Terms of Reference

CHARTER with Terms of Reference

post 2003 Review

Beyond the Charter, the Statutes and Rules of the ESF shall apply where relevant.


CRAF is an Expert Committee of the ESF, acting on frequency issues for European radio astronomy and related sciences. It provides for its Member Institutions a cost effective single European voice on frequency protection issues, achieving a significantly greater impact than that achievable by individual national institutions. The Operation of CRAF is supported by the financial contributions of its Member Institutions, which provides the sole provision for the principal agent of CRAF, the “Frequency Manager”

1. CRAF Mission

The mission of CRAF is:

  • to keep the frequency bands used for radio astronomical observations free from interference;
  • to argue the scientific needs of the European research community for continued access to and availability of the radio spectrum for radio astronomy; and
  • to support related science communities in their needs concerning interference-free radio frequency bands for passive use.

2. CRAF Terms of Reference

To achieve this mission, CRAF will:-

  • Coordinate a common policy on frequency protection for the European research communities in radio astronomy, passive remote sensing, and related sciences;
  • Represent this policy and these communities in interactions with the relevant national and supranational entities at the European and international level:
  • Promote understanding and awareness on current and potential future issues for passive frequency use for scientific observations;
  • Provide a communication network and a discussion forum for the European research community on interference issues in passive frequency use:
  • Report to the ESF and the CRAF Member Institutions.

3. CRAF Committee Membership and Structure

To ensure the authority and credibility of CRAF, Committee Members should be experts of standing within the community active in one or more of the fields relevant to CRAF’s mission.

CRAF Committee Members are expected to maintain links with the observatories in their country involved in radio astronomy, passive remote sensing or related sciences, and with their national radiocommunications administrations, including national regulatory authorities.

Each Member Institution of CRAF may nominate a Committee Member who will be appointed ad personam by the ESF for a three-year term, normally renewable.

The Chair of CRAF is appointed by the ESF, in response to his or her nomination by the CRAF Committee. Potential candidates should be identified by a (virtual) Search Panel established by the Committee and the ESF. The term of the CRAF Chair is three years with a possible extension for up to two more years.

The Committee shall be responsible for the appointment of a Secretary and a Frequency Manager to support the Committee in its activities, liaise with ESF, and undertake any other activities the Committee may require.

The ESF will nominate a Liaison Officer to CRAF who will normally attend the Committee’s meetings. Normally, the ESF Liaison Officer will be the Secretary of the PESC Committee.

4. Member Institutions (MIs) of CRAF

Member Institutions of CRAF should be involved in radio astronomy, passive remote sensing, or related sciences.

New MIs are accepted by the ESF, after consultation with CRAF. MIs are expected by ESF to be principally funded by (an) ESF Member Organisation(s), or otherwise to demonstrate to the ESF’s satisfaction, in respect to its overall membership policy, adequate standards in respect of governance, scientific independence and activity, and sound financial practice. Geographically, MIs must be from one of the countries having or being eligible for ESF Membership.

Present terms shall be signed within 2004 by the Directors of Member Institutions. They shall continue as long as the association of the Committee with the ESF is effective. An institution may withdraw from CRAF at the end of the ESF financial year following that in which notice of withdrawal is given to ESF. It will be liable for its contributions during this notice period.

Each MI is expected to provide support for their CRAF member to attend CRAF meetings and to support that member in their other CRAF and frequency protection duties. The Chair of CRAF requires substantial provision by his MI to carry out the additional representational duties of the post.

Organisations not eligible for MI status, or not wishing to have that status, may with the approval of CRAF and ESF be granted Observer status at CRAF. Observers will be responsible for their own costs, and may contribute to the CRAF budget.

5. CRAF Modus Operandi

The Committee shall normally hold two plenary meetings per year, convened by the Chair of CRAF. Additional meetings can be convened as necessary.

The Committee has a detailed working framework set down in its modus operandi, in line with this Charter.

6. CRAF Finance

MIs are responsible for financing CRAF and the Frequency Manager via annual contribution payments made against an annual call by the ESF. The scale of contributions, and each MI’s level within it, has been decided by CRAF and ESF in consultation. The present scale is included in this MoU at section 9. New MIs joining CRAF will negotiate with CRAF and the ESF their position on this scale.

Contributions from other bodies – such as national research agencies and institutes, or the European Commission – may also be sought, subject to ESF’s agreement. MIs not paying their annual contribution may be considered as having served notice of their withdrawal from the Committee.

ESF will cover the costs of its own staff or representatives and, subject to prior approval, may provide additional support (such as printing/publication of CRAF documents, support for strategic workshops etc) for items not covered by the CRAF budget.

CRAF’s accounts are subject to audit by ESF’s auditors.

7. Reporting, Advisory and Publication Activities of CRAF

The Committee reports, as required, to ESF, its relevant scientific Standing Committees, and to the CRAF MIs. In making recommendations, CRAF shall act responsibly and independently within the framework and procedures of the ESF. ESF procedures include obtaining approval, which will normally be given, before the release of CRAF publications (eg Handbooks, Newsletters, Reports, etc).

8. Review of CRAF Mandate

The ESF will review the work and mandate of CRAF at regular intervals (presently on a five year cycle). CRAF itself may at anytime request a Review, or agree to the termination of its own mandate.

9. CRAF Contribution Scale

This scale determines the annual contributions to be paid by the member institutions of CRAF. The values represent “shares”. The total number of shares is divided into the forecast budget, for the year in question, produced annually by the CRAF Secretary and Frequency Manager in his/her Annual Report.

Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies