Proposal Requirements

Proposals for observing time at any of the Observatory’s facilities must be submitted through the PST. In addition to the VLA, VLBA, and GBT facilities, observing proposals for the following non-AUI telescopes are required to utilize the PST: the VLBI-High Sensitivity Array (HSA) and the Global 3mm proposals (GMVA). A detailed guide for the PST is available online at

Proposal preparation in the PST consists of a number of components that must be specified by the user and in compliance with following requirements.

General Information

  • The General Information of a proposal includes the title, abstract, author list, proposal type (DDT, Regular, Large, etc), proposal sponsor, scientific category, declaration of a joint proposal, observing type, and related proposals.
  • A single science category is required per proposal. Proposals that span multiple categories should be split into multiple proposals.


  • All authors should be listed on the proposal at the time of submission, as it is not possible modify a proposal after submission. As stated Section 3.1, including a user as co-I in a proposal without their consent may lead to the proposal being canceled.
  • If the proposed observations are part of a PhD dissertation, a “Plan of Dissertation Research” is required to be submitted with the proposal. If the observing semester occurs after the student intends to graduate, then it is not appropriate to indicate that the proposal is for a dissertation. See Section 7.2 for more details.

Scientific Justification

  • The Scientific Justification is required to be a Portable Document Format (pdf).
  • There should be a minimum of one inch margins on all sides and pages are US letter sized.
  • The minimum font size is 11 point, which includes the font in figure captions, table captions, table headers, content, and references. Fonts in rescaled figures should be legible.
  • The maximum number of pages includes figure captions, table captions, table headers and content, and references:
    • Regular proposals are allowed a maximum of four (4) one-sided pages.
    • Triggered proposals are allowed a maximum of four (4) one-sided pages.
    • Large proposals are allowed a maximum of six (6) one-sided pages.
    • DDT proposals are allowed a maximum of two (2) one-sided pages.
  • For a Large proposal, a plan for data management and data release is a mandatory part of the Scientific Justification.
  • For a DDT proposal requesting Exploratory Time, proposals must include a clear description of why the proposal could not have been submitted for normal review at a previous semester proposal deadline, and why it should not wait for the next proposal deadline. The possibility that a proposer forgets about or misses a proposal deadline, or just discovered that they were granted time for a particular source on some other telescope, will not constitute sufficient justification for granting observing time by this process.
  • For a DDT proposal requesting time for educational purposes 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.
  • For joint proposals, the Scientific Justification must clearly justify the need for each requested facility.
  • For joint proposals between the Observatory’s facilities, the same Scientific Justification must be submitted with each of the joint proposals.

Technical Justification

  • The PST provides prompts for the author to enter their technical justification. The relevant prompts are required to be fully specified and are required to include any additional requested materials, such as the output from a sensitivity calculator and/or a mapping calculator.


  • The Observatory requires proposers to specify their source lists in full. It may be the case that the final source list has not been selected at the time a proposal is submitted. In such cases, all potential sources should be listed. The only exceptions to this requirement are for Triggered proposals to observe sources that are unknown a priori. Note, calibrators should not be specified in the source list.


  • In the PST, proposers are required to specify their requested resources. Depending on the resources requested, additional materials may be required (e.g., spectral line resources), which will be noted in the interface of the PST.


  • Proposers are required to specify the Local Sidereal Time (LST) range, which should take into account constraints from calibrators and in addition to sources.

Proposers should also consult the online documentation for guidance and more information about preparing their proposals: