UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure launches new era of planetary collaboration in Europe

15 September 2015

Mars (credit: NASA, ESA)

A €9.95 million project to integrate and support planetary science activities across Europe has been launched.

The Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (RI) is funded under the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme and will run for four years until August 2019. UCL is a key participant in the project, which is led by the Open University and has 34 beneficiary institutions from 19 European countries.

Europlanet 2020 RI will address key scientific and technological challenges facing modern planetary science by providing open access to state-of-the-art research data, models and facilities across the European Research Area.  

Prof Nigel Mason, the Project Coordinator, said, "We are delighted to announce the launch of this new Research Infrastructure. Since its foundation in 2005, Europlanet has played an immensely effective role in bringing together the European planetary science community. In this latest project, we have an ambitious programme of research, access and networking activities. In particular, our focus will be on fostering a closer integration between industry and academia in planetary science, and supporting institutions and partners from countries in early stages of developing planetary research programmes."

UCL will have key responsibilities in building a "virtual planetary observatory" full of data and observations from space missions to the planets, as well as ensuring Europlanet has a major impact in the scientific community, with industry, policy-makers and the wider public.

Prof Steve Miller (UCL Physics & Astronomy and UCL Science & Technology Studies), who is the project's Impact Officer, said: "It is vitally important that this phase of Europlanet makes strong ties with industry, and has a wide impact in the policy world of space exploration and planetary science. We also want European citizens in general to be well aware of our activities and their importance."

UCL is one of four UK institutions contributing to Europlanet through its Departments of Physics & Astronomy, Space & Climate Physics, and Science & Technology Studies.