| Astronomers and astro-particle physicists recently kicked off the EC H2020 ASTERICS project (Astronomy ESFRI and Research Infrastructure Cluster) at ASTRON on the 26th and 27th of May. ASTRON leads the project, with a consortium of 22 European partner institutions in 6 countries with 6 partners in the Netherlands. ASTERICS will help to solve the Big Data challenges of European astronomy and give members of the public direct interactive access to some of the best of Europe's astronomy images and data. For the first time, it brings together the astronomy, astrophysics and particle astrophysics communities. Together they will search for imaginative new solutions to our common data avalanche problems by working together and directly engaging with industry and specialised businesses.
About 40 project partner representatives, Work Package and Task leaders came to ASTRON to officially kick-start the project, and have the first face to face meetings to start the four year endeavour. Some key decisions were made - Mike Garrett was appointed ASTERICS coordinator, with Fabio Pasian (INAF) and Denis Mourard (CNRS) serving as chair and vice-chair of the General Assembly (Board). The Executive board was appointed (Garrett - chair, and WP leaders Searjent, Lamanna, Genova and Szomoru). The Management Support Team (MST) was also appointed - Rob van der Meer as Project Manager (1/2 time), Emmy Boerma as Project Assistant/Financial administration (also 1/2 time). A project scientist is the only MST position that remains to be filled. In any case, everyone is up to speed to make the project a big success.