Heads up, peeps.
NSF Portfolio Review is out
Mayall, WIYN, 2.1m KPNO, GBT and VLBA are out in recommended scenarios.
To summarise: Kitt Peak telescopes cut; Green Bank Radio Telescope and Very Large Baseline Array cut; McM-P Solar Telescope cut before Advanced Solar Telescope starts.
Committee recommends pre-emptive cuts based on pessimistic budget scenario.
LSST, CCAT and GSMT in.
- Recommendation 10.1: AST should maintain substantial funding to AAG, ATI, and a mid-scale program as a top priority.
- Recommendation 10.2: AST should plan its facility portfolio assuming the more pessimistic range of forecasts (e.g., Scenario B), with the result that more optimistic budgets (e.g., Scenario A) can have heavier re-investment in the field through the small-grants and mid-scale programs.
- Recommendation 10.3: Our recommended portfolio includes ALMA, ATST, VLA, Gemini, Blanco, DST, Arecibo, NISP, and SOAR.
- Recommendation (from Chapter 9): We recommend that LSST begin construction with an MREFC start in FY14 or as soon as possible thereafter, so as to maintain an expected start of operations in late 2021 or early 2022.
- Recommendation (from Chapter 9): We recommend that AST provide partial funding to the construction and/or operations of CCAT through the Strategic Initiatives Program later in the decade, if and when funding for the Mid-Scale Innovations Program exceeds $30M per year.
- Recommendation 10.4: AST should reevaluate its participation in Arecibo and SOAR later in the decade in light of the science opportunities and budget forecasts at that time.
- Recommendation 10.5: In our Scenario A, we recommend that AST contribute of order $20M/year to GSMT late in the decade.
- Recommendation 10.6: We recommend that AST divest from the Mayall, WIYN, and 2.1-meter telescopes at Kitt Peak, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the Very Long Baseline Array, and the McMath-Pierce solar telescope.
“…These facilities have a total annual budget of approximately $20M for operations, plus additional and less easily quantified shares of centralized costs in their parent observatories.”
So – to have GSMT and CCAT that is the cut recommended
The Senator from West Virginia may now take the floor.
- Recommendation 10.7: We recommend that AST divest in a manner that is responsible to its fellow tenants at observatories and to its long-duration user programs.
- Recommendation 10.8: We recommend heavy investment into the Mid- Scale Innovations Program (MSIP), particularly in the more optimistic Scenario A portfolio.
- Recommendation 10.9: In the near term, we recommend only minimal funding of additional strategic investments beyond CCAT, GSMT, and data archive(s).
A presumes 10% effective cut over decade
B presumes 30% effective cut over decade
From Exec Summary: “We recommend that AST avoid the risk of drastic reductions in small grants and mid-scale funding by configuring its facility portfolio assuming more pessimistic budgets (e.g., Scenario B). If stronger budgets are realized, then re-investments can be made through the small grants and mid-scale programs.”
ie. make some irreversible cuts immediately without waiting for the axe to fall.
“We also recommend that continued AST involvement in Arecibo and SOAR be re-‐evaluated later in the decade in light of the science opportunities and budget forecasts at that time.”
Editorializing: the cuts to existing facilities are essentially forced by the insistence on ramping CCAT in as a new facility to complement ALMA, and that NSF must buy into one of the 20-30m telescopes (GSMT) by 2018.
Funny, they call it the “Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope“, I thought it was called the “Caltech-Cornell Atacama Telescope“…
Ironically $10M is added to EARS (Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum) at the same time Green Bank radio telescope and the Very Large Baseline Array are being shut down.
Hmm – the Green Bank Telescope saw first light in 2000 in its current incarnation. The recommendation is that it be shut by 2017.
ALMA saw first light in 2011 – maybe it can be shut in 2028 to make room for some new stuff.
There is a tiny amount $1-2M for a new theory/computation initiative.
PI grants are flat (in 2012 dollars) in scenario A and cut about 25% in scenario B – ie both down in adjusted costs.
Review recommends NO actual significant new initiatives be contemplated for the next decade, just choosing from existing buffet.
PS: Portfolio Committee Members – no hard feelings, eh?
Seriously – these committees are tremendous amount of hard work and are usually very difficult for the members.