Child with telescope Coalition for Canadian Astronomy


What We Are Doing


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Message from the Coalition Co-Chairs:

The Coalition for Canadian Astronomy was formed in 2000 and is unprecedented in the Canadian science community.  For the first time, representatives from the astronomical community, academia and industry have been brought together to chart a course for scientific excellence in the field of astronomy. 

  The Coalition was the astronomical community's response to the challenges posed by the internationalization of astronomy.  The engineering scale and technological sophistication of the next generation of telescopes requires the intellectual and financial resources of the world astronomy community to plan and construct them.  Canadian astronomers had to make a conscious effort to be a part of this new era.

   After lengthy debate and discussion within the astronomical community, a set of priorities was identified that formed the basis of the Long Range Plan for Astronomy and Astrophysics: The Origins of the Structure in the Universe, or LRP.  The LRP was created by a Blue Ribbon Panel to chart a course for Canadian astronomy over this decade and beyond. It calls for Canadian participation in the next generation of global astronomy projects, coupled with investments in technology development in Canada, the training of young Canadian scientists and engineers, and intellectual leadership in the planning and operation of facilities by Canadian astronomers. 

  By developing the LRP, the astronomical community forced itself to focus on a select few projects through which Canadian astronomers could make an impact. There were many projects that the community chose not to pursue.  The community's ability to come together and agree on these projects is essential to our success.  Once the astronomy community agreed upon its priorities, all stakeholders were needed to work towards its goals and academia and industry were immediately identified and the Coalition was born. 

  On the academic side, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, or ACURA, was formed at the very senior levels of university administration, bringing together 22 Canadian universities with astronomy programs. A partnership with industry was also sought, since so many of our projects require highly specialized design, with price tags often into the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Canadian firms that engaged in the LRP stood to benefit greatly from the projects identified therein.

  However you measure it scientifically, academically or economically, astronomy is a Canadian success story.  Canada's astronomical community is consistently ranked among the top three nations in the world in astronomical research.  Our success was even noted in the New York Times, which commented wryly on a recent citation study that showed Canada ranked first among 62 nations in a measure of research impact in astronomy.  Better yet, our successes in astronomy have delivered concrete benefits to the Canadian economy.  We credit our tremendous success to our truly extraordinary Coalition relationship. 





Pekka K. Sinervo, F.R.S.C.  Michael Jolliffe   Gretchen Harris
ACURA   Co-Chair,