The paper describes results of the studies devoted to the solar activity impact on the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere, conducted within the frame of COST ES0803 Action. Aim: The aim of the paper is to represent results coming from different research groups in a unified form, aligning their specific topics into the general context of the subject. Methods: The methods used in the paper are based on data-driven analysis. Specific databases are used for spectrum analysis, empirical modeling, electron density profile reconstruction, and forecasting techniques. Results: Results are grouped in three sections: Medium- and long-term ionospheric response to the changes in solar and geomagnetic activity, storm-time ionospheric response to the solar and geomagnetic forcing, and modeling and forecasting techniques. Section 1 contains five subsections with results on 27-day response of low-latitude ionosphere to solar extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, response to the recurrent geomagnetic storms, long-term trends in the upper atmosphere, latitudinal dependence of total electron content on EUV changes, and statistical analysis of ionospheric behavior during prolonged period of solar activity. Section 2 contains a study of ionospheric variations induced by recurrent CIR-driven storm, a case-study of polar cap absorption due to an intense CME, and a statistical study of geographic distribution of so-called E-layer dominated ionosphere. Section 3 comprises empirical models for describing and forecasting TEC, the F-layer critical frequency foF2, and the height of maximum plasma density. A study evaluates the usefulness of effective sunspot number in specifying the ionosphere state. An original method is presented, which retrieves the basic thermospheric parameters from ionospheric sounding data.