TMT Hosts International Workshop

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Astronomy and engineering graduate students from the Thirty Meter Telescope international partnership countries gathered in Hilo for a future leaders workshop at the Grand Naniloa Hotel.

The workshop ran Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 5 to 7.

The scientific/technical workshop with an emphasis on international collaboration focused on project management and other professional skills with the intention of training TMT’s future leaders.

“TMT hosted graduate and post doctorate students from Hawai‘i, Japan, China, India, Canada, University of California and Caltech to help them gain valuable technical and project management skills while collaborating with TMT staff and Mauna Kea Observatory partners,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT’s Hawai‘i Community Affairs manager. “This workshop serves as a pilot for future sessions for the TMT international training program. What better place than on Hawai‘i Island, in Hilo and on what many call the best site in the world to view the heavens.”


Participants in the workshop gained knowledge about opportunities for future involvement with TMT, project management skills, leadership and teamwork experience through hands-on training activities and an opportunity to help design a potential future TMT international program.

Workshop activities included a Mauna Kea summit tour, visits and interaction with scientists and engineers from Subaru Telescope, Gemini Observatory, W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

Participants worked with TMT staff members, focusing on project management, systems engineering, science instruments, software development, safety compliance and invasive species controls.

The graduate students also learned about the history of astronomy in Hawai‘i, and particularly on the summit of Mauna Kea, and an overview of the cultural significance of Mauna Kea.


Participating students are from Caltech, University of California Davis, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Los Angeles, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, University of Science and Technology of China, Dunlap Institute University of Toronto, NRC-Herzberg, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Tokyo, University of British Columbia, University of California Riverside, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan /Sokendai, University of Victoria, University of California Irvine, National Tsing Hua University, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Tohoku University and the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy.

The workshop is funded by the Thirty Meter Telescope and led by the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators (ISEE) at UC Santa Cruz.

For more information, contact Austin Barnes at [email protected] or visit

About Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators
The Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators has been training graduate students and postdocs, and has partnered with telescopes for more than 15 years. ISEE is located at the University of California Santa Cruz, which is the headquarters of UC Observatories and the center for the University of California’s participation in the TMT. ISSE is developing a new program for TMT, which will be designed to engage the full international partnership of TMT science and technology development.


About Thirty Meter Telescope
The Thirty Meter Telescope project has been developed as a collaboration among Caltech, University of California (UC), Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawai‘i.

The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operational phases of the TMT project. The current members of TIO are Caltech, UC, National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, and the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, ACURA, Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) are TIO Associates.

Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information, visit

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