CLOUD-ITN Kick-Off Meeting was taking place  at the Frankfurt Airport Conference Center on June 12th, 2008. Above from left to right Giles Harrison, Frank Stratmann, Armin Hansel, Jordan Stamenov, Urs Baltensperger, Kenneth Carslaw and Antti Onnela, in front  Markku Kulmala, Jasper Kirkby and Joachim Curtius.

The CLOUD Marie Curie Initial Training Network is a multi-site network of 8 Ph.D. students and 2 post-docs at 9 partner institutions across Europe. The network investigates various aspects of the interactions of cosmic rays with aerosols and clouds, which bears on the possibility of a "solar indirect" contribution to climate change. Besides the individual research of the Ph.D. students and post-docs at their hosting institutions, the major focus of the network will be two sets of common experiments on ion-induced nucleation and ion-aerosol interaction carried out at CERN. These experiments are conducted at an aerosol chamber that is exposed to a CERN elementary particle beam where the effects of cosmic rays on aerosol and cloud formation can be efficiently simulated.

A comprehensive training programme is set up for the network participants. Additional to the experiments at CERN, the trainees are brought together by several network training events such as annual summer schools and workshops. Here, courses and lectures by world leading experts are taught spanning from "aerosol chemistry and physics" in general to specialized sessions on subjects such as "ion-induced aerosol nucleation" or "influences of galactic cosmic rays on paleo-climate". The summer schools and workshops are scheduled in addition to the national PhD programmes of their hosting institutions where a variety of courses is available to the network participants. The summer schools will include training on complementary skills such as "writing scientific publications", "preparing and presenting talks and seminars", "interaction with media" and "commercializing scientific results". At least one secondment will be conducted by each student in which the student visits another institution of the network to conduct specific research tasks there that will broaden their research experience and skills.