Artist's Conception of Gravitational Waves GWIC: Gravitational Wave International Committee

GWIC Subcommittee on Third Generation Ground-based Detectors

With the recent first detections of gravitational waves by LIGO and Virgo, it is both timely and appropriate to begin seriously planning for a network of future gravitational-wave observatories, capable of extending the reach of detections well beyond that currently achievable with second generation instruments. At its 2016 meeting, GWIC appointed a standing subcommittee (chaired by Jay Marx) to coordinate the activities of the community toward third generation detectors.

GWIC subcommittee---Global Roadmap for the field of gravitational wave science

The membership will include the directors of ground-based GW interferometer detectors and a few senior scientists with experience in launching Big Science projects. The membership can co-opt members and commission studies on specific areas related to the third generation network, as required.


The GWIC Subcommittee on Third Generation Ground-based Detectors is tasked with examining the path to a future network of observatories/facilities, specifically:

  1. Science Drivers for 3G detectors: commission a study of ground-based gravitational wave science from the global scientific community, investigating potential science vs architecture vs. network configuration vs. cost trade-offs, recognizing and taking into account existing studies for 3G projects (such as ET) as well as science overlap with the larger gravitational-wave spectrum. (V. Kalogera, B. Sathyaprakash)
  2. Coordination of the Ground-based GW Community: develop and facilitate coordination mechanisms among the current and future planned and anticipated ground-based GW projects, including identification of common technologies and R&D activities as well as comparison of the specific technical approaches to 3G detectors. Possible support for coordination of 2G observing and 3G construction schedules. (H. Lueck, D. McClelland)
  3. Networking among Ground-based GW Community: organize and facilitate links between planned global 3G projects and other relevant scientific communities, including organizing:
    - town hall meetings to survey the community
    - dedicated sessions in scientific conferences dedicated to GW physics and astronomy
    - focused topical workshops within the relevant communities
    (D. Reitze, M. Punturo)
  4. Agency interfacing and advocacy: identify and establish a communication channel with funding agencies who currently or may in the future support ground-based GW detectors; communicate as needed to those agencies officially through GWIC on the scientific needs, desires, and constraints from the communities and 3G projects (collected via 1) - 3) above) structured in a coherent framework; serve as an advocacy group for the communities and 3G projects with the funding agencies. (S. Rowan)
  5. Investigate governance schemes: by applying knowledge of the diverse structures of the global GW community, propose a sustainable governance model for the management of detector construction and joint working, to support planning of 3rd generation observatories. (F. Ferrini, J. Marx)


The subcommittee provided a preliminary report and set of proposed actions recommendations to GWIC at the 2017 GWIC meeting. Subsequent reports will be delivered at future GWIC meetings.