ESO Users Committee Update October 2018

by Caroline Foster
Dear fellow Australian astronomers,

This is an update from your Users Committee (UC) representative. My role is to represent Australian ESO users and act as the capillary link between ESO and the Australian community. 

The ESO Users Committee met in April (UC42) to receive an update from ESO on various issues and to discuss a new set of recommendations.

In particular, the Users Committee Report, which includes the Australian fact sheet I prepared based on your feedback, highlights the overall satisfaction of the ESO users community, but also some points for improvement. Most of the feedback has been received through the annual UC poll, which was circulated earlier this year. I would like to thank those who took the time to fill out the UC poll (34/146 Australian ESO PIs, Phase 2 delegates and archive users). This is a crucial aspect of communicating issues to your ESO UC representative and ESO itself.

Australian users showed a high level of satisfaction with their ESO experience so far. Our community made a few suggestions to improve the OPC feedback (ESO’s TAC), as well as some specific phase 2 preparation and data reduction issues. All comments have been forwarded to ESO, although ESO has noted that some comments were too vague to be addressed.  ESO reminds users that the ESO helpdesk is the best avenue to report and resolve specific issues. You can view the minutes of the Users Committee meeting , as well as the recommendations resulting from UC42. ESO usually provides a preliminary response to the recommendations in November via teleconference, while the final responses will be presented at the next UC meeting in April next year.

Many thanks to those who agreed to be nominated for the OPC. I was assured that the Australian list of nominations is well populated. Another call for nominations has now started in time for the next OPC meeting. If you know someone who would be able to serve on the OPC (ESO requests they be 2nd postdoc or beyond), please contact me directly. If you have been nominated, but haven’t been contacted by ESO yet, your name will stay in the system for a total of 4 periods (2 years). 

I would like to make you aware that the Large Programme Call for Proposals will move to a yearly basis starting with P104. I note that this does not affect the frequency of the Call for Proposals for normal programs or Director’s Discretionary Time proposals. For more, see the full Time Allocation Working Group report.

The ESO Fellowship (deadline 15 Oct 2018) & ESO Studentship (deadline 15 Nov 2018) applications are currently open. The ESO Fellowships were featured in the latest ESO Blog. As a previous ESO Fellow, I can recommend these fellowships. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more about what it is like to be an ESO Fellow or about the application process.

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for the ESO science newsletter.
Clear skies!
Caroline Foster
ESO UC representative for Australia

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