11 July 2016 Building a pipeline of talent for operating radio observatories
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Abstract
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) National and International Non-Traditional Exchange (NINE) Program teaches concepts of project management and systems engineering in a focused, nine-week, continuous effort that includes a hands-on build project with the objective of constructing and verifying the performance of a student-level basic radio instrument. The combination of using a project management (PM)/systems engineering (SE) methodical approach based on internationally recognized standards in completing this build is to demonstrate clearly to the learner the positive net effects of following methodical approaches to achieving optimal results. It also exposes the learner to basic radio science theory. An additional simple research project is used to impress upon the learner both the methodical approach, and to provide a basic understanding of the functional area of interest to the learner.

This program is designed to teach sustainable skills throughout the full spectrum of activities associated with constructing, operating and maintaining radio astronomy observatories. NINE Program learners thereby return to their host sites and implement the program in their own location as a NINE Hub. This requires forming a committed relationship (through a formal Letter of Agreement), establishing a site location, and developing a program that takes into consideration the needs of the community they represent. The anticipated outcome of this program is worldwide partnerships with fast growing radio astronomy communities designed to facilitate the exchange of staff and the mentoring of under-represented1 groups of learners, thereby developing a strong pipeline of global talent to construct, operate and maintain radio astronomy observatories.
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Lory M. Wingate, "Building a pipeline of talent for operating radio observatories", Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 991031 (11 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233140; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233140
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