SAAO - South African Astronomical Observatory

Executive Summary

In 1998, the South African government approved the construction of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, Northern Cape Province. The South African government agreed to contribute 50% of the capital construction costs with the remaining 50% sourced from international partners. SALT will enable South Africa to remain internationally competitive in astronomy well into the 21st century. Furthermore, such a facility will provide both South African and international scientists with a capability that can explore the depths of the Universe and expand the frontiers of knowledge.

The SALT Collateral Benefits Plan is designed to maximise benefits from the investment of public funds in the construction and operation of the SALT.

There are five main thrusts to this plan:

  • SALT industrial empowerment
  • SALT educational empowerment
  • Public outreach and direct educational benefits
  • Science education visitor centres
  • SALT as an African facility

The planned activities in each of these focus areas are detailed together with the resultant benefits to South Africa. The implementation strategy and cost of implementing this SALT Collateral Benefits Plan annually are described. The SALT Collateral Benefits Plan is a planning document with long-term goals and objectives achievable on a time scale covering the 5 year construction period and 25 plus year operations period of SALT. On a shorter time scale an annual business plan will be produced that sets the goals, objectives and performance measures for the next year. The overarching goal is to ensure that the maximum collateral benefits are derived from the SALT Project to advance the economy, technology, and society of South Africa.