|Space Telescope Science Institute|
|HST Call for Proposals and Primer|
Observations that are no longer proprietary (see Section 1.4.7) are available for analysis by interested scientists through direct retrieval from the HST Data Archive or from the Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA). The retrieval is free and does not involve financial support. The HST Archival Research (AR) Program can provide financial support for the analysis of such data sets. AR Phase I proposals must provide a guide to the anticipated level of funding (see Section 8.6.3) and must outline a management plan for analyzing the data (see Section 9.7). Detailed budgets are due in Phase II only (as is the case for GO and SNAP proposals; see Chapter 12 for details). Proposals for AR funding are considered at the same time, and by the same reviewers, as proposals for observing time. Observing and AR proposals are compared competitively on the basis of scientific merit.
An Archival Research Proposal may be submitted by a non-U.S. PI if there are one or more U.S. CoIs who request funding (see Section 12.2).HST has produced an extraordinary quantity of high-quality observations over its twenty-two years in orbit. The category of Regular AR Proposals (see Section 3.4.1) has existed for many cycles. To encourage the use of available data and to realize the full potential of the Data Archive, the opportunities for large-scale archival research were expanded in Cycle 11 with the introduction of the category of Legacy AR Proposals (Section 3.4.2). This cycle, we particularly encourage archival proposals aimed at exploiting the data obtained as part of the New Frontiers Program developed in response to the Hubble Deep Fields Initiative. We also encourage the submission of proposals that combine HST archival data with data from other astronomical missions, such as the datasets maintained at the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST).3.4.1 Regular AR ProposalsThe general goal of a Regular AR Proposal is to analyze a subset of data from the HST Archive to address a specific scientific issue. The analysis must improve on the previous use(s) of the data, or the scientific questions that are being addressed must differ from those tackled by the original programs that obtained the data.There is no limit to the amount of funding that may be requested for a Regular AR Program. The majority of the awards in recent cycles have been under $100,000, with a median around $50,000. However, STScI actively encourages the submission of more ambitious AR programs for which larger amounts of funding may be justified. For planning purposes only, proposers should identify their proposals as SMALL if the expected budget is less than $60,000, and MEDIUM if the expected budget lies between $60,000 and $120,000. Proposals that require higher funding levels should be submitted as Legacy AR proposals. For reference, 24 Regular AR Proposals were approved in Cycle 20, and 28 were approved in Cycle 19.
3.4.2 Legacy AR Proposals
• The main difference between a Regular and a Legacy AR project is that the former aims at performing a specific scientific investigation, while the latter will also create data products and/or tools for the benefit of the community. While Legacy AR Proposals will be judged primarily on the basis of scientific merit, the importance and broad applicability of the products produced by the Legacy Program will be key features in judging the overall scientific merit of the proposal.It is a strict requirement for Legacy AR Proposals that the proposed data products be created and distributed to the community in a timely manner. Data products should also be delivered to STScI in suitable digital formats, to allow dissemination via the HST Data Archive or related channels.It is anticipated that Legacy AR Proposals will be larger in scope and requested funds than most Regular AR Proposals. While there is no lower limit on the requested amount of funding, it is expected that most Legacy AR Proposals will require at least $100,000, and possibly up to a few times more than this, to accomplish their goals. Commensurate with the expected scope, Legacy AR Proposals are allowed to be multi-year projects, although this is not a requirement. Multi-year projects will be funded on a yearly basis, with continued funding beyond the first year subject to a performance review. Legacy AR Proposals will be evaluated by the TAC (see Section 6.1.2) in conjunction with Large and Treasury GO Programs (see Section 3.2.3 and Section 3.2.6).For reference, four AR Legacy Proposals were approved in Cycle 20 and four were approved in Cycle 19. Descriptions of these programs are available on the HST Treasury, Archival Legacy and Large Programs Webpage.
The ‘Scientific Justification’ section of the proposal (see Section 9.1) should include a description of the scientific investigations that will be enabled by the final data products, and their importance. The ‘Analysis Plan’ section of the proposal (see Section 9.6) should not only describe the plans for data analysis, but should also discuss the data products that will be made available to STScI and the community, the method of dissemination, and a realistic time line.3.4.3 Calibration AR ProgramsCalibration Proposals (see Section 3.2.4) may also be submitted as an Archival Research Program. Archival proposals are appropriate in cases where the necessary data have already been taken, or for programs that do not require specific data but aim to develop specialized software for certain HST calibration and data reduction tasks. Examples of topics that have been addressed by calibration outsourcing programs of the type discussed here are:For a complete description of the instrument calibration plans/accuracies, and for other potential topics, please see the Scientific Instruments Webpage.Users submitting Calibration Proposals must contact the appropriate instrument group (accessible via the STScI Helpdesk; see Section 1.5) to discuss their program prior to submission.
3.4.4 Theory ProposalsThe opportunity exists under the HST Archival Research Program to obtain support for theoretical research. Research that is primarily theoretical can have a lasting benefit for current or future observational programs with HST, and it is appropriate to propose theory programs relevant to the HST mission. We particularly encourage submission of theory proposals that aim to support analysis of data taken as part of the New Frontiers Program. In recent cycles, of order 5% of the total HST proposal funding has been used to support Theory Proposals.A Theory Proposal should address a topic that is of direct relevance to HST observational programs, and this relevance should be explained in the proposal. Funding of mission-specific research under the HST Theory Program will be favored over research that is appropriate for a general theory program (e.g., the NASA Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics Theory Program; ATP). The primary criterion for a Theory Proposal is that the results should enhance the value of HST observational programs through their broad interpretation (in the context of new models or theories) or by refining the knowledge needed to interpret specific observational results (a calculation of cross sections may fall under the latter category). The results of the theoretical investigation should be made available to the community in a timely fashion.For planning purposes only, Theory Phase I proposals should identify their proposals as SMALL if the expected budget is less than $60,000, and MEDIUM if the expected budget lies between $60,000 and $120,000. Proposals that require higher funding levels should be submitted as Legacy Theory proposals. Detailed budgets are due in Phase II only (as in the case of GO and SNAP proposals, see Chapter 12). Theoretical research should be the primary or sole emphasis of a Theory Proposal. Analysis of archival data may be included, but should not be the main aim of the project. GO or AR proposals which include a minor component of theoretical research will be funded under the appropriate GO or AR Program.
A Theory Proposal may be submitted by a non-U.S. PI if there are one or more U.S. CoIs who request funding (see Section 12.2).Award amounts for Theory Proposals are anticipated to be similar to those made for Regular AR Proposals (see Section 3.4.1), for which the majority in recent cycles have been under $100,000, with a median around $50,000. For reference, thirteen Theory Proposals were approved in Cycle 20 and nine were approved in Cycle 19. STScI also allows the submission of more ambitious proposals for which larger amounts of funding may be justified.
The ‘Scientific Justification’ section of the proposal (see Section 9.1) should describe the proposed theoretical investigation and also its impact on observational investigations with HST. Review panels will consist of observational and theoretical astronomers with a broad range of scientific expertise (see Section 6.1). They will not necessarily have specialists in all areas of astrophysics, particularly theory, so the proposals must be written for general audiences of scientists. The ‘Analysis Plan’ section of the proposal (see Section 9.6) should discuss the types of HST data that will benefit from the proposed investigation, and references to specific data sets in the HST Data Archive should be given where possible. This section should also describe how the results of the theoretical investigation will be made available to the astronomical community, and on what time-scale the results are expected.
• In general, any HST data that you wish to analyze must reside (or be expected to reside) in the Archive, and be released from proprietary rights by the start of Cycle 21 (October 1, 2013). Data taken for the Multi-Cycle Treasury Programs and for the New Frontiers Program are available for AR proposals in this cycle.
• System resources required for On-the-Fly Reprocessing (OTFR) may significantly delay the availability of data to programs that require large data volumes. Requests larger than 2000 datasets (where a dataset consists of a set of associated exposures) may experience delays to allow for sufficient resources. We recommend breaking large OTFR requests into smaller requests of around 500 datasets each for maximum efficiency. Optimal non-OTFR requests should be for 5000 datasets or less. More information is available on the Large Searches and Requests Webpage.
• Programs that require funding for Archival Research and also new observations should be submitted as two separate proposals: one requesting funding for the Archival Research, and the other proposing the new observations. The proposals should refer to each other so that the reviewers will be aware that the proposals are part of the same project.
• STScI encourages the submission of AR proposals that combine HST data with data from other space-missions or ground-based observatories, especially those data contained in the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). STScI is an active partner of the Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO), and MAST is implementing VAO technology to make its data holdings available. The HLA is compatible with VAO interfaces. Any (pilot) programs that tie in with the VAO effort are particularly encouraged; see the VAO website and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance websites for information. However, HST data must form the major focus of any AR proposal; requests for support of AR programs using data primarily from other missions should follow the guidelines in the appropriate NASA Research Announcements.
• The Archive is developing a new Data Discovery Portal to facilitate cross-mission searches. The portal builds on concepts developed by the HLA team and utilizes existing HLA and archive features. By providing filters to the data after the search, the ability to add and subtract fields after the search, and to display footprints of the observations, the interface becomes a powerful search tool. Users can also utilize the portal to discover resources from around the world, including Spitzer, Chandra, SDSS, VizieR, and more. Users can use the HLA interactive display to view images, the new MAST spectral plotter to view spectra, and a charting tool to load in catalogs and filter the catalog to identify objects of interest. The version currently implemented is a beta version, with access to a limited data set. Future features include the ability to search for multiple targets, to perform temporal searches, and a bibliography search. Please see the help documentation linked from the entry page, and feel free to send suggestions and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The data obtained by the HST Treasury Programs. Descriptions of these programs are available on the HST Treasury, Archival Legacy and Large Programs Webpage. Community contributed high level science products from imaging and spectroscopic surveys (including GOODS, GRAPES and GEMS) are available from the High Level Science Product Webpage at MAST.