News & Events

10 Million Euro boost for Radio Astronomy in Europe

26th March 2009

Scientists from the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics are to benefit from a Euro 10million grant, designed to support radio astronomy across Europe.

RadioNet is a network of the major radio astronomy observatories across Europe, which is designed to encourage closer working and collaboration.

For the past five years RadioNet has been coordinated by the University's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

And now it has been awarded 10Million Euro by the European Commission, as part of the Seventh European Framework Programme (FP7).

"Over the past five years, RadioNet has transformed radio astronomy in Europe",

explained Professor Phil Diamond, Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

"It is now natural for radio astronomers to think in terms of European collaboration as the way to proceed."

RadioNet is designed to optimise the use of European radio astronomy telescopes and to ensure researchers have access to the radio astronomical facilities they need for their work.

It also aims to ensure technical developments in radio astronomy are supported on a European-wide basis, pooling skills, resources and expertise across Europe; ensuring progress is made quickly and efficiently.

At the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics several areas of research and development will be funded as part of the RadioNet project.

They include APRICOT, which is designing the next generation of multi-pixel radio cameras working at radio frequencies of 30-50 GHz; ALBIUS, which focuses on software development for the radio telescopes e-MERLIN, EVN & IRAM; and UNIBOARD which is designing and building highly complex digital electronics to be used in the analysis of signals received by radio telescopes.

RadioNet funding will also support operations of the e-MERLIN telescope array, via Trans-National Access, enabling others across Europe to make best use of this major new facility.

Over the next three years (2009-2011) RadioNet will be co-ordinated by the Netherlands institute for radio astronomy, ASTRON.

It will also be supported with considerable national funding from the participating institutes.

In addition to areas of research funded as part of the project, Jodrell Bank will also lead a group which will organise RadioNet workshops and schools for students.

Dr Anita Richards, who will coordinate these activities, said:

"RadioNet funding will help us to inspire and train the next generation of European radio astronomers and engineers."

RadioNet involves 26 partners from 13 different countries.

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

In the UK, other partner institutes are the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the Science & Technology Facilities Council through its Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii.

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.

Notes for editors

For further information contact Professor Phil Diamond, Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, at The University of Manchester, on 0161 275 4214, or the University Media Relations Office on 0161 275 8387.