Large Proposal Policy
The NRAO encourages the submission of proposals that require significant amounts of telescope time when justified by the potential scientific payoff. A Large Proposal is defined as one that requires at least 200 hours of observing time on one or more of the NRAO telescopes (VLA, GBT, VLBA). We expect to allocate as much as 25% to 50% of available observing time on NRAO telescopes to Large Proposals. The final percentage will depend on proposal pressure and scientific merit, as determined by peer review. Large Proposals will be further constrained to a maximum of 50% of the available observing time in any LST range during any semester (or array configuration for the VLA).
Large Proposals should be submitted in response to Calls for Proposals and use the on-line NRAO Proposal Submission Tool. Large proposals will be allowed a maximum of ten (10) one-sided pages (US letter sized) with 11 point font (minimum) to present the scientific justification. The maximum number of pages and minimum font size include figure captions, table captions, table headers and content, and references. Fonts in rescaled figures should be legible. There should be a minimum of one inch margins on all sides. The cover page form is not part of this 10 page limit.
A plan for data reduction and data release is a mandatory part of the justification for any Large Proposal. While maximum proprietary period for data is one year, proposers are encouraged to release their data and/or data products on a shorter time scale. Science reviewers will be asked to assess the likelihood that useful scientific data products will be produced and made available within a reasonable time period. To facilitate access to data products by the wider community, each approved Large Proposal must provide a web link for the NRAO Large Proposals page.
All Large Proposals are evaluated and ranked as part of the normal proposal review process. These ranked proposals are passed to the Time Allocation Committee (TAC), along with a technical assessment of the feasibility of each proposal. The TAC will be responsible for recommending Large Proposals to NRAO. If approved, Large Proposals will generally be accepted in their entirety for the duration of the program; that is, the NRAO will commit the resources required to discharge the proposal within the constraints imposed by scheduling guidelines even though it may take multiple semesters to do so. This being the case, Large Proposals require very high ranking to be competitive. The NRAO requires annual progress reports from all Large Proposals and reserves the right to revisit allocations made to a given Large Proposal if insufficient progress is demonstrated.
Approved Large Proposals will be announced as part of the NRAO Science Program. An approved Large Proposal can request financial support for students through the NRAO Student Observing Support Program. A modest amount of other funding may be allocated by NRAO to assist in the delivery of data products to the wider community.