28 FEBRUARY 2015 time 0:33

The OAC staff refuses any hypothesis of merging

The OAC staff refuses any hypothesis of merging
The OAC staff refuses any hypothesis of merging
Here is a copy of the document recently approved by the staff of the Cagliari Astronomical Observatory.


We have received a copy of the Executive Summary produced by the Radio Astronomy Visiting Committee (RVC) and a copy of the subsequent decision taken by the INAF Administration Council. While we highly appreciate the spirit of the Committee’s recommendations, we strongly oppose the proposed solution for the overall management of radio astronomy in INAF, which foresees a unification of the two Structures in Cagliari and Bologna, and we firmly refuse this. The Cagliari Astronomical Observatory (OAC) (a 2nd Level INAF Research Structure for thirteen years) has grown quite significantly in the last decade and it is now a stimulating place for conducting scientific research in the National Institute, which is the definition of a Research Structure as in Art 17 of INAF Institutional law (the so-called “Statuto”).
Following the current proposal, OAC would only become a branch of a Structure, or in the best case a 3rd Level Center of Cost. This is rather mortifying for the staff, makes the system inefficient, and in fact contradicts the INAF statutory concept of place for conducting scientific research.
The current proposal represents a big change that we refuse. At the same time, it might be argued that “new rules” would be implemented for the new Structure, in such a way that nothing would actually change in our working environment. If this is the case, just use the existing rules in order to coordinate the prestigious system of Structures in INAF that compose Italian radio astronomy. The present rules in the INAF Statuto already provide plenty of room for coordination. There is the Scientific Directorate in Rome, whose primary mission is exactly “coordination”. For instance there is the possibility for the Scientific Directorate to create “Central Scientific Units”, which are not Structures, but coordinating bodies on a given theme. There is the possibility to nominate a Board, an Office, and so on.
This is exactly the point: as noted in the RVC Report, radio astronomy in INAF is a system, it is not simply a Structure because it is distributed over several places, and needs to be coordinated as such. We stress, once again, that the INAF Scientific Directorate in Rome has all of the institutional tools needed to efficiently achieve this primary goal.
According to the above considerations, the Cagliari staff is prepared and determined to strenuously undertake all of the possible legitimate actions to halt this merging process. We firmly refuse it. We are only available to constructively discuss any hypothesis which does not change the statutory definition of Cagliari as a single 2nd Level INAF Structure in Sardinia. Any further advice from the Committee, regarding alternative solutions for the coordination of radio astronomy in Italy and its interface with Europe, would be highly appreciated.

The Staff of the Cagliari Astronomical Observatory