Cloud computing has the potential to transform scientific exploration, discovery and results by empowering research and SME communities in new ways. VENUS-C (Virtual Multidisciplinary EnviroNments USing Cloud Infrastructures) is pioneering project for the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme that draws its strength from a joint co-operation between industry and scientific user communities. VENUS-C aims to develop, test and deploy an industry-quality, highly-scalable and flexible Cloud infrastructure to empower researchers through the easy deployment of end-user services. The VENUS-C platform is underpinned by Windows Azure, resources from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Spain), Microsoft European data centres and the data centre of the Engineering Group. Azure offers a multi-layer solution, including computing and storage power, a development environment and immediate services, together with a wide range of services that can be consumed from either on-premises environments or over the Internet. From an Open Source perspective, EMOTIVE and OpenNebula solutions are being implemented. VENUS-C user scenarios stem from seven partner affiliations developing applications for the Cloud across four thematic areas: Biomedicine, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Civil Protection and Emergencies, and Marine Biodiversity Data. VENUS-C has also provided seed funds for 15 pilots with applications spanning biology, bioinformatics, chemistry, earth sciences, maritime surveillance, mathematics, medicine and healthcare, physics and social media.