Opticon WP13 in FP7-II (former WP11.1)
Enhancing Community Skills
Chair: Michel Dennefeld, IAP
The objectives of this WP are to teach the skills necessary to use state-of-the-art European astronomical infrastructures, to develop the user community regardless of nationality and to enable both established and new communities to participate fully in the use and development of the newest large scale facilities.
To achieve those goals, several programs are developed:
- The NEON schools, which exist since year 1999, bring small groups of students directly to the telescope, to do small research programs under the supervision of experienced astronomers. This goes the full way from the preparation of the observations to the data reduction and analysis, to end-up with the presentation of the scientific results. A variant exists, where students work on archival data (rather then freshly obtained ones) and apply to them the full variety of analysis tools: these are the so called "Archive schools".
- Specialised training sessions are also organised, devoted to specific instruments of more complex nature, like Integral Field Units, or Adaptive Optics instruments, or the second generation VLT instruments.
- The "Awareness Conferences" present to new communities the challenges in modern Astrophysics, and the set of instruments which are available, or under development, to try to solve the many open questions.
- The LaCaille scheme supports short term stays in the active observatories of the consortium, to exchange skills, or allow training in specific techniques. This applies to engineers, or astronomers, irrespective of age.