RadioNet - Advanced Radio Astronomy in Europe
In the global arena, European Radio astronomy has played a predominant role for more than five decades, both in terms of outstanding scientific achievements and cutting edge technical work. However, the field of radio astronomy is changing rapidly and considerably, and must adapt to remain at the forefront. New technologies can significantly improve the sensitivity, imaging quality, and spectral coverage of telescopes. To remain competitive, radio astronomy partners must realise investments in such technologies.

The human capital of European radio astronomy is also a crucial factor in its success. Training in skills like experiment design, data analysis, software tools, and systems engineering is needed to fully exploit the potential of radio telescopes. In addition, modern astronomy requires a multi-wavelength approach to make progress related to key astrophysical questions. The user base for radio telescopes is expected to grow. Consequently, access methods to data must be adapted to meet the needs of non-specialised users through public archives and standard pipelines without giving up any of the flexibility that experts require. RadioNet, supported by the European Commission (under Horizon 2020), will offer the platform to address these needs.

RadioNet is a consortium of 28 partners from Europe, Republic of Korea, and South Africa. Together these partners have defined a co-ordinated and coherent 4 year (10M€) programme consisting of 14 Work Packages to serve the needs of the radio astronomy community, enabling them to conduct excellent, sustainable research and foster innovation.

The Work Packages of RadioNet are focused on 3 main activities:
- Networking: to foster timely and effective communication of results, by stimulating a continuous interchange of ideas and good practice;
- Joint Research: to develop innovative hardware and software technologies which when implemented will significantly help the RadioNet facilities position themselves optimally in terms of complementarity and competitiveness in the SKA era; and
- Transnational and Virtual Access: to exploit the benefits of open access to observatories, skilled researchers are needed. This activity can capitalise on the 'open skies' policy of unique world-class facilities such as EVN, e-MERLIN, LOFAR and Westerbork, enabling them to offer an equally high level of professional support to both new and experienced users.

ASTRON will contribute to:
- BRAND EVN (WP6). This Work Package will develop a prototype broadband digital receiver covering 1.5 -15.5 GHz for all EVN stations. The prospect of a single broadband receiver type that can be deployed as common instrumentation at a large number of disparate European radio telescopes would transform their usability and efficiency for the EVN; and
- RINGS (WP7). This Work Package will deliver highly functional, maintainable, and computationally efficient calibration software that addresses the challenges and opportunities posed by new and future high sensitivity, wide bandwidth, long-baseline radio interferometers. The results of the work will be relevant to national and international facilities such as SKA, ALMA, LOFAR, and EVN.

RadioNet is a project supported by the European Commission Framework Programme H2020-INFRAIA-2016-1)


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