The Europlanet Society, a new membership organisation to promote the advancement of planetary science in Europe, has been launched today at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin. The Society is open to individual and institutional members and builds on the heritage of 15 years of Europlanet projects funded by the European Commission.

“With the launch of the Europlanet Society, we have put in place a sustainable structure to support planetary science in Europe for decades to come,” said Prof. Nigel Mason, President of the Europlanet Society. “Europlanet has made a unique contribution in building a coherent, collaborative, strategic community for planetary science and related fields in Europe. The Europlanet Society is an exciting new venture that will enable individuals and organisations involved in all aspects of planetary science to take an active role in shaping our community’s future.”

Governance of the Europlanet Society will be overseen by an elected Executive Board, with the first elections to be held at the Society’s General Assembly in October 2019. The Society has established committees to support diversity and early career researchers within the community. Additional working groups will develop links with industry, amateur astronomers, outreach and education providers and policymakers.

The day-to-day running of the Society is managed by the Europlanet Executive Office, to be hosted by the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg. Eleven Regional Hubs located around Europe will help the Society to develop planetary science communities and networks at a regional and national level. The Society will act as the parent body for future EPSC meetings.

Nicolas Walter of the European Science Foundation, said: “We estimate that there are over 1,000 tenured researchers with an interest in planetary science working in more than 200 research institutes across Europe, as well as around 4,000 early career scientists and more than 1,000 companies and SMEs. However, there are still parts of Europe that are under-represented in our community. One of the primary aims of the Europlanet Society is to build capacity in these regions. We have developed an affordable, flexible structure for the Society that will facilitate individuals and institutions from all countries and diverse backgrounds to join.”

The Europlanet Society will engage with decision makers and solicit the views of its members to provide coordinated input into strategy papers and policy consultations. It will also collaborate and coordinate with all other sister organisations related to planetary sciences in Europe and world-wide.

Athena Coustenis, Vice President of the Europlanet Society, said: “Planetary science is a growing field that sits at the intersection of many different disciplines. With so many current and upcoming missions to explore our solar system and those around other stars, it’s a very exciting time. The formation of the Europlanet Society will ensure that we have a strong community in Europe that can identify strategic priorities and maximise the scientific return on investment through the European Space Agency and national and international programmes.”