The 30th meeting of the IRAM Executive Council was held on June 16th and 17th, 1997 at the IRAM Headquarters in Grenoble and included a visit to the Plateau de Bure Observatory.
The Council met for the first time under its new President, Dr. Alain BAUDRY, who welcomed several new members : Drs. Jean-Francois MINSTER and Geneviève DEBOUZY for the CNRS/INSU, Drs. Alberto BARCIA CANCIO and Manuel GARCIA PEREZ for the IGN, and Dr. Karl MENTEN for the MPG.
After having reviewed IRAM's activities in 1996, and after listening to the advice of the Scientific Advisory Committee, presented by its chairman, Dr. Jesus MARTIN PINTADO, the Council authorized new budget envelopes for 1997, decided on the running budget and the investment budget for 1998, and took note of IRAM's budget projections until 2001. Basically, the budget envelopes will remain constant as a consequence of current financial circumstances in the partner countries.
Given this situation, we are particularly grateful that the Council adopted an additional budget plan for the years 1997-1999 for the construction of a 6th Antenna for the Plateau de Bure Interferometer ! The proposal to extend the array to 6 antennas had been discussed in, and strongly recommended by the IRAM Advisory Committees since several years but it was only during the last 12 months that the IRAM partner organisations have found ways how to finance this additional investment. A particular effort has been made by the IGN, who agreed to make an exceptional contribution of 33% to the necessary funds. As a compensation, additional observing time is foreseen for collaborative Spanish/French and Spanish/German projects.
With these decisions by the IRAM Council, the IRAM instruments will be fully competitive for many years to come. However, the Council also started to discuss scenarios for the future development of (sub-)millimeter astronomy in Europe, and in a wider international context during the first decades of the next century. As a result, IRAM will continue to actively support the study activities for a Large Southern Hemisphere Array (LSA).