Official ILT proposal submission, review and allocation mechanism

Official ILT proposal submission, review and allocation mechanism

 Confirmed in ILT Board meeting 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. The national and PC allocations to all of the associated individual science proposals, with each of their specific stipulations and restrictions, are collected together after each review cycle to determine the total of the observing and processing activities that will fall under an Envelope Sheet (see item 4cviii).





a.      All national consortia review all proposals, from anyone in the worldwide astronomical community, without any a priori endorsements , but distribute their national reserved access (procedure see item 4) according to nationally specified rules that can, in addition to scientific importance, incorporate local interests


b.     The PC carries out uniform scientific review, adopts the consortium must-sponsor allocations, and proceeds to allocate further resources  (see item 4). The PC optimizes the overall long-term scientific output of the ILT in accordance with its established policies.





For each cycle, each consortium is informed of the specific total amounts of Reserved Access, in specific separate categories, such as day-time and night-time observing hours, and processing hours on ILT machines.


Each consortium can ensure that its Reserved Access gets distributed to selected Science Proposals, subject to two rules (a and b), designed to enable the consortia to express the main science priorities of their respective communities, while enabling the PC to compose an efficient overall cycle schedule that optimizes the overall long-term science output of the ILT.


a.      Each consortium must decide with a mandatory yes/no flag on each individual Science Proposal whether any of that consortium's time can be used to sponsor that proposal for the upcoming cycle. The total requested by sponsored proposals must add up to at least 150% of the national reserved access amount available for the cycle, and if any one individual proposal were to be removed from the sponsor list then the total of the remaining requests must add up to at least 120%. This criterion must hold in each category (in particular observing and processing time) separately.


b.     Each consortium may optionally allocate some specific amounts of Reserved Access for mandatory scheduling as "must-sponsor" to individual sponsored proposals of their choice.

i.     The "must-sponsor" amounts allocated, if any, may add up to a maximum of 67% of the available national reserved access amount for the cycle in each of the categories (such as processing and observing time), separately.

ii.     The ratio between processing/observing must be within bounds established by technical review for each individual proposal; the total must-sponsor amounts allocated in the categories processing and observing are therefore unlikely to be identical.

iii.     Each consortium may optionally also allocate "must-sponsor" amounts to individual long-term proposals, within the limits per future cycle as given in item 2aii.

iv.     Before finalizing their national allocations, the Chairs 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.


c.      The remainder after step (b) of the reserved access of each consortium for the upcoming cycle (but not for future cycles) will be distributed by the PC when they compose a productive schedule, but only to proposals flagged as allowed for sponsoring by that consortium in step (a). The national consortia may optionally specify a cap giving the maximum amount of the remaining national resources for the upcoming cycle that can be awarded by the PC to any individual sponsored proposal. The cap is a single number in observing time, and one in processing time, and is not differentiated by proposal.





Long-term science proposals request that allocations be made at once for more than one cycle. Such proposals may be submitted for any deadline.

a.      Limits to the total amounts that may allocated as long-term allocations by the various bodies apply, as follows:

i.     The PC may optionally make long-term allocations, separately for individual future cycles. The total of the allocations to individual proposals may be at most 60% of the Open Skies resources in the future cycle, as long as that cycle extends out to at most 2 years after the start of the upcoming cycle. For cycles extending out to at most 3 years after the start of the upcoming cycle, the limit is 40%; out to at most 4 years, 20%; no longer term is allowed.

ii.     Each national consortium, individually, may optionally make analogous long-term "must-sponsor" allocations (further defined in item 4b), but with maximum totals prorated to take into account that only 67% of its national reserved access may ever be assigned as "must-sponsor" in any upcoming cycle. The limits for total long-term "must-sponsor" allocations over all proposals are thus 40% of that consortium's reserved access for future cycles out to 2 years, 27% to 3 years, and 13% to 4 years. The PC cannot include further long-term allocations of national consortium resources, as it only distributes the remainders of national resources for the upcoming cycle (see item 4c).

b.     Each proposal is only reviewed/allocated once. However, long-term allocations may be conditional on satisfactory progress or other stipulations, guarded by the PC. The PC MUST impose such conditions on any long-term project beyond 2 years, whether allocated by a national consortium or by the PC itself. New/extra allocations always require new/updated proposals, but re-proposing does not risk losing existing long-term allocations.




a.      Confidentiality:

i.  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.

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

iii.  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.


b.     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




a.      Proposal deadline

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

c.      Consortium reviewing and allocations

i.  Consortia receive technical reviews

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

iii.  Must assign yes/no sponsor tags (rule 4a), may assign optional must-sponsor amounts (rule 4b) and optional sponsor cap (rule 4ci), respecting all limits. Must stay within technically assessed bounds on processing/observing ratios.  Cannot make any stipulations. Have uniform deadline for returning their decisions.

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

e.      PC reviewing and allocations

i.  Members receive technical reviews, but no consortium results

ii.  Members produce pre-meeting grades + reports

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

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

v.  Must-sponsor allocations are kept, except revert to national pool to:

1.     Remove fatally flawed projects, or when not adhering to pre-set long-term progress/success stipulations

2.     Remove if unable to schedule at all

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

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

viii.  Envelope Sheet allocations are consolidated, where appropriate, as the total of the allocations made to the proposals participating in the Envelope Sheet

ix.  Iteration by simultaneously adjusting the allocations of steps (vi), (vii), (viii) to further optimize overall science and schedule for the upcoming cycle

x.  Decisions on Long-Term allocations, if any, under Open Skies; at most 60% of Open Skies resources may be committed out to 2 years, a maximum of 40% out to 3 years, and a maximum of 20% out to 4 years.

xi.  Stipulations are settled for all proposals.

Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2014 ASTRON