22 March 2008 – UKIRT and the STFC Programmatic Review – Updates 2

22 March 2008 – UKIRT and the STFC Programmatic Review – Updates 2

(Update added 22-Mar-2008: the community input period described below is now closed, but see the third update for special circumstances.)

PPAN Project Feedback

Feedback on UKIRT’s priority ranking was received from PPAN today (18-Mar-2007). This underlines the threat to continued operation of UKIRT, and gives the Panel’s rationale for the low science ranking:


We plan to move UKIRT to 100% survey mode as soon as practical after 1 April 2008. Efforts are in hand to find international partners to share the cost of running the telescope in return for access to UKIDSS. Should these fail to materialise, immediate closure would have to be seriously considered.

PPAN recognised that the UKIDSS survey was only partially complete but felt that the overlap with the VISTA survey meant that UKIDSS’ priority was lowered. PPAN also considered that the non-survey science being done at UKIRT could be covered using other telescopes to which UK astronomers had access. Thus, overall, UKIRT fell into the lower priority category.

Category: Lower Priority

User Input to the Consultation Process

In view of the above, we continue to encourage input from UKIRT users to the STFC consultation process (see the link below to go straight to the relevant form, and note that the deadline for submissions is Friday 21-March). Note that comments of the following two types are sought in particular:

  1. Drawing attention to additional important factors that may have been overlooked (in arriving at facility rankings)
  2. Suggesting imaginative ways to maximise the science output in constructing a programme in each subject area, while remaining within a constrained budget.

Our thanks to all those who have already made input. 

Prof. Gary Davis, Director JAC
Dr. Andy Adamson, Associate Director UKIRT

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