[ASC-media] Media release: Australian astronomers unveil 10-year plan

Helen Sim Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Mon Nov 28 14:17:57 EST 2005


The Australian Academy of Science has launched a roadmap for the Australian
astronomy community for the next ten years.

This Decadal Plan reviews the current state of Australian astronomy and sets
out priorities for the discipline for the years 2006 ­ 2015.

The Plan was created by the Academy¹s National Committee for Astronomy, with
support from the Academy and the Australian Research Council. Nine Working
Groups ‹ a total of more than 100 astronomers, engineers and educators,
drawn from more than 30 institutions ‹ contributed to the Plan.

Australia invests about A$60M a year in astronomy-related activities:
* about two thirds (64%) of this funds university activities, including
* just under a third (31%) goes to the national facilities (the Australia
Telescope National Facility and the Anglo-Australian Observatory); and
* 5% provides access to the 8-m Gemini telescopes in Hawaii and Chile and
development activities for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope

³People are Australia¹s most valuable scientific asset,² said Academy
President Dr Jim Peacock. ³But to achieve their potential and remain
internationally competitive they must have access to first-class

³Increasingly, this means working towards global collaborations for
Australian participation in next-generation facilities.²

The top infrastructure priorities identified in the Plan for the next decade
* to commence 10% participation in the Square Kilometre Array radio
telescope and one of the international optical Extremely Large Telescopes;
* to maintain 20% access to 8-m class optical/infrared telescopes;
* to continue operations of the national facilities; and
* to carry out the PILOT program to build a pathfinder telescope in the
Australian Antarctic Territory.

These initiatives would require approximately A$50M of new investment over
the next five years, and a further A$75M in the second half of the decade.
Up to A$50M will be redirected from existing operations to augment the new


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Supporting material

Dr Jim Peacock, President, Australian Academy of Science
Tel: + 61-2-6246-5250
president at science.org.au

Professor Brian Boyle, Chair, National Committee for Astronomy
Tel: +61-2-9372-4301
Brian.Boyle at csiro.au

Helen Sim
Public Relations and Media Liaison
CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility (email: Helen.Sim at csiro.au)
and Anglo-Australian Observatory (email: hsim at aaoepp.aao.gov.au)

Tel: +61-2-9372-4251
Mob: +61-419-635-905

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