Inauguration of JIVE as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC)

The radio telescopes of the European VLBI Network (EVN) regularly join forces in Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations, in order to explore the Universe at the highest possible angular resolution, mapping out gravitational lenses, resolving supernova explosions, pinpointing black holes and measuring the flows of material and the magnetic fields close to newly born stars. To reach the best possible sensitivity and resolution, the EVN includes radio telescopes situated not only in Europe, but also in Asia, South Africa and the Americas. At the centre of EVN operations is JIVE, founded 20 years ago, which combines the signals from all the telescopes and prepares the results for the users, astronomers from around the world.

Through a European Commission Decision adopted on 18 December 2014, JIVE, the central facility of the EVN, has now officially been established as an ERIC. This new legal status will give it many administrative advantages as well as a number of tax exemptions.

The possibility to form such a consortium was set down in writing in the European Research Infrastructure Consortium Regulation, adopted by the EU in 2009. Its new status will allow JIVE to function more effectively and, for a start, assures its funding for the next 5-year cycle. The Commission Decision concludes a process during which the role and ambitions of JIVE in radio astronomy and the European research arena in general were extensively discussed and further defined.

Through a number of EC-funded RadioNet collaborations JIVE and the EVN have implemented a very successful access programme, considerably increasing the use of VLBI by European astronomers. Impressive technological enhancements were achieved through the (N)EXPReS projects, introducing e-VLBI, which allowed real-time VLBI observations by transporting high-bandwidth data around the world over optical fibre networks. JIVE and its partners have received acclaim for deploying revolutionary Internet techniques and developing and applying high-performance processing boards. JIVE continues to strive for further enhancements, by increasing the sensitivity of the EVN through the application of new technologies and the addition of more telescopes to the array, and by introducing new techniques, for example time and frequency distribution to the antennas. Besides reaching for fainter and more distant sources, these developments enable new cutting-edge applications, such as the accurate determination of the positions of spacecraft across the solar system.

Some of the more recent astronomical results can be found in the JIVE news archive.

>Five countries are members of the new ERIC: the Netherlands (NWO), the UK (STFC), Sweden (Swedish research Council), France (CNRS) and Spain (IGN). Four additional countries, Italy, South Africa, Germany and China, will contribute to JIVE as well. JIVE will continue to have its headquarters in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, where it is hosted by the NWO institute ASTRON. 

The formal inauguration will be performed by Robert-Jan Smits (head of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation). At the event the chairman of the JIVE Council, the chairman of the EVN consortium as well as representatives from NWO and OCW will address the audience in a ceremony that will also highlight the scientific results of the past 20 years.

For more information on the symposium: 

For more information:
Prof. dr. Huib van Langevelde
langevelde [at] jive [dot] nl

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