Cycle 9 Calls for Proposals

Update June 25: a revised funding distribution plan is now in place. In particular, there is now a minimum grant award threshold value of $40,000 for Priority 1 and 2 projects.

The Cycle 9 proposal call is closed. The deadline for submitting proposals was September 4, 2020, 21:00 PDT (September 5, 2020, 4:00 UTC). Proposal selections were made in December 2020 and are listed here .

Cycle 9 features two Calls for Proposals: one Call for regular programs , and a separate Call for the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) . A formal update to the Calls was released on July 24, 2020 . Funding is expected to be available for Guest Observers with affiliations in the U.S.; the total available Guest Observer funding available for Cycle 9 is expected to be approximately $4M for regular proposals and $2M per year for SLP proposals. Thesis enabling proposals intended to enable and support PhD theses based on SOFIA data will be supported, with highly ranked proposals in this category eligible for up to two years of graduate student support.

A formal update was issued on July 24, 2020. Cycle 9 is expected to last July 1, 2021-September 30, 2022. SOFIA will offer two long deployments to the Southern hemisphere with GREAT and HAWC+, between July-September 2021 and July-September 2022, in addition to a short deployment with the FIFI-LS instrument in March 2022. Please see the formal update for full details.

The Calls are issued on behalf of NASA by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Parallel calls for the German community are issued by the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart).

New for SOFIA in Cycle 9

  • Starting with Cycle 9, SOFIA is adopting a policy of 'two year' proposals: accepted regular proposals with priority 2 and 3 will stay active in Cycle 9 and Cycle 10. Priority 1 regular proposals and Legacy Proposals will continue to remain active until completed.
  • For Cycle 9, SOFIA is implementing dual-anonymous review. Proposers should now upload two distinct pdfs in their proposals, and not identify themselves in the main body pdf file.
  • For Cycle 9, legacy proposals are invited to participate in a two-step process whereby pilot Cycle 9 observations will be performed prior to the decision on committing to a full legacy program.
  • “Survey” proposals, which propose to observe a small subset of a large number of targets, are encouraged. “Such projects must specify and justify the minimum number of targets necessary to complete the scientific objectives. The observatory plans to award up to 100 hours for survey programs.
  • The proprietary data period for Cycle 9 regular programs is six months rather than twelve.
  • Additional standard modes are offered: the new honeycomb OTF mapping mode for GREAT and the new total power mode on FIFI-LS.
  • The new FIFI-LS on-the-fly mapping mode and the 63 microns (Band B) for HAWC are offered as shared risk.
  • The two polarizations of the GREAT Low Frequency Array can now be set to two different frequencies to allow for simultaneous observations of two different lines.
  • Cycle 9 is potentially the last cycle in which FORCAST will be offered, depending on funding and proposal pressure.
  • Up to 20 hours will be reserved for programs supporting JWST Early Release Science. The data will be released immediately to the community, without a proprietary period.
  • A joint proposal agreement with the Green Bank Observatory is now in place for Cycle 9

Regular Proposals (SRP)

Read the Call for proposals (for regular proposals)

Approximately 500 hours of observations will be available with EXES, FIFI-LS, FORCAST, FPI+, GREAT, and HAWC+. Data from accepted regular proposals is under proprietary period for a period of six (6) months after the calibrated data are released to the proposing team.

Legacy Proposals (SLP)

Read the Call for Proposals

The SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) enables programs targeting a rich archival dataset of significant scientific value to the astronomical community for future analysis. These programs span two cycles of observations and data are released immediately to the community, without a proprietary period. During Cycle 9, SOFIA will accept up to four (4) proposals with each allocated up to ~200 hours of observing time (~ 100 hours of observations per cycle), for a total of up to 400h of observing time for legacy programs (~ 200 hours of observations per cycle).

Note that proposals including observations with EXES, FIFI-LS, FORCAST, FPI+, GREAT, and HAWC+ are accepted, but note that Cycle 9 is potentially the last cycle in which FORCAST will be offered. Two SLPs were already selected through the SLP call for Cycle 7, and three SLPs were selected for Cycle 8.

Help with Submitting Proposals

Proposals are to be submitted through the USPOT tool. Please always use the last version (as of August 7: - containing updates of EXES and FIFI-LS TP overheads) . SOFIA's HelpDesk is open to answer any question and inquiry from the community: .

A Proposal Tools Webinar was held on August 18, 2020, with the objective is to help proposers in avoiding the typical pitfalls in observing time estimates and enhancing the Technical Feasibility section of their proposals. Slides from the webinar and associated video tutorials are available here .

On August 3, 8-9 am Pacific Time, a webinar on Dual-Anonymous Review was held. The objective was to present the motivations and guidelines for the implementation of dual-anonymous reviews for SOFIA proposals. With presentations from Lou Strolger (STSCI) and B-G Andersson (SOFIA/USRA). More information and the video link are available here.

Important Documents

Call for Proposals (for regular proposals)
Call for Proposals for the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP)
Observer's Handbook for Cycle 9
USPOT Manual
Grant Funding Distribution Plan
Grant Budget Guidelines
Grant Progress Report Template
Co-Author Affiliations with the People’s Republic of China

In addition, the Proposal Documents page contains all necessary documentation and useful tools for submitting proposals. Complementary sky positions derived from Cycles 4 and 5 proposals are available here (complementary positions were found to be consistent across observing cycles).

Updates for Cycle 9

To keep current with the latest programmatic updates, sign up for the e-Newsletter here .

List of Updates for Cycle 9
Date Update Details
24 July 2020 update to CfP and SLP CfP Include modified details on southern deployments and extension of Cycle 9, link to further information on dual anonymous review, and update advice on HAWC+ modes.
05 June 2020 update to CfP Remove requirement for proposals in support of JWST ERS to be led by scientists on the ERS team
02 June 2020 CfP and SLP CfP released original releases of two calls: one for regular proposals and another for Legacy proposals (SLP)