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Executive Summary

This report provides background information about the Armagh Observatory and a summary of the Observatory's principal achievements in research and other areas during calendar year 2000.

Staff at the Observatory have attracted external income totalling £ 222,000 (£212,000 in external research grants) during Financial Year 2000/2001 (1 April 2000 - 31 March 2001), and published more than 30 papers in refereed scientific journals during 2000, a fraction of their total research output. In the same period, the Observatory has maintained a high public profile, continued to present a positive image of Northern Ireland and of Armagh City and District to the outside world, attracted more than 170,000 distinct e-visitors to its web-site (, and noted more than 230 citations mentioning the Observatory, its staff or their work in various mass-media including the national and international press, radio, and television.

The total DCAL grant-in-aid and the yearly trend of various performance indicators are shown in the following Table. Here, all items refer to calendar year, with the exception of DCAL Grant Income and External Grant Income which refer to the corresponding financial year (i.e. External Grant Income for 2000 refers to the financial year 2000/2001). In addition, the Observatory receives approximately £10k-£20k per annum from other (i.e. non-DCAL) external sources not shown in the Table.

  Total DCAL External Refereed Identified Distinct
Calendar Year Grant Income Grant Income Journal Media e-Visitors
  (£000s) (£000s) Publications Citations (DEVs)
1993 445.0 35 13 -  
1994 425.0 58 22 11  
1995 468.5 172 19 14  
1996 480.0 264 45 45  
1997 473.2 275 42 108 66,000
1998 443.0 195 43 147 80,000
1999 458.5 293 32 233 134,000
2000 538.5 212 31 231 174,000

The tabulated items are self-explanatory, except that the number of distinct e-visitors is actually the number of distinct hosts served by the Observatory's web-site, a lower limit to the number of e-visitors, owing to caching by big servers and sharing or repeat visits from the same IP number. (For comparison, the number of `hits' on the web-site, defined as the number of successful page requests, is typically 5-10 times greater than the DEV statistic.) During 2000 the number of `hits' on the Armagh web-site exceeded 870,000, and the total number of file requests of all types exceeded 2,800,000. The DCAL grant-in-aid for financial year 2000/2001 was augmented by £80,000 (bringing the total to £538,500), to cover the required SALT contributions for 2000/2001 and 2001/2002. DCAL grant-in-aid for financial year 2001/2002 is £473,500.

Despite the very positive trend of these results, there is a serious cloud on the horizon: namely, a growing shortage of funds for the Observatory to carry out its work. The Observatory has had essentially flat funding in cash terms for almost the past ten years, a period in which it has grown in size almost three-fold and increased its research activity, external income, and public profile respectively by much greater factors.

Continued under-funding will inevitably lead to inefficiencies in operation, restricting the Observatory's capacity to fulfil its primary function, and the fabric of the main Grade A listed building and telescope domes will continue to deteriorate. If a significant uplift in recurrent funding cannot be achieved within the next one or two years (approximately £150,000 per year is required), future projects will have to be abandoned and the future of the institution will be cast into question.

Appended to this report for Calendar Year 2000 (Financial Year 2000/2001) are lists covering (A) Membership of the Management Committee and Board of Governors, (B) Staff Members, (C) Refereed Journal Publications, (D) Presentations by Observatory Staff, (E) Seminars at Armagh Observatory, and (F) Identified Media Citations. The Observatory's New TSN Action Plan is included as Appendix F.

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Next: Astronomy at Armagh Up: annrep2000 Previous: Contents   Contents