The Istituto di Radioastronomia (IRA) was created in 1970 by the National Research Council (CNR) from a pre-existing group of scientists, engineers and technicians who designed and built the Northern Cross radio telescope under the guidance of Prof. Marcello Ceccarelli, the father of radioastronomy in Italy. In January  2005 the IRA became part of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics ( INAF )


The IRA is the Institute where radioastronomy research is carried out in Italy. The major focus of reasearch is mainly extragalactic astrophysics, from the astrophysics of radiogalaxies and quasars to clusters of galaxies. However, a considerable effort is also devoted to galactic astrophysics, from star-formations to stellar astrophysics. A third research area is constituted by Earth physics, mainly geodetic research. The Institute develops state-of-the-art electronics, technology systems, and software for the realization of radio telescopes and related facilities. The Institute operates a computer center, which is specialized in imaging techniques and serves as a reference center for the software service of the CNR Area . The role played by the IRA is recognized at International levels and the Institute is the main interlocutor for radioastronomy research in Italy.
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research programs at the IRA.


The IRA has a staff of about 100 people including astronomers, electronic engineers-physicists, software specialists, technical and administrative personnel. In addition, scientists from the Astronomy and Physics Departments of the University of Bologna are affiliated with the Institute. Headquarters are located in Bologna. Other divisions of the Institute are located in Medicina (near Bologna) and Noto.
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staff .


The IRA operates three radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community: the "Northern Cross Radiotelescope", located in Medicina, and two 32-m single dish antennas located in Medicina and Noto (Sicily). The antennas are part of the VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) global network for about 150 days a year. On September 30, 2013, a new radiotelescope, the Sardinia Radio Telescope, or SRT, formed by a 64-m antenna located near Cagliari, has been officially dedicated. SRT is a 64-m fully steerable parabolic antenna capable of high efficiency operation at frequencies between 0.3 - 100 GHz. Once fully operative, SRT will be a remarkable node of the European VLBI Network (EVN) but it will be also a powerful instrument when used on its own as a single-dish radio telescope. The IRA is part of European Institutes such as JIVE Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe ( Rationale for the IRA-INAF contribution to JIVE), and participates in Consortia such as the European VLBI Network ( EVN ) and the International VLBI Service for Geodesy and Astronomy ( IVS ). The IRA is involved in future astronomical projects like ALMA , e-VLBI , SKA , LOFAR , and is a main partner in the European Framework Programs funded by the European Union in projects like RadioNet and NEXPReS . Also on behalf of INAF the IRA hosts an Alma Regional Center ( ARC ).
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telescopes .


The IRA is a strong supporter of the ALMA project within ESO and has agreed to host the Italian node, at the request of and financed by INAF. The ARC (Alma Regional Center) will provide face-to-face support on scientific and technical matters to users of the Italian and international community. In particular, its tasks are to help ALMA users with calibration and advanced data reduction, and to develop algorithms and specific procedures. The ARC will also stimulate use of ALMA among the Italian community, through the organization of schools and workshops, and by helping to define nation-wide scientific projects of common interest.
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On behalf of INAF a new accounting Data Elaboration Center (CED) has become operational since 2005 at IRA Bologna. The CED provides administrative, book keeping and technical support for the entire INAF.
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University Interactions - There are numerous and strong interactions between the IRA and its divisions with the local Universities. This is particularly true in Bologna but also in any division where there is a group of scientists like in Catania.  At present, IRA personnel and collaborators teach several University courses. Also Italian Laurea Theses are assigned as well as PhD theses. The web page of the Department of Astronomy of the University of Bologna can be found at this link: http://www.astronomia.unibo.it/Astronomia/default.htm .

SCHOOLS AND CONFERENCES - The IRA is also involved in the organization of workshops, schools and conferences. In Bologna on average 1 or 2 meetings a year are organized. For more details please look at Piano Triennale link under Activities.
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Outreach .