High Risk Proposals
As a means of maximizing its scientific impact through cutting-edge observations, the Observatory also encourages the submission of high-risk/high-reward proposals. Such proposals may involve unusual targets, nonstandard observing techniques, new post-observing data reduction and analysis, or supplementary hardware or new back ends. Please contact Science Support and Research prior to submitting such proposals to discuss anticipated resource requirements. Observers contemplating such proposals may also wish to consider submitting an Exploratory Proposal to request Director's Discretionary Time as a means of demonstrating a proof of concept.
NRAO telescopes and backends are sufficiently flexible in many cases to allow two experiments to run commensally. To the degree that this enhances science return from the telescopes, NRAO wishes to support commensal projects subject to resource and scheduling constraints. Groups wishing to carry out commensal observations should submit independent science cases as separate primary and secondary proposals.
A primary proposal controls the telescope pointings and requests the full amount of telescope hours required to fulfill the science objectives detailed in the proposal. Secondary proposals are to run commensally with the primary pointings but make no formal request for an allocation of telescope time. However, when preparing a secondary commensal proposal, please ensure that a nominal amount of time is requested for a session (e.g., 0.1 hrs), even if it is a dummy session. Each proposal must contain estimates of the full resources needed (correlator setup, data rates, etc.) to carry out their specific part of the project.
During the proposal review and time allocation process it will be determined if the combination of the observing set-up and the positions by the primary or secondary proposals conflict with any approved projects. In the case of a conflict, some data restrictions may be applied to the primary and/or the secondary commensal proposal. If the primary and secondary proposals use the same back-end resources (e.g., VLA-WIDAR) it may be necessary for technical reasons to require that the investigators on both primary and commensal projects be given full access to all data.
The Observatory would like to point out that there are opportunities for so-called "filler" programs on all of its telescopes. Observing programs that exploit frequencies below 10 GHz, do not have strong scheduling constraints, and could benefit from short scheduling blocks are encouraged to propose for such opportunities. The proposal should make clear in the abstract and early in the science justification that "filler" time (scheduling priority C) is being requested, not time at scheduling priority A or B.