Tips for Proposers

Scientific Justification

The NRAO proposal evaluation and time allocation process is panel based. That is, members of the scientific community are responsible for reviewing proposals based on their scientific merit through the Science Review Panels. As a means of broadening the scientific perspective of its reviewers, and of increasing the participation of the wider astronomy and astrophysics community in the science program of NRAO facilities, SRP membership is deliberately selected to include some colleagues that are not necessarily experts in radio observational techniques. This being the case, we encourage proposers to consider the following when preparing their proposals:

  • Avoid the use of radio astronomy jargon.
  • Do not assume the reader is familiar with a particular observing technique - explain it briefly.
  • Do not assume the reader is familiar with an earlier rationale for a developing line of research - provide adequate historical context and connect the dots as necessary.
  • Describe previous observations and publications relevant to the proposed observations.
  • If a particular point source or brightness temperature sensitivity is required, justify it.


Source Lists

The Observatory requires proposers to specify their source lists in full. This enables the Observatory to identify potential conflicts between observing programs and to better understand scheduling pressure on the instruments it operates. It may be the case that the final target list has not been selected at the time a proposal is submitted. In such cases, all potential targets and fields should be listed. The only exceptions to this requirement are for Triggered proposals to observe targets that are unknown a priori. Proposal source lists are not made public by the Observatory.


Dissertation Plans

The Plan of Dissertation is important in the proposal review process and should be well written; it is not a placeholder and should not be a replica of the proposal.  The plan must be compliant with specific requirements, which includes following a Plan of Dissertation Research template.  See Section 7.2 of the NRAO Users' Policy guide for details.