Tuesday, 9th of January, 2018, more than 150 physicists, astrophysicists, policy makers, representative of the funding agencies and of the European Institutions meet in Brussels in the occasion of the APPEC roadmap. APPEC is the consortium of funding agencies that in Europe support the research in astroparticle and in particular the research in gravitational waves through terrestrial detectors. The APPEC roadmap represents the vision of the national funding agencies and of their scientists about the future research infrastructures and main research subjects in astroparticle in the next decade. Gravitational Waves play a central role in that roadmap, with the evolution of the current detectors, Advanced Virgo and Advanced LIGO, and the future 3rd generation GW observatory, the Einstein Telescope (ET), the key European research infrastructure that will lead the GW research in the 2030 decade. The whole meeting has been dominated by few words: “gravitational waves” and “multi-messenger astronomy and astrophysics” (MMA). In fact, the first detection of the coalescence of two binary neutron stars (GW170817), achieved by Advanced Virgo and Advanced LIGO the 17th of August 2017, opened the new MMA era. Hence, the plan for future research infrastructures in astroparticle needs to be though within this new framework, realising something to be named with a new title: the MMA roadmap.

The GW research adventure has decades of history, but an incredibly brilliant future; the selection of Brussels as venue for the APPEC roadmap meeting is also underlying the relevant role played by the European Commission, supporting breakthrough initiatives in the past years. The 3rd generation concept has been developed by myself and Harald Lueck, of the Max Plank institute (MPG) of Hannover, as co-chairs of a working group in a FP6 funded integration activity (ILIAS, 2004-2008). The Einstein Telescope (ET) project has been initiated by a FP7 Design Study that I had the honour to coordinate (2008-2011). The conceptual design realised thanks to the European support in FP7 is currently the most advanced, complete, attractive and promising design of a 3rd generation GW observatory and the ET project is aiming to enter in the ESFRI roadmap in the next update (2020). The initial development of the enabling technologies for the ET detector has been supported by the European Commission with an IRSES initiative named ELiTES (2012-2017) implementing the exchange of scientists and know-how between the European scientists, involved in ET, and the Japanese colleagues that are realising the KAGRA detector. The GraWIToN project, an ITN that is concluding the 31st of January 2018 that trained young researchers in Europe in Advanced Virgo and Advanced LIGO exactly during the last two heart-breaking  years, when the gravitational waves have been detected for the first time (GW150914) and when the MMA era has been opened (GW170817). GraWIToN ESRs contributed with their research activities to these incredible achievements and surely will contribute in the future as leading scientists in this field.

A brilliant future is in front of the GW research, especially for young scientists entering now in this field because they will profit completely of the huge scientific potential of the ET observatory. The APPEC roadmap meeting conclusions bring a promise: the support from the national funding agencies and possibly of the European Commission will not lack in the next decade.

Dr. Michele Punturo

ET web site: http://www.et-gw.eu/

GraWIToN web site: http://www.grawiton-gw.eu/

APPEC roadmap event: https://indico.nikhef.nl/event/767/overview

APPEC roadmap: http://www.appec.org/roadmap

Additional information