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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 FP7-2012-Space call.

GENIUS in a nutshell

Gaia is a European Space Agency Cornerstone mission which is scheduled for launch in 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 will open 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 cientifically exploit the Gaia results; use of the best state-of-the-art archive system; 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; and last but not least, the archive facilitates outreach activities.

GENIUS is a proposal submitted to the European Commission FP7-2012-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 EU member states, and will cooperate with the Japanese astrometric mission nanoJasmine.


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)

Testbed support partner

  • Centre de Supercomputació de Catalunya (CESCA) - J. Cambras (Spain)

Specialised partners

  • Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) - L. Pulone (Italy)
  • Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA) - E. Solano (Spain)
  • 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) - André Moitinho(Portugal)
  • University of Bristol (UBR) - M. Taylor (United Kingdom)

The FP7 call

GENIUS has ben submitted to the FP7-2012 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.2012.2.1-01 Exploitation of space science and exploration data

Key points from call:

  • A focus is to be given in 2012 to research and analysis of astronomical and astrophysical data obtained from space missions, including exploitation of space mission data in combination with data collected from ground based observations. The use of scientific space data available at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC)26 is of particular significance, as is the data collected from collaborative efforts of NASA and European space actors. Research and analysis projects are intended to strengthen cooperation on scientific problems, which are for instance relevant to our solar system, internal constitution of stars and and stellar evolution, exoplanets, galaxies and interstellar media

  • 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 and presentation of space data, selecting the most innovative and challenging objectives in emerging scientific fields;
    • extending the usage of available space data (including archived data);
    • developing better tools to process, access, archive and distribute and present data obtained from different sources such as space observatories and planetary missions.

  • 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.

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 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.

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Topic revision: r17 - 2011-11-25 - XaviLuri
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