GREAT (Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training) is a pan-European science driven research infrastructure which will facilitate, through focussed interaction on a European scale, the fullest exploitation of the Gaia mission. A GREAT kickoff meeting was held in Cambridge on 26-27 March 2009, and a plenary meeting was held in Nice in autumn 2009. OAB personnel is involved in several working groups of the following areas: WGA2: Census of Supporting Surveys; WGA3: Chemical Tagging; WGA4: Local Group, Dwarf Spheroidals and Tidal Streams; WGA5: Alerts; WGA8: Distance Scales (with a leading role by OAB); WGB1: Open Clusters and Young Associations. In particular, a Conference on the Distance Scales, to be held in May 2011 at the Capodimonte Observatory (Naples), has been approved and funded by the European Science Fundation within the GREAT programme.
A Ph.D. student, C. Lardo, joined the OAB activities on WGA3: Chemical Tagging in November 2009.
Technical details on the Gaia mission and on the involvement of OAB personnel in the fields of absolute photometric calibration and of variable stars are given in the Instruments and Technology chapter.