Strategic Plan for Theoretical Astrophysics Released

It is with great pleasure that the steering committee announce the release of the ANITA Strategic Plan for Theoretical Astrophysics 2012-2015.

This Strategic Plan makes the following key recommendations to the astronomy theory community as we move towards the next Astronomy Decadal Plan.

  • Priority 1: The theory community should pursue the development of a named Theory Postdoctoral Fellowship program to attract the best and brightest young international theorists to Australian shores, and retain the best already in Australia.
  • Priority 2: The theory community should explore building a National Centre for Theoretical Astrophysics, which could be a virtual institute comprised of numerous distributed theory groups from around the nation, and sharing many common resources and funding.
  • Priority 3: The theory community should work to increase active linkages with the observational community on projects of common interest, especially those that enhance theory’s influence in priority areas of Australian science.

In addition, we also recommend the following:

  • ANITA should engage in the development of theory related student education to better equip pre- and current PhD students for the rigours of research.
  • ANITA should consider an early career researcher mentoring program for junior theorists and include this as part of its yearly mission.
  • ANITA should encourage interaction between local theory groups through the sharing of colloquium speakers, visitor and student exchanges, and joint organisation of local workshops.
  • Where appropriate, Australian theory should explore opportunities to form closer ties with our Asian counterparts given the growing importance of Asia to Australia’s broader national interests.
  • Australian theory groups should be encouraged to seek out international projects for collaboration, to build linkages and create long-term opportunities.
  • ANITA should work to raise awareness of gender and work/life balance issues, and coordinate with the Women in Astronomy Chapter of the ASA in this task.

The Strategic Plan can be downloaded here (34MB, or here for a lores version 1.7MB).