Long Range Plan Mid-Course Review



Preliminary draft of the MID-TERM REVIEW for CASCA comment

May 31, 2004

MSWORD version

pdf version


Message from CASCA President G. Harris

Mandate of the Long Range Plan Mid-Course Review Panel

The Review Gets Underway

Documents submitted for the LRP Mid-Course Review

  • Optical and Infrared Astronomy Committee (OIRAC)   
  • Theory and Computation Committee   
  • The DAO Telescopes   
  • CASCA Education and Outreach Committee
  • The International Galactic Plane Survey Brief   
  • Report on JWST Project   
  • Gemini   
  • Major Recommendations: from the Executive Summary of the LRP booklet
  • ACURA and the LRP   
  • Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope   
  • SCUBA-2   
  • ALMA   
  • The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

    LRP Review Committee Meeting
    HIA, April 22-24, 2004

  • Agenda
  • Webcast of the Meeting

  • ===================================================================================================================

    Message from CASCA President G. Harris:

    I am pleased to inform you that the Long Range Plan Mid-Course Review 
    has been established and is beginning its work.  The panel members
    are named below.  These members of our community are now embarked on an
    important process and they will need your support and involvement as they
    carry out their mandate.  From time to time, and beginning very soon, you
    will be hearing from the panel chair, Ernie Seaquist, with information on
    how the process is proceeding and how you can participate.  This is an
    important stage in ensuring a healthy future for astronomy in Canada,
    building on what we have achieved in more than a century of successes.
    We have already received federal funding for a very good start on achieving
    many of the goals of the LRP and now it is important that we continue to
    have a well formed and unified approach that ensures success for the
    second five years of the LRP.  The mandate for the review process can
    be found below.

    LRP Mid-Course Review Panel:

    Ernie Seaquist (Chair)
    Hugh Couchman
    Vicky Kaspi
    George Mitchell
    Harvey Richer

    Gretchen Harris (Ex-Officio as CASCA President)

    External Consultant:
    Ralph Pudritz (Chair of LRP Panel)

    Back to Top



    Mandate of the Long Range Plan Mid-Course Review Panel

    It is four years since the completion of the report of the NRC-NSERC Long
    Range Planning Panel on the future of Canadian astronomy (LRP).  Since that
    time, and with strong federal Government support, CSA and NRC have made
    important commitments to begin achieving several LRP primary goals.  These
    include Canadian involvement in the James Webb Space Telescope and meeting
    the conditions of the NAPRA agreement enabling Canadian partnership in ALMA.

    But the LRP is, at minimum, a ten-year plan while the incremental funds are
    for a maximum of five years.  Not all LRP recommendations are funded and, in
    some cases, budgeted monies run out in March, 2005, e.g., for studies
    leading to Canadian partnership in projects such as the Square Kilometer
    Array and a Very Large Optical Telescope, which were strongly recommended in
    the LRP.  Moreover, new factors such as the availability of CFI funds for
    national and international projects and the establishment of the Association
    of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) are changing the
    landscape for Canadian Astronomy.  NSERC has recognized the increasing
    involvement of Canadian astronomy in large international facilities and has
    suggested that our community consider an envelope funding scheme such as
    that used by the subatomic physics community.   It is clearly time to review
    the LRP.

    As a mid-course review, this will not be as extensive or elaborate a process
    as the original LRP, but it requires the same integrity, commitment to
    openness and involvement of the Canadian astronomers.  The report will build
    on  the original LRP and will be the tool by which the community will seek
    funding for the next phases of the LRP.  The purpose of the review then is to
    assess the progress achieved in the first five years of the plan and to make
    recommendations on what steps need to be taken to ensure that the goals of
    the plan are achieved. 

    The LRP Mid-Course Review Panel, in consultation with the Canadian
    astronomical community, CSA, NRC, NSERC, ACURA and relevant industries is
    requested to review progress toward the LRP goals, identify any serious
    implementation gaps that have emerged, and recommend strategies for the next
    five years.  The Panel should consider areas in which little progress has
    been made, such as establishment of instrument labs in universities, and how
    to sustain the operations of the international facilities in which Canada
    is, or will be, involved.   The scope of the review should incorporate all
    initiatives outlined in the LRP, but should not include a major revision
    or expansion of the plan that is inconsistent with the original goals.  In
    conducting the review, the Panel must openly involve the community through
    procedures which make possible input from all members of CASCA.

    The Panel should make a direct report available to CASCA members no
    later than May 31, 2004 and there will be an opportunity for discussion of
    that report during the CASCA Annual General Meeting (June 13-16).  The final
    version of the report should be completed by Sept. 30, 2004.

    Board of Directors
    Canadian Astronomical Society
    DATE: February 26, 2004


    Back to Top





     The Review of the Long Range Plan for Astronomy Gets Underway

    The purpose of this article is first to announce that the committee to
    review the Long Range Plan (LRP) has begun its task, second, to remind
    the community of the background for the establishment of the
    committee, and third,to indicate how the committee proposes to
    operate. We would also like to have your early feedback on the
    proposed procedures.

    Our first challenge as a committee is to ensure that the committee's
    operational procedures are as open as possible while accommodating the
    more limited scope and time frame of its mandate compared with the
    of the original LRP. After some deliberation, we have decided on
    the following operating procedure:

    (1) Open a discussion forum on the CASCA website as soon as possible.

    (2) Ask all PI's for LRP initiatives to prepare a report outlining
        (a) progress since the year 2000,
        (b) how LRP resources were distributed since 2000, and
        (c) the plan and resource requirements for the second five years
            of the LRP.
    The PI reports are due by April 9, and would be placed on the CASCA
    website as soon as they are received.

    (3) Hold a meeting of the panel with the PI's, some of the CASCA
        committee chairs, and representatives from the funding agencies
        (NRC, NSERC, CSA) and ACURA. The committee will hear presentations
        by the PI's based on the reports on the CASCA website. Part of the
        time will be used to discuss a number of strategic issues with the
        agencies. These would include the impact on the LRP of funding
        from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, already supporting some
        LRP initiatives. This meeting is scheduled to be held at HIA in
        Victoria April 22-24, and all scientific presentations would be
        open to all HIA astronomers. We also have a plan to web-cast this
        meeting for the benefit of the rest of the community. The
        community will be alerted by e-mail exploder to this opportunity
        to observe the proceedings. We also have a plan to provide for
        "live" e-mail feedback, which will be monitored at the meeting, so
        issues from the community can be addressed on-line.

    (4) Prepare a preliminary report of the committee and make it
        available on the CASCA website by May 31, 2004 for comment and
        discussion. The report will also be presented to the membership
        and discussed at the CASCA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in

    (5) Prepare a final report over the summer, after reviewing all
        comments and suggestions by the community, to be submitted to
        CASCA Board by the required deadline of September 30, 2004.

    If anyone has concerns, advice, suggestions either now or at any time,
    please contact me at

    Ernie Seaquist
    Committee Chair


    Back to Top