[ASA] ARC Centre of Excellence Bids

John O'Byrne john.obyrne at sydney.edu.au
Sun Sep 28 09:51:50 AEST 2014

The ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) intends to submit an expression of interest (EoI) for an ARC Centre with funding commencing in 2017 in an area of Astronomy related to the Centre's current activities. Themes to be considered include, but are not strictly limited to those of CAASTRO: The evolving Universe, The Dynamic Universe, and the Dark Universe. See http://caastro.org/research for more details.

We expect this EoI to be due in March 2015. 

In the interest of creating the best possible centre proposal, CAASTRO would like to bring together potential CIs and Directors for such a centre. The aim of this process would be to emerge with a clear direction for a centre bid that includes a set of science goals, CIs, and Director.

CAASTRO invites interested potential directors for this centre bid to prepare a brief description (<= 3 pages) of their vision for a centre under their direction. Their vision should include the role of their institution which will serve as lead, including scope of local participation, and likely in-kind and cash contributions to the centre. Potential directors will be expected to have a research track record of a similar level to the directors of other successful ARC directors.

CAASTRO invites interested potential CIs for this centre bid to prepare a brief description (<= 1 page) of how they believe they and their institution might be involved in the centre. CIs are required to have assurance university funded position for duration of the Centre (2017-2023). We encourage interested EMCRs without continuing positions to discuss with their departments the possibility of their Universities providing assurance of a position for the centre duration if it is successful.

These descriptions will be used in a process, moderated by myself, Brian Schmidt, that will select  approximately 20 potential CIs/Directors for a meeting, scheduled for December 1st, 2014 at the ANU campus to decide the direction of the centre bid. I, acting as the moderator, will ensure that all participants in the meeting can play a meaningful role in the meeting based on their track record, research interest, and overall institutional relevance to a CoE bid.  I will also moderate the December 1st meeting.

Submissions are due by Friday, October 17 2014. Email to:  brian.schmidt at anu.edu.au (Please put in SUBJECT: 'CoE EoI' and ignore the return email that says I don't read this account)   Prospective directors and CIs are encouraged to contact me via email as above with same SUBJECT line if they have questions of any kind. 

Proposers are reminded that ARC CoEs will typically receive $30-40M in total over a 7 year period, which will limit the size and scope of any bid.  CAASTRO currently has 14 CIs spread across 7 institutions which is near the workable maximum. As part of this process, we are not just aiming to rebid with exactly the same personnel but rather wish submit a bid with the best team for its next tranche of scientific objectives. Therefore, not           everyone who participates in the meeting will be able to be a CI. Being a current CI or institution of CAASTRO does not guarantee a role in the new centre bid.

Through this process, it is not CAASTRO's intent to limit potential bids in other areas of Astronomy, rather it is our intent to open up to the entire community a CAASTRO-related bid that utilises the experience and knowledge of CAASTRO. 

While it is possible that more than one viable Centre bid will emerge from this process, we believe it is of paramount importance to ensure that any centre Expression of Interests do not overlap and diminish the overall quality of bids. It is in Australian Astronomy's interest - including those who are not part of a successful CoE -to have a successful centre. It frees up significant funding in the ARC DP system for people outside of the centre, increasing the overall availability of funding for Astronomy.

Sincerely Yours

Brian Schmidt

on behalf of the CAASTRO executive
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