Press & Media

ASPERA - Brussels – 30 November 2012. European funding agencies for astroparticle physics celebrate today the successful work of the ASPERA European funded network and the launch of the newly founded APPEC, the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium.
 
Over the last six years, ASPERA brought together funding agencies and the physics community to set up coordination for astroparticle physics at the European level. The main achievement of ASPERA is the development of the European strategy for astroparticle physics defining the priority large infrastructures needed to solve some of the deepest mysteries of the Universe. ASPERA also developed activities stimulating the field such as R&D common calls and created closer relationships to Industry and other research fields.
 
APPEC will now take over and aims at developing a European common action plan to fund the upcoming large astroparticle physics infrastructures as defined in the ASPERA Roadmap. 10 countries already joined the new APPEC consortium and 9 additional countries are following the accession process.  APPEC’s activities will be organised through three functional centers located at DESY in Hamburg - Germany, APC laboratory of CNRS/CEA in Paris – France and INFN national underground laboratory in Gran Sasso – Italy.
 
The meeting was the opportunity for the very first General Assembly of APPEC during which Stavros Katsanevas from CNRS – France was elected as its Chairman, and Thomas Berghoefer from DESY – Germany was elected as its General Secretary.
 
“I’m very honored to have been elected to chair the new APPEC consortium. APPEC’s focus will be to enhance European collaboration and coordination in funding to strengthen astroparticle physics in Europe and keep the leading role of Europe in understanding the secrets of the Universe”, Stavros Katsanevas said.
 
“ASPERA was really a great success leading to the new APPEC structure. Implementing our large astroparticle physics infrastructures is a big challenge and it is a very good sign that 10 countries already joined to make a bright future possible.” Thomas Berghoefer said.
 
What is the nature of dark matter and of dark energy? Where do cosmic rays come from? What is the view of the sky at extreme energies? What is the role of neutrinos in cosmic evolution? Can we detect gravitational waves? To answer such kinds of questions, astroparticle physics develops specially designed particle detectors, telescopes and experiments at the frontier of astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology.
 

Website: www.aspera-eu.org


Contact:
ASPERA press officer - CERN
Arnaud Marsollier
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
+41 22 767 37 09
 
Available pictures for press: http://s.aspera-eu.org/PressPictures
 

* Note for editors:
 
APPEC is the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium. It comprises 10 countries represented by their Ministries, funding agencies or their designated institution: Belgium (FWO), Croatia (HRZZ), France (CEA, CNRS), Germany (DESY), Ireland (RIA), Italy (INFN), The Netherlands (FOM), Poland (NCN), Romania (IFIN), UK (STFC).
 
ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission as an ERA­NET. ASPERA comprises currently 23 national funding agencies in 19 countries, and CERN European Organization.


 
 

Press release
 
European funding agencies push forward large astroparticle physics projects


Paris - 22 November 2011 - European funding agencies welcomed today the priorities for the future of astroparticle physics defined by the scientific community , and accepted the recommendations included in the newly published update of the European roadmap for astroparticle physics.

This update comes after the first ever European roadmap for astroparticle physics published in 2008 whose main goal was to define the research infrastructures necessary for the development of the field: « the Magnificent Seven » of astroparticle physics. Astroparticle physics aims to investigate on fundamental questions such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, the study the high-energy Universe through new messenger astronomy (high-energy gamma, neutrinos, cosmic rays and gravitational waves) and the behaviour of interactions at the highest energies as revealed by the search of proton decay and the determination of neutrino properties.

"The update of the roadmap provides a better picture of what will come first on the menu" said Christian Spiering, chairman of the ASPERA and ApPEC* Scientific Advisory Committee that produced the roadmap. Funding for each project is still subject to national decision-making processes, and the roadmap recognises that not all funding agencies will necessarily support each project.

The strategy of astroparticle physics reaffirms the needed support for current running experiments and planned upgrades, in particular in the areas of gravitational waves, dark matter search and neutrino property measurement, and to underground and space-based infrastructures. The mid-term planning (2015-2020) for astroparticle physics research includes four large projects to be constructed starting from the middle of this decade.

In the domain of TeV gamma-ray astrophysics the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is clearly the worldwide priority project. CTA is an initiative to build the next generation ground-based very high-energy gamma-ray observatory, combining proven technological feasibility with a guaranteed scientific perspective. Some 800 scientists from 25 countries around the world have already joined forces to build it.

Furthermore, KM3NeT, the next generation high-energy neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean Sea, is in its final stages of technology definition, with prototype deployment expected within the next 2-3 years. KM3NeT is an ESFRI project currently under an EU-funded preparatory phase, having obtained substantial regional funding.

Next is a global next-generation ground-based cosmic ray observatory following the footsteps of the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina and LAGUNA, a megaton-scale project for low energy neutrino physics and astrophysics. LAGUNA will combine the search for fundamental new phenomena in the cosmos with precise measurements of neutrinos from both cosmic and accelerator origins. LAGUNA is at the interface with the CERN European Strategy update to be delivered early 2013. It is currently under an EU-funded design study.

"What is described in the European strategy of astroparticle physics is great science. We look forward to seeing the first of these projects running" said Maurice Bourquin, Chairman of the ApPEC Steering Committee.

On longer time scales, very large infrastructures in the domain of dark energy or gravitational wave detection are considered and will need a global convergence or complementary approaches.

"We know that some of these large projects will need a global approach. It is why we invited our colleagues from other continents to discuss how we can succeed in implementing these infrastructures together" said Hermann-Friedrich Wagner, Chairman of the ASPERA Governing Board.

Astroparticle physics is a rapidly growing field of research, emerging from the convergence of particle physics and astrophysics. In the last decade, three Nobel prizes have been awarded to physicists working in areas close to astroparticle physics, demonstrating the relevance and vitality of this field.


Available pictures for press: http://s.aspera-eu.org/PressPictures

Statement from the European funding agencies: http://s.aspera-eu.org/AsperaAppecStatement

Brochure version of the Roadmap: http://s.aspera-eu.org/StrategyBrochure

Roadmap 2011 edition - full version: http://s.aspera-eu.org/RoadmapFull


Contact :

ASPERA press officer - CERN
Arnaud Marsollier
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
+41 22 767 37 09


* Note for editors:

ApPEC is the Astroparticle Physics European Coordination. It was founded in 2001 when six European scientific agencies took the initiative to coordinate and encourage astroparticle physics in Europe. 11 countries are currently members of ApPEC.

ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission as an ERA-­NET. ASPERA comprises currently 23 national funding agencies in 19 countries, and CERN European Organization.