AO Cycle 3

AHEAD – Announcement of Opportunity Cycle 3

Opening:    15 November 2016


Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to announce the third Announcement of Opportunity of AHEAD.

The AHEAD (Integrated Activities for High Energy Astrophysics) project has been funded under the Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure Program. The AHEAD main goal is to integrate and open research infrastructures for high energy astrophysics. A wide program of transnational access (TNA) to the best European test and calibration facilities and training/mentoring on X-ray data analysis is offered here. Moreover, we offer the possibility for scientists at all expertise levels to visit European institutes through our visitor program call. Proposals will be peer-reviewed by dedicated AHEAD selection panels and ranked according to their merit. This Announcement of Opportunity is organized in three distinct Calls as described below.

This announcement will be released periodically with a time cadence of two per year until 2018.

Calls Opening                                         15 November 2016

Submission Deadlines

Call 1 (Experimental Facilities): 30 June 2018; proposals will be evaluated on a twice-a-year basis
Calls 2 and 3 (Data analysis): 31 December 2016, 17:00 CET

A summary description of the AHEAD Calls follows.

Call 1. Trans-national access to ground and test facilities

Aim: to give access to some of the best European ground test and calibration facilities relevant for high-energy astrophysics. Such facilities are used to test and/or calibrate new technology space hardware as well as hardware developed for specific space missions, but can be also used in a wider context.

Procedure: proposals will be submitted through website (see link below). They will be peer-reviewed by a dedicated AHEAD selection panel and ranked according to scientific and technological merit and relevance of the proposed program. The access costs for the selected facility will be covered by AHEAD as well as travel costs and daily allowances for the applicant user teams. Applications by experimental teams from European and non-European countries are eligible (the total access number for users not working in a EU or associated country being limited to 20%). Applications from EU or associated countries SME are encouraged. Applicant user teams consist of max. 3 individuals: the nationality of the majority of them must be different from the country hosting the facility. Short preparatory visits may also be allowed in advance of the main visit; the need for these visits must be stated and justified in the proposal.

Contact: Prof. Salvatore Sciortino (email:

Call documents:

 Call 2. Visitor Program

Aim: to support research visits to institutes/laboratories located in European or associated countries [1], in order to foster new or strengthen existing collaborations. Eligible candidates are scientist or engineers from Astrophysics institutes in both EU and non-EU countries.

Procedure: proposals must be submitted through website (see link below) by individuals with consolidated scientific or engineering skill (e.g. post-doc to senior profile). The number of visits for users not working in a EU or associated country [1] is limited to 20%. According to the Grant Agreement with EU, it is foreseen to give priority to science and technology proposals related with the future Large X-ray Telescope Athena, instrumentation, data exploitation and science. The duration of the visits will be between 5 working days (minimum) and 20 working days. Reimbursement of travel costs and daily allowances are foreseen for each visit.

Contact: Dr. José Miguel Torrejon Vazquez (email:

Call documents:

Call 3. Trans-national access to X-ray data analysis

Aim: to provide trans-national access to X-ray (and gamma-ray) data analysis methods including use of data tools, archives and space instruments via tutorials and mentoring by experienced scientists at the delivery institutes. The primary aim is to widen opportunities for scientists across Europe to exploit both European-funded and international X-ray astronomy facilities and X-ray data archives. Particularly targeted to assist relatively inexperienced users in smaller institutes, but will be tailored to the needs of scientists with a wide range of experience including consolidated expertise in other wavelength astronomy (radio, optical/IR, etc.).

Procedure: applications should be made by individuals and the duration of the visits will typically be 5 working days. Applications from scientists from European and non-European institutions are eligible (the total access number for users not working in a EU or associated country being limited to 20%).

The delivery institute will provide the users with: a hands-on tutorial in the most up-to-date methods in X-ray data analysis (imaging, time series, spectroscopy); specific data analysis methods tailored to the users own research project(s); assistance with using software packages specific to European and international X-ray missions; given guidance in the exploitation of data archives located at the host institutions and elsewhere, including multi-waveband analysis; and mentoring in how to make use of the software and X-ray facilities when the user returns home. Reimbursement of travel costs and daily allowances are foreseen for each visit.

Contact: Prof. Paul O’Brien (email:

Call documents:


Luigi Piro
AHEAD Coordinator
Institute of Space Astrophysics and Planetology, INAF

[1] The list of associated countries is provided at this link: