Student Observing Support (SOS) Program
The next deadline for SOS funding will follow the NRAO 17B disposition announcements
NRAO maintains a program to support research by students, both graduate and undergraduate, at U.S. universities and colleges. This program is intended to strengthen the proactive role of the Observatory in training new generations of telescope users. SOS proposals associated with successful observing proposals submitted for the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the Very Large Array (VLA), and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) that are submitted through the North American executive are eligible. More general information on the program structure and background information is available on the Overview of the NRAO Student Observing Support Program. A summary of the steps in the application process is as follows:
- For ALMA proposals: Following the release of proposal dispositions to principal investigators, a separate call for SOS proposals will be issued to those PIs who have been granted observing time.
- For VLA/GBT/VLBA Proposals: Application information is on this page.
- After reading the Terms and Conditions, PIs of successful observing proposals must fill-out an NRAO SOS Proposal using our NRAO SOS Proposal Submission Form, which is linked here when the proposal cycle is active.
- Requesting Investigators for SOS proposals cannot be students or postdocs, but can be any other investigator working with the PI of the successful telescope proposal. The Requesting Investigator must be resident at the same institution as the student for whom support is being requested.
- If the science conducted with the observing proposal will be part of the student's PhD dissertation, the SOS proposal must include a "Plan of Dissertation Research" of no more than 1000 words. At a minimum the plan should contain a thesis timeline and an estimate of the NRAO telescope resources needed. The plan provides some assurance against a dissertation being impaired by an adverse review of a proposal when the full scope of the thesis is not seen. New thesis plans must be in pdf format. If the student is an undergraduate, or a graduate student who will not include the data in his or her thesis, then a brief description of the student's role in the planned research project must be submitted instead.
- It is vitally important for the SOS proposal PI to include an up-to-date listing of their current and pending support with their SOS application.
- Subject to a funding cap of $35,000 per year per investigator (a maximum of $3,000 for computer hardware and/or student travel), eligible expenses include:
- Student stipends (up to $32,000)
- Student travel to present results at a domestic scientific conference. Note that travel support requested through an SOS proposal cannot be used for travel expenses associated with data acquisition or reduction. Those receiving funding through the NRAO Student Observing Support Program remain eligible for the standard NRAO user support programs, including travel to the NRAO for observing and data reduction.
- Computer equipment.
- The Budget Description section of the SOS proposal must include:
- Justification for any student stipend requests.
- Details regarding travel support requests (i.e. will travel funds be used to allow the student to present results from this research proposal at a meeting).
- Any detailed information to support requests for computer hardware.
- Funding will be awarded by the Student Observing Support Committee. Factors considered in making awards include, but are not limited to:
- The ranking and scheduling priorities of the related observing proposal.
- A work assignment that clearly outlines the student's contributions to the research.
- The importance of the work to the student's professional development (e.g., whether or not the research will be included in the student's dissertation).
- A responsible request for funds, given the number of hours allocated to the observing proposal and the availability of other funds to support the research.
- Shortly after submission of the SOS proposal you will receive notification of its receipt.
- Within six weeks of your application, you will receive notification about the disposition of your application for student support from the NRAO Student Observing Support Coordinator. Contact Jim Braatz with questions.
- If your application for student support is approved, you will be asked to read the General Provisions, and then fill in the Final Funding Proposal, Budget Form and the Final Funding Proposal, Budget Narrative Form. Funding is contingent upon the general terms and conditions outlined in the General Provisions. Awards will be added to a Cumulative Record of Awards.
- Final Funding Proposals will be received and processed by the NRAO Student Observing Support Administrator.
- After the proposal receives observing time, the award will be activated and the institution may then begin submitting institutional invoices for access to funds. Invoices must be emailed to the NRAO Student Observing Support Administrator.
A list of the program's documents and forms follows:
- Introduction to the NRAO Student Observing Support Program
- Terms, Conditions, and General Provisions
- Final Funding Proposal, Budget Form
- Final Funding Proposal, Budget Narrative Form
- Cumulative Record of Awards
- Funds Report and Request