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10 Million Euro For RadioNet FP7

by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 27, 2009
The European radio astronomy program, RadioNet, has been awarded 10 Million Euro by the European Commission under the Seventh European Framework Program (FP7). RadioNet is an EC integrating activity that brings together all the major radio observatories in Europe, covering the frequency range of 10 Mhz to 1 Thz.

Based on the highly successful RadioNet FP6 program, RadioNet FP7 will receive funding from the EC over the next 3 years (2009-2011).

The new project is also supported with considerable national funding from the participating institutes, and formally kicks-off next week with the inaugural meeting of its Board in the vicinity of Amsterdam airport, the Netherlands.

RadioNet under the Sixth European framework FP6, has transformed radio astronomy in Europe. It is now natural for most, if not all, radio astronomers to think in terms of European collaboration as the way to proceed; this situation did not exist across the broad subject five years ago.

The general objective of RadioNet, as an Integrating Activity, is to optimize the use and development of European radio astronomy telescopes with an eye towards future large radio projects, including the next generation of large radio telescopes, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA).

A primary goal will be to ensure that European researchers have access to the radio astronomical facilities they need, in order to undertake the key science topics they wish to pursue.

Another major goal is to ensure that innovative technical developments in Radio Astronomy are supported on a European-wide basis, pooling the broad range of skills, resources and expertise that exists in Europe.

This will provide a critical mass that will ensure that progress is not made slowly in isolation but quickly and efficiently, via a broad-based, yet well-focused, scientific and engineering collaboration.

RadioNet FP7 has grown, now involving 26 partners from 13 different countries, contributing effort to 18 independent work packages.

These include joint research activities, training for undergraduates and post-graduates, workshops targeted towards new and emerging topics of research and last but not least, enabling scientists to obtain easy access to Europe's largest and most sensitive radio telescopes.

In addition to member states, other countries participating are South Korea, the United States of America and South Africa.

The RadioNet management plan builds on the close collaboration that many of the institutes have developed over the last 30 years of joint participation in the European VLBI Network (EVN) - an array of 16 major radio telescopes spanning Europe and other major regions of the world, in particular China and South Africa.

The many threads of RadioNet come together in the Netherlands institute for radio astronomy, ASTRON, under the leadership of Professor Michael Garrett who is the RadioNet Coordinator.

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