The National Committee for Astronomy (NCA) of the Australian Academy of Science carries out a formal strategic planning process on a 10-year time scale. This provides the opportunity for Australian astronomy to carry out a stock take of its capabilities, assess its impact both nationally and internationally, provide a vision for the future, and to set priorities and develop strategies on how that vision might be implemented.
The document New Horizons, A Decadal Plan for Australian Astronomy 2006-15 has been influential as a tool for presenting our vision to key stakeholders outside the research sector. This includes Australian Astronomy’s key stakeholder, the Commonwealth Government, as well as industrial/research partners both nationally and internationally. As the currency of the last Decadal Plan for Australian Astronomy concludes in 2015, it is now time to consider the process for producing the next Decadal Plan, covering the period 2016-25.
The NCA has formulated a proposed structure and timeline for the preparation of the 2016-25 Decadal Plan, which is set out in the document Decadal_Plan.pdf. The proposed structure and timeline was initially described at the Astronomical Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting on July 11th, and was subsequently updated to incorporate input from the Australian astronomical community.
As per the previous Decadal Plan the NCA is conducting a census of Australian astronomers and astronomy institutions, and WG 3.1 has designed he survey Australian Astronomy Census 2014. The aim of this survey is to understand the current state of the Australian Astronomy workforce and to assess its scientific impact, thus allowing our community to assess its strengths and more effectively plan for the future.
Information about the NCA and previous Decadal Plans can be found on the National Committee for Astronomy web site.