Network overview and goals



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Network overview and goals

As part of its  Fifth Framework Programme , the  European Commission  is funding a series (roughly 250-300 across all sciences) of so-called Research Training Networks to promote the cross-border mobility and education of young researchers (postdocs and predoctoral students) throughout the European Union. 

We (see below) submitted a proposal titled "The Formation and Evolution of Young Stellar Clusters" (proposal number RTN1-1999-00436) to the first round of the new RTN programme in June 2nd 1999, and were notified of our success on October 22nd 1999. The various contractual matters (HPRN-CT-2000-00155) were completed in July 2000, and the official network start was backdated to June 15th 2000. The network will officially run for three years from that date, but may be extended on a no-cost basis to a fourth year in agreement with the EC. 

The aim of the network is to carry out a joint observational and theoretical study of the formation and evolution of young stellar clusters, believed to be the origin of most stars and planetary systems in the galaxy. Without understanding how stars and planets form in clusters, there can be no hope of elucidating the general "rules" of star formation, the fundamental life cycle of the universe.

The complementary experience, skills, and facilities of network participants are combined to address the following
scientific questions: 

  •        What are the initial conditions for cluster formation? 
  •        What determines the distribution of stellar masses in clusters? 
  •        Is there a universal mass function of stars, brown dwarfs, and giant planets, produced in all clusters? 
  •        What fraction of all field stars form in dense clusters? 
  •        How do massive stars form, and do clusters promote their formation? 
  •        How do planets form and evolve in a dense cluster environment? 
  •        Did our own solar system form in a cluster? 

Modified last:  October 15th, 2001 
G. Meeus