The 32nd meeting of the IRAM Executive Council was held on June 17th and 18th, 1999 in Granada. In addition to discussing IRAMís ongoing development projects and the budget projections for the year 2000 and beyond, the Council discussed in some detail the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) and how this project will affect the short-term and longer- term activities at IRAM. Two of the IRAM partners, the CNRS and the MPG are already co- signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding that has been signed on the European side for the development of the ALMA. The 3rd IRAM partner, the IGN, reported that Spain has recently decided to join the project, too, and will negotiate conditions for the Spanish participation in the near future.
Members of the IRAM Council confirmed the important scientific role which their respective scientific communities assign to the ALMA project in the longer term. They want to support the project as much as possible without, however, compromising their support for IRAM in the near- and medium-term future. Given the limited manpower and financial resources that are available, the IRAM partners consider it essential to avoid unnecessary duplication of work and strongly encourage efforts to maximise the synergy between ongoing development projects. To facilitate this, the IRAM partners expect IRAM to co-ordinate the ALMA- contributions from French, German, and Spanish institutes participating in the project.
As has been announced before, the European Co-ordination Committee for the ALMA project has nominated Stephane GUILLOTEAU as the European Project Scientist. Given the scope of this task, he asked the IRAM Council to be relieved of his responsibilities as Deputy Director of IRAM. Acknowledging the important role that he has played not only for the development of the Plateau de Bure interferometer but also in many other respects since his appointment as IRAMís Deputy Director in 1997, and recognising the important contributions that he will be able to make to the ALMA project, the Council agreed to his temporary delegation to the new project. Following a proposal from the CNRS, the members of the IRAM Council have in the meantime appointed Michel GU…LIN as the new Deputy Director of IRAM. The handover of responsibilities had originally been foreseen for July this year. In the aftermath of the accident of the Plateau de Bure cable car cabin, it will now take effect one month later, on August 16th, 1999.