18 December 2012

Board Statement

The CFHT Board wishes to affirm the following principles to guide the development of the CFHT:

1) Provision of competitive instruments, including new capabilities, to the scientific communities of our partners and associated member agencies.
2) Pursuit of the expansion of the CFHT Corporate Partnership.
3) Continued exploration of transformation of the CFHT Observatory within a model for collaborative development and scientific access to the current telescopes on Mauna Kea.

In conformity with these principles, the Board has taken the following decisions at its 82’nd Meeting.

1) SPIRou: The Board noted that the SAC considers the SPIRou science case to be very strong and potentially world leading if the full K-band, polarimetric, and 1 m/s precision capabilities were achieved in a timely fashion. However, in light of the outcome of the Preliminary Design Review of SPIRou, the recommendations of the CFHT Scientific Advisory Council and the comments from the CFHT Executive, the Board agreed that SPIROU will remain under consideration for deployment at CFHT, but only as a Guest Instrument, with a funding scheme to be defined but including a majority of sources external to CFHT.

2) Continuing Development Activities: The remaining funds for providing new capabilities are to be allocated following priorities to be established with the advice of the CFHT SAC. Any new development is constrained by available funds and by the knowledge that the current CFHT Partners will be strongly affected by the proposed development of the European Extremely Large Telescope and by the Thirty Meter Telescope, both of which are intended to be operational in 10 to 12 years. Nevertheless, within these constraints and on a similar timescale, several possibilities for enhancing CFHT capabilities exist. The Board has asked the CFHT Executive Director to prepare a communication to the Partner and Associate Member communities inviting appropriate proposals which may be discussed at the CFHT Users Meeting in 2013 and further examined in the subsequent meeting of the CFHT SAC.

3) Long Term Future: The Board received the two volume results of the feasibility study conducted for the ngCFHT concept and heard a brief summary presentation of that material from the study lead. The Board also took note that in its November 2012 Report, the SAC recognized that the proposed science is of the highest quality and that many transformational studies would be enabled by such a facility. The Board conveys its thanks for the work done by the ngCFHT team to date and looks forward to the ngCFHT international workshop to be held March 2013 in Hilo, Hawaii. The Board agreed that the ngCFHT concept offers a viable, scientifically exciting, possible future for CFHT and affirms its willingness to pursue the expanded partnership that would be necessary to follow this long-term transformative goal. The establishment of an ngCFHT Project Office at CFHT is a matter that will be considered among other possible uses of available development resources arising from the 2013 Users Meeting.