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NA ALMA Development Program

by Dong-Chan Kim last modified Jan 17, 2021 by Crystal Brogan

The ALMA Development Program: Keeping ALMA at the Forefront of Scientific Discovery

One of the innovative aspects of the ALMA operations plan is that a vigorous development program has been included in Observatory operations funding from the beginning, in order to keep ALMA, envisioned as a 30-yr+ endeavor, at the forefront of scientific discovery over the long-term. The primary tenets of the ALMA development program are that it will (1) be driven by scientific requirements as identified by the community, embodied in the ALMA Science Advisory Committee (ASAC), and supported by independent peer-review; (2) be comprised of both short term development studies to facilitate technology readiness/proof of concept for subsequent longer term development projects; and (3) require development projects to undergo rigorous technical and scientific design review and approval from the ALMA Board (which includes representatives from the executives and funding agencies, advised by ASAC). Additional details can be found in the Principles for the ALMA Development Program.

The initial priorities of the ALMA development program were to complete the original ALMA design capabilities for those items that had to be de-scoped during the baseline construction project. By 2015, the steady progress of the ALMA Development Program encouraged the international ALMA community to consider longer term goals and to identify the key upgrades that would sustain its scientific productivity into the 2030s and beyond. After a series of community-based studies and workshops, the ALMA Development Working Group, composed of members of the ASAC, regional ALMA program scientists, and Executives, was established to hone the recommendations into a plan which culminated in the ALMA Development Roadmap in 2019. All subsequent development studies and projects should be closely aligned with the goals of the ALMA Development Roadmap.

The NAASC has issued calls for studies and/or projects approximately yearly to the members of the ALMA-NA partnership. Since 2011, a wide-range of study and project proposals from investigators within the ALMA-NA community have been funded (see the summary HERE). These community-based NA-funded studies and projects provide critical avenues for innovation, collaboration, training, and investment for NA universities and research groups. Additional details about the NA and ALMA-wide development programs are described in this US Astro2020 Decadal White Paper.

News & Current (or most recent) NA Development Call for Proposals

The Cycle 9 Call for NA ALMA Development Projects has opened as of January 15, 2021 (it closes April 9, 2021). The full details can be found HERE.

The next call for NA ALMA Development Studies is expected to occur late 2021.

Previously and Currently funded NA Development Studies and Projects

Funded studies and projects from previous calls are summarized including their abstracts and final reports (when available) HERE.