News

WP3: Science planning and user engagement

Lead: UOULU
UOULU 16 months, STFC 11 months, EISCAT 2 months

This work package covers all those activities needed to engage with the new users whose activities will come within the scope of the enhanced facility. More than simply contacting new users, a key activity will be gathering their requirements for the science topics that they will address, and the different types of new experiment which they would like to run. Work package 3 started at the beginning of the project and continued until July 2014.

The WP organized a number of meetings with Science Working Groups on specific topics and user engagement workshops and participated in the organization of the EISCAT_3D User meetings that the project organized every year. A meeting together with representatives for the technical Work packages in the project in early 2013 resulted in a detailed list of requirements on the radar system from the scientific point of view. In addition to the different research areas addressed with EISCAT_3D the meetings also were devoted to discussion with the space weather and modeling communities and to discussions on using EISCAT_3D in combination with other instruments.

The WP3 has been a demanding project because it needed to cover all potential uses of the new radar.  The outcome is a voluminous science case document and a number of contacts with new user groups. The work package has gone smoothly.

WP2: Legal and logistical issues

Lead: EISCAT
EISCAT 10.5 months, UiT 6 months

This work package contains all the support activities needed to clarify the site selection and infrastructure issues needed for the construction and operation of EISCAT_3D. These are required activities are: Finalising the site selection, and identifying all the relevant stakeholders and administrative issues, which have to be addressed in order to allow construction to start at the selected sites. Identifying the necessary steps to provide access to relevant infrastructure (power, utilities, networking, transport) at the selected sites. Quantifying the full costs of each site development.

WP 2 activities started at the beginning of the project and continued until July 2014. Site surveys were performed at several possible EISCAT_3D sites already during the FP6 Design Study and these were revisited and some new sites surveyed. The list of potential sites was finalised during the summer of 2013. An area near Skibotn in Norway has been found as a suitable location for the core site from scientific point of view. An area near Bergfors in Sweden has been identified as suitable for the first receiver site. Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) measurements have been conducted in Skibotn and Bergfors during the summer of 2013. For the later stages of the construction, areas near Inari (Finland), Jokkmokk (Sweden) and Andøya (Norway) were initially identified as locations for receiver sites.

The Norwegian and Swedish proposal efforts have received some feedback to define several budget levels and implementation levels of the EISCAT_3D system and in response to that the project has prepared a plan for stage-wise implementation of EISCAT_3D with each stage having advanced system capabilities that are unique on an international level. Stage 1 will consist of sites in Skibotn, Bergfors, and Karesuvanto. The later stages include sites in Andøya and Jokknokk. While Karesuvanto was already considered as a possibility during the project, now closer site surveys were started there. The discussions with the local stakeholders at Skibotn and Bergfors have started regarding topics such as land rights, terms, conditions and environmental impacts. These discussions also include access to infrastructure such as roads, power and data networks. Tromsø University participated in the site discussion and established local contacts through a consultancy. The real negotiations cannot truly begin before there are firm decision on the site locations.

WP2 has undergone some changes in mid-project, with a revision of the scope to take out the site selection tasks, since it has been established that the sites could not be finally acquired until funding is assured and this decision would be made by Council, and not by the project. Also the frequency negotiations were removed from the project because of the uncertainties in the time line and because of their connection to decisions that are beyond the project. With these changes, the work package has gone smoothly.

WP1: Project management and reporting

Lead: EISCAT
EISCAT 16.9 months, UOULU 0.8 months, LTU 0.8 months, IRF 0.8 months, UiT 0.8 months, STFC 9 months, VR 0.8 months, NI 0.8 months, UU 0.6 months

The management work package runs throughout the Preparatory Phase, ensuring a smooth and efficient approach towards the objectives of the EISCAT_3D project, with respect to both financial management and general project administration.

WP1 has proceeded smoothly with no major problems. The meetings have usually been efficiently organised and overall the project is in good financial shape.

Project meetings

A number of internal project meetings and technical meetings took place during the duration of the project, notably the “All Hands” meetings of 2011 and 2012 and “end of the project meeting all-hands meeting” on 11 -12 September 2014. A “Small Hands” meeting was organized in 2013, which was restricted to discussing the technical work packages only. The meeting was open for all project participants and also EISCAT staff from all sites participated. The EISCAT director and the EISCAT staff also convened several “technical telecons” to speed up progress and improve coordination among the technical work packages.  They proved to be very valuable, though in retrospect they should have started earlier and have been made on a more regular basis. The project also held two public presentations.

A public presentation of the EISCAT_3D project took place at the start of the preparatory phase and another one took place on 12 September 2014 at Rymdcampus in Kiruna. The agenda included the following presentations:

  • EISCAT_3D: the next generation incoherent scatter radar for scientific research (Craig Heinselman, EISCAT)
  • EISCAT_3D: Arctic Research Infrastructure for Geospace Environment and Atmosphere (Esa Turunen, SGO)
  • EISCAT_3D: the view from Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Lars Eliasson, IRF)
  • EISCAT_3D in Norway (Cesar La Hoz, UiT)
  • EISCAT_3D and the e-infrastructure challenges (Jacko Koster, SNIC)

The EISCAT_3D users meetings have been held every May in Uppsala, concentrating on different science issues. They have been highly successful and provided a focus for the prospective user community to receive information on the project and contribute their ideas. There is an agreement within the user community to continue these annual meetings after the end of the Preparatory Phase Project.

Work of project committees

EISCAT_3D General Assembly (GA): GA is the ultimate decision-making body of the EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase consortium. It consists of one representative from each of the participating entities and two representatives from the Coordinator (EISCAT). Members are:

  • Esa Turunen (EISCAT Scientific Association) (until 12/2012)
  • Craig Heinselman (EISCAT Scientific Association) (since 01/2013
  • Henrik Andersson (EISCAT Scientific Association)
  • Cesar La Hoz (Universitetet i Tromsø)
  • Jerker Delsing (Luleå Tekniska Universitet)
  • Lars Eliasson (Institutet för Rymdfysik)
  • Anita Aikio (Oulun Yliopisto)
  • Tomas Andersson, (Vetenskapsrådet)
  • Leif Johansson (National Instruments)
  • Richard Harrison (Science & Techn. Facil. Council Rutherford Appleton Lab.)
  • Jacko Koster (Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing, SNIC) since 2013

The EISCAT_3D_2 General Assembly had 8 meetings during the project.

EISCAT_3D Executive Board: The Executive Board acts as the supervisory body for the execution of the EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase. The Executive Board prepares meetings, proposes decisions and prepares the agenda of the General Assembly. It seeks a consensus among the members of the consortium, is responsible for the proper execution and implementation of the decisions of the General Assembly and it monitors the effective and efficient implementation of EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase project. The members of the EISCAT_3D Executive Board are:

  • Esa Turunen (EISCAT Scientific Association) (until 12/2012)
  • Craig Heinselman (EISCAT Scientific Association) (since 01/2013)
  • Henrik Andersson (EISCAT Scientific Association)
  • Jonny Johansson (Luleå Tekniska Universitet)
  • Unni Pia Løvhaug (Universitetet i Tromsø) (since 01/2013)
  • Ingrid Mann (EISCAT Scientific Association) (since 01/2013)
  • Ian McCrea (STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)
  • Thomas Ulich (Oulun Yliopisto/Sodankylän Geofysiikan Observatorio)

Initially the EISCAT_3D Executive Board had teleconferences every week and physical meetings every 3 months. Since beginning of 2013 the teleconference were normally scheduled every second week and only more often, if needed, and some of the discussions were moved to more targeted technical meetings.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is the monitoring body for the technical execution of the EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase. It consists of a Technical Coordinator, appointed by the Coordinator, and up to four other members. TAC receives and reviews reports from each work package leader describing the technical progress of his/her work package and the upcoming plans. It reviews and assesses the levels of existing and planned technical coordination between the various work packages of the project as well as the levels of existing and planned technical coordination between the various project partners, including their sub-contractors and affiliated entities. It also provides regular feedback to each work package leader, assessing the progress of each work package, the interactions between the work packages and the project participants, and makes recommendations for future actions. The members of the Technical Advisory Committee are:

  • Jan-Geralt Bij de Vaate (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), Dwingeloo, The Netherlands)
  • Tom Grydeland (Northern Research Institute (NORUT), Tromsø, Norway)
  • Frank Lind (MIT Haystack Observatory, United States, Technical Coordinator and Chairman of TAC)
  • Werner Singer (Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Kühlungsborn, Germany)

The Technical Advisory Committee has held one regular meeting in 2011, but this proved to be the only meeting of this kind. While the TAC chair provided many useful insights and suggestions, a tighter definition of his role might have made the TAC a more effective review body. The project suggests EISCAT take some measures to set up a technical review during the coming few months.

Project overview

Project period
1. October 2010 – 30. September 2014
Project funds from EC
4 495 227.62 €
Spend by 30 June 2014
3 924 697.63 € (87.31%)

This report describes the outcome of the project as it can be evaluated in October 2014 with the caveat that the reporting is not finalized yet. A major project revision took place in the beginning of 2013 and was reported to Council previously. At that time the descriptions of the work packages were revised and funding allocations modified. All project deliverables have been submitted to EC by 30. September 2014. The EISCAT_3D_2 periodic report 3 for the period October 2013 - September 2014 and the EISCAT_3D_2 final report still need to be prepared within 60/90 days after the end of the project. Based on the numbers as of 30. June 2014 all but one partner were with their spending within their budget limits.

Project partners: The participants are University of Oulu (UOULU), Luleå University of Technology (LTU), Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), University of Tromsø ( UiT), Science and Technology Facilities Council in the United Kingdom (STFC), the Swedish Research Council (VR), National Instruments (NI) and EISCAT Scientific Association (EISCAT) as the project coordinator. Because of a modification of the SNIC organizational structure, Uppsala University (UU) joint the project as a partner in 2013 in its role as host of the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC). SNIC worked together with Umeå University as a third party of UU.

EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase: Report on the final project status

Note: This report (EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase: Report on the final project status) was prepared in October 2014

The aim of the project was to ensure that the EISCAT_3D project will reach a sufficient level of maturity with respect to technical, legal and financial issues so that the construction of the EISCAT_3D radar system can begin immediately after the conclusion of the project. During the EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase Project the baseline design and site configuration of the full EISCAT_3D system was developed based on reaching a broad consensus in the EISCAT user community.

National consortia in 5 countries have prepared their funding applications in-line with the prepared overall project plan for EISCAT_3D and with their specific research programmes. The costs for the full EISCAT_3D system were clarified during the preparatory phase project and a 4-stage plan to build EISCAT_3D was developed. Stage 1 will already provide world-leading measurements capabilities to attract new users and expand the membership. The presently identified funding opportunities are expected to cover stage 1 and possibly stage 2.

A revised version of the EISCAT Statutes (Blue Book) that can serve as the consortium agreement for EISCAT_3D has been prepared and at present is subject to consultations. The technical work carried out by the project partners is finalized and results are handed over to EISCAT for future use during the implementation phase that will be carried out with industry. The user meetings that were initially organized within the Science activities of the project will continue and will be organized by the EISCAT user community. The budgets prepared within the Preparatory Phase Project will be updated within EISCAT HQ and presented to the Research Councils for negotiations. Some opportunities for additional funding from affiliate members and other sources are identified.

Steps towards construction

The construction of EISCAT_3D requires close interaction with industry in order to ensure the production of components of the high quality and the large numbers needed. This includes the manufacturing of the antenna elements and the corresponding electronics. Engineering solutions could be a development driver for large scale distributed systems in harsh environments.

EISCAT and its users are working together with industry to develop technology and applications for EISCAT_3D. Enterprises, both regional and national, within the EISCAT member countries are expected to respond to invitations to tender for e.g. radio and the digital signal processing instruments, antenna front end and timing systems, and other advanced subsystems.

The timing of EISCAT_3D is ideal. It is now feasible to construct and operate the system and to handle the data volume that the system will provide; this was not the case a few years ago. An increasingly technology-dependent society needs to understand the ionospheric processes caused by space weather in order to minimise their effects on sensitive systems. EISCAT_3D will offer state-of-the-art instruments to the scientific community for dedicated observation campaigns to study processes important for the understanding of our environment and climate, such as the energy coupling between the upper and lower atmosphere, the linkages between the different layers of the upper atmosphere and to interplanetary space, small-scale structures and phenomena as well as micro-meteoroids that enter the atmosphere and participate in atmospheric processes.

Future collaborations

The overall theme of EISCAT_3D is to explore the multiple facets of the question how the Earth's atmosphere is coupled to space. The EISCAT_3D science encompasses climate change, space weather, space debris and near-Earth object studies. The technical challenges to handle large data volumes will employ tools from the newly emerging field of e-science and spur collaboration with local computing centres. EISCAT_3D will provide an unprecedented resource for observations of the near-Earth space. It will provide long-term time-series data of the ionospheric conditions enabling studies of variations on a time-scale over several solar cycles.

When in operation, EISCAT_3D will be at a central position in the international, and trans-regional, space cluster of Northernmost Scandinavia, which includes large space research centres in Kiruna (Sweden), Sodankylä (Finland) and Tromsø (Norway), two rocket launch facilities in Andøya (Norway) and Esrange (Sweden), and several other instruments and instrument networks for geospace observation such as magnetometers and auroral cameras.

The scientific data from EISCAT_3D will be an invaluable asset for models and near real-time forecasts of space weather effects on modern technology, including power grids and other important infrastructures. EISCAT_3D can also contribute to the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme by tracking known space debris and assisting communication and navigation services like the Galileo navigation satellites. Discussions have just been initiated between EISCAT, agencies and institutes in the Nordic countries and the European Space Agency (ESA) on the prospect of including EISCAT_3D in ESA's SSA programme. EISCAT will continue to be an active participant in global observation campaigns and international and European research projects. From its foundation EISCAT has been a purely scientific organisation. The radar technologies to be used with EISCAT_3D allow the detection and tracking of small objects in space. The new Bluebook has stipulations that ensures that the EISCAT facilities will be used strictly for scientific and civilian purposes.

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