EST preparatory phase: status and next steps


The EST consortium successfully accomplished the EST conceptual design,  based in novel approaches to answering new paradigms in Solar Physics as well as from new insights in existing solar telescopes.  

The current preparatory phase includes the proof of the scientific concept and the testing of its feasibility, the analysis of the potential user community, the outline of a business case, policy regarding the RI required and generated data, and the first steps towards the required financial and political support from governments and funding agencies.  

The inclusion of EST in the ESFRI roadmap in March 2016 led to the achievement of several key milestones for the project: the successful application for EU funds dedicated to the preparatory phase of ESFRI projects, the approval by the Regional Government of the Canary Islands of 4.5 M€ to install, equip and recruit the necessary personnel to set-up of the EST Project Office, and the release of annual contributions by the EAST partners. 

All these elements have favoured the right moment for the EST Preparatory Phase to start up. During this phase, relevant actions are being deployed in order to provide both, the EST consortium and their funding agencies, with a detailed plan regarding the implementation of EST. These actions aim at delivering the necessary information to make decisions, addressing both technical and organisational (strategic) issues as well as costs and risks analysis.  

The progress made so far has been recently satisfactorily assessed by the European Commission, declaring that the consortium is demonstrating its relevant role as an essential step towards the realization of the European Solar Telescope. The European Commission agrees that the European Solar Telescope has been proposed to deliver a high impact in improving the attractiveness of the European Research Area and in further fostering international collaboration, by means of a new Research Infrastructure unique for its scientific features.  


Next challenges

From the technical point of view, the project’s great challenge is to develop a design capable of delivering its scientific objectives. This technological effort must be accompanied by a political consensus on the implementation and suitability of the project. The culmination of this consensus will be expressed in the establishment of the EST ERIC. 


This article was written by the EST Project Office

2nd Call for Proposal SOLARNET Trans-National Access Programme

SOLARNET is pleased to announce its second call for proposals of its Access Programme.

Proposals are hereby invited for observing time at the solar telescopes GREGOR and VTT at the Observatorio del Teide in Tenerife.

This call is for observing time awarded under the SOLARNET Trans-National Access Programme, and a small amount of observing time in the International Time Program (ITP). All proposals will be treated as being for both.

Proposals should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Period 2019B: Aug 12 – Nov 30

Proposal Submission Deadline: 2 June 2019, 23 UT

1st Call Mobility Programme for Young and Experienced Researchers

SOLARNET Mobility of Young and Experienced Researchers Programme Announcement (1st Call)

The SOLARNET Mobility Evaluation Committee (MEC) is pleased to announce the 1st Call for Proposals of Mobility Programme of Young and Experienced Researchers.

Deadline: May 31st, 2019

SOLARNET aims to bring together and integrate the major European research infrastructures in the field of high-resolution solar physics, in order to promote coordinated research and development. In this regard, SOLARNET will support the mobility of early stage researchers (ESR) as well as experienced researchers as part of the networking activities foreseen in the project. This task is supervised by the MEC, which evaluates and selects the submitted applications.

This first Call is related to stays to be carried on during the period September 1st, 2019  – February 29th, 2020.

Detailed information about the Young and Experienced Researchers Mobility Programme can be found at

Two open possitions in journalism at PRE-EST

We offer two contracts for a higher degree in #journalism and/or audiovisual communication to work on the horizon 2020 PRE-EST project, related to astrophysics and the future European Solar Telescope - EST. The work will be carried out at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA, Granada, Spain) and includes tasks such as: developing a press strategy for the entire consortium, press releases, promotion of the project on social media, web, dissemination events, design and production of a series of audiovisual and printed materials, among others.

We are looking for professionals who are pro-active, solution-oriented, with experience in similar positions, and proficiency in both English and Spanish. If you have these skills, please contact us and submit your application!

Application deadline: 4 April 2019
Estimated incorporation date: April 16, 2019

Find out more:

PRE-EST Board Meeting (January 22nd 2019)

The PRE-EST Board Meeting has started this morning at the CSIC Office in Brussels.

A review and update of the work carried out during the last 18 months is taking place. The meeting is attending by PRE-EST partners. Progress of the different project Work Packages is being presenting and discussing.

PRE-EST is a collaborative project funded by EU H2020 Programme under Grant Agreement 739500.

EAST General Assembly Meeting (Brussels, January 21st 2019)

The General Assembly of the European Association for Solar Telescopes has met today in Brussels. Of the main points of the Agenda was the election of the the president and vice-president. Mats Carlsson from Oslo University, and Oskar von der Luhe  from Stiftung Kiepenheuer-Institut fuer Sonnenphysik, were respectively confirmed in their positions. The Assembly also listened an overview of the following H2020 projects: SOLARNET (just started in January), GREST (finished by mid of 2018), and PRE-EST (on going).

The European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST) was founded in 2006 by a group of solar physicists from 14 European countries, three more countries have joined after that, and today in the Brussels meeting, the General Assembly approved another one -Portugal- as the country member number 18.

More detail at EAST at EAST.


IAC-EST and Industry!

Aware of the importance of collaborating with the industry to achieve common objectives of technology transfer between the IAC and the private sector and to increase, in the interest of science, the pool of European firms working on the technological challenges posed by the development of the next generation Large Telescopes, the IAC has prepared two legal documents:

  • the first one was produced in the framework of the IAC, as institution hosting the Project Office, to establish a general agreement for collaboration between the IAC and the interested party;
  • the second one describes the specific activities to be addressed during the term of the Agreement (typically one year, with a possible extension to a second year, if agreed).

No economic exchange is allowed by the Agreements.

The documents and agreements are public and accessible to any interested party. The agreements provide for the protection of intellectual and industrial property:

IAC Framework Agreement

Specific Agreement for Projects as EST

The first company signing the framework agreement has been ESTEYCO. The specific collaboration agreement between this organization and IAC has been published at the Official Spanish Gazette (BOE-A-2018-15728). This agreement is based on studies of the design of the structure of the telescope.

An agreement with SENER for “Optomechanical Systems for Large Telescopes” is in process of signature.

Others are still under negotiation by the EST Project Office.

SOLARNET Access Time: First Call for Proposals 2019

Proposals are hereby invited under the SOLARNET Trans-National Access Programme for observing time at GREGOR, SST, THEMIS, and VTT telescopes installed at the Canary Islands Observatories.

This call also includes observing time in the International Time Program (ITP).

Proposals will be handled by the EAST TAC, a common European Time Allocation Committee installed by the European Association for Solar Telescopes.

Typically, campaigns will be awarded for 10 observing days at each telescope.

SOLARNET campaigns also include travel grants for going to the telescope.

In 2019, the SST will provide some of its time in service mode, thus not requiring visits by the investigators.

Certain criteria of eligibility related to the nationalities of the applicants apply.

Data acquired in the SOLARNET Access Programme will become public one year after being delivered to the PI.

Information on instrumentation and proposal details are available at the telescope web pages:





Proposals can be made for each individual telescope or for a combination of them.

All applications will be assumed to be for both SOLARNET and ITP when possible. All proposals should be sent via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and must be received by January 20, 2019.

SOLARNET is expected to be funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 824135.

The award of SOLARNET observing time is contingent on the signing process currently underway being concluded.

ESCAPE: EU Particle Physics and Astronomy commit to the Research Data Revolution making the European Open Science Cloud a reality

The European Union member states have launched the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative, a cloud for research data in Europe allowing for universal access to data through a single online platform. EOSC will federate existing resources across national data centres, e-infrastructures and research infrastructures, allowing researchers and citizens to access and re-use data produced by other scientists.

ESCAPE (European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle physics ESFRI research infrastructures) will address the Open Science challenges shared by ESFRI facilities (SKA, CTA, KM3NeT, EST, ELT, HL-LHC, FAIR) as well as other pan-European research infrastructures (CERN, ESO, JIVE) in astronomy and particle physics.

ESCAPE aims at delivering solutions to ensure integration of data, tools, services and scientific software. These actions will establish interoperability within EOSC as an integrated multi-probe facility for fundamental science.

ESCAPE is funded by the European Union through its Horizon 2020 Programme, with a total amount of 16 M€. This funding will help boost the implementation of the European Open Science Cloud, and it will be effective in the first quarter of 2019. Several members of the EST consortium participate actively in ESCAPE. Congratulations to all!

For more information, see:…/EN_ESCAPE_Press_Communication2011…

SOLARNET project accepted for funding by the European Union

We are glad to announce that the H2020 SOLARNET project has been accepted for funding by the European Union.

As with the previous EU-funded project (2013-2017), SOLARNET aims to

- coordinate activities among those European institutions and organizations that support Europe's major research groups in solar physics.

- improve the research infrastructures they provide.

- ensure that all European solar physicists have access to the best facilities for high-resolution solar observations and data archives.

The acceptance for funding of SOLARNET is excellent news for the European Solar Telescope (EST), since this project involves the most important European research institutions, infrastructures and data repositories, gathering more than 500 solar physics researchers around Europe working together in developments which will be of a vital relevance for EST.


EST Science Meeting 2018

The first EST Science Meeting took place on 11-15 June 2018 in Giardini Naxos (Sicily) thanks to the great coordination of the Università degli Studi di Catania. Solar Physicists from different parts of the world met to discuss the top science cases defined for EST and the state of the art of current instrumentation and the future desired perspectives to understand our active Sun.

During five days the community of solar physicists discussed the scientific objectives of the European Solar Telescope as a key instrument for the study of our local star. The detailed presentation of the capacity of the EST, as well as the analysis of its scientific needs, were the principal objectives of this scientific meeting.

The objective of the EST project is to build the largest solar telescope on European territory. Because of its primary mirror of 4m diameter, it will allow us to observe the Sun with unprecedented resolution. Its design, and its instruments are optimized to analyse the magnetic field structure on the solar surface with a sensitivity which has not been achieved so far by any solar telescope.

The EST configuration will provide answers to some of the questions which are open in the study of Solar Physics.  Among these are “What are the mechanisms which generate the cyclic activity of the Sun? Why are the outermost layers of the Sun hotter than the underlying layers? What mechanisms cause the explosive events on the Sun, which can have a significant influence on our planet Earth?.

The EST was considered as a strategic project for Europe and is included in the ESFRI route map in May 2016. Its construction is due to start in 2021, and it will see its first light in 2027, from the Canary summits.

This conference is one of the actions within the Preparatory Phase of the European Solar Telescope. This activity is presently included in the H2020 project PRE-EST (Preparatory Phase of the EST), which involves 21 institutions in 15 European countries.

The EST Science Advisory Group is analysing the outcome of the fruitful discussions and the update of the Science Requirement Document is taking place.



EST Board chooses ERIC as favorite legal figure for EST

Last April 18th 2018 the EST Board for its Preparatory Phase (PRE-EST) held its annual meeting in Belfast (UK). The principal objective of PRE-EST is to provide both the EST international consortium and the funding agencies with a detailed plan regarding the implementation of EST.

Based on its excellence and maturity, EST became on March 2016 part of the ESFRI Projects list as a strategic facility for the European Community. This fact led to a subsequent speed-up of the project towards its current Preparatory Phase.

During this meeting, the EST Board addressed fundamental issues for the success of the project. Progress made on strategic and technical aspects was presented and a deep analysis of the future governance structure and the financial status of the project was carried out.

A key point of the meeting was the discussion on the future legal figure for EST. After a detailed analysis and a successive discussion of the different alternatives, the Board decided unanimously that the most appropriate legal figure for the project is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) located in Spain.

EST partners have devoted an important effort during the last years to explore possible legal frameworks and related governance schemes in order to provide the means for the agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure. Following a thorough comparison, the present main EST governing body, the EST Board, agrees that the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is the most appropriate structure, providing, among other advantages, the adequate framework for trans-national cooperation among partners as well as the desired sustainability for the project lifetime.

The experience shows that the ERIC legal figure implies a wider political visibility, also paving the way with key European funding agencies, policy and other decision makers. ERIC privileges/exemptions are also relevant.

The negotiation and approval procedure for setting up an ERIC is carried out at national level. As a result of this PRE-EST Board decision, the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Industry will initiate the ERIC negotiations process with the corresponding governmental authorities of the EST partners.


The Science Advisory Group and the EST Board meet at Belfast (UK)

Some of the board members at Belfast.

April 18 2018, Belfast (UK) - The annual EST Board Meeting, which gathers the main researchers and managers of the PRE-EST project, has taken place today in Belfast (UK). This project aims to give the necessary steps towards the construction of the European Solar Telescope. During this meeting the board has addressed fundamental issues for the success of the project. The coordinators of the working packages designed to build this big infrastructure have reported the current status of strategical areas such as the financial schemes, the project management, or the communication and outreach actions. The EST board also discussed about the possible legal figures to manage an infrastructure the European Solar Telescope during its preparatory and construction phases.

Prior to the EST Board Meeting, the Science Advisory Group (SAG) also met in Belfast. One of the main tasks of SAG is to refine the EST concept, building on the existing EST Conceptual Design the prioritised scientific goals and technical updates. To that end, the current needs of the solar community are being assessed taking into account the technologies likely to be affordable over the next decade. This meeting involved the participation of researchers from all the institutions participating in the PRE-EST project. 

EST presentation in Japan

Participants at the bilateral symposium about big infrastructures in astronomy celebrated this week in Japan.

EST presentation in Japan

March 8 2018, Tokyo - EST has been presented to the Japanese community in the frame of the bilateral symposium "Big Infrastructures of Astrophysics: synergies and cooperation between Spain and Japan". This meeting has been celebrated at the Spanish Embassy in Japan, and it has been organised by the IAC and the Tokio University. Manolo Collados (IAC) has explained the details of the EST project to a group of Spanish and Japanese astrophysicist involved in big infrastructures for astronomy. Carmen Vela (Spanish Secretary of State of Investigation, Development and Innovation) and Saku Tsuneta (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA) also attended the meeting in which Manolo Collados has talked about the importance of a telescope who is set to be the cornerstone of European Solar Physics the next decades.

EST was presented in Austria

Bairisch Kölldorf, October 11th 2017

A workshop to discuss the current status of the EST has taken place at Bairisch Kölldorf (Austria), between 9 and 11 October. This conference was organised by the Institut of Physics IGAM (University of Graz), the Austrian Academia of Sciences, the Mayor Bad Gleichenberg and PRE-EST, the project which is working towards the construction phase of the European Solar Telescope. 

The workshop was dedicated to review the main issues concerning the EST Preparatory Phase. The contacts with potential stakeholders and funding organisations in the regions of central Europe, discussions on possible collaborations and science cases as well as the public outreach strategy, were some of the issues to be discussed. This kind of events are crucial in the development of such strategic infrastructures, since it allows to introduce the project to a specialized audience. In the frame of this workshop, a meeting between member of PRE-EST with ministry, university of Graz and academy representatives took place, in order to explain them the project. With this event, Austria promotes the first presentation of EST to its community.

EST, the European Solar Telescope, is a revolutionary 4-metre aperture telescope designed to investigate our active Sun at unprecedent resolution. Equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation it will help scientists understand the magnetic coupling of the solar atmosphere. EST will be installed in the Canary Islands (Spain) to benefit from unique observing conditions. First light is planned for 2027.

EST is supported by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST), involving 21 research institutions in 15 countries across Europe. It is included in the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) since March 2016. The project has received funding from the European Union's H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739500.

 More information:


Dr. Arnold Hansmeier (University of Graz) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Manolo Collados (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, EST Project Coordinator) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


EST was presented in Rome to the Italian Scientific and Technological community

From left to right: Daniele Gallieni (A.D.S. international), Manolo Collados (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), Fabio Manni (SRS Engineering), Francesca Zuccarello (Università di Catania), Ilaria Ermolli (Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica), Francesco Berrilli (Università di Roma Tor Vergata) and Salvo Gugliemino (Università di Catania)

Rome, October 5th 2017

Today, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome has hosted the first European presentation of the European Solar Telescope (EST) in the frame of the preparatory phase for its construction. This infrastructure, which will be installed in the Canary Islands - Spain, will be the largest European telescope to observe the sun. The construction is expected to start in 2021, and first light is planned for 2027. The project is included in the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) since 2016 and involves 21 scientific and industrial institutions from 15 different European countries.
European astronomers have studied the sun for centuries. Starting with Galileo Galilei, many solar physicists have helped unravel its secrets with the most advanced instrumentation at their disposal. Thanks to those efforts we now know the structure and composition of our star.  However, some important questions remain unanswered. Among them is the role played by solar magnetic fields, which are thought to be responsible for the most energetic processes happening in the solar atmosphere. To address these questions, a next-generation telescope is needed.

EST will have a 4-meter primary mirror and an advanced adaptive optics system - a technology designed to reduce the image distortions caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, EST will be able to distinguish structures on the solar surface as small as 30 kilometers. Thanks to its large mirror, EST will also excel in delivering accurate measurements of solar magnetic fields, surpassing by far the capabilities of any existing solar telescope.  The main goal of EST is to investigate the structure, dynamics, and energetics of the lower solar atmosphere, where magnetic fields continually interact with the plasma and magnetic energy is sometimes released in powerful explosions.

The event at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is a presentation at European level of a project set to be the cornerstone of European solar physics in the coming decades. The event has involved the participation of researchers from all the Italian institutions participating in EST and representatives from the Italian industry. Manolo Collados (EST project coordinator) has declared that “EST will combine the best of present solar telescopes and will largely improve their performances”.  

EST is promoted by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST), which includes around 500 researchers from 15 European countries.


Dr. Manuel Collados (EST Coordinator, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Luis Bellot (EST Communication Office Coordinator, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Manuel González (EST Communication Officer, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

ERC Starting Grant for the SUNMAG project

The SUNMAG project receives an ERC Starting Grant

September 7th 2017

Great news for the EST community!

Dr. Jaime de la Cruz Rodríguez (Institute for Solar Physics, Stockholm University) has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council's Starting Grant for the project "SUNMAG: Understanding magnetic field regulated heating and explosive events in the solar chromosphere". Congratulations, Jaime!

Sweden is one of 15 European countries represented in EAST and promoting the construction of EST. The Institute for Solar Physics is participating actively in the EST preparatory phase through the EC-funded project PRE-EST.


ESPM15 – Early Announcement

ESPM-Early announcement 

The 15th European Solar Physics Meeting will be held in Budapest (Hungary), during the week of 04-08 September, 2017.

More info:

EST moves forward to the Preparatory Phase


The Preparatory Phase of the European Solar Telescope (PRE-EST) has recently been approved under the H2020 framework. This 4-years project involves 23 research institutions from 16 countries and will officially starts next April 2017.

Read more ...

The IAC team receives the IFU prototype


On October 13, the SOLARNET project received from Winlight Optics the prototype of the Integral Field Unit (IFU), designed by the optical department of the IAC, and manufactured by the company. The instrument is based on the "image slicer" concept and, thanks to its small size and excellent optical quality of its construction material, represents an important technical milestone in solar astrophysical instrumentation. 

Each of its 8 functional "slicers" has a thickness of 100 microns, and the set also includes its corresponding block of 8 collimating mirrors and 8 camera mirrors, providing 8 individual slits suitable for its use by the GRIS spectrograph at the GREGOR telescope. The whole set has been manufactured in Zerodur, material with the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion that can support this application. The present prototype is framed with the preparatory roadmap to face the technological challenge of equipping the EST with spectroscopy based on image slicers. It is estimated that the thickness requirement of EST slices is 50 microns. The IFU is being installed at the GREGOR telescope for its first tests. 

The EST team submitted a new project proposal to Horizon 2020* 


The European Solar Telescope (EST) will be a revolutionary Research Infrastructure that will play a major role in answering
 key questions in modern Solar Physics. This 4-meter class solar telescope, to be located in the Canary Islands, will provide
 solar physicists with the most advanced state-of-the-art observing tools to transform our understanding of the complex
 phenomena that drive the solar magnetic activity.

Read more ...

The European Solar Telescope, chosen as a Strategic Scientific Installation for Europe


Today, March 10th, an official announcement was made about the updating of the ESFRI (Forum for a European Strategy in Research Inrastructures) route map at a meeting in Amsterdam. This route map includes the EST (European Solar Telescope) project, together with five other projects (ACTRIS, DANUBIUS-RI, E-RIHS, EMPHASIS Y KM3NeT 2.0) and two others which are considered to be emblematic (CERN LHC Y ESRF EBS). >> Read more




'Solar Physics', first video of the 'IAC Investigates' series

The IAC, Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, has produced five videos with the aim of showing, in a clear and didactic way, its main lines of research. These audiovisual films present the scientific value of the research conducted at the center, its capacity and experience in the development of instrumentation and technology projects, and the quality of its staff. The research line 'Solar Physics' is the first to be presented. The realization of these videos has been coordinated by the Communication and Scientific Culture Unit (UC3) of the IAC, and has been sponsored by the Severo Ochoa Program. >> Read more

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