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OPTICON Trans-National Access Program at the AAO

The AAO participates in the OPTICON Transnational Access Program (2013-16) providing travel-related funding to AAT users from EU Member (and Associated) countries. Under the current OPTICON FP7-II agreement (2013-2016), AAO telescopes can carry up to 10 OPTICON nights per semester (typically), and possibly more, subject to availability of funds.

More information about OPTICON (including eligibility criteria) can be found below and from the website of the OPTICON office.

Separate OPTICON TAC proposal process

The OPTICON consortium operate a separate Time Allocation Committee, distinct from the AAT Time Allocation Committee, with an earlier submission deadline (28 February and 31 August).

OPTICON-eligible programs should be submitted to the OPTICON TAC and not to the AAT TAC.

The AAT OPTICON nights (approximately 4% of AAT time) are top-sliced from the available time but counted as part of the Other (non-Australian) fraction of AAT time (30% overall).

OPTICON-eligible programs that are unsuccessful in securing OPTICON time will automatically be ranked alongside other AAT programs for the remaining pool of AAT time. If they are awarded nights from this time, they will not be eligible for OPTICON financial support in this round.

Applying for AAT time through OPTICON

General Information for all European Applicants

OPTICON Trans-national Access Programme


A wide range of European operated telescopes at different locations, including the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), are offering observing time to external users through the OPTICON1 Trans-national Access Programme. This project was supported by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for 2009 to 2012, and is presently supported under the FP7 Part II extension for 2013 to 2016.

User groups from EU Member States and Associated States2, meeting EC criteria of eligibility, who are awarded observing time under this Access Programme via the standard peer-review selection process, will receive free access to the telescope/s concerned, as well as scientific and technical support to carry out the observations. EC funds are also available to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. However, such funds are limited, and priority will be given to new users, young researchers, and users from countries with no similar research infrastructure.

To be eligible, both the user group leader and the majority (i.e. >50%) of the user group members must come from Member States or Associated States2. Further information about this EC programme, criteria of eligibility, and the full list of participating telescopes and deadlines, is available at the following address: http://www.astro-opticon.org/fp7-2/tna/


1OPTICON: the Optical Infrared Coordination Network, is a major international project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7); see www.astro-opticon.org.

2For the purpose of this EC Programme:

  1. EU Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
  2. Associated States are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania, Switzerland and Turkey. Potential participants should confirm the exact situation of all these countries at the FP6 International Co-operation website.

Sarah Martell, AAT Technical Secretary to ATAC, aatts -@- aao.gov.au