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Project of the Month: Celebrating the launch of Europe’s largest astronomy network

Europe has had two Horizon 2020-funded major collaborative networks for ground-based astronomy, the OPTICON and RadioNet projects. As RadioNet ended in December 2020 and OPTICON will officially close in June 2021, a major new project began in March 2021 and has formally brought the two networks together. This month, we stretch our editorial rules to the limit and shamelessly highlight all three projects as our Project(s) of the Month to commemorate this important milestone.


The new project, appropriately called OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot (ORP), will form Europe’s largest ground-based astronomy collaborative network. ORP is intended to remove barriers between scientific communities and harmonise observational methods and tools for ground-based optical and radio astronomy instruments. Researchers will have access to a wide range of facilities, building on the successes and experiences of OPTICON (Optical Infrared Coordination Network for Astronomy) and RadioNet (Advanced Radio Astronomy in Europe) before it. ORP will also help to train an entirely new generation of astronomers. In particular, ORP will foster the development of the booming field of multimessenger astronomy, which makes use of a wide range of wavelengths as well as gravitational waves, cosmic rays and neutrinos. ORP has received around EUR 15 million in funding through Horizon 2020, will last for 4 years, contains 37 partners from around the globe and will be formally coordinated from the CNRS National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy in France. For more information, please see the project website: “It is very exciting to have this opportunity to further develop European integration in astronomy and develop new scientific opportunities for astronomy research across Europe and globally.” - Anton Zensus, ORP scientific coordinator, on behalf of the entire ORP management team If you are interested in having your project featured in ‘Project of the Month’ in an upcoming issue, please send us an email to and tell us why!


OPTICON, RadioNet, OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot, ORP, astronomy, multimessenger astronomy, gravitational waves, cosmic rays, neutrinos