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21 February 2003 NEVEC: the NOVA ESO VLTI Expertise Center
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The start of NEVEC was initiated by the opportunity in the Netherlands to reinstate instrumental efforts in astronomy through a funding program for 'Top Research Schools,’ which brought about the creation of NOVA. The fact that considerable experience exists in Radio Astronomical imaging through interferometry (the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope started in 1970), and the relatively small size at the time of ESO's VLTI Team made it opportune to aim for a win-win situation through collaboration. So presently an MOU between ESO and NOVA is in force, which stipulates that 10 out of the 18 man-years funded by NOVA for NEVEC until 2005 [new personnel, in university setting (Leiden) but on project money] shall be used on tasks that are mutually agreed between NOVA and ESO. The tasks presently are found in the domain of observing modes, calibration and modeling, as well as contributing to the commissioning of new instruments and thinking about future instruments. Another task, outside these 10 FTE, has been the data handling and analysis software for MIDI, and again contributing to its commissioning. Delivery of the first operational version in Heidelberg has just taken place (summer 2002) contributing to the successful Preliminary Acceptance in Europe for MIDI on September 10, 2002. The actual state of 'products and deliveries' and the future outlook are reviewed.
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