[ASA] Funding availability for CASS/ATNF observatories & ATUC meeting reminder

Joanne Dawson joanne.dawson at mq.edu.au
Sat May 28 03:25:18 AEST 2016

Dear ASA members,

Please see an important message below regarding funding availability for the CASS/ATNF observatories in coming years. This will be discussed at the upcoming ATUC meeting on 2 June. We welcome and encourage you to voice your views on this, and any other matter regarding the telescopes.

Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL) recently released its draft budget for FY16-17 and a high-level business plan for the following five years to its members, which include CSIRO, AAO, and many Australian Universities. This planning is for the allocation of funds from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS).
The budget proposes a significant reduction of funding for ASKAP operations in FY16-17 compared to the previous two years. AAL further indicates that funding for maintenance and operations of ASKAP or other ATNF telescopes is not likely to be available at all from FY17-18. AAL funding represents a significant fraction of the CASS/ATNF budget and significant changes will be required to sustain a reduction of income on this scale, even though it is expected that CSIRO funding for astronomy over the next four years is expected to remain approximately at current levels.

CASS is committed to commissioning ASKAP and supporting the SSP projects, so it is likely that significant savings must be found elsewhere. Options being considered include winding back or ceasing operations completely at the AT Compact Array and/or Parkes.

We encourage all users of the CASS/ATNF Observatories to attend this ATUC meeting for an up-to-date briefing and to discuss the possible impacts on, and options for, future CASS/ATNF operations.

Users can provide feedback through the ATUC committee member representatives (see http://www.atnf.csiro.au/management/atuc/index.html), or through the online feedback form (http://www.atnf.csiro.au/management/atuc/atuc_feedback.html).

Kind regards,
(Jo Dawson),
on behalf of Virginia Kilborn
Chair, Australia Telescope Users Committee
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