- [*] Evolution of the HST Proposal Selection Process
- Urry C.M., Blacker B., Miller G., Stanghellini L.,
Stanley P., van der Marel R.P.
- in `Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return II',
Quinn P., ed., Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 4010,
p. 98-106, 2000
- © 2000. SPIE. All Rights Reserved.
Through Cycle 8, the process of selecting HST proposals was extremely
successful, according to hundreds of scientists involved in the
proposal review. Yet the system showed signs of strain, as the number
of proposals doubled and the panels/TAC grew commensurately. This led
to highly specialized panels, each with limited amounts of observing
time to award, and an increasingly narrow scientific focus that
exacerbated the natural tension between scientific expertise and
conflict of interest. The TAC's role of establishing priorities among
scientific disciplines became simultaneously more critical and more
difficult to carry out. Furthermore, the scientific community advised
us strongly, starting in Cycle 7, that more HST observing time should
be devoted to larger programs (> 100 orbits). For Cycle 9 we
instituted significant changes to address these issues: (1) Fewer,
much broader panels, with redundancy to avoid conflicts of
interest. (2) TAC role re- defined, to focus on awarding a significant
fraction (1/4 - 1/3) of the available time to > 100-orbit
proposals. (3) Incentives for panels to award time to 'mid-sized'
proposals. We outline these changes in greater detail, and describe to
what extent their implementation in the Cycle 9 review achieved the
goals of more large programs, fewer conflicts of interest for
reviewers, and a stronger science program for HST.
Return to my bibliography.
Return to my home page.
Last modified October 18, 2000.
Roeland van der Marel,