Guide to NuSTAR Cycle 9 Proposers



1. Overview

This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicits General Observer (GO) proposals for NuSTAR. Approximately 8.5 Ms of time will be available in the observing period June 1, 2023 - May 31, 2024. It is anticipated that no more than $4M in funding will be made available to support the analysis of targets accepted at priority L, A, B or C. Priority C targets will be observed on a "best-effort" basis. Target proposals will be considered from both US and foreign PIs. NuSTAR data from approved GO program observations (including peer review approved ToO observations) have a nominal six-month exclusive-use period commencing at the time of receipt of the processed data by the observer. Only PIs affiliated with, and located at, a US institution will be eligible for funding for accepted NuSTAR proposals through NASA. As part of the NuSTAR Cycle 9 program, up to 1.5 Ms of XMM observing time, up to 300 ks of Swift observing time, and up to 250 ks of NICER observing time will be made available for coordinated observations with NuSTAR.

2. Deadline

Proposals are due no later than January 26 (Thursday), 2023 4:30pm (EST).

Note that the last day to request assistance for pointings with potential stray light to NuSTAR SOC is January 24th, 2023.

3. What's New in Cycle 9

Multi-cycle Joint NICER Observations
  • The earlier restriction that joint NICER observations cannot be multi-cycle observations has been removed.


Reminder: Dual-Anonymous Review Proposals

The phase-1 proposal review will be done in a dual-anonymous fashion.

Dual-anonymous peer review (DAPR) means that not only will the proposers not know who their reviewers are, but the reviewers will not know who the proposers are, at least not until after they have evaluated the scientific merit of the proposal. This implementation of DAPR will be based on that employed by STScI in the evaluation of Hubble Space Telescope observing proposals in recent cycles, in that the names of team members will ultimately be revealed to the peer review panel after all of the proposals have been reviewed for scientific merit. At that time the peer reviewers will have the opportunity to comment on the qualifications and capabilities of the team. The selection official will take into consideration the assessment of the team's qualifications when making the selection.

The primary motivation for reviewing proposals in a dual-anonymous fashion is to minimize unconscious bias in the review process. PIs should consult the Guidelines for Anonymous Proposals document in the "Other Documents" section of the NuSTAR solicitation on NSPIRES for instructions on writing proposals appropriate for a dual-anonymous reviews.


Dual-Anonymous Guidelines
  • Proposals should eliminate language that identifies the proposers or institution, as discussed in the Guidelines for Anonymous Proposals.
  • PIs are required to upload a one-page "Team Expertise" PDF through ARK as a separate upload when submitting the anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section. (Note that, for NuSTAR proposals, the page limit for the team expertise document is one page, i.e. further constrained compared to "no more than three pages" from the general guidelines document.) This document provides a list of all team members, their institutional affiliations, roles, expertise, and contributions to the work. The document should also discuss any specific resources that are key to completing the proposed work. If a change of the exclusive-use period from the 6-month default is requested (expected to happen infrequently), a compelling justification e.g., protecting the timely completion of a graduate student's thesis, needs to be added in this document.
  • Proposals that do not follow these dual-anonymous guidelines may be returned without review.
Additional information may also be found on the web at: https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/dual-anonymous-peer-review.

4. Proposal Elements and Submission Method

Additional details concerning Cycle 9 are given in the NuSTAR NRA. There will be a two-phase proposal process. Phase one is for observing proposals. Phase two is for budget proposals for successful phase one proposers who were awarded priority L, A or B targets. Only observing proposals will be accepted at this time.

Proposal submission is done via the HEASARC ARK/RPS (open Nov. 2022) on-line system. Hard-copy submission is not required. The following elements are required:

The following should not be submitted:

5. Some Key Details of the Proposal Form

New NuSTAR PIs must first create an ARK account and/or join the NuSTAR RPS group. Having done so, the NuSTAR RPS form can be accessed via ARK/RPS.

We provide below some key details for NuSTAR Cycle 9. For further details, consult the ARK/RPS help file.

Cover Page
General Form
Target Form

After completing all fields for a proposal in ARK/RPS, use the Verify button to confirm that all required entries exist and conform to the expected format. Forms that pass verification can then be submitted. ARK/RPS allows PIs to continue to modify submitted proposals until the deadline, so there is no penalty for submitting the proposal form early.

The LaTeX, PostScript, and PDF buttons of ARK/RPS can be used to generate formatted versions of the proposal forms. Although it is often useful for the PIs to keep formatted copies of the forms for the record, it is not a required part of the proposal submission process.

6. Anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management Section

Format
Content

7. Expertise and Resources - Not Anonymized Document
PIs are required to upload a one-page "Expertise and Resources - Not Anonymized" document PDF through ARK as a separate upload when submitting the anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section. The LaTeX template or the Word template is available. (Note that, for NuSTAR proposals, the page limit for the team expertise document is one page, i.e. further constrained compared to "no more than three pages" from the general guidelines document.) This document provides a list of all team members, their institutional affiliations, roles, expertise, and contributions to the work. The document should also discuss any specific resources that are key to completing the proposed work. If a change of the exclusive-use period from the 6-month default is requested (expected to happen infrequently), a compelling justification e.g., protecting the timely completion of a graduate student's thesis, needs to be added in this document.

This document will be distributed to the review panel after all proposals have been reviewed and rated, only for programs which are in the selectable range. This is to allow the reviewers to assess the team capabilities required to execute a given proposed science investigation. If there are clear, compelling deficiencies in the expertise required to see through the goals of the proposal, the panel may decide to flag the submission accordingly, and provide a detailed justification in its comments to NASA. This review may not be used to flag "up" proposals for having strong team qualifications, nor may it be used to re-evaluate or upgrade proposals.

8. Phase 2 (Budget) Proposals

US PIs whose Phase-1 proposals are assigned a Category A or B rating by the peer review panel or accepted as a Large Program, i.e., Category L, will be invited to submit a Phase-2 (cost) proposal. US PIs of approved proposals with priority C targets only will be eligible for a $20,000 grant, awarded through NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), if observations are performed. No Phase 2 budget submission is required for these proposals.


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