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Launch of ASPERA-2

7 July 2009

ASPERA-2: towards a sustainable structure for European astroparticle physics

7 July 2009 – Hamburg – Funding agencies for astroparticle physics celebrated today the official launch of ASPERA-2, a three-years programme funded by the European Commission, which the main challenge is to create a sustainable structure for the coordination of astroparticle physics in Europe.

Astroparticle physics is a new field of research emerging from the convergence of physics at the smallest and the largest scales of the universe. As the field develops, it is opening up new observing windows both in astronomy and in particle physics.

ASPERA-2 is the continuation of the very successful ASPERA programme, which one of the main achievements has been to develop the European strategy for astroparticle physics. This took the shape of a Roadmap published in September 2008, supporting the realisation of the “Magnificent Seven”, the seven large infrastructures expected for the future to answer to some of the most exciting questions about the universe such as: What is dark matter? Where do cosmic rays come from? What is the nature of gravity?

While ASPERA just launched the very first European common call for R&D in astroparticle physics, the ASPERA-2 programme will go deeper towards the coordination of astroparticle physics in Europe, with in particular a series of new calls and joint activities, and the establishment of sustainable common procedures.

ASPERA-2 aims also to extend the ASPERA network to all European countries with interest in astroparticle physics, comprising already 19 funding agencies and one associate partner from 17 countries, and the CERN European organisation. It includes developing transfer knowledge and technology activities and increasing synergy between astroparticle physics and environmental sciences.

Representatives of the “Magnificent Seven” experiments recognised the important role of ASPERA in stimulating the astroparticle physics community, bringing people together. ASPERA-2 will continue strengthening the young field of astroparticle physics and consolidate the leading role of Europe in understanding the secrets of the universe.