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Dear colleagues and friends,

After 20 years, RadioNet, a series of EC funded projects, will come to an end. During these years, RadioNet always reinvented itself. The collaboration evolved from a small group of radio astronomical institutes and infrastructure providers, which were mainly focused on cm wave observations to a consortium comprising of 36 partners from Europe and beyond, offering the most competitive infrastructure in the range from sub-mm to meter waves. I am delighted that a large number of European researchers from all fields of astronomy were trained with the help of RadioNet in obtaining their data and interpreting them. This has significantly increased our user community, and also the awareness about our infrastructures and their visibility.

In the past 20 years, we have become, as EC officials call it a “mature flagship community”. To achieve this status, the EC has invested >42 M€ into our projects and the RadioNet partners have more than matched that amount. This created a large number of positions (equivalent to 270 FTE). Additionally we have made available telescope time equivalent to more than 5 years of continuous observations, we supported on average one scientific conference each month and four training events per year. Together we developed cutting edge hardware and software, used now by the sub/mm and cm radio telescopes.

On November 26th, 2020, RadioNet had its last Board meeting as a full day virtual event. It happened to be Thanksgiving Day. For me this meeting actually had the character of a family gathering reflecting the past years and discussing the future. I invite everybody to look into the interesting presentations and recordigs. These describe what has been achieved with the help of RadioNet. Most impressive are the RadioNet contributions to the present state of the art in mm and sub-hardware and software (see the talk of Vincent Piétu), which were necessary to produce the first image of a black hole (as explained in the talk by Huib van Langevelde).

It is fair to say that RadioNet has changed the European astronomical landscape. It gave European astronomers a very high level of professional support and allowed them to break through logistical, technical and financial boundaries and to take full advantage of the facilities. RadioNet rightfully has a prominent place in the European Research Area. The astronomy community and the European Commission can be proud of all that RadioNet has achieved these last 20 years. It was definitely worth the money for the EC and our partners.

The structure of the radio astronomy community has changed, its structure has now a strong European component, changing the way we do astronomy. I am looking forward to a continuation of our common work in the frame of a MoU based consortium for the purpose of exploring cooperative opportunities in the areas of common interest. Additionally, RadioNet infrastructures will participate in a continued attempt to harmonize radio astronomical and optical infrastructures under the Opticon RadioNet Pilot (ORP) project (for more details see the talk by Mike Garrett on the future of RadioNet). I am sure that there will arise many more collaborative projects in the future.

Let me wholeheartedly thank each of you for your contributions, as part of the management, as a task leader, as an organizer of one of our events, and as a researcher eager to use our facilities and services.

With my best wishes for the years to come

Anton Zensus - Coordinator of RadioNet

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EDITORS:

RadioNet Management
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
Auf dem Hügel 69  //  DE 53121 Bonn

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RadioNet has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730562, and contribution from the partner organisations