PITHIA-NRF Topical Discussion Meeting at the 17th European Space Weather Week



PITHIA-NRF: The European Commission H2020 Plasmasphere Ionosphere and Thermosphere Integrated Research Environment and TransNational Access Services

Wednesday, 27 October 2021 (11:15-12:30 UT)


PITHIA-NRF aims at building a European distributed network that integrates observing facilities, data processing tools and prediction models dedicated to ionosphere, thermosphere and plasmasphere research. For the first time, PITHIA-NRF integrates on a European scale, and opens up, to all European researchers, key national and regional research infrastructures such as EISCAT, LOFAR, Ionosondes and Digisondes, GNSS receivers, Doppler sounding systems, riometers, and VLF receivers, ensuring optimal use and joint development. PITHIA-NRF is designed to provide organized access to experimental facilities, FAIR data, standardized data products, training and innovation services.

PITHIA-NRF facilitates drastically research advances in the field of upper atmosphere and near-Earth space, through the integration of data collections and of results from key prediction models. PITHIA-NRF paves the way for new observing technologies, and to standard-making processes for software and high-level data products that are tuned to meet the requirements of technologies concerned, linking best-in-class R&D facilities to provide seamless multi-technology services.

The aim of this TDM is to present the possibilities offered by PITHIA-NRF to researchers, engineers, system designers and operators to support research and innovation projects in the field of near-Earth space and upper atmosphere.


(15 min) Introduction to the PITHIA-NRF project, Anna Belehaki (Project Coordinator)

  • Objectives and participants
  • Integration activities
  • E-science center
  • Training and innovation programme

(15 min) PITHIA-NRF transnational access services, Ingemar Häggström (Chair of the PITHIA-NRF Access Bureau)

  • Presentation of the nodes
  • Results from the 1st TNA call
  • Schedule for the next TNA calls

(30 min) Discussion slot

  1. Did you know already about PITHIA-NRF activities, given that the 1st TNA Call is published?
  2. What tools are you most interested in using: Discover facilities (Run special measurement campaigns), Discover data (Low level or Data products, Single or Multi station), Discover models (Alter parameters, Source code modifications)
  3. Do the services offered by PITHIA-NRF nodes meet your needs (research/innovation)? Do you have suggestions for additional services?

(5 min) Closure – how to get involved (Anna Belehaki)



Topical Discussion Meeting Report


Name of the meeting:           

PITHIA-NRF – Plasmasphere Ionosphere Thermosphere Integrated Research Environment and Access services: a Network of Research Facilities 


Anna Belehaki, Ingemar Häggström

Date – Time – Room:             

Wednesday 27.10.2021 – 11:15-12:30 (UT) – TIC Conference 6/7 & Zoom Breakout Room t02

Nr of participants:    

50-55 people


Objective of the TDM

The aim of this TDM is to present the possibilities offered by PITHIA-NRF to researchers, engineers, system designers and operators to support research and innovation projects in the field of near-Earth space and upper atmosphere.


Some discussion highlights

  • Anna Belehaki presented the challenges, ambition and objectives of the PITHIA-NRF project. She explained the interoperability concept and analyzed the expected.
  • Ingemar Häggström presented the transnational access (TNA) programme, analyzing how the users can apply for subsidized access to the observing facilities, what type of projects can be implemented in each node, and what are the selection criteria and the commitments for both the TNA researchers and the nodes.

In the discussion after the general presentations the following points are addressed:

  • The data standardization and the metadata data model is a key issue: PITHIA-NRF plans to adopt an enhanced version of the ESPAS data model.
  • The training programme for PhD students and young researchers: PITHIA-NRF plans to organize two summer schools in 2022 and 2024. Financial support is anticipated for selected participants.
  • The possibility for the commercial sector to apply for access: PITHIA-NRF is highly interested to work with the business sector and support innovation projects. This can be done through targeted TNA projects and through specific collaboration agreements regarding IPR issues. Dedicated discussions can be organized during the three Innovation Days planned in the course of the project.
  • The need for an online system that provides details about the characteristics of the instruments and their operation schedule has been discussed. It was clarified that this system is already under development and will be accessible to the PITHIA-NRF users.
  • The need for more systematic advertisement of the project and dissemination towards the community is identified.

At the end of the meeting, Anna Belehaki thanked the participants and noted that in order to stay informed on the project developments and get involved in the PITHIA-NRF activities, an email has to be sent to info@pithia-nrf.eu, asking to be included in the network of PITHIA-NRF stakeholders. More information on the project can be found in the web site http://pithia-nrf.eu.

The next PITHIA-NRF TDM is planned in the ESWW2022.


Main conclusion of the meeting

PITHIA-NRF, through open access to relevant e-services and trans-national access to experimental facilities, will act as facilitator for coordinated observations, for data processing tools and modelling advances, for software and data-products standardization, and will advise on the transitioning of models to operations providing e-science supporting tools so that models can reach the desired accuracy and standards. The training and access activities provide an opportunity for researches and other users to benefit from the PITHIA-NRF network.