On 20 November 2015, the National Science Foundation (NSF) selected Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) to manage the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) through a new 10-year cooperative agreement. The new agreement includes the operation of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), the North American share of the international Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and NRAO’s development laboratories and administrative and management functions, effective 1 October 2016.
The Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), which were recommended for divestment several years ago, will exit NRAO and become independent facilities known as the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), with Karen O’Neil as its director, and the Long Baseline Observatory (LBO), with Walter Brisken as its director. Pending submission, review, and approval of a supplemental funding request, AUI will continue managing each under a separate cooperative agreement for the next two years, while NSF decides the long-term future of these facilities.
This new arrangement has a number of advantages, and provides the needed independence and flexibility for GBO and LBO to continue to serve the national and international science communities while actively building new partnerships. Looking to the future, NRAO will work closely with its users and the broader scientific community to identify, develop, and effectively deploy new capabilities across a broader range of discovery space in combination with GBO and LBO.
Observing proposal submission, science operations, and user support for the GBT and VLBA science communities will continue unchanged in the near term as NSF and AUI explore details and options for the Fiscal Year 2017 launch of the GBO and LBO.
We look forward to the continued success of NRAO and the new opportunities GBO and LBO bring to the astronomy community.
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