ASTRONET

Funded by the European Commission as an ERA-NET under the FP7 initiative, ASTRONET is a consortium of the largest funding agencies for astronomy in Europe consisting of 11 contractors, 21 associates and 2 forum members. It includes organisations such as ESO and ESA. STFC is the UK lead. The main aim is to engage all astronomical communities and relevant funding agencies to foster coordination and integration of strategic planning for European astronomy.

The initial phase of the project resulted in the highly successful Science Vision (2007) and Infrastructure Roadmap (2008) documents which describe the key science questions for the European astronomy community and a coherent investment plan for new infrastructures at all wavelengths, on the ground and in space, including the initiatives to maximise their benefit for society in general. STFC, working with Liverpool John Moores University, was responsible for the development of the Infrastructure Roadmap.

Following its initial phase of support, the successor project, ASTRONET-2 began in 2011.

Funded by the European Commission as an ERA-NET under the FP7 initiative, ASTRONET is a consortium of the largest funding agencies for astronomy in Europe consisting of 11 contractors, 21 associates and 2 forum members. It includes organisations such as ESO and ESA. STFC is the UK lead. The main aim is to engage all astronomical communities and relevant funding agencies to foster coordination and integration of strategic planning for European astronomy.

The initial phase of the project resulted in the highly successful Science Vision (2007) and Infrastructure Roadmap (2008) documents which describe the key science questions for the European astronomy community and a coherent investment plan for new infrastructures at all wavelengths, on the ground and in space, including the initiatives to maximise their benefit for society in general. STFC, working with Liverpool John Moores University, was responsible for the development of the Infrastructure Roadmap.

Following its initial phase of support, the successor project, ASTRONET-2 began in 2011.

Key facts

ASTRONET-2’s objectives are to:

  • Establish a permanent mechanism for planning and coordination of European astronomy. The need for a coordination structure at European level has been identified as vital and permanent, and an actual mechanism needs to be defined and agreed
  • Follow-up and implement the Roadmap, ensuring the construction of the new facilities that are needed to keep Europe at the forefront of scientific knowledge and at the same time optimise existing programmes in scientific and financial terms. This includes coordination actions on projects such as the CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) and SKA (Square Kilometre Array)
  • Narrow the scientific and – in particular – technology gaps between the European countries. To integrate new EU countries, including those who are not yet fully integrated in the future mainstream European astronomy, in the future projects and in the realisation of the Science Vision
  • Establish a regularly updated database with key information of the financial and human resources available to astronomy in all European countries, as well as the structure and governance of astronomical research in each country

STFC acts as a task leader in several work packages of the ASTRONET project. These include: the Work Package 2 (WP2) “Self-sustainable Coordination of European Astronomy” and the Work Package 4 (WP4) “Follow-up of the Roadmap – Coordination Actions”.

The overall objective of WP2 is to consider options for enabling a sustainable long-term coordination of European astronomy, which will enhance cooperation, strengthen the overall ability of European astronomy to compete on the world stage and help to ensure efficient and cost effective planning of resources.

STFC provides the lead on this work package and is gathering and surveying models for self-sustainable coordination of science areas within the European and global community. Co-working with the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy (INAF), STFC will coordinate the governance options between various funding agencies, scientific organisations and appropriate government bodies across the EU, and recommend a route by which future coordination can be achieved.

STFC as a task leader in the WP4 assists in coordinating actions on large infrastructure projects such as the CTA and SKA, and monitors changes in the global scientific and technological context that may require an update or revision of the Science Vision and Roadmap. STFC’s current task focuses on ensuring that the Roadmap remains up to date during the period 2011 to 2015, and plans for a full revision of the Roadmap early in the following period.

A meeting to consider a mid-term review of the Roadmap and Science Vision will take place in July 2013 at the EWASS meeting, to be help in Turku, Finland. Significant alternations are also being taken into account on the projects recognized as high priority in the existing Roadmap, together with the outcomes of the US Decadal Survey and ESA’s Cosmic Visions.

Additionally, STFC supports several other ASTRONET tasks by cooperating with the participating funding agencies and organisations.

ASTRONET aims to strengthen the present position of leadership of European astronomy, support the development of pan-European cooperation and establish a strategic planning mechanism for all of European astronomy for the next 5-25 years. The work of ASTRONET will not only benefit the scientific community and the funding agencies but also make Europe a stronger and more credible partner in the future global astronomy projects.

Funded by the European Commission as an ERA-NET under the FP7 initiative, ASTRONET is a consortium of the largest funding agencies for astronomy in Europe consisting of 11 contractors, 21 associates and 2 forum members. It includes organisations such as ESO and ESA. STFC is the UK lead. The main aim is to engage all astronomical communities and relevant funding agencies to foster coordination and integration of strategic planning for European astronomy.

The initial phase of the project resulted in the highly successful Science Vision (2007) and Infrastructure Roadmap (2008) documents which describe the key science questions for the European astronomy community and a coherent investment plan for new infrastructures at all wavelengths, on the ground and in space, including the initiatives to maximise their benefit for society in general. STFC, working with Liverpool John Moores University, was responsible for the development of the Infrastructure Roadmap.

Following its initial phase of support, the successor project, ASTRONET-2 began in 2011.

Update of the Infrastructure Roadmap and Science Vision

A key aim of the ASTRONET organisation was to develop a strategy for European Astronomy similar to the successful Decadal Surveys of the USA.

The starting point was the Science Vision document published in 2007. This addressed the key science questions and produced a set of recommendations of the equipment/facilities that were required to tackle these.

A second task was to map these outputs onto a programme of infrastructure developments. This led to the production of the Infrastructure Roadmap in 2008. In this comprehensive document the requirements were stress-tested against potential funding, leading to a final set of recommendations.

One of the requirements of the ASTRONET project was that both these documents should have light-touch, mid-term updates. This task was the responsibility of the STFC and is being led by Professor Ian Robson reporting through Dr Colin Vincent.

The Science Vision document has now been updated and is found in the ‘latest events’ section of the ASTRONET web.

Work is now in progress to update the Infrastructure Roadmap and it is here that community input is requested, especially to unearth those projects or technologies that have been missed so far, or, where the community is significantly at odds with statements or recommendations.

The first public announcement of the process was at the NAM in St Andrews followed by a presentation at the ASTRONET Town Meeting at EWASS in Finland on July 13th.

The ‘bare-bones’ draft v0.1 of the Roadmap can be found here and the community is invited to respond through those listed in the Appendix, Colin Vincent or Ian Robson. The deadline for comments is 30 September 2013 and the overall timescale is that the final draft will be produced in late October to go to the ASTRONET Executive in late November 2013.

Funded by the European Commission as an ERA-NET under the FP7 initiative, ASTRONET is a consortium of the largest funding agencies for astronomy in Europe consisting of 11 contractors, 21 associates and 2 forum members. It includes organisations such as ESO and ESA. STFC is the UK lead. The main aim is to engage all astronomical communities and relevant funding agencies to foster coordination and integration of strategic planning for European astronomy.

The initial phase of the project resulted in the highly successful Science Vision (2007) and Infrastructure Roadmap (2008) documents which describe the key science questions for the European astronomy community and a coherent investment plan for new infrastructures at all wavelengths, on the ground and in space, including the initiatives to maximise their benefit for society in general. STFC, working with Liverpool John Moores University, was responsible for the development of the Infrastructure Roadmap.

Following its initial phase of support, the successor project, ASTRONET-2 began in 2011.

Links

Further information can be found at the ASTRONET Website.

PDF versions of the publications of the Science Vision and the Infrastructure Roadmap can be found at the ASTRONET Website in the Document Archive.

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