Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

The Expert Exchange Programme, funded through Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI), aims to support the mobilisation of the planetary community to share expertise and best practice and to prepare new facilities and services for integration into the RI.

The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). Due to travel restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual visits are also now supported through the Europlanet Expert Exchange programme.

Objectives for an Europlanet Expert Exchange might be:

  • To improve infrastructure facilities and services offered to the scientific community by Europlanet 2024 RI laboratories or institutes.
  • To provide training on theoretical or practical aspects of the laboratory/fieldwork required to plan a future TA application.
  • To foster cooperation between academia and industry (SMEs).
  • To support early career professionals to develop skills to use or manage RI facilities or services.
  • To widen participation from Under-Represented States in RI activities and services.
  • To support the inclusion of amateur communities in European planetary science campaigns.
  • To support engagement with wider society e.g. through the involvement of outreach providers, educators, journalists, artists etc.

Organising an Expert Exchange                                

The following procedure outlines how to set up and organise a visit in the framework of the Europlanet Expert Exchange programme:

  1. The need for a visit or a virtual Expert Exchange is clearly identified.
  2. The applicant contacts the host facility / institute and agrees the terms of the exchange or virtual visit.
  3. The applicant fills in the application form on the Europlanet website.
  4. When application is accepted. the applicant and the host, with help of the facilitator, prepare a plan to realise the Expert Exchange, either through a physical visit or virtually.
  5.  The Expert Exchange takes place.
  6. After the Expert Exchange, a visit report (2 page maximum PDF file) is prepared and uploaded along with the reimbursement form via the the post-vist form on the website.
  7. The report is reviewed by the Expert Programme Board and if accepted, the eligible costs will be refunded.
  8. Visit report is published on the Europlanet website.

The same basic principles apply for virtual Expert Exchanges as well as normal on-site visits. However, there is some flexibility in terms of the type of eligible costs for virtual Expert Exchanges (see case study below for an example), beyond the accommodation, travel and per-diems that are funded for a physical visit.

The Expert Exchange programme in Europlanet 2024 RI will occur through an ‘open call’, and applicants can apply as long as visits are organised before the call end date. The end date for applications will be publicised well in advance on the programme website.

Applications should allow sufficient time for the review process, and should be submitted at least a month before the proposed start date of the Expert Exchange. The Expert Programme Board will inform applicants directly on whether the application has been accepted.

For any questions or further information about the Expert Exchange Programme, please contact Maria Genze, Expert Exchange Coordinator (Maria.Genzer<at>fmi.fi) and Haukka Harri, Expert Exchange Deputy Coordinator (Harri.Haukka<at>fmi.fi).

Case study: A virtual Expert Exchange for laboratory tests

This example of a possible virtual Expert Exchange relates to a scientific instrument test performed in one country and operated from another country through remote access tools.

An engineer plans to visit Germany to set up the testing of equipment (payload instruments, testing equipment, electronics, etc.) needed to execute a test campaign. However, travel restrictions are in place. Instead of visiting in person, only the equipment is shipped. The engineer provides good instructions and guidance documentation for the engineer or laboratory personnel receiving the equipment at the host facility.

Using remote access software, the engineer operates the whole test remotely from their home or office, overseeing and monitoring the tests in the laboratory.

In conclusion, this virtual visit achieves the same objectives as a physical visit. The main costs in this case are the transportation of equipment and laboratory rental / extra labour costs.