LASSIE FP7 ITN
SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME INITIAL TRAINING NETWORKS
The LASSIE (Laboratory Astrochemical Surface Science in Europe) Initial Training Network (ITN)
has the goal of providing a training and research environment uniquely equipped
To conduct a scientific research programme that addresses one of the key issues of modern astronomy and
astrophysics - hence supporting the major investment of the ERA in observational astronomy and space
To enhance the European knowledge economy via the provision of trained and mobile researchers
equipped with the skills necessary to pursue successful careers across a wide range of employment sectors
in the face of increasing global competition.
To enhance the global standing of European culture.
To achieve these aims, the LASSIE ITN will use a broad and coherent range of ’training through
research’ activities that will:
Produce highly trained researchers with a range of practical, theoretical and computational skills
relevant to astrochemistry.
Produce researchers with an ability to independently analyse problems and formulate suitable strategies
for their solution.
Produce researchers capable of both independent research and of working as part of a multi-disciplinary
Produce researchers experienced in a SME research and development environment.
Produce scientists with a broad portfolio of non-scientific skills relevant to the wider career goals
of these individuals. In particular, through integrated training with a range of industrial partners, the
network will provide its researchers with skills in presentation, management, business and entrepreneurship.
Produce researchers with experience in the communication of science to a wide range of people both
inside and outside of the scientific community.
The LASSIE ITN brings together Europe’s 13 leading theoretical and experimental surface and solid
state astrochemistry research groups supported by a partnership of 6 high technology MSME partners
and an internationally recognised MSME outreach partner. The network has a combined experience in
excess of 250 years in research and training; has a publication record in high quality journals
numbering over 1000 papers; and has trained over 100 ESR and ER who are now fully integrated into a
wide range of knowledge-based enterprises in Europe. Furthermore this strong interdisciplinary and
intersectorial team provides:
A large inclusive network that will allow interactions across the surface and solid state astrochemistry
communities in Europe to be developed.
The necessary knowledge base and human resources to ensure that the past, present and future multibillion
Euro support for observational astronomy is capable of being fully exploited by providing the
necessary scientific support to allow astronomers to interpret their observations based on realistic and
well-understood laboratory chemistry and physics.
A much needed infrastructure for developing a coherent programme of astrochemical research within the
EU that will allow the ERA to compete more effectively globally.
At national level the need for, and the benefits of, such collaboration in furthering research in
astrochemistry has been recognised in France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. In the latter, the
AstroSurf Network (http://www.chem.ucl.ac.uk/astrosurf/home.html),
funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is an ideal example of how cooperation and
collaboration may be brought together in a wider European programme. Whilst aspects of astrochemistry form part
of other European-funded programmes such as the EuroPlanet consortium (which requires astrochemical data for
the study of planetary atmospheres) and the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA), neither of these have
the goal or structure for training the much needed next generation of astrochemists which is the main purpose of
this ITN. However both of these consortia have indicated a willingness to collaborate with the LASSIE ITN.
Furthermore, ASTRONET (http://www.astronet-eu.org),
the European consortium of astronomy and astrophysics funding agencies, has recently declared that astrochemistry is
crucial in underpinning the major investment in telescope development expected in the next 20 years
and must be supported if Europe is to successfully utilise that investment.