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




Quarterly update: November 2007

Changes to the AAL Constitution

At the July 2007 general meeting the members approved a number of amendments to the AAL constitution. Before these changes could be implemented, the Victorian Universities who are members of AAL first had to seek approval from their respective Councils. This approval has now been achieved, and the new version of the constitution has been lodged with ASIC and published on the AAL Website.

NCRIS contracts and reports

The Astronomy NCRIS is proceeding well. Since the last quarterly update in August, AAL has now signed contracts with:

  • The University of New South Wales for the PILOT Design Study;
  • The Australian National University to establish the Australian GMT Project Office;
  • The ARC and Sydney University for the Gemini LIEF grant.

We have submitted the first Astronomy NCRIS progress report to DEST which demonstrates that AAL has achieved all the milestones in the Initial Implementation Plan that was agreed with DEST. We have also submitted the 2007/08 Astronomy NCRIS Business plan to DEST. Copies of all the above documents are available on the Publications section of this website.

Once AAL signs a contract with CSIRO for the ASKAP NCRIS funding, we will then be entitled to the full 2007/08 Astronomy NCRIS payment from DEST.

Australian Antarctic Astronomy Advisory Committee (AAAAC)

AAAAC was created as an independent committee in early 2007, and was incorporated as an AAL committee on 31st October 2007. This is the second AAL advisory committee, with the Australian GMT Advisory Committee (AGMTAC) having been formed some months ago. The AAAAC and AGMTAC, along with the ARC's Australian Gemini Steering Committee, will each be invited by AAL to comment on the appropriate use of the Astronomy NCRIS Strategic Options funds in mid-2008.

AAAAC is chaired by Brett Biddington, and its terms of reference are available on the Committees section of this website.

Platforms For Collaboration

AAL has recently been approached by NCRIS capability 5.16: Platforms for Collaboration (PfC) regarding national computing facilities for Australian astronomers. As a result of this approach, AAL has had preliminary discussions with the Australian National Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics and the Australian Virtual Observatory.

The AAL Board has agreed to review astronomy related proposals for NCRIS funding via PfC, provided any proposals are submitted to AAL by 29th January 2008 for the next meeting of the AAL Board on 7th February 2008. Alternatively, interested groups may prefer to deal directly with PfC. If requested, AAL will also consider managing any resultant funding agreements.