New international nuclear astrophysics research network

Exploring the nature of dense nuclear matter


The ExtreMe Matter Institute (EMMI) with its research groups at Technical University of Darmstadt and the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung will participate in a new network of networks for nuclear astrophysics research. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $2 million grant to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics — Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE), led by Michigan State University (MSU), to create the new International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics (IReNA).

The National Science Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics – Center for the Evolution of the Elements, led by Michigan State University, to create the new International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics (IReNA).

In total, IReNA unites five research collaborations: Besides EMMI, the European Network “Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos” (ChETEC), the Collaborative Research Center “The Milky Way System”, the Japan Forum of Nuclear Astrophysics UKAKUREN, and the international Nucleosynthesis Grid collaboration (NuGRID) will be members.

IReNA is composed of seven Universities as core institutions in the United States, and also includes 62 associated institutions in 17 countries. The combined infrastructure and research capabilities available to IReNA scientists will accelerate the understanding of the origin of chemical elements and the nature of dense nuclear matter.

IReNA creates communication channels and collaborative structures

In the current age of multimessenger astronomy, extreme astrophysical environments like supernovae and neutron star mergers are studied through gravitational waves, visible light, infrared, X-rays, gamma-rays, radio waves and neutrinos. IReNA comes as a timely boost for the nuclear astrophysics community. The amount and range of nuclear and astrophysics data and expertise needed to answer open questions about the universe cannot be obtained by a single country. IReNA creates the necessary communication channels and collaborative structures. Together, IReNA scientists will have access to a variety of accelerators, astronomical observatories, experimental equipment, data, and computer codes.

IReNA will also create exchange programs, innovative workshops, and retreats that will foster network communication and training of the next generation of scientists.

“This is an innovative approach to science. It is also a unique opportunity for young researchers to train across disciplines, and gives them experience working with large teams.” said Hendrik Schatz, JINA-CEE and IReNA director.

C. Pomplun/C. Ewerz/A. Schwenk

This news is based on a press release of Michigan State University


The ExtreMe Matter Institute EMMI at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany, was founded in 2008 as a network of German and international partner institutions, among them JINA-CEE. The new IReNA network includes several research groups at TU Darmstadt and GSI as a part of EMMI. EMMI is dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary research on matter under extreme conditions of temperature and density. More than 400 scientists at the 13 partner institutions of EMMI study various forms of strongly coupled matter in extreme conditions, including the hottest, coldest and densest matter in the universe. Surprisingly, these very different forms of matter are connected by common concepts in their theoretical description. EMMI also acts as a think tank for the strategy of future experiments, for example at the FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) accelerator facility currently under construction at GSI.


The NSF grant is part of the Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program. AccelNet is designed to accelerate the process of scientific discovery and prepare the next generation of U.S. researchers for multiteam international collaborations. The AccelNet program supports strategic linkages among U.S. research networks and complementary networks abroad that will leverage research and educational resources to tackle grand scientific challenges that require significant coordinated international efforts.