Telescope time on the three Isaac Newton Group Telescopes is shared between two institutions: the UK Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias of Spain (IAC). These institutions meet formally with other users of the Observatorios del Roque de los Muchachos and del Teide as the International Scientific Committee (Comité Científico Internacional, or CCI). PPARC has made further collaborative arrangements with the Nederlandse organisatie voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek (NWO), The National Board of Science and Technology of Ireland (NBST) and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). The way the available observing time is shared between these international partners is the subject of a series of agreements, protocols and minutes summarized below. Figure shows the shares of telescope time available to each country.
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Figure: Time allocation on the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
Spain has at its disposal 20 per cent of the observing time on each of the three telescopes; it is the responsibility of the IAC to make this time available to Spanish institutions and others, via the Comisión para la Asignación de Tiempo (CAT), as described below.
A further 5 per cent of the observing time is for international collaborative programmes between member institutions of the CCI. It is intended that this time shall be used for the study of one, or a few, broad topics each year by several telescopes. This time is allocated annually by the CCI. Further information is available from the secretary of the CCI, currently Campbell Warden at the IAC, La Laguna.
The remaining 75 per cent of the time is at the disposal of the UK. The PPARC has agreed to share this time with foreign institutions under two separate agreements, one with the NWO, the other with the NBST and DIAS. Under the first agreement PPARC and NWO agreed to share this 75 per cent of observing time on all three telescopes in the proportions: 80 per cent PPARC - 20 per cent NWO. The Anglo-Dutch Joint Steering Committee has decided that time should be allocated to astronomers from the two countries by the PPARC Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (PATT). However the current procedure is that the Dutch share of this time is allocated by a separate committee, which meets about two weeks before the UK PATT, and the allocations are combined and ratified at the PATT meeting. For this reason the deadline for Dutch applications (an application with a Principal Applicant from a Dutch institution, or who is an Dutch employee under the Joint Programme, or an application with Dutch applicants and no UK or Irish applicants) is often some two weeks before that for UK applications.
Under the second agreement, PPARC has made available 27 nights per year of its share on the JKT to the NBST/DIAS. The Irish Advisory Committee for La Palma (AC) set up by the two Irish institutions has decided that proposals by Irish astronomers to take up this allocation of 27 nights per year should also be submitted to PATT. Irish astronomers are not however discouraged from applying for use of the other telescopes of the ING. PATT includes members from institutions in the Netherlands and Ireland; details concerning PATT applications are given below.
All the above agreements envisage that observing time shall be shared equitably over the different seasons of the year and phases of the moon.