Associate Partnerships in the Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope


Collaboration on the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer Design & Pathfinder Instrument 

The Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope (CFHT) invites expressions of interest in collaboration in one of two ways. First, we invite participation in our Associate Partnership Program. Second, we invite you to respond to the Call for Letters of Interest to participate in the development of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) through either the:

  • Design and Fabrication of an MSE-Pathfinder Instrument for CFHT
  • Design of MSE

  • The purpose of this call is to identify institutes/organizations interested in participating in the above opportunities.

    Located on the Maunakea summit, the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope is a 3.6-meter observatory hosting a unique suite of world-class instruments. In collaboration with the international science community and with the local indigenous community, CFHT is committed to developing MSE, a massively-multiplexed spectroscopic survey machine. We envision MSE to be a model of community-based science and engineering, firmly aligned with and incorporating the traditional and cultural values of Native Hawaiians.  We anticipate construction of MSE to occur during the 2030’s, with science operations beginning at the end of that decade, consistent with the timeline envisioned in the Astro2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics for a massively-multiplexed spectroscopy facility.

    In pursuit of transforming the existing CFHT facility into the MSE observatory, we seek to broaden our global community of institutions and researchers, establishing a new foundation for the MSE partnership with a call to participate in the design phase of MSE.  Furthermore, we invite those interested in using our current suite of instrumentation to join CFHT as Associate Partners.

    As an intermediate step in our transformation, we seek to develop a new instrument, Pathfinder.  Pathfinder will address some of the Astro2020 scientific priorities in the areas of time domain, galactic archaeology/evolution, cosmology, and the high energy sky.  We expect full operation of the Pathfinder instrument to begin no later than 2030 with three to four years of operation prior to the beginning of construction for MSE.  Pathfinder is anticipated to be utilized for at least 50% of CFHT’s observing time, allowing partners to conduct competitive surveys and large programs. Some Pathfinder instrument modes could begin operations as early as 2028.

    Under Hawaiian law, a new authority, the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority, will take over management of Maunakea in 2028. CFHT is committed to supporting and respecting this process. The new process guides our development timeline for MSE and the Pathfinder instrument.

    Those interested in exploring associate partnership in CFHT, or in partnering on the Pathfinder and/or MSE project development, should submit a letter of interest to Dr. Jean-Gabriel Cuby, CFHT Executive Director. Interested institutions should respond by May 1, 2023. Additional information and discussions will proceed with interested parties beginning in May 2023.

    Detailed Appendices

  • Cover Letter
  • Annex 1: Scientific Capabilities of the Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope
  • Annex 2: Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer Pathfinder Instrument
  • Annex 3: Design of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer
  • Annex 4: Letter of Interest Contract Highlights

  • Letters of Interest
    Dr. Jean-Gabriel Cuby
    Executive Director, Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope

    Scientific Contacts--CFHT instrumentation
    Dr. Daniel Devost
    Director of Science Operations, Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope

    Dr. Nadine Manset
    Queue Service Observing Manager, Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope

    Scientific Contacts--MSE/MSE-Pathfinder
    Dr. Andrew Sheinis
    Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer Project Director, Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope

    Dr. Sam Barden
    Systems Engineer, Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer