the solar system‘.
2013: Patrick Michel, for his contribution to the field of ‘Collisional processes in the Solar System’.
2014: David Vokrouhlicky, for his contribution to the field of ‘Non gravitational forces in the Solar System‘.
2015: Nicolas Biver, for his contribution to the field of ‘Dynamics and physics of comets’.
2016: Kleomenis Tsiganis, for his contribution to the field of ‘Applications of celestial mechanics to the natural bodies of our solar system’.
2017: Simone Marchi, for his contribution to the field of ‘Physics and dynamics of the inner planets of the solar system and their satellites’.
2018: Francis Nimmo, for his contribution to the field of ‘Giant planets satellite systems’.
2019: Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo, jointly, for their contribution to the field of ‘The Trans-Neptunian Population’.
2020: Heather Knutson and Jonathan Fortney, jointly, for their contribution to the field of “Structure, Physics and Dynamics of Giant Planets’.
For over a decade, Europlanet had actively engaged with both policy makers and Industry and Academia groups. We continue to leverage collaborations, synergies with experts and policy makers to engage them with the cutting-edge science and technological challenges of planetary science and exploration.
For more information about our Policy and Industry activities:
First successful observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network
One month after the first projects to observe at the Europlanet Telescope Network were granted in December, the first successful observations took place in January at the Moletai Observatoria in Lithuania.
The project “Reducing the selection effects in asteroid spins, shapes, and thermal parameters” is a long-term project aiming at determining physical parameters like spin, 3D shape, size, and thermal inertia of numerous asteroids that have been omitted by most of the previous studies. Their slow rotation and small amplitudes of brightness variations make them difficult targets for photometric observations, thus creating an observing selection effect.
Through coordinated observations from multiple sites, the project is gradually decreasing bias. This results in detailed spin and shape models based on high-quality photometric datasets of these asteroids observed at various viewing geometries.
Additionally, the models are being scaled in size down to 5% precision by thermophysical modelling with infrared data obtained from space, and fitting the shape models to stellar occultations by asteroids (Marciniak et al. 2018, and 2019: Astronomy Astrophys. 610, A7; and 625, A139). The new photometric observations, as shown in the image, gathered recently at Moletai Observatory, complemented with data from other sites, will result in fully covered lightcurves for five asteroids with rotation periods up to 38 hours, and should soon lead to the determination of spin and shape models of these challenging targets.
While this project already successfully observed its targets, further observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network are soon to come. Additionally, the second Science Advisory Board meeting was already taking place at the end of January to evaluate three more projects that want to exploit the small telescopes network. While the decision on the funding of these proposals will be announced soon, we are in the meantime inviting interested observers to apply with their project to the NA2 Call for Observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network.
Training in Storytelling and Theatre as a Tool for Science Outreach
The Europlanet Society’s Committee Funding Scheme provides awards of €1000-5000 to supports projects that further the aims of the Europlanet Society and actively involve its members. In 2020, the Society supported an application by the Benelux Hub for a project called ‘Planetary Atmospheres Accessible to All’ that would enable researchers to collaborate with performers and storytellers in producing unique augmented lectures that use performing arts techniques to engage public audiences.
This online workshop, aimed at 10 selected BIRA / IASB / Europlanet researchers, has provided the practical tools to become storytellers of science with a special emphasis on addressing a general audience and/or students.
The workshop was divided into three half-day sessions (11, 14, 18 December 2020, 09:00 → 13:00 ).
The first half-day focused on defining and prioritizing the key themes which help to communicate Aeronomy to target audiences, by connecting them to societal issues. A process of collective intelligence and design thinking has been used to facilitate the emergence of key themes that can be integrated in the Augmented Lectures, if they will be produced.
Based on the outcomes, the second session has provided training in the creation of a science outreach story and its delivery (storytelling). We focused on and applied the fundamental ingredients of stories (starting from a simplified Hero’s Journey). Each participant has had the chance to prepare one short story on his/her topic of interest.
During the third half-day session, these stories have been presented to invited artists, and possible collaborations have been explored between art-science pairs to cocreate Augmented Lectures to further enhance the project.
The online workshop by Dr Andrea Brunello and Dr Pierre Echard of Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT) was supported by the Europlanet Society Benelux Hub.
Organisers: Dr Andrea Brunello (JPT), Dr Ann Carine Vandaele (BIRA-IASB), Dr Arianna Piccialli (BIRA-IASB), Karolien Lefever (Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy), Dr Pierre Echard (JPT)
Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149