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NRAO/GBO/LBO Science Reviewers - Volunteer !

by Mark Claussen last modified Apr 26, 2018 by Davis Murphy

Volunteer to Become a NRAO/GBO/LBO Proposal Science Reviewer


Proposals to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), and the Long Baseline Observatory (LBO) for the scientific use of its telescopes are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility using a panel-based proposal review system. The system aims to ensure that scientifically knowledgeable peers, representing the broad diversity of the community at large, provide expert proposal evaluations.

Serving as a proposal reviewer for this process  as a member of a Science Review Panel (SRP) or the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) assists the national observatory in the delivery of its research capabilities, makes a great contribution to the astronomy community, and also provides a unique opportunity for a reviewer to gain insight into a range of issues. For example, reviewers gain first-hand knowledge of the science being pursued by other researchers in their own field of research and those closely related to it. Reviewers also get to participate in and influence the peer review process; learn about common problems with proposals; discover strategies to write strong proposals; and, through serving on a panel, meet colleagues and NRAO/GBO/LBO staff managing activities relevant to their own interests.

We would like to invite you to volunteer to be a science reviewer for the NRAO/GBO/LBO proposal process.  To volunteer, we just ask you to fill in a simple web form.  You will be asked for some information such as your affiliation, career stage, and which SRPs are the best match to your areas of expertise. You will also be asked to indicate your gender. While this is completely voluntary, it is helpful to the process as we seek to ensure an appropriate gender balance on each SRP and on the TAC, as part of our commitment to non-discrimination and inclusion in the allocation of telescope time and all other Observatory activities.

Astronomers based outside North America are welcome to indicate interest in participating in the NRAO proposal review process, and will be considered for membership. However, NRAO appoints the majority of SRP and TAC members from North American institutions because of the added difficulty of scheduling teleconferences across multiple time zones, and the increased cost associated with travel to participate in the face-to-face meetings of the TAC.

Background Information
The proposal review processes run on a semester cycle based on the proposal submission deadlines on February 1 and August 1. SRP members are expected to review and score (on the basis of scientific merit) up to 30-35 proposals each semester, and participate in two three- to four- hour telecons a few days apart to discuss the proposals and finalize the rankings. TAC members review and score roughly half as many proposals, chair the SRP telecons, participate in an additional telecon to discuss large proposals, and participate in a 2-day face to face meeting of the TAC. The TAC meetings cycle between Charlottesville, Socorro and Green Bank, and occur in April and October.  NRAO pays the costs associated with  participation in the TAC meetings.

Membership of the Time Allocation Committee is made public by NRAO. Membership of the Science Review Panels is kept confidential by NRAO but SRP members are welcome to note their participation (in their curriculum vitae, for example).

For additional details, please see the following links


Diversity and Inclusion
The proposal review process is run in accordance with the Observatorys' policy of non-discrimination and inclusion.  We believe that inclusiveness and broad representation of the Observatorys' users on the SRPs and TAC produces the most compelling scientific program.  Please see the communication from the NRAO Director,  Gender-Related Systematics in the NRAO Proposal Review Processes,  and for more detailed results, the memo Gender-Related Systematics in the NRAO and ALMA Proposal Review Process.