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ING Newsletter No. 7, December 2003

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Message from the Director

Dear Reader,

Change and evolution are signs of progress, but are not always without pain. The situation at the ING telescopes is evolving rapidly. The process of restructuring, focussing on making the ING run at a much reduced cost while still delivering top-class service to the astronomical community is our form of evolution. The process will result in a smaller but stronger observatory, based on a strong team of engineers and astronomers. Moreover, new international relations are being developed, that will set the scene for the future.

An important milestone was reached on May 6th, with the signing in Tenerife of the new international agreement for the operation of the ING telescopes between PPARC, NWO and the IAC. Our new relationship with the IAC holds the prospect of stronger future collaborations in scientific programmes and projects. With this partnership, Spain gains nearly 10% of the available telescope time. In return, the financial contribution from the IAC offsets cost savings that were required from the side of the UK. Moreover, the IAC is constructing a world-class IR spectrograph, LIRIS, for the William Herschel Telescope that will be offered to all users of the telescope, thus adding to the scientific capability of the telescope.

With this agreement ING has found a new balance with its three partners that will bring scientific benefits for all astronomers as well as a positive outlook towards a strong collaboration with our Spanish colleagues. The article in this Newsletter by the Director of the IAC, Prof Francisco Sánchez, sets out the clear vision on this new collaboration from the Spanish perspective.

A second important result of international collaboration in recent months has been the development of a very large proposal requesting funds to the European Community under the Framework-6 programme. Many areas of observational astronomy are combined within this proposal, named OPTICON. The ING telescopes play a prominent role in the part of the proposal that aims to foster access to the various telescopes on a truly European scale.

This Newsletter again highlights a number of scientific successes through excellent articles. Also progress on various projects is reported here. I trust you will enjoy this issue.

René G. M. Rutten

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Last modified: 13 December 2010