GREAT: Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training
The ESA Gaia Science Team and the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium work with others in the community to build the European science capacity to successfully exploit the ESA Gaia cornerstone mission.
GREAT is the programme which brings together the scientific community by promoting topical workshops, training events, exchange visits, conferences and so forth with the aim of addressing the major scientific issues that the Gaia satellite addresses. .
GREAT builds upon the networking activities carried out through the earlier EU FP6 ELSA programme. ELSA (European Leadership in Space Astrometry) developed 'the theoretical understanding and practical analysis tools of importance for the European Space Agency's astrometric mission Gaia and fostered the development of a new generation of researchers in the area of space astrometry.’ ELSA students and early stage researchers addressed a number of important topics supporting the development and scientific operation of the Gaia mission. GREAT, on the other hand, helps build the capacity of the science community in the exploitation of Gaia data.
The GREAT initiative was initially enabled through a European Science Foundation (ESF) research networking programme which ran from Feb 2010 to Feb 2015. This network funded community training events, workshops and major conferences, proceedings, grants for short and exchange visits, and outreach material. It helped build essential collaborative scientific cooperation across Europe and the wider world in turn delivering major advances in science around the main objectives of Gaia. Over 550 researchers in some 90 groups from 17 European countries and the European Space Agency (ESA), and covering all the science areas covered by Gaia participated in this network.
The GREAT-ITN, supported through the EU Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) (call FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN)supported an Initial Training Network. This provided training to a core of early stage researchers, who participated in the development of the GREAT programme and scientific exploitation of Gaia.
This MW-Gaia COST Action now continues GREAT networking activities over the four year period 2019-2023.