AHEAD2020 Data Analysis Trans-National Access

The fifth call opens on 31 January 2023 and the submission deadline is 28 February 2023 at 17:00 CET. Visits are expected to occur during the period up to end of May 2024.

As for the previous AOs, this AO will include the possibility of remote access (e.g. online training). In such case, the service is offered with no need to travel to the host institute. The user application should clearly state if this is acceptable and if any help with software installation is required. If selected, the user should discuss details with the host institute.

Disclaimer: any remote/in-person TNA access approved as part of the AHEAD2020 project may suffer unpredictable cancellations or delays due to laws or regulations put in place to control/mitigate the outbreak. AHEAD2020 cannot be held responsible for these events and the effect of cancellations/delays. Visitors are expected to be covered by their own travel and health insurance.


Our goal is to provide trans-national access (TNA) to X-ray and gamma-ray data analysis methods including use of data tools, archives and space instruments via tutorials and mentoring by experienced scientists at the delivery institutes. The primary aim is to widen opportunities for scientists to exploit both European-funded and international X-ray astronomy facilities and X-ray data archives in order to enhance high-energy astrophysics science across Europe. Users must meet certain EU and AHEAD2020 rules for formal eligibility. Users must apply to visit a facility located in a country other than the country in which they currently work. The activities will be particularly designed to assist relatively inexperienced users in smaller institutes, but will be tailored to the needs of scientists with a wide range of experience.

Following a selection process, to ensure suitability of the user, and an initial discussion of the user's needs, to ensure the user's activities will be productive and efficient, users will typically visit a delivery institute for up to 10 working days (the applicant should state clearly how many days they are requesting, usually 5 or 10 [1 or 2 weeks]). The costs of the visit will be covered by the AHEAD2020 project, subject to a reasonable daily limit, and users will be given practical help to arrange their visit, i.e. to arrange travel, accommodation and ensure prompt reimbursement of costs. The travel rules are available on this page: http://ahead.iaps.inaf.it/?page_id=213

The delivery institute will provide the users with: a hands-on tutorial in the most up-to-date methods in X-ray/γ-ray data analysis (imaging, time series, spectroscopy); specific data analysis methods tailored to the users own research project(s); assistance with using software packages specific to European and international X-ray missions; and given guidance in the exploitation of data archives located at the host institutions and elsewhere, including multi-waveband analysis; and mentoring in how to make use of the software and X-ray facilities when the user returns home, including a point of contact at the delivery institute for follow-up discussions. Thus a visit will be part of a process to enable science for the user rather than a single end point.

Access to the following host institutes is offered. During the application process users may choose up to three host institutes from:

During their visit the user will be given space within an office in the host institute, access to the internet and assigned a contact scientist who be responsible for delivery of tutorial material and who will be available throughout the visit for mentoring and scientific discussions on the use of methods for spectroscopic, time series and imaging data analysis using the most recent versions of high-energy astrophysics software. Software packages typically available include ftools, HEAsoft, XSELECT, XSTAR and mission specific software including those for XMM-Newton, Chandra, Swift, INTEGRAL, IXPE and eRosita, as well as specialized software developed at the host institution; examples are geant4 tutorials, multiwavelength data analysis. Details of the tutorials available at each host institute are given via the links above.

The user will be encouraged while present to join in the usual research activities of the host institution (seminars, discussions of recent techniques and results, updates on current/future space missions and external training opportunities). The latter activities will be particularly important for users from small research centres to ensure they maintain contact with the subject once they return home.

Selection process

Visiting users will be selected via a competitive process based on need and current access to X-ray facilities, and will be allocated to a host institute. If selected the user will be invited for a unit of time, up to 10 working days with a day of travel either side. The dates of the visit will be subject to mutual agreement within each call period. Prior to the visit, there will be preliminary discussions with the user to ascertain their current experience and detailed requirements so the tutorial information can be best tailored to their needs. Additional support will be given after the visit ends to ensure the user obtains maximum benefit. For each institute listed above there is a contact scientist who can provide more information on the host.

Prospective users must submit an application via the web form below. The applicant should provide a CV and enclose a letter of recommendation from their employer or supervisor; explain how the proposed visit would benefit their research; and specify a ranked list of possible hosts, explaining how they would make use of the relevant expertise available at each host. The selection panel will consider proposals based on the following criteria: scientific excellence, previous experience, location and gender. The primary language used for the AHEAD2020 project training scheme will be English and users should make clear in their proposal if they wish to be trained via another language. The AHEAD2020 TNA scheme is available to all potential users, but the selection process will be biased towards users with a lack of suitable facilities for gaining specific training in their home country and to relatively inexperienced users. The selection process will encourage users to obtain tutoring in facilities and methods outside of their previous experience so as to expand their future use of X-ray facilities, broaden their outlook and hence boost future employment prospects. Users will be expected to provide feedback on their visit.

Once selected, users will be allocated a contact scientist and help will be given to arrange the visit. Users are responsible for any visa and both travel and medical insurance requirements.

In order to be able to fulfill EU rules on TNA activity reporting, each of the selected teams must prepare a short (max 1-2 page) final summary report of its activity at the given facility and to give a signed copy to the local facility management. Publications resulting from work carried out under this TNA activity must acknowledge the support of the European Community and the AHEAD2020 Project. Each of the selected users is asked to provide the following information to the contact person of the visited facility and to the TNA data analysis coordinator (paul.obrien at leicester.ac.uk): (a) a list of their publications that have appeared in journals (or conference proceedings) resulting from work carried out under this TNA activity. For each publication we kindly ask to indicate: the title of the user project that have led to the publication itself, the authors, the title, the year of publication, the type of publication (Article in journal, Publication in conference proceeding/workshop/on-line repository, Book/Monograph, Chapters in book, Thesis/dissertation, etc.), whether it has been peer-reviewed or not, the DoI (Digital Object Identifier), the publication references, and whether the publication is available under Open Access or not.

All publications resulting from AHEAD2020 activity should include the following acknowledgement:-

"This paper is supported by European Union's 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No.871158, project AHEAD2020"

Application form

3000 characters remaining
1000 characters remaining

A CV must be provided. PDF format is required.

A covering letter must be provided from the student's employer or supervisor. PDF format is required.