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Clarification of Canadian Universities Role in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

26 Jul 2019

Raymond Carlberg, Professor and founding TMT Project Director in Canada

The Government of Canada, through its agent, the National Research Council, is the Canadian member of the TMT International Observatory. The National Research Council appoints one voting corporate governor, currently one of their staff.  Two other non-voting governors are normally appointed from Canadian universities. Although the Canadian participation in the project was initiated through a CFI award to several universities with Toronto as the host, the ownership position built up in the universities was transferred to the NRC as part of the Canadian federal funding announcement in 2015.

NRC has agreed that ACURA will play an advisory role for the TMT project, recognizing that university scientists are primary stakeholders in the project and played an important role in the advocacy for the project.

The University of Toronto, and I believe others, have conveyed to ACURA that their institutional values are quite fundamentally opposed to the construction and operation of research facilities through police and military force.

Therefore, although Canadian universities are not in a position to directly vote on the TIO Board, or, remove Canada from the TIO Corporation, they have conveyed their views quite clearly to ACURA and would normally expect that those views would be expressed to TIO.

Having access to a Very Large Optical Telescope at a high quality site remains a top scientific priority in Canada.