An ASKAP antenna at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Image Credit: Ant Schinckel, CSIRO.




Quarterly update: December 2009

Expressions of Interest in the development of a $10M Investment Plan

On 9th November AAL called for Expressions of Interest in the development of a $10M Investment Plan. Since that date AAL has responded to a number of requests for information and notes the significant interest this call for Expressions of Interest has generated.

Please note the timeline for submission and review of the EoIs:


  • 10th December 2009: Final day for submission of EoI (to mark.mcauley -at-
  • 14th December 2009: AAL Board meets to short-list EoIs.
  • 17th December 2009: AAL meets with DIISR to review short-listed EoIs.
  • 21st December 2009: AAL provides feedback to all those who have submitted EoIs.


New members of the AAL Board

AAL is delighted to welcome Prof Brian Boyle and Prof Mark Wainwright to the Board. Both were elected at the recent AGM. AAL would like to thank Prof Elaine Sadler and Prof Michael Barber, who retired as Directors at the AGM, for their service on the Board.

New member of staff

AAL has appointed Amanda Beasley to the position of Executive Officer with AAL. In addition to producing the various plans and reports published by AAL, the Executive Officer will assist with the development of a proposal for Australian membership of the European Southern Observatory.

Amanda holds a BSc in Physics from UQ, first class honours in Astronomy from the ANU, and a MSc in Science Communication from the ANU. Amanda will commence her employment with AAL in January 2010, working alongside Libby Armstrong (Officer Manager) and Mark McAuley (Chief Operating Officer).

Changes to the Antarctic Astronomy Advisory Committee

AAL is delighted to announce that as of 1st December 2009, Prof John Dickey, University of Tasmania, will Chair the Antarctic Astronomy Advisory Committee (AAAC). AAL has updated the terms of reference for AAAC and rotated new members on to the committee. The changes are designed to advance the AAL Roadmap which calls for, "...a program to enhance international relationships and collaboration opportunities, to progress the Antarctic opportunity".

AAL would like to take this opportunity to thank the previous Chair, Brett Biddington, and all retiring members of the committee, for their valuable advice over the past three years.

Closure of the Australian GMT Advisory Committee

Since its inception in September 2007, the Australian GMT Advisory Committee (AGMTAC) has provided AAL with valuable advice regarding Australian engagement with the GMT. This advice included the critically important assessment that Australia should participate in the GMT until at least the completion of the Design Development Phase.

Following the EIF announcement of Australian GMT construction funds, ANU and AAL will continue as equal partners in the GMT Organisation, while ANU will take responsibility for the management of these EIF funds. In that context, it is appropriate to transition from the current AGMTAC to a new ANU committee, the GMT Science and Industry Working Group. AAL expects ANU to constitute this committee shortly and AAL is available to assist ANU with these matters.

AGMTAC has therefore been formerly disbanded as of 30th November 2009. AAL would like to thank the AGMTAC Chair, Prof Karl Glazebrook, and all those who have served on AGMTAC, for their valuable advice. We wish ANU well with the new arrangements.

Creation of the Optical Telescopes Advisory Committee

At its meeting on 4th November, the AAL Board agreed to create the Optical Telescopes Advisory Committee covering 4m, 8m and ELT class telescopes. The terms of reference for this new committee are currently being drafted and are expected to be published on the AAL website in the near future.