Terms of Reference


The Canadian Advanced Network for Astronomy Research is a consortium that serves data-intensive storage, access, and processing needs of university groups and centers engaged in astronomy research.

To this end, CANFAR develops and operates user-facing and integrated services, such as:

  • Research Data Management
  • User-managed storage and cloud processing
  • Specialized visualization and analytics services
  • Authentication and Authorization
  • Support to researchers in adapting the system to their needs


  • To maintain and develop services in data and computationally intensive research that enable Canadian researchers and their international collaborators to generate the greatest possible scientific return on Canada’s investment in telescopes and computational resources.

  • To coordinate efforts and resources in multi-use applications and services across Canadian groups, by generating integrated grant proposals and funding requests that enable the combination and integration of the science application domain (predominantly located at the universities) and the technical expertise (e.g. at CADC). Such grant proposals and funding request would be directed to any of the Canadian agencies involved in Science, Innovation, Computing and Big Data, such as NSERC, CFI, Canarie or NRC.

  • Interface on behalf of the astronomy community with Digital Research Alliance Canada to ensure that services meet the astronomy domain specific needs.

  • Reduce barriers and accelerate adoption of new emerging technologies in Big Data and Computing in the astronomy community.

  • Share capabilities developed in the astronomy community with other domains.


The consortium membership reflects the necessity of present and future science challenges to integrate those groups and institutions that specialize in the scientific aspects (typically at the universities and research centers and institutes) and the groups that have developed the technical and computer engineering expertise to respond to the needs of science programs.

Consequently the following groups are eligible for membership in the CANFAR consortium:

  • Individual university researchers and their groups
  • University centers or institutions engaged in astronomy research
  • Multi-institutional or multi-investigator collaborations, including their international partners
  • Individuals and teams from the CADC, or teams from Digital Research Alliance Canada, WestGrid or other entities that provide computational and data resources and infrastructure

See associated document CANFAR Portfolio for details.