The overall objective of our Activities in the High-Energy Astrophysics Domain (AHEAD) is to coordinate national efforts in the related research field at the European level, and promote the domain to ensure that its community stays at the cutting edge of technology. The community built around the FP7 AHEAD proposal has started a new organisational activity to respond to the recent Horizon 2020 Call for Research Infrastructures. The relevant domain is: Physical Sciences; area: High Energy Astrophysics. The new AHEAD coordinator, Luigi Piro, submitted a letter for “Consultation of possible topics for future activities for integrating and opening existing national research infrastructures” for a Horizon 2020 AHEAD proposal listing 32 potential partners.

Since then, the Steering Committee and the Project team have been working to assess a new concept and structure for AHEAD, taking into account the recent selection by ESA of the science theme for the next Large X-ray Observatory.

The main goals of the AHEAD proposal can be summarised as follows:

  1. support national efforts for the development of technologies for the future Large X-ray Observatory AThena (mirrors, cryogenic detectors) and other technologies related to its science (e.g. Lobster type optics);
  2. provide new opportunities for European Institutes and groups of scientists to make use of existing calibration and test facilities;
  3. provide new opportunities for European scientists to access archive data from operational in-flight X-ray observatories;
  4. support community meetings, cross-calibration activities, simulation studies, training of young scientists around different topics;
  5. support the gamma-ray community to achieve a prioritization of the goals and technologies for a future gamma-ray mission;
  6. perform surveys and feasibility studies of technology transfer for industrial applications of high energy detectors, and for X-ray optics. Do a preliminary analysis of the capability of the market to assimilate the transfer to sectors outside space;
  7. promote science outreach by pooling together resources at different European Institutes, setting up of educational material and promoting visits, summer jobs and educational workshops.