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New Instrument Procurement Models

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New Instrument Procurement Models

Gemini is implementing a more flexible and enhanced approach to instrument procurement that facilitates development of new instruments and capabilities within the current constraints of our staff and financial resource budgets.  In its May, 2014 meeting, the Gemini Board approved new elements of an expanded procurement model, allowing Gemini to work more closely with build teams to support several varieties of in-kind contributions.  In the future, we plan both targeted calls for specific capabilities and open calls for the community to tell us what they want and can provide for us.  Through our visiting instrument program and ability to respond to ad-hoc requests, we also continue to be open to externally initiated opportunities.

In the November, 2015 meeting, the Gemini Board established some key principles for implementing this new approach.  The new tool added to our arsenal is an expanded use of telescope time in procuring new instruments and current instrument upgrades.  There are three ways we plan to use telescope time in these efforts:

  1. Telescope time can be awarded to the build team at various points in the project to reward sucessful and timely completion of milestones.
  2. We may elect to offer the equivalent of a long and large program to the science team associated with the build team to use the new (or newly upgraded) instrument for some initial investigations that will be scientifically valuable and provide a clear demonstration of the instrument's abilities.
  3. We can also allocate telescope time to the host institution or partner country of the build team(s) to compensate for in-kind contributions that reduce Gemini's cash outlay.

We have already implemented some of these concepts in our agreements with the GHOST and SCORPIO teams and regularly include them in our facility instrument and insrument upgrade calls.  We can also use them when we convert visitor instruments to facility instruments to recognize the visiting instrument team's contributions.  The Gemini Board reviews/approves each final agreement so they can help ensure we continue to meet the needs of the overall partnership.   These new approaches have already allowed us to continue to grow our overall capabiliities at Gemini while being even more responsive to community needs.

Gemini Observatory Participants