The Last Word: Europlanet – A Page Turns

The Last Word: Europlanet – A Page Turns 

Ann Carine Vandaele, President of the Europlanet Society, reflects on sustainability for Europlanet.  

Read article in the fully formatted PDF of the Europlanet Magazine.

A year ago, in February 2023, Europlanet founded an international non-profit association (AISBL) under Belgian law. The objectives of the AISBL are aligned with those of the Europlanet Society, i.e. to promote planetary sciences, for the benefit of the community, by encouraging the creation of new knowledge, promoting education, stimulating innovation, and enhancing accessibility and transparency. The management bodies of the AISBL and the Society are shared to ensure that the AISBL’s objectives will always support the Society’s activities and strategies. 

At the General Assembly in November 2023, the Society’s membership endorsed the election results of new Executive Board members (page 4 and 15) and a motion that stated, henceforth, all Society members would also be members of the AISBL. This important step opens up a breadth of new possibilities. 

Ann Carine Vandaele with the signed statutes and
Royal Decree for the Europlanet AISBL.
Ann Carine Vandaele with the signed statutes and Royal Decree for the Europlanet AISBL. Credit: Europlanet.

Europlanet now has a legal identity, enabling us to seek funding and to be full partners in projects. This includes, but is not limited to, programmes funded by the European Commission. We are coming to the end of the €10 million Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project and now have to consider how to sustain the many services that it provides for the wider scientific community. 

At the Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM), we started a major exercise to address sustainability and potential funding models for the different areas of Europlanet activities. 

Participants discussed what the benefits of being a member of the Society should be; how our Regional Hubs could best serve the interest of the Society members and our community; how relationships between the Society, industry and policymakers, could be strengthened; how EPEC, the Early Career Network, could help the new generation of planetary researchers find their place and build their own future; and which Europlanet services are critical to the community and should continue to be supported in the future. This week of discussion and brainstorming (reports on pages 30-41) was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to express themselves and describe their vision of what is important to them as members of the Europlanet Society. But the work has not stopped with the end of ERIM. We would like you to take part in the ongoing discussions! To be effective, and to represent the whole community, we need volunteers willing to share their ideas and experiences. Many Regional Hubs and Committees are lacking core members, so contact us, engage actively in our activities, and suggest new ones! 

The Europlanet Society is your Society, and I sincerely hope that you will all play an active part in its development. 

Find out more about Europlanet Sustainability by joining the conversation and weekly get-togethers on Discord!

Issue 6 of Europlanet Magazine