Our mission

EGO, the European Gravitational Observatory, located in the countryside near Pisa in the Commune of Cascina, was created 20 years ago (11 December 2000) by the “Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique” (CNRS), a French public, scientific and technological institution, and the Italian “Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare” (INFN). The NIKHEF Laboratory (Netherlands) joined in 2007 with an observer status.

EGO’s goal is to ensure the long-term scientific exploitation of the Virgo antenna for gravitational waves detection as well as to foster European and global collaboration in the field.

More specifically, the goals of EGO are:

  • the construction, maintenance, operation and upgrade of the Virgo interferometer and the site infrastructures, including a computing and data centre;
  • the representation of the consortium at the regional, national, European and global level;
  • the promotion of interdisciplinary studies, research and development, industrial applications, education, citizen’s science, communication and outreach.

The scientific responsibility of the Virgo antenna is assumed by the Virgo collaboration. Today, the Virgo collaboration counts more than 500 members, with participating scientists and engineers from over 30 laboratories and a total of 99 institutions from France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Spain and Germany.

Our Governance


EGO Direction

EGO director is appointed by the EGO Council and is the legal representative and chief executive of EGO.

The directorate team of EGO is composed by the director, the administrative deputy director, the technical deputy director and the assistant to the director.

  • EGO Director: Stavros Katsanevas (photo, contact information)
  • EGO administrative deputy director: Barbara Sacchettini (photo, contact information)
  • EGO technical deputy director: Christian Olivetto (photo, contact information)
  • EGO director assistant: Sarodia Vydelingum (photo, contact information)

Attached to the direction are:

  • Communication Responsible: Vincenzo Napolano (photo, contact information)
  • European project Office: Francesca Spagnuolo (photo, contact information)
  • Outreach Office: Valero Boschi (photo, contact information)
  • Safety and Security: Carlo Fabozzi (photo, contact information)
  • Data Processing Infrastructure Coordinator: Franco Carbognani (photo, contact information)
  • Data Science Office: Elena Cuoco (photo, contact information)

The direction is also assisted by 5 department directors

EGO Council

EGO is established under the Italian law. Its governing body is the Council composed of members nominated by the funding institutions.

The Council is the decision-making body of the EGO consortium. The Director of EGO is responsible to carry on and execute the Council decisions. The Council and the Director of EGO operate according to EGO statute.

The Council is composed by three representatives of CNRS and three representatives of INFN, among which is elected the President. The Council usually meets twice a year. The EGO directorate team participates in the Council meetings but has no right to vote. NIKHEF participates as an observer, invited persons may participate for discussing specific items of the agenda. The EGO director assistant helps the Council in organising its meetings.

To access the EGO Council reserved area click here and here.

At present the Council is composed as follows:

Marco Pallavicini, President
Marco Grassi
Oliviero Cremonesi

Berrie Giebels, Vice-President
Guy Perrin
Thérèse Huet

For Nikhef
Stan Bentvelsen

As Council Advisor
Roberto Pellegrini

Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee

According to the dispositions of the Statute of the EGO Consortium, the EGO Council sets up a Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), composed of up to ten scientific personalities. It also appoints the chairperson of the STAC.

The role of the STAC is to advice the EGO Council.

For this purpose, the STAC meets on the site of the EGO Consortium at least twice per year, to follow and assess the progress on the scientific and technical activities carried on.

The STAC chairperson appointed for three years presents the outcome of the meetings to the EGO Council.

For more details on the STAC duties, consult the Terms of reference of the STAC.

The present composition of the STAC is the following:

  • David Shoemaker, Chairman (MIT LIGO Lab.)
  • Gerhard Heinzel, Vice-Chairman (AEI Hannover)
  • Dominique Boutigny (CNRS-LAPP)
  • Rita Dolesi (University of Trento)
  • Andreas Freise (University of Birmingham)
  • Giuseppe Ruoso (INFN Legnaro)
  • B.S. Sathyaprakash (Cardiff School of Physics & Astronomy)
  • Stephen Smartt (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Takayuki Tomaru (NAOJ)
  • Peter Wolf (Observatoire de Paris)

The EGO director assistant helps the STAC in organising its meetings.

To access the EGO Council reserved area click here

Our organization


For Technological and Administration responsibilities EGO’s Director is assisted by the Technical Deputy Director, the Administrative Deputy Director and by five Heads Department, who respectively manage:

Administration, Budget management for EGO including upgrade projects of Virgo interferometer, Human Resources and European projects of which EGO is the leader or co-manager from the European Commission.

Information Technology manages the computing, storage and network systems at the EGO site providing the IT infrastructure for the control of the Virgo Interferometer, the running of the on-line data analysis and the data exchange with the external computing centers and the other detectors, working actively in the software development for many subsystems.

Interferometer Technology, in charge of operations maintenance, participates of upgrade and running operation of Virgo interferometer. The ITF department is based on tree main expertises Optics benches and injection beam light, Electronics low noise and Environment Noise analysis and mitigation.

General Infrastructure, Management of all infrastructure facilities, services, supplies needs and all EGO site buildings and facilities for VIRGO interferometer running needs.

Department Head: Andrea Paoli

Vacuum & Mechanics, Management of operation, maintenance and upgrades of the Virgo Vacuum System and provides support for mechanical design and on-site workshop capability.

Department Head: Antonio Pasqualetti

For any question or first contact concerning Technological and Administrative Departments send an email to: egodirection@ego-gw.it