OPTICON, the Optical Infrared Co-ordination Network for Astronomy, is an EU funded project to bring together Europe's multinational, national and major regional providers of astronomical infrastructures, together with a few research institutes from the larger countries. The purpose of OPTICON is to identify common challenges of interest to optical-infrared astronomers that require collaboration across Europe.
OPTICON sponsors working groups to develop specific proposals to address these issues, including the co-ordination of proposals for new EU funding. The classes of infrastructure of direct relevance to OPTICON include optical and infrared telescopes, their instrumentation, observatory infrastructures, data archives, relevant communications infrastructures and optimisation of the scientific access to and exploitation of these facilities. By identifying and encouraging common approaches OPTICON enhances both the quality and the amount of access to these infrastructures across the whole EU community. In future initiatives, OPTICON will extend access to these facilities to those countries without major national astronomy infrastructures.
The UK ATC provides a project scientist and essential administrative support to OPTICON and expects to play a major role in its future activities.
For more information about OPTICON visit the OPTICON website.