Proposal Types

by Gustaaf Van Moorsel last modified Aug 25, 2016 by Dana Balser

The four proposal types are described below. However, recall that the GMVA is scheduled during two specific sessions during the year; thus in most cases only Regular proposals should be submitted for the GMVA (Questions about GMVA DDT or Triggered proposals should be directed to the GMVA scheduler -- see the GMVA home page:

GMVA Home Page


Regular Proposals

Regular proposals are currently received on a semester basis with deadlines of February 1 and August 1. If the deadline falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is extended to the following Monday. A regular proposal must request less than 200 hours of observing time on one or more of the NRAO telescopes. Some regular proposals will request coordination with non-NRAO telescopes.


Large Proposals

A large proposal is one that requires at least 200 hours of observing time on one or more of the NRAO telescopes. As of the 2 June 2008 deadline, large proposals can be submitted at any deadline; the page limits for these proposals are different than for regular proposals. For details see the large proposal policy at:

Large Proposal Policy


Triggered Proposals

Triggered proposals for pre-planned observations of transients whose event times are unknown a priori must be submitted during one of the regular semester call periods. These proposals must (a) include specific triggering criteria, and (b) state the semesters over which the proposal is requested to remain active. Please provide this information within the textbox. Furthermore, a Triggered proposal must ask for the full amount of time needed to achieve the science goals, including both initial and follow-up observations. Proposers should not be using Director's Discretionary Time to request follow-up of an event initially observed under a Triggered proposal.


Proposals for Director's Discretionary Time

Proposals for Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) may be submitted at any time via the PST. They are intended to address targets of opportunity (ToO), high-risk/high-return exploratory proposals, or other science opportunities deemed sufficiently urgent to justify prompt action.

Target of Opportunity (ToO) proposals are for unexpected or unpredicted phenomena such as supernovae in nearby galaxies or extreme X-ray or radio flares. If you are uncertain whether the phenomenon is covered under a regular triggered proposal, please contact the NRAO via the Helpdesk.

Exploratory Proposals are normally for requests of small amounts of time, typically a few hours or less, in response to a recent discovery, possibly to facilitate future submission of a larger proposal. In general, there will not be a need for immediate scheduling with these proposals, but, for example, they may need to be observed in the current VLA configuration rather than waiting 16 months, or should be observed with the VLBA without waiting for an entire proposal cycle.

Education and Public Outreach (EPO) DDT proposals may also be submitted for the purpose of education and public outreach---for example, to image an iconic source or to support a educational opportunity for students. Such proposals should clearly justify the requirements for the requested time allocation and observing mode on any given instrument, and should describe the anticipated impact of the observation. 

N.B., DDT proposals cannot be joint proposals that request external telescope time.  For example, a DDT proposal cannot request HST orbits.

For additional details concerning DDT proposals see:

Directory's Discretionary Time