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Press Statement 18-002

Statement on Award of Cooperative Agreement for Management and Operations of Arecibo Observatory

Award initiates formal transition activities for the observatory

Overhead view of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

February 22, 2018

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Richard Green, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Astronomical Sciences, and Paul Shepson, director of the NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, issued the following statement.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that beginning Feb. 22, the University of Central Florida (UCF) will start formal transition activities to take on the operations and management of NSF's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. NSF is currently negotiating the operations and management award with UCF.

With this award, UCF will fulfill NSF's preferred alternative for management and operations of the observatory. The university will take over formal management and execute a program of research and education consistent with the objectives and priorities of the scientific community. The university will provide support and technical personnel to manage the observatory, its research and educational activities.

The award duration is expected to run five years, with NSF contributions decreasing over time from the current level of approximately $8 million per year to approximately $2 million per year by the second half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.

This award ensures continued science-focused operations that maintain ionospheric, planetary and astronomical research, including radio observations of astronomical sources, planetary radar observations of solar system and near-Earth objects, and studies of Earth's atmosphere.


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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, its budget is $8.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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