The Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO), in partnership with some of Europe’s biggest facilities in physics-related disciplines, has just recommitted to a long-term deal to collaborate on Open Science topics, from science data management to developing science tools, services and research software, among others. The agreement was signed at the “ESCAPE to the Future” conference on October 25-26, 2022, where partners of the European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle physics ESFRI research infrastructure (ESCAPE) project, as well as members of the scientific community and the European Commission, gathered at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science in Brussels (Belgium).

ESCAPE, which began in 2019, has brought together a cluster of ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) projects and other world-class research organizations with the aim of implementing a section of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) to foster Open Science in astrophysics and particle physics. As the ESCAPE project, funded by the H2020 grant, is coming to its end, the members of the cluster came together at the conference to share their results and achievements and to discuss the next challenges and their outlook for the future. The “ESCAPE to the Future” event is also the starting point of a new era: after the successful experience of the ESCAPE project, the CTAO and a further eight core ESCAPE Research Infrastructure partners signed a new Open Collaboration Agreement, which consolidates their cross-border action towards Open Science, the implementation of the EOSC and the establishment of new collaborations on common topics in the area of data management and research software. These actions benefit the European Strategy for data and excellence in science, as well as the data management approaches of the ESFRIs, themselves.

During the implementation period of the ESCAPE project, the CTAO worked with partners from the astronomy, astroparticle, particle  and nuclear physics communities on the development of software for Open Data management, in a cross-border and multi-disciplinary open environment, according to FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles.

“As an open observatory, the CTAO has the responsibility to provide high-quality data as a service to the community and to work closely with other observatories,” says Prof. Federico Ferrini, CTAO Managing Director, who participated in the discussion panel of the event with representatives from other ESFRI projects and landmarks. “Thus, the ESCAPE project is well-aligned with the CTAO’s overarching goal of providing scientists worldwide easy access to the CTAO data products and high-quality science software to analyse the data.”

The CTAO’s participation in the ESCAPE Project has helped the Observatory gain experience and knowledge in key aspects of cutting-edge data management systems, such as data lake technologies and software repositories, as well as understanding how to build a science platform and developing links to the Virtual Observatory. The CTAO has also been able to test several of its use cases on ESCAPE systems, whilst also implementing example analysis workflows. The outcome of CTAO’s work within the ESCAPE project was presented during the conference by Matthias Füßling, CTAO SUSS (Science User Support System) Coordinator, and Gareth Hughes, CTAO Science Platform Developer.

“Beyond providing an excellent framework to test technologies, workflows and use cases in the real world, which is invaluable for the CTAO, ESCAPE also presents the perfect opportunity to collaborate with other ESFRIs that share some of our challenges,” says Dr. Matthias Füßling. “Thus, the CTAO looks forward to continuing the ESCAPE partnership to enhance technologies and solutions, increase interoperability, improve software and user experience, and to find new ways to collaborate in order to make that happen.”

The new Open Collaboration Agreement, publicly announced during the “ESCAPE for the Future” event and signed by the Directors of all the research infrastructure partners, will take effect in January 2023 and will also help continue the synergies and joint work of all five domain-based Science Clusters involved in the implementation of EOSC. This agreement, also open to further research infrastructures to join, is expected to maintain the collaborative and human experience represented by the Science Cluster and strengthen the role and impact of astronomy and nuclear/particle physics in the field of open science and, more broadly, in the European Research Area.

“Scientific research is progressing towards the new paradigm of Open Science for more open, transparent, collaborative and inclusive scientific practices to enhance the impact of science in our society, fostered by the expansion of information and communication technologies. This is the fundamental motivation of the ESCAPE scientific community and it is also the challenge shared by pan-European Research Infrastructures (RIs) that are members of the ESCAPE science cluster,” explains Dr. Giovanni Lamanna, Coordinator of the ESCAPE project.

Read the ESCAPE announcement.

Dr. Alba Fernández-Barral, CTAO Outreach, Education and Communication Officer.


Dr. Giovanni Lamanna, Director of the LAPP Laboratory, CNRS-IN2P3/USMB and ESCAPE Coordinator.

+33 (0) 4 50 09 16 00

ESCAPE ( brings together the astronomy, astroparticle and particle physics communities. With this, ESCAPE puts together a cluster with ESFRI projects with aligned challenges of data-driven research, with demonstrated capabilities in addressing various stages of data workflow and concerned with fundamental research through complementary approaches.

ESCAPE aims to produce versatile solutions, with great potential for discovery, to support the implementation of EOSC thanks to open data management, cross-border and multi-disciplinary open environment, according to FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles. The ESCAPE foundations lay on the capacity building of the ASTERICS project work towards enabling interoperability between the facilities, minimising fragmentation, encouraging cross-fertilisation and developing joint multiwavelength/multi-messenger capabilities in astronomy, astrophysics and particle astrophysics communities.

European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is a cloud for research data in Europe allowing for universal access to data; a single online platform where all European researchers will be able to: (i) find, access and re-use data produced by other scientists; (ii) deposit, analyse and share data they have been paid to produce. EOSC will help increase recognition of data intensive research and data science. Its architecture is developed as a data infrastructure common serving the needs of scientists, providing both common functions and localised services delegated to community level. EOSC will federate existing resources across national data centres, European e-infrastructures and research infrastructures by gradually opening up its user base to the public sector and industry.

Research Infrastructures have strong links with research communities and projects, manage significant data volumes and develop innovative data analytics tools, ensuring effective research data exploitation. Five ESFRI cluster projects were launched in 2019, within the H2020 framework of the European Union, providing a gathering point for various ESFRI projects and landmarks to connect to the EOSC. The five Science Clusters are ENVRI-FAIR for environmental research, EOSC-Life for life sciences, ESCAPE for astronomy, particle physics and nuclear physics, PaNOSC for multidisciplinary scientific analysis based on light and neutron sources facilities and SSHOC for social sciences and humanities. The ESFRI science cluster projects implement interfaces to integrate computer and data management solutions to create cross-border, interdisciplinary and open cooperation spaces for European researchers.

The first RIs that have signed the ESCAPE Open Collaboration agreement include ESFRI projects/landmarks and research infrastructures such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO), the KM3NeT Research Infrastructure (KM3NeT), the European Gravitational-Wave Observatory (EGO-Virgo), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Solar Telescope (EST), the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), the Joint Institute for VLBI-ERIC (JIV-ERIC) and the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO). The following institutes contribute actively to the ESCAPE Project on behalf of the CTAO (in alphabetical order by country):

France: LAPP/Observatory of Paris

Germany: MPIK


The following CTAO and CTAC member participate actively in the ESCAPE Project on behalf of the CTAO (in alphabetical order by surname):

Catherine Boisson

Agustin Bruzzese

Daniel Nieto Castaño

Jose Luis Contreras

Nuria Álvarez Crespo

Axel Donath

Matthias Füssling

Enrique García

Frederic Gillardo

Gareth Hughes

Jordi Delgado Mengual

Gonzalo Merino

Nadine Neyroud

Cosimo Nigro

Quentin Remy

Javier Rico

Mathieu Servillat

Berkay Turk

Thomas Vuillaume

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“ESCAPE to the Future” Event Recommits CTAO and ESCAPE Partners in Collaboration for Open Science - CTAO