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SPECIAL SESSION 5: Astronomy Planning in Europe - Towards an Even Stronger European Astronomy


Today, European astronomy possesses the world’s most powerful optical observatory – ESO’s Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal, Chile. Europe has also launched a number of first-rank space observatories such as XMM, Herschel, and Planck. And even larger facilities are planned or under way in optical, radio, and particle astronomy, some on a purely European basis, some as a joint participation in global projects. European astronomy has come a long way by learning to cooperate!

But to remain fully competitive also in the future, we must make even better use of national human and financial resources, not just those managed by ESO, ESA and other international organizations. Demonstrating progress in this regard will be a good argument when applying for the funding we need to make our ambitious dreams come true: More and better science is the goal!

The ASTRONET network of European funding agencies for astronomy was created to promote such progress, supported by the European Commission. The groundwork was laid with the Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap prepared in 2007-8 (see http://www.astronet-eu.org ). With the ASTRONET contract now likely to be extended through 2014, the time is ripe to start taking action on those recommendations in cooperation with such established discipline-oriented networks as ASPERA, OPTICON and RadioNet.

As no single organization for all of European astronomy exists, the job of ASTRONET is to provide the overarching scientific background, conduct policy reviews for certain classes of facilities, and recommend better and more cost-effective ways of organising ourselves in the future for the benefit of European astronomy as a whole. A considerable number of such initiatives are under way. The purpose of this half-day session is to update the astronomical community on these activities and receive feedback on the optimum course of action in the near-term future.


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Wednesday, September 8, 2010, morning


09.00 – 09.10:  Welcome and introduction J. Andersen
09.10 – 09.30:  Status of ASTRONET activities J.-M. Hameury
09.30 – 09.50:  ASPERA: Plans for astroparticle physics S. Katsanevas
09.50 – 10.00:  Activities and plans of RadioNet C. Vogt
10.00 – 10.10:  Coordinating activities by OPTICON J.K. Davies
10.10 – 10.30:  The review of European 2-4m telescopes J. Drew
10.30 – 11.00: Coffee break

11.00 – 11.05:  Wide-field spectroscopic surveys (summary) J. Andersen
11.05 – 11.20:  Role of the ING in implementing the ETSRC report M. Balcells
11.20 – 11.40:  Initiatives in astronomical software M. Steinmetz
11.40 – 12.00:  Initiatives in laboratory astrophysics J. Tennyson
12.00 – 12.30:  Discussion of near-term actions All


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