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Training Research and Applications Network to Support the Mitigation of Ionospheric Threats

Periodic Report Summary - TRANSMIT (Training Research and Applications Network to Support the Mitigation of Ionospheric Threats)

At a COST 296 Mitigation of Ionospheric Effects on Radio Systems (MIERS) workshop held in 2008, the establishment of a sophisticated ionospheric perturbation detection and monitoring (IPDM) network (see http://ipdm.nottingham.ac.uk/ for details) was proposed as the way forward to deliver the state of the art to protect the range of essential systems vulnerable to these ionospheric threats. The TRANSMIT ITN has been funded by the European Commission (EC) through their Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) PEOPLE Programme to initiate research and training of scientists in Europe for the development of the IPDM network.

TRANSMIT kicked off in February 2011 and its coordinated research sub-projects started in September 2011, with the recruitment of 14 research fellows, each in charge of an individual sub-project. These sub-projects are currently being coordinated within TRANSMIT in order to develop real time integrated state of the art tools to mitigate ionospheric threats to GNSS and several applications that rely on these systems. TRANSMIT will set up a prototype of the proposed IPDM network and associated service. The project's scientific objectives are listed below:

A. develop new techniques to detect and monitor ionospheric threats, with the introduction of new prediction and forecasting models, mitigation tools and improved system design;
B. advance the physical modelling of the underlying processes associated with the ionospheric plasma environment and the knowledge of its influences on human activity;
C. establish a prototype of a real time system to monitor the ionosphere, capable of providing useful assistance to users, which exploits all available resources and adds value for European services and products ;
D. incorporate solutions to this system that respond to all end user needs and that are applicable in all geographical regions of European interest (polar, high and mid-latitudes, equatorial region).

The research feeds from real world scientific and industrial problems, generates initial solutions that will be tested, validated and fine-tuned against the originating problems and ultimately lead to a final product, i.e. the prototype of the IPDM network and service (also referred to as the TRANSMIT prototype), which will address end users requirements. This is achieved through close interaction with TRANSMIT's associated industrial partners, who have hosted the project's fellows on secondments throughout this reporting period and will continue to do so during the remainder of the project, following a carefully designed plan.

The project has accomplished all proposed milestones and deliverables for the period. The recruitment of the fellows, albeit with very minor delays, was accomplished on schedule, enabling the research and training to start accordingly. All planned training events have been successfully undertaken, including one team building exercise, two summer schools and two workshops. The research has progressed very well, with a clear indication of what the envisaged prototype should incorporate and how this can be materialised. This has been possible in particular thanks to the involvement from project start of DLR, on whose SWACI (see http://swaciweb.dlr.de for details) platform the prototype will be implemented, tested and validated, and to the fellows, who have bonded into as a real team, integrating their work aiming for this common goal.

The project has recently undergone a mid-term-review (MTR) process (December 2012), where details of status and progress on the project were presented to the Project Officer and to the EC nominated reviewer. An accompanying MTR report provided a thorough description of the project's training, research and dissemination achievements up to month 24.

Dissemination of the project's activities and achievements has been accomplished through the following:

- Branding: From project start the TRANSMIT logo was developed and has been used in all dissemination media (flyers, newsletters, presentations, web, etc.) where the project is to be exposed.
- Templates: These were created with the TRANSMIT and the Marie Curie actions logos for use in written communication, promotional material and presentations.
- Website: The project website (see http://www.transmit-ionosphere.net online) was setup to provide reference to the project and a portal for update on its activities, achievements and evolution.
- Flyers: An informative project flyer was developed for distribution at key events.
- Press releases and presentations at key forums to raise awareness of the project.
- Coordinated scientific presentations at conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals.
- Conference session organisation: A TRANSMIT session was organised at the Sixth GNSS Vulnerabilities and Solutions Conference (details below).
- TRANSMIT open events (workshops and summer schools).
- Press releases, such as 'World experts join forces to counter solar threats to satellite navigation', at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2011/march/solarthreatstosatellitenavigation.aspx 28/03/2011
- External conference / workshop / seminar presentations.
- The first issue of the TRANSMIT newsletter was successfully distributed in November 2012 to the relevant community, including industry. The newsletter is planned for a six-month release.