Opticon Overview

OPTICON, the Optical Infrared Coordination Network for Astronomy, is an EU funded `` Infrastructure Cooperation Network''. OPTICON brings together Europe's multinational, national and major regional providers of astronomical infrastructures, together with a few research institutes from the larger countries. OPTICON is supported to identify common challenges of interest to optical-infrared astronomers which require collaboration across Europe.

OPTICON sponsors open working groups to develop specific proposals to address these issues, including the coordination 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 intiatives, OPTICON will extend access to these facilities to those countries without major national astronomy infrastructures.

The contract partners are independent national agencies or research institutes, and multi-national organisations. Each partner is represented by national research and funding directors, by research group directors, or the equivalent.

OPTICON operates with a two-level structure. The contract partners work together to identify areas of common interest and opportunity for development and co-operation. These areas are further developed and quantified by specialist working groups, bringing together relevant expertise and users from the whole European astronomical community. The working groups develop specific reports and costed proposals allowing implementation of identified research and development programs, training opportunities, specific modes of improved coordination and operation and new infrastructure requirements.

OPTICON has a management board that meets twice a year. The inaugural meeting was held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London on 18 April 2000. The second meeting was held at the Observatoire de Strasbourg on 13 October 2000. The schedule of future meeting is given in our diary. For further details you can see Gerry Gilmore's paper on OPTICON by clicking here for a link to the page at astro-ph.

The partner organisations' representatives to OPTICON are:

  • Prof Gerry Gilmore, IoA Cambridge (Chairman)
  • Prof Piero Benvenuti (ESA/ST-ECF)
  • Prof R. Bacon (INSU and Observatoire de Lyon)
  • Prof G. Debouzy (CNRS)
  • Dr Francoise Genova, (CDS Strasbourg)
  • Prof Hans-Walter Rix (MPIA, Germany and Calar Alto)
  • Prof George Miley (Leiden)
  • Dr Paul Murdin, (PPARC)
  • Prof A. Omont (IaP, France)
  • Prof A. Renzini (ESO)
  • Prof R. Rebolo (IAC, Spain)
  • Prof Marcello Rodono (CNAA, Italy)
  • Prof G.Setti (INAF + CNAA, Italy)
  • Dr L. Takalo (NOTSA)
  • Prof S.White (MPA, Germany)
  • Prof Tim de Zeeuw (NOVA NL)

    who have passed various OPTICON resolutions.

    The main activities are a number of international working groups bringing together astronomers and engineers with similar interests and common goals. Click here for a list of working groups. For a diary of recent and planned activities of these working groups click here.

    Return to OPTICON home page.

    John Keith Davies
    Astronomy Technology Centre, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ
    tel: 0131 668 8348/ fax: 0131 668 8407


    Last update, 1 February 2002