The annual meeting of the Executive Council took place on June 27 and 28, 2005 in Alcala de Henares in Spain. It was hosted by the IGN, and the first meeting chaired by the new President of the Council, Prof. Reinhard GENZEL, who succeeded Dr. Genevieve DEBOUZY in this position. Like in 2004, much of discussion was focussed on IRAM's longer-term future, and a number of important decisions have been taken.
The most important of these is the appointment of Dr. Karl SCHUSTER as the next IRAM Deputy Director, who will start in this new function on January 1, 2006. Karl Schuster has been the Project Scientist for IRAM's first multibeam heterodyne receiver ( HERA), and since October 1 1997 he has been the Head of IRAM's SIS Group. He succeeds Pierre COX, who had been appointed by the Council in 2004 as the new IRAM Director as of January 1, 2006.
Following the exchange of a Letter of Intent between the CNRS and the MPG, all three IRAM partner organisation, the CNRS, the MPG, and the IGN, decided at the Executive Council meeting to prepare an Amendment to the current IRAM contract that will move the current limit date of the inter-agency agreement from 2009 to 2014, with the possibility of a further extension to be decided in due time.
Concerning IRAM's budgets for 2005 and 2006, the Council approved the proposed budget levels, which include i.a. the money for the track extensions on the Plateau de Bure (completion of the northern track extension and doubling of the E-W baseline), and the installation of the next generation receivers, which will not only substantially improve the instrument capabilities at 3mm and 1mm w.r.t. to the current receivers, but also add the 2mm and 0.8mm bands.
IRAM's Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has looked not only at these shorter term improvements but also at new investment projects for the coming 5 years. As key issues, a larger format bolometer array, a decision on the next generation wideband spectroscopic (array-) receivers, the development of more powerful backends, and of new software tools have been identified. This ambitious programme will not only require substantial resources within IRAM, but also close collaboration with other institutes.