NSF Portfolio Review

The NSF Astronomy division is commencing a Portfolio Review process…

“Based on the FY2011 budget appropriation and the FY2012 budget request, the optimistic budget assumed in the Astro2010 recommendations is unlikely to materialize. Therefore, NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) is commencing a Portfolio Review process. Unlike the 2006 Senior Review, which considered the future only of AST-supported facilities, this review will encompass the entire portfolio of AST-supported facilities, programs, and other activities. The goal of the review is to recommend to AST how support for existing facilities, programs, and activities should be prioritized and interleaved with new initiatives recommended by Astro2010, within the limitations of realistic future budgets…”

First rule of committees: the committee decisions are a function of the committee membership.

Portfolio Review Committee

  • Daniel Eisenstein (Chair) Harvard University
  • Joe Miller (Vice-Chair) Lick Observatory
  • Marcel Agueros Columbia University
  • Gary Bernstein University of Pennsylvania
  • Geoff Blake California Institute of Technology
  • John Feldmeier Youngstown State University
  • Debra Fischer Yale University
  • Chris Impey University of Arizona
  • Cornelia Lang University of Iowa
  • Amy Lovell Agnes Scott College
  • Melissa McGrath NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Michael Norman University of California San Diego
  • Angela Olinto KICP, University of Chicago
  • Michael Skrutskie University of Virginia
  • Karel Schrijver Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center
  • Juri Toomre University of Colorado
  • Rene Walterbos New Mexico State University

Going to be some very tough decisions to be made.

“Committee activities began in late September 2011, and a report will be completed by the end of June 2012. The time frame is planned so the Review recommendations may be considered in the budget process for FY2014.

The Committee will be asked to construct its recommendations in a 2-stage process:

Determine the critical capabilities needed to make progress on the science program articulated in Chapter 2 of Astro2010; and

Determine what combination of new facilities and programs plus existing — but evolved — facilities and programs will best deliver those capabilities within strict budgetary constraints.

Recommendations will be made in the context of the full domestic and international astronomical landscape, taking into account the effects on current and potential partnerships and on the status of the profession.
The Review will NOT reopen debate on the content or the relative prioritization of the Astro2010 recommendations.”


  1. #1 Caryl
    October 24, 2011

    NOAO has sent out a message summarizing the likely impact of NSF budget cuts on NOAO and soliciting community input here: http://www.noao.edu/currents/201110.html