AAO Strategic Plan 2016-2020

September 6, 2016

The Australian Astronomical Observatory has released its strategic vision for the next five years (2016-2020).

The Australian Astronomical Observatory has released its strategic vision for the next five years (2016-2020), which can be downloaded here as a PDF. A brief outline of the strategic agenda is included below.

The AAO's Strategic Agenda

To deal with the large amounts of knowledge and skill involved in modern astronomy, the AAO will pursue six specific strategies over the next five years (2016–2020):

  • Increase international engagement: As Australia’s national optical/infrared observatory, the AAO will broker Australian engagement in major international observing programs, telescope partnerships and access, and instrumentation projects, initiating and expanding collaborative links globally. 
  • Enable world-class research: Internationally competitive, high-impact science is the key output for which the AAO strives. The AAO will continue to enable it in two ways: by operating national telescope facilities in a highly e cient manner and equipping them with world-leading instrumentation; and by facilitating and supporting Australian access to forefront international telescopes.
  • Build innovative capability: This is the foundation of the AAO’s activities. In this area the AAO will continue to develop key technologies, extend collaborations with external research groups, pursue international contracts, and recruit and retain outstanding STEM-skilled sta , to keep the AAO at the forefront in the design and construction of world-class astronomical instrumentation for both national and international telescopes. The AAO will work with industry partners to identify and develop commercialisation opportunities based on AAO instrumentation technologies.
  • Become 'Data Central': As part of enabling world-class research, the AAO will act as a data hub to make Australia’s astronomical optical/infrared data available to astronomers worldwide.
  • Protect our Dark Sky environment: The AAO will work to protect the dark sky at Siding Spring Observatory, so that astronomers can continue to pursue world-leading science with telescopes located there, including the AAT and UKST.
  • Strengthen STEM skills and awareness: The AAO will assist students at every level and make the public aware of its (and Australia’s) scienti c, technological and engineering achievements in astronomy. The AAO will attract and retain highly skilled (STEM-trained) employees, and use its research and technological environment to enhance and broaden STEM training and capacity within the workforce.

Detailed goals and outcomes are listed in the Strategic Plan document.