Call for nominations to serve as Australian LSST Principal Investigators

Rubin Observatory at sunset, lit by a full moon. Credit: Rubin Observatory/NSF/AURA.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) aims to construct the deepest, widest image of the Universe ever produced. Following commissioning in 2021/22 it will conduct a ten year survey of the sky using a specially designed 8.4 m diameter telescope in Chile with an extremely wide field of view. In 2015, CAASTRO and the LSST Corporation signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) to allow a named list of Australian Principal Investigators (PIs) to access survey data from the LSST.  AAL has now novated the agreement and represents Australian astronomers wishing to participate in the LSST project.

Participation under this program costs USD(2013)$20,000 per PI per year over a 10-year period. There is also an additional data access fee. While AAL has not committed to funding Australia’s LSST participation, it will help coordinate the Australian PIs as they seek to secure funds for access to LSST, primarily expected to be through ARC LIEF and university grants. The original MoA allowed for 10 named PIs, each of whom can have four associated junior researchers who will also have rights to LSST data. AAL seeks to refresh the current list of named PIs via this open call for nominations. Applicants should in general be established senior researchers, with the ability to lead a small team of junior researchers within their institution. Demonstrated involvement with LSST science and/or survey management experience is highly desirable.

If you consider yourself well placed to contribute to this LSST engagement and development of a LIEF bid for submission in early 2019, via your expertise, ideas, and experience, please email [email protected] with a maximum three page application comprising:

  • a covering letter describing your expertise relevant to LSST science and the science you wish to do with the LSST;
  • a brief CV including grants awarded;
  • a statement of intent to seek monetary support for the LIEF bid from your institution.

In addition AAL will appoint one PI as the “Australian Science Lead” to lead the Australian engagement with LSST and coordinate the LIEF bid. Should you wish to be considered for the Australian Science Lead role, you should include an additional statement indicating two or more of:

  • Demonstrated leadership within LSST science and/or governance networks.
  • Demonstrated leadership within a key LSST science area.
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate large funding applications.

In considering applications, AAL will first consider appointment to the Australian Science Lead role. The successful candidate for that role will be invited to have input into the remainder of the PI refresh process.

AAL is committed to equity and diversity and encourages applications from all interested candidates with relevant expertise and skills. ​AAL will also endeavour to maximise engagement across Australian institutions in this process, but please note, as AAL is not directly funding Australian LSST access, there may be limitations to this consideration.

Please do not hesitate to contact AAL if you have any questions regarding this process:

Mita Brierley, Senior Program Manager
Stuart Ryder, Program Manager

Applications close on Friday 5th October 2018, 5 PM AEST. Late applications will not be accepted.

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