2018 proposal instructions

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NITARP proposals due March 15?!

Your NITARP proposals are due into us by noon Pacific time, March 15.

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/WISE/Planck 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. This also need not be educational research. Most of your work should go into the science portion of the proposal; this is mostly to make sure that you have at least 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 ...

Also, operationally, please make sure your proposal has a title, an author list, and page numbers. This prevents utter mayhem at the communal printers.


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 that they vary a lot in style and content -- look at the more recent ones first!.... :)

Suggested path from here

One option: 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. Another option: everyone on your team drafts a proposal, and then one person merges all the versions together.

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 10 times as many proposals as can be supported, and the review committee decides which small fraction 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.

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