ILT proposal submission, review and allocation mechanism

Official ILT proposal submission, review and allocation mechanism

Version 2015-06-04

Implementing modifications approved by the ILT Board to the version of 2013-03-21




All Proposals from all individuals, groups, and communities must be submitted with a cohesive, focused SCIENCE justification for a specific research project. These science proposals may receive specific allocations by the national consortia and the PC for observing and processing, and specific data rights and stipulations from the PC, in accordance with the rules and procedures given below. Within page limits, set before each cycle by the PC in relation to the amount of resources requested, all proposals must be self-contained in science and technical justification, except that:


An Envelope Sheet (which is not a proposal) may be used as a joint TECHNICAL supplement when several specific science proposals aim to share parts of surveys or other larger overlapping sets of observations, for which some of the processed data accumulating in the archive may serve their specific needs (the individually proposed science projects could be only partly overlapping, for example in target selection, required sky coverage, or depth). Within page limits set by the PC, Envelope Sheets allow a more in-depth technical discussion of the cohesive observing and processing setup. All Envelope Sheets must give an exposition of the intended planning of the observing and processing. For long-term endeavours (see item 2), the Envelope Sheets may be updated from cycle to cycle with a progress report on data collection and technical achievements.





2.1.   National consortia


2.1.1.  Consortium allocations may incorporate local interests


All National Consortia review all proposals, from anyone in the worldwide astronomical community, without any a priori endorsements. But they may distribute their national reserved access according to nationally specified rules that can, in addition to scientific importance, incorporate local interests.


2.1.2.  Consortia each can allocate their share of observing time


For each cycle, each consortium is informed of the specific total amount of observing time available for allocation by that consortium as must-sponsor time. It is not strictly required to allocate that maximum quantity; any remainder is added to the Open Skies amount by the ILT-PC. The allocated and remaining observing time for the consortium, and the requested and allocated observing hours per proposal are tracked in a spreadsheet.

Before finalizing their national allocations, the Chairs of (some of) the individual national review and allocation panels may optionally consult with each other, if they consider this helpful in achieving optimal national allocations. If they so wish, the consortia should arrange their own review and allocation procedures to allow a time window for such consultation; all consortia must submit their final allocations by one single deadline.


2.1.3.  The ILT-PC may adjust allocations due to overall constraints


The consortium spreadsheets indicate for information how the time is subdivided into specific categories, such as day-time and night-time observing hours. Different observing modes have different ratios of processing to observing time. The spreadsheets therefore also show corresponding processing time available, requested, and allocated on ILT machines.


During the ILT-PC meeting, verification takes place that the overall observing time allocations (total of all consortia plus Open Skies) fit the detailed overall resource constraints and conform to other boundary conditions on the cycle schedule. Where necessary, the PC may make the minimal required adjustments to the consortium allocations (see below).


While individual national consortia do not strictly have to conform in their allocations to all boundary conditions in all sub-categories, the ancillary detailed information provided in the spreadsheet is intended to help them to make allocations that minimize required ILT-PC adjustments.


2.1.4.  The national consortium review and allocation panels, of limited size, must each keep all proposal, review and allocation information confidential, except when they consider it helpful in achieving optimal national allocations to engage in optional consultation between national panel Chairs as mentioned in 2.1.2 above.


2.2.   THE ILT-PC


The ILT-PC optimizes the overall long-term science output of the ILT in accordance with its established policies. It carries out uniform and independent scientific and technical review of all proposals - also using the advice of the technical panel -, whether or not they have been sponsored by any consortia.


The ILT-PC may supplement with Open Skies time projects partly allocated by consortia, and/or it may (partly or fully) allocate unsponsored projects, all regardless of the affiliations of the proposers and based purely on the ILT-PC assessment of scientific and technical merits. The PC may modify allocations to avoid duplication, and may make adjustments that are required to fit projects into the overall schedule. Fatally flawed projects, or projects that cannot be scheduled at all, may be removed, and originally assigned allocations revert back to national pools. The adjustments must take into account detailed observing time (day/night), as well as processing time, based on technical reviews and advice from the Observatory during the meeting.


The ILT-PC may make stipulations that demarcate the science scope of projects, possibly impacting the observing setup, choice of targets, the proprietary rights, etc. In case any submitted Cycle project proposes to exploit a capability that is not yet entirely offered in the production system, the ILT-PC may also advice the director to consider such a proposal as a commissioning project, for which observing and processing resources should be assigned from a different pool. The ILT-PC may also make stipulations regarding the conduct of long-term projects, and in particular must stipulate what progress is to be reported in mid-course in order for the ILT-PC to release the remainder of the allocated long-term time.





Long-term science proposals request that allocations be made at once for more than one cycle, up to four cycles (two years). Such proposals may be submitted for any deadline, but special provisions for allocation of substantial amounts of long-term time are made once per year (at alternating deadlines).


3.1.   Each proposal is only reviewed/allocated once. However, long-term allocations must be conditional on satisfactory progress or other stipulations, guarded by the PC. New/extra allocations always require new/updated proposals, but re-proposing does not risk losing existing long-term allocations.

3.2.   The ILT-PC will distribute a fraction of the total available time in Cycle 5 under Open Skies Conditions, with instructions to allocate part of that to long-term projects (and no instructions with regard to the rest it allocates).

3.3.   The various national LOFAR consortia are encouraged to also commit part of their shares to long-term projects.




Percentages of total ILT time to be allocated in various categories for the forthcoming Cycles are shown in Table 1.



Cycle 5

Cycle 6

Cycle 7

Cycle 8

Cycle 9

Cycle 10








Long-Term Open*







Unlabeled Open








* Long-term projects will be allocated time during 4 cycles. New proposals are reviewed and allocated by the ILT-PC annualy, in every odd Cycle (5, 7, 9, ...).




5.1.   Confidentiality:

5.1.1. The national consortium review and allocation panels of limited size must each keep all proposal, review and allocation information confidential, except when they consider it helpful in achieving optimal national allocations to engage in optional consultation between national panel Chairs as mentioned in item 4biv.

5.1.2. The PC carries out an independent, fully confidential scientific assessment.

5.1.3. After the PC meeting all allocated proposal titles, investigators, and abstracts become public, along with approved target lists, summary of instrument settings, and allocated resources. Any other proposal information, and any rejected (elements of a) proposal, is kept confidential.


5.2.   The PC may set detailed page limits that are dependent on the amount of resources requested, the long-term nature of proposals, and the association with an envelope sheet




6.1.   Proposal deadline

6.2.   Technical reviewing; clarify uncertainties with PI (e.g. processing requirements)

6.3.   Consortium reviewing and allocations

6.3.1. Consortia receive technical reviews

6.3.2. By default receive titles, names, abstracts, and resource requests only, but may request confidential access to full proposals and envelope sheets

6.3.3. May assign must-sponsor amounts of observing time up to their available limit. Are encouraged to assign a similar fraction of long-term time as will be assigned by the ILT-PC. Cannot make any stipulations. May at their discretion consult confidentially with other consortia. Have uniform deadline for returning their decisions.

6.4.   Observatory consolidates consortium allocations. Over-allocations on individual proposals revert to national pools (prorated) for PC allocation to other already sponsored proposals.

6.5.   PC reviewing and allocations

6.5.1. Members receive technical reviews, but no consortium results

6.5.2. Members produce pre-meeting grades + reports

6.5.3. Only at meeting consider consortium allocations, and get scheduling help from Observatory

6.5.4. Long-term commitments made earlier for the upcoming cycle are taken into account first

6.5.5. Consortium allocations are kept, except revert to national pool to: fatally flawed projects, or when not adhering to pre-set long-term progress/success stipulations if unable to schedule at all

6.5.6. All remaining national time for the upcoming cycle is distributed between their sponsored proposals, taking account of PC assessments and optimizing the schedule

6.5.7. Open Skies allocations for the upcoming cycle are likewise optimized

6.5.8. Commensal observations, envelope Sheet allocations, etc., are consolidated, where appropriate

6.5.9. Iteration for optimal scheduling if needed

6.5.10. Stipulations are settled for all proposals. This must include rules for progress reports for long-term projects, and may include special (shorter or longer) proprietary rights or sharing of time, triggering criteria and precedence, etc.

Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2015 ASTRON