Horizon 2020 (2017-2020)

In H2020 (2017-2020) the European Interferometry Initiative activities were funded by OPTICON (grant agreement No 730890).

Networking Activity NA2 - VLTI Expertise Centres Network

The networking activity builds on the community-building work that has been carried out by the European Interferometry Initiative as part of OPTICON since FP6, involving 15 countries, ESO and ESA, systematically delivering very strong results. For H2020 the goal is to leap towards a coordination network -- the VLTI Expertise Centres Network -- that will enable experts and non-experts alike across Europe to maximize the impact of the dramatically enhanced capabilities provided by GRAVITY and MATISSE. The strategic leap is supported by the Future of Interferometry in Europe working group conclusions (FP7), the ASTRONET recommendation and fully in line with facilitating the access to key infrastructures in Europe and fostering a culture of co-operation.

More specifically the WP objectives are:

  • Coordinate the creation of an European-wide network of VLTI Expertise Centres;
  • Organize schools that will train the VLTI users in the new GRAVITY/MATISSE instruments;
  • Support observing proposal preparation and data reduction;
  • Co-organize with ESO the VLTI community days and the European Interferometry Initiative meetings;
  • Focus the highly successful Fizeau staff exchange grant scheme towards young researchers and VLTI outreach in communities without much optical-infrared interferometry know-how;
  • Exchange experience and coordinate with the radio-mm interferometry community

Joint Research Activity

The JRA aims at enhancing the existing Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) facility by providing concrete concepts and feasibility studies for future interferometric instrumentation. The main objective is to pave the way for a near-future instrument plan beyond the 2nd generation of interferometric instruments currently being implemented at the observatory. As such this JRA is highly complementary to efforts at ESO which concentrate on commissioning the 2nd generation instruments. We intend to demonstrate with this JRA that the VLTI deserves future developments, and to inspire ESO to prepare a call for 3rd generation instrumentation to maximise the exploitation of the given VLTI research infrastructure.

This new JRA focuses on performing the next step: developing three concrete instrument proposals to serve the scientific needs of the astronomy community.


Specially, we aim:

  • to improve the sensitivity (to reach new, fainter objects like merging active galactic nuclei)
  • to improve the high contrast imaging performance (to detect Exo-Planets), and
  • to explore interferometry at visible wavelengths (to spatially resolve fundamental stellar physics).


Relevant Links