Chandra X-Ray Observatory

CXC Response to CUC Recommendations following 2011 October CUC Meeting

> 1. The CUC agrees with the CXC that it is time to phase-out support
> of Solaris platforms, as they are a very small fraction of the
> total CIAO downloads. Users will still be able to build CIAO from
> source distributions for Solaris platforms.

We appreciate the CUC endorsement; this plan continues apace.

> 2. The CUC congratulates Chandra on the implementation of the XVP
> program previously, and we note the high over-subscription. The
> CUC endorses the initiative to have a second round of XVP to be
> implemented in Cycle 14.

We thank the CUC for this endorsement; this plan continues apace.

> 3. The CUC encourages Chandra to investigate joint observing programs
> with new and upcoming observatories and missions, including ALMA,
> NuSTAR, and Astro-H. In particular, ALMA is now making
> observations and a joint program would be timely.

The CXC is investigating these options and others as well.
We will provide an update in April.

> 4. The CUC strongly supports the continuation of the theory proposal
> funding program. In the last cycle, this program was
> over-subscribed by a factor of six, which is comparable with
> observing program categories. The 2010 Decadal Survey has
> recommended expansion of theory funding. NASA is proposing to
> increase its funding of theory; however, until NASA opens a clear
> venue for funding of single- year, focused, mission-based
> proposals, it is highly uncertain that there will be support for
> the type of investigations covered by the Chandra theory
> program. The science return of the mission partially depends on
> the ability of theorists to conduct focused studies to address
> Chandra observations.
> The CUC recommends that the theory program should be preserved,
> and that cuts by NASA beyond the recommendations of the 2010
> Senior Review should be absorbed uniformly through the various
> funding programs.

The CXC appreciates this input from the CUC.  The theory
program will be retained, and cuts will be applied keeping current 
proportions constant. 

> 5. The CUC feels that a high level of GO funding must be retained, in
> order to ensure the science return of the mission. We encourage
> that GO funding should be insulated - to the greatest extent
> possible - from additional cuts to the observatory budget. The CUC
> notes that augmentation of the GO funding program is needed to
> compensate for the additional observing time available in Cycles
> 14-16 (due to orbital evolution) while the GO funding level has
> remained flat in real dollars. Funding for archival research is
> also important, as it is an entry point for observers who
> typically work in other wavelengths.
> The CUC encourages Chandra to make GO funding the highest-priority
> augmentation to the in-guide funding level from the 2012 Senior
> Review.

We thank the CUC for their strong support of Chandra GO funding. We
will continue to treat this as a high priority item in our current and
future planning. 

> 6. The Einstein Fellowship program is highly competitive (174
> applications for 10 places last year), and the data presented by
> the CXC strongly indicates that the current rules work extremely
> well. The CUC notes that the Hubble Fellowship program is also
> highly successful and has always adhered to a one fellow per
> institution rule; Hubble has a longer track record and offers a
> larger number of fellowships.
> The Physics of the Cosmos program is an important NASA endeavor
> that enables breakthrough research at a large number of
> institutions around the country. The Einstein Fellowship is an
> essential means of maintaining and broadening the research base of
> the Physics of the Cosmos program and its missions. Relaxation of
> the current hosting rules would result in greater concentration of
> fellowships at fewer institutions, which would not serve the
> scientific or programmatic goals of the Einstein Fellowship.
> The CUC strongly recommends the continuation of the Einstein
> Fellowship program according to the current rules, including a
> limit of one fellow per institution per year.

The CXC respects this input from the CUC, and we are preserving
the one fellow per institution per year rule for Einstein

> 7. The CUC recommends that Chandra adopt a means of tracking the
> outcome of theory proposals, DDT proposals, and archive proposals,
> in addition to the tracking that is performed for regular
> observing proposals.

At the Chandra Bibliographic Statistics webpage
DDT and TOO papers are already tracked, at least for Chandra Science
Papers (refereed science papers that present specific Chandra

We are currently implementing a new database correspondence between
issued grant and proposal numbers, which should allow similar
statistics for Archive and Theory programs, provided those grants have
been properly acknowledged in publications. 

For all these categories, the CXC will produce metrics that
respond to the identified interests of the CUC.  

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