GENIUS – Gaia European Network for Improved User Services

Important note: the information about GENIUS contained in this web is provided for general information to the Gaia community. ESA members should take into account their constraints regarding the FP7-2013-Space call.

  • Call: FP7-SPACE-2013-1
  • Type of Action: CP
  • Project number: 606740
  • Project dates: 01/10/2013 - 31/03/2017
  • Project duration: 42 months

GENIUS in a nutshell

GENIUS is designed to boost the impact of the next European breakthrough in astrophysics, the Gaia astrometric mission. Gaia is a European Space Agency Cornerstone mission which is scheduled for launch in the final quarter of 2013 and aims at producing the most accurate 3D map of the Milky Way to date. A pan-European consortium named DPAC, funded at the national level, is working on the implementation of the Gaia data processing, of which the final result will be a catalogue and data archive containing one billion objects.

The archive system containing the data products will be located at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) and it will serve as the basis for the scientific exploitation of the Gaia data. The design, implementation and operation of this archive is a task that ESA has opened to participation from the European scientific community in 2012. GENIUS is aimed at significantly contributing to the development of this archive based on the following principles: archive design driven by the needs of the user community that will scientifically exploit the Gaia results; provision of exploitation tools to maximize the scientific return; ensuring the quality of the archive contents and the interoperability with existing and future astronomical archives; cooperation with the only other two astrometric missions in the world, Nano-JASMINE and JASMINE (Japan); and last but not least, the archive facilitates outreach activities.

GENIUS is a proposal submitted to the European Commission FP7-2013-Space call, defined to fit seamlessly into existing Gaia activities, exploiting the synergies with ongoing developments. Its members actively participate in these ongoing tasks and provide an in-depth knowledge of the mission as well as the relevant expertise in key development areas. Furthermore, GENIUS has the support of DPAC, several Gaia national communities in the EUmember states, and will cooperate with the Japanese astrometric missions already mentioned.


The GENIUS collaboration is formed by four core partners, a support center partner and six specialised partners:


Core partners

  • Universitat de Barcelona ICCUB/IEEC (UB) – X. Luri – coordinator (Spain)

  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) – F. Arenou (France)
  • Leiden University (UL) – A. Brown (Netherlands)
  • University of Edinburgh (UEDIN) – N. Hambly (United Kingdom)

Simulations and portal

  • Consorci de Serveis Interuniversitaris de Catalunya (CSUC) - G-J. Roldan (Spain)

Specialised partners

  • Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) - R. Smart (Italy)
  • Université de Genève (UNIGE) - L. Eyer (Switzerland)
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - D. Pourbaix (Belgium)
  • Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FFCUL) - A. Moitinho (Portugal)
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas(CSIC) - E. Solano (Spain)
  • University of Bristol (UBR) - M. Taylor (United Kingdom)
  • University of Cambridge (UCAM) - N. Walton (United Kingdom)

Cooperation with nanoJasmine and Jasmine

  • Kyoto University (KU) - Y. Yamada (Japan)

The FP7 call

GENIUS has ben submitted to the FP7-2013 call for funding.

Target: collaborative project


  • 9.2. Strengthening the foundations of Space science and technology
    • Area 9.2.1: Research to support space science and exploration
      • SPA.2013.2.1-01 Exploitation of space science and exploration data

Key points from call:

  • Space based observations play a leading role in Earth, Planetary, Universe, Environmental, Physical and Life sciences, providing a privileged vantage point of our planet and objects of the universe, especially when taken in synergy with ground based observations, data analysis and modelling tools and other research in laboratories. ESA has supported many science
missions (see in particular data available at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC) ), but data analysis beyond the execution of the mission remains limited. Collaborative proposals in the field of further data analysis and data exploitation are of particular importance. Missions have produced in the past and are currently producing data sets of immense value for research, and the funding support from FP7 should add to this value through a more comprehensive interpretation.

  • A focus is to be given to research, analysis and presentation of data obtained from space missions, exploiting such space mission data in combination with data collected from ground based observations/data. Research and analysis projects are not only intended to strengthen cooperation on scientific problems, which are relevant to our understanding of space, and advance our ability to perform further activities in space, but could also address earth science issues for which the analysis of space collected data provides breakthroughs. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how their proposed combination of data sets, from multiple instruments or mission sources, including combinations of space and non-space based data e.g. from terrestrial space observatories like European Southern Observatory (ESO) or the Canary's Islands observatories, leads to strong synergies, and adds value to the data obtained in space.

  • Projects should enhance the effectiveness and productivity of the European scientific community, and promote the contribution of space assets to scientific and technological knowledge, through:
    • mobilising the best expertise, in particular academic researchers and scientists, in various fields of science for the analysis and interpretation of space data, selecting the most innovative and challenging objectives in emerging scientific fields;
    • extending the usage of available space data (including archived data), also through comparative benchmarking of existing data collections;
    • developing better tools to access, analyse, process, validate, archive and distribute data obtained from different sources such as space observatories;
    • supporting the preparation of data exploitation of missions under development, which might need special tools for data acquisition and processing, in light of the wealth and variety of data they will collect, including ground-based auxiliary data where relevant;
    • developing comprehensive presentation and visualisation techniques, preferably in 3D, in order to better understand the interrelations between different sources (sensors) and modes (temporally, spatially).

  • This topic is open to international cooperation and should focus on downstream R&D activities complementing space missions, such as the effective scientific exploitation of existing data. Cooperation with international partners from third countries (ICPC) , or
countries which have signed an agreement with the EU covering Science and Technology, as well as other space-faring nations (e.g. US, Japan) will help to expand the use of data, the corresponding data processing and management methods in third countries, and enhance research partnerships with emerging or established space powers. Therefore such international partners will be eligible to participate and to be funded and this aspect will be taken into account in the evaluation.

Expected impact:

Projects are expected to add value to space missions and earth based observations by significantly contributing to the effective scientific exploitation of collected data. They are expected to enable space researchers to take full advantage of the potential value of data sets. Projects are expected to expand the use of data, and/or contribute to dissemination of space mission data on a global scale, and/or enhance the relations with established international space powers.

Projects are expected to contribute to the much needed coordination and exploitation of existing and future data collections from space missions, and coordination with ground based observatories, and thereby enhancing the possibility to base research on datasets providing comprehensive or full coverage, while at the same time addressing the potential need for further analysis of existing datasets. It is also expected that the projects will facilitate access to, and appropriate use of data for those scientists who were/are not part of the team having obtained the space mission data (e.g. principal investigators).

Furthermore, projects are expected to add value to existing activities on European and national levels, and to raise the awareness of coordination and synergy efforts among stakeholders.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-SPACE-2013-1) under grant agreement n°606740.

Topic revision: r29 - 2015-03-12 - LolaBalaguer
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