|Home > Public Information > ING Annual Reports > 1995 > Introduction|
I should start by apologising for the lateness of this annual report. I find it rather embarassing in March 1998 to be writing an introduction to the 1995/96 ING annual report! My only (rather weak) excuse is that the period covered by the report was extremely hectic, and that production of annual reports was not a priority.
My own memories of this period are dominated by budget cuts and restructuring exercises. 1995 started with the publication by the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council of the findings of the Optical/IR/mm review panel, chaired by Professor Jim Hough. A key recommendation of this report was that there was substantial scope for efficiency savings at ING. I accepted this recommendation, and initiated a major restructuring programme, whose elements included tighter operational procedures, re-engineering of obsolete engineering systems, reduced dependence on UK-based operational support and the establishment of a sea-level base on La Palma. This programme has in general been a great success, for which I thank the staff at ING - though, as usual, more work remains to be done.
The major frustration during this period was that however succesfully we restructured, there always seemed to be another budget cut. By the end of 1996 ING was having to cope with a budget cut twice the size of that originally recommended by the Optical/IR/mm review. And during 1996 we had the additional distraction of the "Prior Options" process - the then UK Government's requirement for public services to be subject to competitive tendering, in this case the management of the telescopes and delivery of the instrumentation programme.
So my main emotion on reading this annual
report is of relief that, despite the top-level financial and organisational
difficulties, this was a period of great achievement for ING. Clearly someone
was able to get some real work done! Highlights reported here include:
I would like to end by paying tribute to the
observatory staff at ING, and also at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in
the UK, whose commitment, skill and experience made these achievements
possible. And who made my time as Director of ING so rewarding.
Dr Steve Unger, Director of ING (to November