Knowledge of "space weather" and its effects is not widespread in the socio economic context of Europe. It refers to conditions on the sun and in the regions connecting the sun to earth (solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere) that can influence the performance and reliability of space borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health. Scientific research involved in "space weather" consists of investigations on the generation of such conditions on the Sun, the transmission and modifications of the plasma from the sun to the earth, and the impact and effects of the plasma on the earth magnetosphere and ionosphere, generally known as "Solar Terrestrial Physics".
Space weather impacts on human society are, with respect to space hardware, disturbances to launch operations, disturbances to space systems, influences on orbit control, effects on space station and aircraft crew; with respect to ground technology, ground to ground and ground to space communications, effects on power systems, effects on pipelines, effects on transoceanic data networks. There is a diffuse feeling that perspective users throughout Europe may not be sufficiently aware of the increasing impact that space weather will have on the technological systems and on the safety of services offered by the technological society. Attention to this field is being solicited by the European scientific community, which has urged the involvement of national and international bodies (ESA, the national space agencies) to increase public awareness among the involved scientific institutions, the users of relevant services and the general public. The summer school will expose young European researchers to the views of experienced speakers and will offer a chance to involve European media operators and small and medium enterprise in a joint discussion on perspectives of such research, and of the measures to prevent and mitigate adverse effects of space weather on human activities and welfare.