Submission Guidelines

by Gustaaf Van Moorsel last modified Mar 17, 2017 by Heidi Medlin

The following guidelines are designed to assist in the submission of proposals into the Proposal Submission Tool (PST). There are two sets of guidelines, one for General and Shared Risk Observing (GO / SRO) and one for Resident Shared Risk Observing (RSRO); note that while some of the steps to completion are the same between GO / SRO and RSRO, the latter has additional considerations that need to be taken in account before submission of the proposal.

 

General and Shared Risk Observing (GO / SRO) Steps to Completion

  1. Read the current Call for Proposals description for summaries of the capabilities being offered for GO and SRO.
  2. Write a scientific justification for your proposal. Note that technical information should be included in the Technical Justification section form and does not need to be included with the scientific justification. Save your scientific justification as a PDF file.
  3. If you are proposing for spectral line observations, run the GO Setup Tool (GOST, a Java application) to define your correlator setup and save a snapshot of the tool GUI to disk. If you have trouble running GOST please contact the NRAO Helpdesk.
  4. Use the exposure calculator to determine the required sensitivities and requested total time, including all overheads.
  5. Log into the NRAO Interactive Services page and click on the Proposals tab in the top left to create a new proposal for the VLA. Once you are in the tool, extensive help is available in the tool by clicking on the Help button in the top right of the tool interface. In the Proposal Submission Tool (PST):
    • Fill in the relevant fields for each section of your proposal;
      • If you are proposing for continuum observations, select Observing Type = Continuum in the General section of your proposal. Then add a Continuum Resource, selecting the appropriate band you want to observe in. Default optimum continuum setups for each band are defined in the PST.
      • If you are proposing for spectral line observations, select Observing Type = Spectroscopy in the General section of your proposal. Then add a Spectroscopic Resource and attach the GOST snapshot (that you previously saved) to this resource. The GOST snapshot describes everything needed to specify the lines you want to observe and what correlator resources are needed for the observation.
    • Upload your scientific justification as a PDF file;
    • Technical justifications are now included as a separate section in the proposal. Click on the Technical Justification page in the proposal and fill in the appropriate boxes (example of technical justification). In order to determine sensitivities, you will need to use the VLA Exposure Calculator Tool (ECT) to understand what sensitivity you will get for a given frequency, bandwidth, and integration time (guidelines for running the ECT). If you have trouble running the ECT please contact the NRAO Helpdesk;
    • Note that the PST allows observers to specify multiple resource types (e.g., you can have one proposal that specifies general and/or RSRO correlator resources). If any resource is RSRO then the proposal will become a RSRO proposal.
  6. When your proposal is complete, validate it to make sure there are no obvious omissions or mistakes. Also double check the numbers used in the Scientific and Technical justifications with the ones in GOST and ECT attachments.
  7. When you are satisfied, submit your proposal in the PST. Note that proposals can be withdrawn and resubmitted before the deadline.

 

Resident Shared Risk Observing (RSRO) Steps to Completion

  1. Read the current Call for Proposals for a summary of the capabilities being offered for GO and SRO. If you want more than what is offered for GO or SRO then you are requesting a RSRO capability (one that is not well-tested or may even need additional development). If you propose for a RSRO capability, you—or an experienced person on your team—must be able to participate in the RSRO program by coming to Socorro to help with the development and testing process.
  2. Write a scientific justification for your proposal. Note that technical information should be included in the Technical Justification section and does not need to be included with the scientific justification. Save your scientific justification as a PDF file.
  3. Log into the NRAO Interactive Services page and click on the Proposals tab in the top left to create a new proposal for the VLA. Once you are in the tool, extensive help is available in the tool by clicking on the Help button in the top right of the tool interface. In the Proposal Submission Tool (PST):
    • Fill in the relevant fields for each section of your proposal;
    • Even as a RSRO proposal, you will need to create a Resource in the PST and select the WIDAR RSRO Back End. This will give you a text field in which you can type a description of your setup;
    • Upload your scientific justification as a PDF file;
    • Technical justifications are now included as a separate section in the proposal. Click on the Technical Justification page in the proposal and fill in the appropriate boxes (example of technical justification). Describe what you want to do with the correlator and why this is in the RSRO Category in this section. Contact NRAO staff if you have questions about exactly what is feasible. The last box at the bottom of the Technical Justification page should be used to describe your RSRO effort. Identify who in your team can come to Socorro to help commission this capability and how their background and expertise can be applied to this development. Working with NRAO staff, estimate the level of effort that is likely to be needed for this development and specify how long a member of your team can come to NRAO.
    • Note that the PST allows observers to specify multiple resource types (e.g., you can have one proposal that specifies general, shared-risk and RSRO correlator resources). If any resource is RSRO then the proposal will become a RSRO proposal.
  4. When your proposal is complete, validate it to make sure there are no obvious omissions or mistakes.
  5. When you are satisfied, submit your proposal in the PST. Note that proposals can be withdrawn and resubmitted before the deadline.

 

RSRO Considerations

A RSRO proposal should contain:

  1. A scientific justification, to be peer reviewed as part of NRAO's current time allocation process, submitted through the Proposal Submission Tool. Note that RSRO correlator resources should be specified as plain text on the Resources page in the PST by selecting WIDAR RSRO as the backend.
  2. The technical justification should identify the personnel who will be involved in the residency and describe how their expertise will be used to address the critical priorities of VLA development relating to their proposal. The proposed dates of the residency must be included, so that the residency can be matched to VLA development planning. This section will be reviewed by NRAO staff. Limited support for accommodation in the NRAO Guest House for participants in the RSRO program may be available.

The acceptance of a RSRO proposal will depend on the outcome of the time allocation process. Proposals will also be evaluated by NRAO staff in terms of the priorities and benefits to the VLA development and commissioning activities.

In general, one month of resident commissioning effort is expected for every 20 hours of VLA time awarded to a RSRO project, subject to negotiation. There is no minimum requirement for the amount of residency at NRAO. However, the amount of time spent at NRAO to help develop the program should be realistically matched to the expected effort, including time to become familiar with relevant technical aspects. The time proposed at NRAO should be discussed with NRAO staff to determine what is reasonable. The length of time a RSRO expert should be needed at NRAO may be on the order of a few months.

The period(s) of residency may occur in advance of the observing time awarded in order to decouple essential scientific requirements (such as array configuration) from other factors which may affect when personnel are available (such as teaching schedules). However, observers should be present for one week prior to their observations in order to become familiar with the latest developments and to set up their observations. In the special case of Target of Opportunity proposals, a VLA staff collaborator may be required for setting up observations on short timescales.

It is possible for a member of the NRAO scientific staff to satisfy the residency requirement on a RSRO proposal. NRAO staff considering providing the residency requirement for an RSRO proposal should consult with their supervisor for further information. Graduate students may satisfy the residency requirement, provided relevant expertise is demonstrated in the RSRO relevant sections of the proposal. Graduate students should be accompanied by their advisor at the start of their residency. Resident personnel will work under NRAO management in order to optimize the overall effort. A set of clear goals will be agreed upon in advance of the start of the residency.

The types of proposals considered under the RSRO program may include both large (>200 hours) and small (~10–200 hours) projects. Qualified large projects proposed by consortia will be considered as long as the residency requirements are met. A single individual may satisfy the residency requirement for several small projects.

 

RSRO participation without a science proposal

In some cases an individual may want to participate in development activities without writing a science proposal. A participant may arrange to visit Socorro to contribute to development activities by submitting a proposal of who will come and the technical development to be undertaken directly to the Assistant Director for NM Operations (nraonmad@nrao.edu). If the Assistant Director approves of the request, then the individual may come to Socorro to contribute to development activities. The participant may then obtain observing time either by submitting a proposal at a regular proposal deadline, or by submitting an Exploratory Proposal through Director's Discretionary Time. Such visits should conform to the residency requirements above. Proposals to visit Socorro under this program may be submitted at any time.