General Questions Concerning AURA and its Centers

  1. What is the organization's legal name?
  2. What company name do I use when speaking to vendors?
  3. Who funds AURA?
  4. Is AURA a part of the University of Arizona?

What is the organization's legal name?

The legal name of the organization and the name under which all agreements are consummated is the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.. "AURA, Inc." is NOT the organization's legal name and, in fact, there is one other corporation in Arizona named AURA, Inc. Because we have used that name for so long and to avoid legal conflicts with the original AURA, Inc., we now refer to ourselves as either AURA, or the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) and the National Solar Observatory (NSO) are AURA centers. The Kitt Peak National Observatory, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, and the Sacramento Peak Observatory are facilities managed by NOAO and NSO. Other than AURA, none of these names has any legal standing.

Like AURA, SOAR, WIYN and LSST are incorporated in the state of Arizona and have legal standing, although administrative services for these facilities are provided by AURA centers. Procurements for these facilities, when conducted by NOAO Procurement, are done under the AURA umbrella. Like the NOAO acronym, most vendors will not recognize the SOAR or WIYN acronym.


What company name do I use when speaking to vendors?

It is suggested that you refer to yourself as working for either AURA or the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.

Facilities such as Kitt Peak, the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, and the National Solar Observatory have no legal standing. Local vendors may recognize these names, but most vendors will have us listed under either Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. or AURA for credit and account purposes.


Who funds AURA?

AURA is funded by National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through Cooperative Agreements and Cooperative Support Agreements.  The National Science Foundation Cooperative Agreements can be viewed in Carina.


Is AURA a part of the University of Arizona?

AURA and the centers are not funded by or considered a part of the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona is a part of the AURA family of universities and a member of AURA's Board of Directors.

The University of Arizona is funded by the State of Arizona and is an educational institution. Because of its source of funding, the University of Arizona has many contractual requirements and restrictions that differ from AURA's. Because of the difference in funding, we cannot identify ourselves to vendors as part of the University of Arizona.

Because of the close relationship between the University of Arizona and AURA, AURA employees receive affiliated staff ID cards from the university and can enjoy many of the same benefits as University employees. In addition, AURA Procurement is able to purchase many items through the University bookstore.