2011 proposal instructions

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NITARP proposals due March 21!

We have finally picked a due date for your NITARP proposals! They will be due into us by *****noon Pacific time on Monday, March 21.*****

Short summary

Your team should submit one proposal addressing the research you are going to conduct. Your proposal will be reviewed by a committee consisting of astronomers and educators. You will get comments back, and you will be given an opportunity to revise the proposal before it gets posted on the web.


The instructions for writing this proposal are relatively open-ended. In general, good proposals should have:

  • Abstract. This in particular will be posted on the web.
  • Science Introduction and Context. Background on subject. What target(s). How you picked the target(s) and why. What is known in the literature about the target(s). Educated guesses on what you expect to find. (Your readers are both astronomers and educators, so don't assume they know the astronomy basics.)
  • Analysis plan. Detailed information on what data are available, and what you plan to do with them (e.g. more than "I'm sure Spitzer observed this at some point"). How you are going to reduce the data. Kind of analysis planned. Tools you will use.
  • Educational/Outreach plan. What your team plans to do, individually or as a group. No need to link to standards or describe this in great detail. Most of your work should go into the science portion of the proposal; this is mostly to make sure that you have started thinking about the educational aspects of this program.

You don't have page limits, but nor do you want the review committee annoyed because you made them read a book.... or tiny fonts. A professor in grad school always used to annoy me with broad essay questions followed by the instruction "Be brief but specific." But he's right ...


Want to see some examples?? All of the previous proposals are online, linked from the teams' individual pages, linked from http://nitarp.ipac.caltech.edu/teams/ You can see they vary a lot in style and content! :)

Suggested path from here

We suggest that you appoint one person as the lead for coordinating the proposal, and that you appoint the other people to assemble initial drafts of various proposal sections. We recommend that you do not submit your proposal until your scientist has read it, given you comments, and you have addressed these comments in your proposal. If you don't, almost certainly these same comments will reappear in your proposal feedback!

(NB: In a real proposal call, there will typically be between 3 and 5 times as many proposals as can be supported, and the review committee decides which 20-30% of the proposals get funded or get observing time. In our case, no one is getting rejected. The opportunity to rewrite your proposal in response to referee comments is more akin to writing a scientific article. Anyway.)

We also recommend that you establish regular communication among your team during this process. Telecons (weekly? bi-weekly), email, and the wiki will all be helpful in this. When you are ready with a team nickname, I will set up your wiki area. Just let me know!

Questions? Ask your mentor teacher, your scientist, or Luisa! :)