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A summary of the 4th Institute of Space Sciences strategy retreat


From January 24th to 26th 2023, the members of the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) gathered together in the framework of its fourth strategy retreat, held in Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey (Montserrat, Barcelona), with the aim of updating everyone on the research that was being done and putting in common thoughts for the medium and long-term institute’s strategy.

On January 24th, the executive team gave an introduction on the general status of the institute, followed by interventions from the two ICE-CSIC main departments: the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences (APS) and the Department of Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP). The Advanced Engineering Unit (AEU) gave a talk on the past, present and future of the unit, due to the several changes and updates put in place in 2022. In the afternoon, ICE-CSIC researchers talked about the status of space missions they were working at the moment: ARIEL, PLATO, EUCLID and ARRAKIHS. Euclid was recently launched on July 1st and ARRAKIHS was announced by the end of 2022. After that, AEU Engineers talked about measurements of environmental parameters and technology transfer opportunities. At the end of the day, there was a general discussion on the institute’s future and how large should the centre become.

To top it all, the winners of the ‘Best paper awards’ were announced during dinner: the postdoctoral researcher Tomás E. Müller-Bravo and the PhD student Michele Ronchi. These awards are aimed at the best paper by a PhD student and the best paper by a fellow in recognition of a work that is likely to make an impact in the field or brings new perspectives into it. The prize consists of partial or full support to attend a conference during the next year and/or an invitation back to ICE-CSIC.

On January 25th, there were a number of talks by ICE-CSIC PhD students and postdoctoral researchers on pulsar population, the ROHP-PAZ mission, machine learning, supernovae, neutron stars and magnetized clusters. AEU members discussed X-ray instrumentation and software engineering. These short talks were followed by three parallel sessions: Wishes and needs regarding Computing and Cluster, Wishes and needs regarding AEU laboratories and services and Ideas for improving everyday life and equity issues. In the afternoon, there was free time assigned so people could enjoy the environment, explore the mountains, the church and surroundings. 

On January 26th, the third and final day, we started with a summary of the parallel sessions and a number of conferences by the Astro and Cosmo department, and by the AEU. Some of the topics addressed were Euclid data, supernovae remnants, the Cherenkov Telescope Array, magnetism in exoplanets, the PAU survey, signal processing, exoplanet discovery and characterisation, the eXTP mission and the Einstein Telescope. Last, but not least, there was a discussion on the technological roadmap of the AEU, followed by some concluding remarks by the executive team.