Structured development of optical interferometry requires leaping towards a European network of VLTI Expertise Centres. These centres will be the backbone of dissemination activities to new VLTI users, by organising observing preparation and data reduction schools, by co-organising with ESO VLTI open days, and being the end-points of the Fizeau staff exchange programme.
The leap aims at bringing the impact and return of the programme in spreading know-how in Europe to a new level. It follows at a smaller scale the successful experience of the ALMA Regional Centres, where researchers travel to the expertise centres to reduce their data. The centres will be the visible first contact point for astronomers interested in using VLTI.
The present network of VLTI Expertise Centres includes three partners from the OPTICON Horizon 2020 networking activity:
two interferometry JRA (Joint Research Activites; WP8) lead partners:
and two new nodes from the OPTICON/RadioNet Pilot (ORP) program:
Visitors wishing to travel to the above centres to reduce their VLTI data or prepare observations are encouraged to use the Fizeau Programme.