JWST Cycle 1 submissions by proposal size category
DECEMBER 7, 2020

JWST Cycle 1 General Observer Submission Statistics

Following the JWST Cycle 1 deadline, it is now possible to report more detailed submission statistics. The worldwide community submitted a total of 1173 proposals requesting about 24,500 hours of prime observing time for General Observer (GO) programs. The exact time requested may change slightly as part of the ingestion process. With a total of 6,000 hours available, the JWST Cycle 1 GO oversubscription rate is 4.1.

While the number of received Cycle 1 proposals is larger than for most HST cycles, the oversubscription rate is significantly lower. This reflects JWST’s ability, at L2, to observe almost full-time. In comparison, a typical HST cycle offers about 2800 orbits, or 4,500 hours, of effective observing time. More than half of the JWST prime time requested was for small programs (<25 hours), another third for medium programs (>25 and <75 hours), and less than 15% for large programs (>75 hours), roughly in line with expectations. Almost 300 proposals requested less than 11 hours, while 18 proposals requested more than 100 hours. The average time request was just under 23 hours.

36 proposals for Targets of Opportunity were received, about half of which require response times shorter than 14 days (the threshold at which activation will have a significant impact on the JWST schedule). 14 proposals requested about 860 hours for survey programs, intended to fill gaps in the JWST schedule. 9 proposals requested time for pure parallels to attach to approved prime observations, accounting for up to 2200 hours of effective observing time in addition to the prime requests. Finally, not all proposals request new observing time — 75 proposals were received requesting support under various categories of archival research, theory, and data science software development.

The JWST Observers represent a large, international community: The 1173 proposals were submitted by 932 unique principal investigators for an average of 1.26 proposals each. Their teams accounted for a total of 4332 unique principal and co-investigators. 58% of PIs are affiliated with US institutions, while 32% and 4% are affiliated with institutions in an ESA member state or in Canada, respectively. All in all, scientists from 44 countries, 45 US states, DC, and the Virgin Islands contributed to Cycle 1 proposals.

The successful passage of the JWST Cycle 1 deadline marks the culmination of years of work by the JWST Observer community as well as staff at STScI, NASA, and the project partners in Europe and Canada. While the last stretch of this long journey had to be undertaken during difficult circumstances, it is clear that the enthusiasm for JWST science is as strong as ever. We can look forward to many years of JWST discoveries!


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The NASA James Webb Space Telescope, developed in partnership with ESA and CSA, is operated by AURA’s Space Telescope Science Institute.