Earth Sciences are rapidly changing from largely descriptive to process-oriented disciplines that aim at quantitative models for the reconstruction and forecasting of the complex processes in the Solid Earth. Prediction is highly relevant for the basic needs of humanity: supply of water and resources, protection against natural hazards and control on the environmental degradation of the Earth. Intensive utilization of the human habitat carries largely unknown risks of and makes us increasingly vulnerable. There is an urgent need for scientifically advanced "geo-prediction systems" that can accurately locate subsurface resources and forecast timing and magnitude of natural hazards. The design of such systems is a major multidisciplinary scientific challenge. The quantitative understanding of the Earth has made significant progress in the last few decades. Important ingredients in this process have been the advances made in seismological methods to obtain information on the 3D structure of the mantle and the lithosphere, in the quantitative understanding of the lithospheric processes as well as the recognition of the key role of quantitative sedimentary basin analysis in connecting temporal and spatial scales. Quantitative understanding of the mass transfer by erosion and deposition as well as their feed back with crustal and subcrustal dynamics presents a new frontier in modern Earth sciences. This research bridges investigations on high-resolution, near-surface time scales and the large-scale, long-term approaches characteristic for the lithosphere and basin-wide studies. The essential step towards a 4D approach (in space and time) is a direct response to the need for a full incorporation of geological and geophysical constraints in the modelling of solid Earth processes. TOPO-EUROPE is a multidisciplinary international research program that addresses the interaction of processes inherent to the deep Earth (lithosphere and mantle) with surface processes (erosion, climate and sea level), which together shaped the topography of Europe. The objective of this programme is to quantify natural hazards by incorporating data interactive modelling focused on the lithosphere memory and neotectonics, with special attention on the thermo-mechanical structure of the lithosphere, mechanisms controlling large-scale plate boundaries and intraplate deformations, anomalous subsidence and uplift, and links with surface processes and topography evolution. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.