Swift Cycle 9 Guest Investigator Program Information
The Swift's Guest Investigator (GI) Program, part of NASA Headquarters' Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) Announcement, provides opportunities for Guest Investigators (GIs) to carry out basic research relevant to the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) mission. Cycles 1 and 2 were GRB project funding-only cycles, for theory (GRB and non-GRB), ground-based follow-up and new Swift data analysis projects. Cycle 3 included a limited Target of Opportunity (ToO) program on non-GRB targets, triggered by astrophysical events. Cycle 4 expanded the observing program to include non-ToO observations of compelling, non-GRB targets. Cycles 5 and 6 added opportunities for correlative observations of high redshift GRBs, monitoring and Fill-in targets, and was conducted as a 2-phase review. Cycle 7 provided ToO opportunities for GRBs discovered by other space-based missions or ground-based instruments and fewer restrictions on monitoring programs. Cycle 8 added a "Large Programs" proposal category and increased the total number of visits from 1,500 to 2,000. Cycle 9 retains all these elements, while adding new ones as outlined below.
Proposals are due Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 4:30PM EDT (8:30PM GMT).
- New for Swift Cycle 9 - changes from the Swift Cycle 9 program
- What has not changed for Swift Cycle 9
- Swift Cycle 9 Announcement - including NRA, amendments, and Proposers' Guidebook
- Properties of the Swift GI Program PLEASE READ
- Schedule and Checklist of Required Items for a complete Swift proposal submission
- Supporting Materials for submitting Swift proposals, including abstracts from previous Swift cycles (accepted proposals) for reference and software, response matrices, count rate simulators for Swift simulations
- Getting Help
- How to become a Cycle 9 Peer Reviewer
New for Cycle 9:
Funding (U.S. GIs only):
It is anticipated that between $700K to $1.2M (depending on the available budget) will be available through this solicitation for the support of proposals at a ~$40k average award level. Proposals requesting funds need to include a budget narrative. As during previous cycles, the detailed cost evaluation will be deferred until Phase 2 (budget review). The funding amount requested in the Phase 2 cost proposal may not exceed the amount proposed in Phase 1.
Joint Swift and XMM-Newton Program:
Proposers interested in making use of Swift time as part of their XMM-Newton science investigation may submit a single proposal in response to the XMM-Newton AO-12. The award of Swift observing time will be made to highly ranked XMM-Newton proposals and will be subject to approval by the Swift Project. Details about the Program elements will be posted on the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre web site as soon as they become available. No funds will be provided from the Swift Project for such joint XMM-Newton/Swift investigations.
Notices of Intent (NOIs): NOIs are not an option.
Cycle 9 will be a 2-Phase review: Phase 1 will consist of
the scientific/technical peer review of all proposals. GIs that
are successful in Phase 1 will be invited to submit detailed
budgets for review in Phase 2, provided the GI is eligible for
funding (i.e., is at a US institution).
No NSPIRES proposal submission during Phase 1: All proposals, whether for funding-only or for observation, will be submitted to ARK/RPS. Only Phase-2 budget proposals of accepted proposals will go to NSPIRES.
Time-Constrained Observations: Time-constrained
observations are defined as observations that have to be performed
within a certain time window. These can be ToOs or non-ToOs,
either monitoring or non-monitoring observations, but not Fill-in
observations. These include phase-constrained proposals,
coordinated observing campaigns with ground- or space-based
facilities, etc. Time-constrained observations are subject to the
- The window duration must exceed 3 hours.
- The maximum number of time-constrained observations for Cycle 9 is 500.
- There are no restrictions on the maximum number of highest-
and high-priority ToOs that will be performed during Cycle 9.
For coordinated and constrained observations, it is the proposer's responsibility to inform the Swift Science Operations Team (by sending a ToO request) of the observing time window at least one week before observations commence.
Observation Length: Requested observing time is limited to between 1 ks minimum and 40 ks maximum per observation (i.e., a single visit to the target). Because Swift has no continuous viewing zones, all observations longer than 2 ks are likely to be broken into several visits by the Swift science planners.
No more than 2,000 visits will be performed during Cycle 9 (total of all proposal categories).
Page Limit for Proposals: Proposals for correlative GRB observations that intend to bring new or enhanced ground-based IR capabilities online have a page limit of 6 pages + 1 page for the budget narrative. Proposals in all other proposal categories have a 4 page limit + 1 page for the budget narrative. No supporting materials (e.g., CV, current and pending support, etc.) are permitted.
Templates: We encourage you to use the LaTeX template or MS Word template (for Word 2008 or Word 97) for the scientific part of the proposal (i.e., the written text component of the proposal). The style files needed to compile the LaTeX file can be found here.
Theory Proposals: Theory proposals are not restricted to GRB investigations and will be considered provided that they address the degree to which the investigations directly advance Swift science goals.
Budget Narrative: Proposers must submit a budget narrative that explains in sufficient detail how the proposed funds will be used to achieve the goals outlined in the proposal. The budget narrative has a 1-page limit that will not count toward the above page limit.
GRB ToOs: Cycle 9 has the opportunity to propose for GRB ToOs that are detected with instruments other than Swift (e.g., MAXI, Fermi).
Changes to Swift GRB Operations: Cycle 9 allows proposals that request changes or additions to current Swift strategies to detect or observe GRBs or to perform innovate Swift GRB analysis. Proposals that request changes to Swift on-board capabilities or operational procedures may require special scrutiny during the review process and may require approval by the Swift Configuration Control Board before implementation. Investigators who consider such proposals need to consult with the Swift team prior to proposal submission.
Correlated GRB Observations: Proposals who request funding for GRB correlative observations need to clearly demonstrate in their proposal that such data will be rapidly made available to the public.
Special Consideration for correlative observations of high redshift GRBs: To encourage the development of rapid IR ground-based response to potentially high redshift GRBs, special consideration will be given to such projects. Proposals to bring new or enhanced ground-based IR capabilities online may require funding substantially above the average award (e.g., in the ~$100k range of previous ROSES APRA awards). Such budget requests will be considered provided they are strongly justified. In the case of these proposals alone, proposers are allowed to exceed the $40k budget ceiling.
Estimates of ToO trigger probability: In order to help both the reviewers and Swift's schedulers, the target forms for proposed Swift ToO observations require a realistic trigger probability for each source. This is the probability that the proposed source will meet its trigger criteria during Cycle 9.
Fill-In Proposals: No funding will be provided for proposals in the "Fill-in" category. There is no limit on the number of fill-in targets a proposer can submit.
UVOT Filter Justification: In an effort to conserve Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) filter wheel rotations, proposers who wish UVOT observations taken in filters other than "filter of the day" (either the U, UVW1, UVM2, or UVW2 filter that is chosen by the science planners on each particular day) need to provide a strong justification for the choice of the filters. If no strong justification is provided, all observations will be performed in "filter of the day" mode.
Release of Funds: Funds will be released to
successful U.S. PIs after the start of FY13 (October 2013).
Swift Cycle 9 Announcement
|ROSES-2012 NRA||NSPIRES web page with links to ROSES-2012 announcement and all amendments, plus links to NRA Proposers Guidebook, NASA Science Plan and more.|
||NSPIRES web page with links to the ROSES-2012 Appendix D.5 with all details of the Swift Cycle 9 elements.|
Properties of the Swift GI Program
Investigations are to be carried out in the ninth year of Swift's public observations, i.e., April 2013 through March 2014.
What the Swift GI program is:
- Swift proposers can carry out GRB and non-GRB observations (ToO and non-ToO) with Swift.
- Swift proposers can carry out new GRB projects using Swift data.
- Swift proposers can carry out limited GRB ToO observations for GRBs that were detected with instruments other than Swift.
- Swift proposers can carry out follow-up observations of GRBs at other wavelengths.
- Swift proposers can carry out limited non-GRB ToO observations.
- Swift proposers can carry out limited pointed non-ToO observations.
- Swift proposers can carry out large programs requiring more than 100 targets or more than 100 ks exposure time per proposal.
- Swift proposers can request changes or additions to current Swift strategies to detect or observe GRBs.
- Swift proposers can perform innovate Swift GRB analysis.
- U.S. Swift GIs can receive funds to can carry out theoretical investigations of GRBs and non-GRB science.
- Swift funding proposals must be led by a U.S. GI, but can include (unfunded) foreign Co-Is. There can be no pass-through or sub awards. U.S. CoIs are not eligible for funds unless they are at the same institution as the GI and are CoIs on the proposal.
- Swift proposals requesting observations without funding can be led by a U.S. or non-U.S. PI.
- The Swift GI program is part of NASA Headquarters Research
Opportunities in Space And Earth Science 2012 (ROSES-2012).
What the Swift GI program is NOT:
- Swift proposers do not get proprietary data rights. All Swift data will be immediately public.
What's Available in Cycle 9:
|Time available for non-ToO targets:||2 Msec|
|Time available for Fill-in targets:||1 Msec|
|Time available for ToO targets:||1 Msec|
|Time available for Large
|Total anticipated funding
for all GRB investigations
and non-GRB observations:
|$700k to $1.2M
The table below gives the available proposal categories:
||Theoretical GRB and non-GRB
observations involving new or enhanced IR capabilities for
investigating high-z bursts
||Other correlative GRB
||New Swift GRB Projects
||Swift ToO observations of
GRB or non-GRB targets
||Swift non-ToO observations
of non-GRB targets
||Swift Fill-in targets
Schedule for Swift Cycle 9:
|ROSES 2012 NRA Released:||February 14, 2012|
|Notices of Intent due:||Option not available
|Phase 1 Proposals Due:||September 26,
4:30PM EDT (8:30PM GMT)
|Phase 1 Proposal Peer Review:||Early December, 2012|
|Phase 2 Budget Proposals Due:||February 2013|
|Swift Cycle 9 Begins:||April 1, 2013|
|Swift Cycle 9 Ends:||March 31, 2014|
Checklist of Required Items for a Complete Swift Proposal Submission:
Proposers are urged to read carefully the Description of the Swift Guest Investigator Program in the NASA Research Announcement NNH12ZDA001N. Below we distill the highlights.
- Register early: Before submitting a proposal, you must register with ARK/RPS. We suggest you do this well in advance, so you have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the system and file your submission. ARK/RPS will be the only system used for proposal submission during Phase 1 of Swift Cycle 9, both for funding-only proposals as well as those for funding+observation. Note: ARK is simply a new name for HEASARC's former "AKBAR" service; if you registered with AKBAR/RPS or ARK/RPS in a previous Swift Cycle, you do not need to register again.
- Notices of Intent: This option is not available for Cycle 9.
- Proposal Submission: Proposals are due September 26, 2012, 4:30PM EDT (8:30PM GMT). Late submissions will not be considered.
ARK/RPS cover page and general forms, with title,
abstract, GI and Co-I information, and contact information.
Also, make sure you have filled in these items:
- "Proposal Type": select a proposal type from the provided menu.
- "Anticipated Total Budget": amount of funding you plan to request from NASA if your proposal is accepted. Should not exceed the average award amount (around $28K) unless strongly justified, except in special cases of correlative (IR) observations of high redshift GRBs. Note that any detailed budget you submit for Phase 2 must be less than or equal to the Anticipated Total Budget entered here.
- "NASA FTE Commitment": number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) NASA civil servants that would be supported by this proposal, if approved. May be a fraction or zero. Collected for NASA records - does not effect acceptance of the proposal.
- A PDF file containing the text of your proposal, uploaded
via the Swift
ARK/RPS web site. Guidelines and instructions are
described in the 2012
NASA NRA Proposers Guidebook, and in Appendix
The proposal PDF file submitted via ARK/RPS should only include:
- Scientific Justification (4 page limit, including
figures, tables, and references).
Important: proposals requesting funding should include a 1-page "Budget Narration" section that describes in sufficient detail how the funds would be spent and the scale of workforce needed to carry out the project. The Budget Narrative has a 1-page limit that does not count toward the 4-pages limit of the proposal.
- Note that proposals should have no GI Vita, current & pending support, or any other supporting documents.
- Scientific Justification (4 page limit, including figures, tables, and references).
Pointed observation proposals (both ToO and non-ToO) must also include:
- Electronic submission of one or more Swift ARK/RPS target forms, containing RA & Dec of target, time requested, observing modes, constraints, and trigger criteria if applicable. Please see the Swift GI Program FAQ for details on what types of observations are permitted in Cycle 9. Note that a separate target form must be filled out for every proposed target.
Proposals must be received by September 26, 2010, 4:30PM EDT (8:30PM GMT). If you have difficulties submitting your proposal or have technical questions about the Swift mission, see our Getting Help section. Proposals submitted after the proposal deadline will not be considered.
Supporting Materials for Submitting Swift Proposals
- The Swift Technical Handbook contains information about the Swift mission, instruments, performance,and technical feasibility.
The 2012 NASA NRA Proposers Guidebook contains instructions and explanations of the process for submitting a proposal via NSPIRES.
The Appendix D.5 Swift Guest Investigator Swift Cycle 9 containing all Swift Cycle 9 program elements.
- Abstracts of Accepted Swift Proposals--- Proposers are
encouraged to read the abstracts of proposals accepted in
previous Swift cycles, to become familiar with the types of
projects that received funding and to avoid duplication of
- Abstracts of Swift Cycle 1 Accepted Proposals
- Swift Cycle 2 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2005 Selection List.
- Swift Cycle 3 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2006 Selection List.
- Swift Cycle 4 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2007 Selection List.
- Swift Cycle 5 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2008 Selection List.
- Swift Cycle 6 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2009 Selection List.
- Swift Cycle 7 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2010 Selection List.
- Swift Cycle 8 NSPIRES page with link to PDF file containing 2011 Selection List.
- Software, response matrices, count rate simulators for Swift
- Response matrices for simulations are available from the Swift Response Matrices Web page.
- The Web-based proposal aids WebPIMMS, Viewing, and WebSpec, along with other tools are available on the Swift Proposals and Tools page.
- The UVOT Bright Source Checker allows you to see if any sources "too bright" for safe UVOT viewing lie in your proposed field of view.
If you have questions about the Swift GI program, see our Swift GI Program FAQ. If you don't
find the answer there, or have questions about the Swift
instruments, mission, or simulation tools, contact the Swift
Help Desk via our Feedback
How to become a Cycle 9 Peer Reviewer
The Swift Cycle 9 Peer Review will take place in the Washington DC metropolitan area in early December 2012. The exact date and location are still to be determined at this point. Reviewers must have a PhD at the time of the Peer Review. If you feel you are qualified to be considered as a reviewer, please send an email to the HEASARC Peer Review Mailbox and mention that you are interested in being a reviewer for Swift Cycle 9.
If you have a question about Swift, please contact us via the Feedback form.