The objectives of the preparatory phase for EST are: (1) to explore possible legal frameworks and related governance schemes that can be used by agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure, with the implementation of an intermediate temporary organisational structure, as a previous step for future phases of the project; (2) to explore funding schemes and funding sources for EST, including a proposal of financial models to make possible the combination of direct financial and in-kind contributions towards the construction and operation of EST;
(3) to compare the two possible sites for EST in the Canary Islands Astronomical Observatories and prepare final site agreements;
(4) to engage funding agencies and policy makers for a long-term commitment which guarantees the construction and operation phases of the Telescope;
(5) to involve industry in the design of EST key elements to the required level of definition and validation for their final production;
(6) to enhance and intensify outreach activities and strategic links with national agencies and the user communities of EST.
The European Solar Telescope (EST) (http://www.est-east.eu) is a European solar physics initiative involving more than 30 institutions from 18 countries, under the coordination of the IAC, representing the largest infrastructure of European research projected in the field of solar physics from Earth.