[ASA] ACIL Allen survey

Stas Shabala stanislav.shabala at utas.edu.au
Wed Sep 6 10:37:25 AEST 2023

Dear ASA members,

It has been brought to my attention that several members were suspicious of the email sent by ACIL Allen last week, with the title “Access to World Leading Astronomy Infrastructure (AWLAI) program evaluation survey”.

I assure you that this was *not* spam.

For context, ACIL Allen are a consultancy engaged by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) to evaluate the current optical astronomy arrangements in Australia. This includes the ESO strategic partnership and transition of the AAO/AAT.

As the original email from ACIL Allen (copied below) says, our community’s input is essential for communicating the value of these arrangements, and also for identifying the opportunities and benefits from any potential future optical astronomy arrangements.

I encourage you to engage with this process as appropriate.

Best wishes,


A/Prof Stas Shabala
President, Astronomical Society of Australia
Discipline of Physics | School of Natural Sciences | College of Science and Engineering
University of Tasmania

Dear astronomy community,

The Australian Department of Innovation, Science and Resources (the Department) engaged ACIL Allen to evaluate the impact of the Access to World Leading Astronomy Infrastructure (AWLAI) program.

This evaluation is essential for understanding the value you get from participating in AWLAI, and identifying the opportunities and benefits that could flow from future funding arrangements.

We encourage you to participate in a confidential online survey to help ACIL Allen understand the program’s design, how well it has been delivered, and the impacts achieved.

The survey is available at the link below and should take 10-20 minutes of your time. Please complete this survey by 15 September 2023.

The survey seeks feedback from your perspective. It is intended to be completed only once. Your participation is voluntary, and you can choose to answer some or all of the questions.



AWLAI enabled the strategic partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) - including access to their La Silla and Paranal Observatories (LPO) for 10 years to 1 January 2028. In February 2022 an amendment was made to the Australia-ESO Strategic Partnership Arrangement to allow Australian industry and astronomy institutions to tender for contracts under the ESO Technology Development Program.

AWLAI also transitioned Australia’s existing research and commercial capabilities in the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) from the Government to the research sector. This resulted in the separation of the AAO into the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), operated by a consortium of universities and Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL), and created the astronomy instrumentation consortium, Astralis.

ACIL Allen is bound by confidentiality provisions and will ensure that all data collected during this evaluation meets the obligations set out in the Australian Privacy Principles. All parties operate in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. Survey participants will not be personally identified as part of the evaluation process, including in any reporting by ACIL Allen.

For more information, please contact the:
-- ACIL Allen Project Team at awlai-evaluation at acilallen.com.au<mailto:awlai-evaluation at acilallen.com.au>
-- Optical Astronomy Team opticalastronomy at industry.gov.au<mailto:opticalastronomy at industry.gov.au>

This email is confidential, and is for the intended recipient only. Access, disclosure, copying, distribution, or reliance on any of it by anyone outside the intended recipient organisation is prohibited and may be a criminal offence. Please delete if obtained in error and email confirmation to the sender. The views expressed in this email are not necessarily the views of the University of Tasmania, unless clearly intended otherwise.
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