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Tuesday, December 10, 2019
TMT: Time to Reassess Viability of Hawaii Telescope Project
By News Release @ 4:47 PM :: 6724 Views :: Hawaii County , Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA


News Release from Thirty Meter Telescope, December 10, 2019

The global TMT partnership of Japan, China, India, Canada and the U.S. wants to build the world's next generation telescope on Maunakea. Yet, after more than a decade of working with the community and a multimillion dollar investment into Hawaii's economy, TMT must now reassess the viability of building a telescope in Hawaii due to continuing uncertainty that there will be:

Safe and peaceful access to the TMT site on Maunakea.

Should Hawaii lose the TMT project, it would be more than just the loss of a major telescope, it would be a global disappointment. 

But the most important question for all Hawaii stakeholders is - what will Hawaii lose as a result of losing TMT?

Impacts to Young People's Education

TMT launched The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund in 2014 to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM curriculum and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii's 21st century economy. 

TMT's annual contribution of $1 million to the THINK Fund, administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, would cease if the TMT project moves out of Hawaii. 

To date, TMT has contributed more than $5.5 million to the THINK Fund, providing more than 160 scholarships and benefiting more than 20,000 students and 97 schools and nonprofit organizations through support of STEM education on Hawaii island. And, the Akamai Workforce Initiative, of which TMT is a major funder, has placed more than 350 local college students in summer internships.

Also in jeopardy: TMT's annual investment in its Workforce Pipeline Program initiative to strengthen STEM skills infrastructure in partnership with the University of Hawaii Hilo, Hawaii Community College and K-12 education organizations serving low-income and first-generation college attending populations. 

The Akamai TMT International Observatory Program, an internship and mentorship program working to build Hawaii's scientific and technical workforce is also at risk. To date, TMT has funded the Akamai Program with over $500,000 for the Hawaii Island program.

We will continue this series with a look at impacts to the economy, stewardship, high tech, University of Hawaii, and Hawaii's International reputation. 



The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, the University of California (UC), the 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 Maunakea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. 

For more information about the TMT project, visit, or follow @TMTHawaii.


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