Chandra X-Ray Observatory

CXC response to CUC Recommendations following 2005 Oct CUC Meeting

> CUC was disappointed with the vague nature of these plans
> and the lack of any set of requirements that could be used as a
> measure both of the catalogue's utility and for determining when one
> should go forward with production of the catalog.   
> We therefore renew our request that a systematic review of the goals
> and plans for the generation of a Chandra X-ray catalog be held.  If
> the CXC feels that the CUC is not the right body for such a review, it
> should constitute a committee to carry out the review, but the
> committee should include some external experts and at least one member
> of the CUC.  To be useful, this review should be held early enough
> that plans for catalog generation could be affected.    As a general
> principle, the CUC would argue that the CXC should adopt a phased
> approach to developing the catalog, and not be overly ambitions in
> terms of goals for the catalog in the hopes that catalog production
> could begin earlier rather than later. 

The CXC Director has begun to form a review committee for the Chandra
Level 3 catalog.  Andy Lawrence has agreed to chair the meeting which
will take place at the CfA between Feb 8-10, 2006.  At least 8 other
external scientists have also agreed to participate to date, including
3 members of the CUC.  Members of the review team provide expertise in
X-ray and multiwavelength science, as well as in archiving and
cross-correlation of datasets and catalogs.  The first two days will be 
dominated by presentations from the CXC Science Data Systems group
outlining their plans, proposals, and options for Chandra source
catalogs.  The third day is planned for the commitee to review,
summarize and report.

The CXC agrees with the CUC that the catalog effort should proceed in
phases, with the initial releases based on our current calibrations and
on algorithms not requiring additional understanding of the instruments
and background. We envisage further phases with more ambitious source
and background characterization, particularly where extended source
detection and characterization are concerned.

> GRANT DURATION AND EXTENSIONS -- CXC needs to attempt to bring its
> policies more in line with the other observatories.  The ideal
> situation would be a two-year initial grant with an "easy" option for
> a third year extension.  

CXC is offering the option an initial two-year grant 
period for any/all grants starting with the Cycle 7 grants. This new
procedure was negotiated with the SAO grants 
department primarily by Roger Brissenden, with support and input from the 
Marshall Project Office and the CXC Director's Office. The majority of
PIs are availing themselves of this option.  PIs can also still
apply for (maximum of two) one year, no-cost extensions to the initial award
period.  This is described in the Cycle 7 grant award letters and in
the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals, released 15 Dec 2005.  

> TIME ALLOWED FOR BUDGET PREPARATION -- In the budget process now being
> completed for Cycle 7, the fair share allocations for approved
> programs was sent to PIs in early August with a deadline date of
> September 1st.  This is too short.  CXC needs to allow a minimum of
> six weeks for the proposal due date.  At a minimum, 1 full month should
> be allocated, 

The CXC generally aims for at least a month between the letters and the
deadline but, unfortunately, this was not possible in Cycle 7. We have
delayed the budget deadline by two weeks in Cycle 8, to 14 Sept 2006. 
Our aim is to email the results letters by the end of July.

> CUC recommends avoiding any activities associated with the merging
> panel at the end of the second day (Wednesday night).  The CUC
> believes that it is appropriate to allow a full day of preparation for
> the merging panel.  It suggests that the organizational meeting of the
> merging panel be held in late afternoon of that day (Thursday), but
> the real deliberations of the panel take place on the following day
> (Friday), and that a full day be allocated for this process.   

CDO is considering and discussing several changes to the Cycle 8 peer
review procedures.  A Handbook for Panel Chairs, summarizing the
information given in the chairs' breakfasts, is being compiled to make
the procedure clear, and to help chairs optimally organize a very busy
few days.  We will probably hold a brief Wed night Big Project Panel
to distribute a list of highly-ranked V/LP proposals and provide any
needed hardcopies. This will allow chairs time to recover energy from
their panel work and for panel results to be finalized, as well as
time to plan their reading and deliberations. We may then hold a
triage session for the BPP on Thursday morning, including brief
presentations by each chair of the GO programs approved by their
panels. On Thursday afternoon, Chairs would have further time for
reading, discussion and coordination amongst themselves.  The final
discussion and time allocation will take place Thursday evening and/or
Friday morning.  In any case, we expect chairs would be free by about
noon on Friday.
> We urge that  the CXC DO exercise its authority and assure that
> presentations are available two working days in advance of the
> meeting.  

CDO has insisted that presentations must be received in electronic
form by Friday March 31, so these will be posted on the web at
least 2 days before the next CUC meeting. Similar plans will hold
for future CUC meetings.

> CXC should make the production of the written response a standard part
> of its interactions with the committee, within a month of receiving
> the CUC's report.   This response should be placed on the web
> alongside the committee report. 

A month is a difficult timescale to meet, especially in the Fall. The
CUC report was received Nov 7, 2005, posted and distributed Dec 7. 
This was followed by the Holidays and the winter AAS meeting, in  
which many CXC personnel were involved.  The current response is about
2.5 months after the initial report was received.  We will accelerate
this process following the Spring meeting.

Last modified: 12/01/10

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