A major milestone, the first external review of the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), took place between February 08-13, 2015. The appointed panel members for the review were
1. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
2. Prof Ron Ekers, CSIRO/Australia Telescope National Facility, Australia
3. Prof George Ellis, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Over the course of the week, the external review panel interviewed various members of the community including representatives from the three Task Forces, Regional Nodes, Project leaders, the National research Foundation, OAD Steering Committee, IAU Executive Committee, the South African Astronomical Observatory, the Square Kilometer Array, Department of Science and Technology (South Africa), etc.
The overall findings from the review are extremely positive and supportive of the OAD, its team and the work done in the last four years. Major outcomes include strong recommendations for the continuation of the OAD and to modestly increase its funding and staff. The results of the review, now public, are available at the links below.
A few highlights from the OAD External Review 2015
- its (OAD) performance has been outstanding, particularly given the very limited resources that have been made available to an organisation with such ambitious terms of reference.
- strongly recommend continuation of the OAD as a joint project of the IAU and NRF for a further 5 years plus an additional year so the contract is synchronised with the IAU General Assemblies
- recommend that the IAU make clear its intention to continue the OAD beyond the period of the 10-year plan currently in place