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Press briefing "Astronomy looks into the future: the role of European Infrastructures"

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) - Dwingeloo, The Netherlands July 2005

Held on 7 July in one of the world's most advanced astronomy installations, the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE), in Dwingeloo in the North of the Netherlands, this press briefing is the second of a series of events focusing on European Research Infrastructures. European Research Infrastructures (RIs) are a fundamental tool in the development and transmission of scientific knowledge, and in the emergence of new technologies, materials and products. They represent a critical mass in physical and human investment, and are at the heart of regional, national and European economic and industrial performance.

This press briefing was focused on the impact of RI's in the area of astronomy. The most ancient science to be pursued by mankind, astronomy has always been driven by technological innovation. New technological advances lead to new discoveries, but also to new questions. With its world class astronomy infrastructures, Europe is at the forefront of this quest. It is a leader in technological innovation applied to astronomical instrumentation, but also with very real industrial applications..

The 7 July brought together the European Press and the Astronomical Community to celebrate Europe's successes, and look together at exciting future developments. Joining the EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Poto?nik and the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Research Maria van der Hoeven, were leading EU scientists and astronomers and coordinators of EU research projects.

  • Agenda. ( PDF )
  • Opening presentation by Mike Garrett, Director of JIVE ( PDF )
  • Keynote speech by Maria van der Hoeven, Dutch Minister for Research, Culture and Education ( PDF )
  • Keynote speech by Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research: "Research Infrastructures as a pillar of FP7" ( PDF )
  • Presentations on "European actions in favour of European infrastructures in astronomy and astroparticles:
    • OPTICON - Optical/Infrared Astronomy for Europe Gerry Gilmore, Cambridge University, UK . ( PPS )
    • RADIONET - Advanced Radio Astronomy in Europe Philip Diamond, Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK. ( PPS )
    • EUROPLANET -The European Planetology Network and Cassini-Huygens Michel Blanc, CNRS, FR. ( PPS )
    • New Results from VLBI tracking of the descent of the Huygens probe on Titan Leonid Gurvits, JIVE, NL. ( PPS )
    • ILIAS - Integrated Large Infrastructures for Astroparticle Physics Neil Spooner, Sheffield University, UK.

  • Presentation of ASTRON, Harvey Butcher, Director ASTRON, NL.
  • Presentations on "Towards new observatories/facilities"
    • ELT ( PDF ), ALMA Enhancement ( PDF ) and VO-TECH ( PDF ) Roberto Gilmozzi, ESO.
    • SKADS: the European Design Study towards the Square Kilometre Array Arnold van Ardenne, ASTRON, NL. ( PPS )

A set of documents have also been prepared in order to provide some background information on the issues discussed during the event.

1. European Research Infrastructures (RI) in Action

What are Research Infrastructures, why are they needed and how the different type of activities funded by the European Commission are organised. ( PDF )

2. Astronomy looks into the Future: the role of European Infrastructures

What is Astronomy and why RI are crucial for research in this scientific domain ( PDF ). An example of successful use of these RIs is the tracking of the descent of the Huygens probe on Titan. ( PDF )

3, 4, 5 and 6. Networking research infrastructures in Europe

OPTICON : brings together all the national agencies and international organisations which fund, operate and develop Europe's optical/infrared astronomical telescopes, instruments and observatories. ( PDF )

RadioNet : pulls together all of Europe's top radio astronomy facilities and its main aim is to ensure that key developments in radio astronomy are supported European-wide. ( PDF )

EuroPlaNet : aims at providing an important added value to the European planetology community, as well as to the science findings produced by international planetary missions. ( PDF )

ILIAS : brings together institutes and scientists from across Europe working in the growing new field of astroparticle physics. ( PDF )

7 and 8. Supporting the development of new pan European research infrastructures

ELT DS : will develop critical technologies necessary to demonstrate the feasibility of a 100m-class optical telescope.

ALMA Enhancement : will enhance the baseline design of ALMA (already under construction in Chile) by adding a frequency band critical to viewing important phenomena in the early universe

VO-TECH : will bring the universe to everybody's desktop! ( PDF )

SKADS : will develop cutting-edge enabling technologies and prototypes necessary for the final design of the larger Square Kilometre Array (SKA). ( PDF )

9. The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)

ESFRI aims at supporting a coherent European approach to policy-making on research infrastructures. ESFRI is currently preparing a roadmap for new RIs of pan-European interest. ( PDF )

10. The Survey of European Research Infrastructures

To complement the ESFRI work, comprehensive information about the current pattern of Research Infrastructures in Europe is essential. A first European survey was carried out, end 2004, resulting in feedback from 585 Research Infrastructures (21 dealing with astronomy), of which 472 are reported to be of top-level relevance for the scientific community, being 20 dealing directly with astronomy. ( PDF )

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