Fermi Science Support Center

Fermi Guest Investigator Program

Response to Fermi Cycle-7 NRA

The call for proposals to participate in the Fermi Cycle-7 Guest Investigator program closed on January 31, 2014. The response was strong, with a total of 224 proposals received, representing an approximate 5:1 program over subscription in terms of both proposals and funds. The proposals will be evaluated during a scientific peer-review process that will occur at the end of April 2014. The selections resulting from that process will be announced by NASA HQ in the May 2014 time frame.

New for Cycle 7

It is anticipated that modifications to the standard sky-survey mode utilized during Cycles 1-6 may be implemented during this mission cycle. This alternative sky-survey strategy has been designed to maximize the exposure of certain sky regions and in turn to optimize the pursuit of several specific scientific objectives. This strategy resulted from a solicitation of ideas from the community leading to an external committee recommendation to the Fermi project. It is anticipated that the resulting non-uniformity of sky exposure will leave Fermi's monitoring capability largely intact and have a tolerable impact on other scientific endeavors. Details are available through the FSSC website: http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/alt_obs/obs_modes.html.

Important - Please Read

In the last proposal cycle about 5% of the submissions failed to comply with the formatting requirements that are clearly stated in the Fermi NRA, and reproduced below. Please avoid having your proposal be penalized or out-and-out rejected by following the straight forward and reasonable format requirements.

Excerpted from the Fermi NRA: "Proposals should be single-spaced, typewritten, English-language text, using one or two columns, and using an easily read font size of 12-point or larger and no more than 15 characters per horizontal inch. No smaller font should be used in the subsections of the proposal, including references, however, figure captions can be in fonts as small as 10-point. In addition, the proposal shall have no more than 5.5 lines per inch of text. Pages should have at least one-inch (2.5 cm) margins on all sides. Proposals not conforming to the format above will be declared noncompliant and rejected without any further review."

Joint Observation Programs

We remind you that in addition our joint program agreements with NRAO, NOAO and Suzaku, the Fermi project is announced two new joint programs that started in Cycle 6.

One is with the VERITAS collaboration. This program is intended to support collaborative efforts to jointly observe high-energy gamma-ray sources with VERITAS and Fermi. Successful proposals will be selected on a competitive basis via the Fermi proposal review process. Details of the program are described in the VERITAS-Fermi Collaborative Agreement. Further information is available at the FSSC website. As there are a number of technical and programmatic constraints involved with the Fermi-VERITAS program, we are recommending that perspective proposers submit a brief notice of intent (NOI) to propose that would be jointly reviewed by the FSSC and a VERITAS collaboration member. The goal of such NOIs is to identify any possible issues that may affect your proposal and to provide constructive feedback in advance of your final proposal preparation.

The other new joint program involves the Arecibo Observatory. Under this joint program up to 300 hours of observation time using the 305-m dish will be made available to successful proposers to the Fermi Guest Investigator Program for coordinated scientific investigations. The details of this agreement bear some similarity to the highly successful Fermi-NRAO joint program agreement, but there are a number of technical and programmatic issues unique to Arecibo that proposers should take into consideration. Details of this agreement are available on the FSSC website.

Please note that the joint-observation programs awarded through Fermi are for one year only. We encourage all perspective proposers to consider taking advantage of these joint-program opportunities.

Schedule for Fermi Cycle 7

Announcement as part of ROSES 2013 February 14, 2013
ROSES Fermi Amendment Released November, 2013
Fermi-VERITAS NOIs Due December 4, 2013
Proposals Due January 31, 2014, 4:30 PM EST.
Proposal Peer Review March/April 2014
Stage-2 Proposal Solicitation May 2014
Final Selections Announced June 2014
Fermi Cycle 7 Begins August 2014
Cycle-7 Grants issued Oct/Nov 2014

Overview of Fermi Guest Investigator Program

The Fermi Guest Investigator Program provides funding for direct analysis of Fermi data, for supporting observations in other wavebands, for complementary theoretical studies, and more. The deadline for proposals is typically in January of each year.

Fermi PIs can propose to:

  • Analyze GBM or LAT event data from the beginning of science operations
  • Analyze higher level data released by the LAT: lightcurves of bright or transient sources; and a point source catalog.
  • Carry out pointed LAT observations. However, proposers should be aware that very strong science justifications will be required in view of the probable low additional scientific benefit of such observations see the Fermi Users' Group (FUG) analysis at http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/pointing_analysis/. Pointed observations will follow the same open data policy as sky survey data, i.e., they will become public immediately.
  • Support correlated observations of gamma-ray sources at other wavelengths that are directly relevant to Fermi.
  • Perform theoretical studies of gamma-ray sources.
  • Obtain observing time on the NRAO, Arecibo, VERITAS and NOAO facilities or on the Suzaku satellite in support of Fermi-related science (refer to these URLs for details).

Fermi proposals may be submitted by investigators at both US and non-US institutions, but only PIs or Co-Is sited at US institutions may receive funding from NASA. Proposals without any investigators sited at a US institution will be evaluated (such an evaluation may assist an investigator obtain funding from a foreign funding agency), may result in a pointed LAT observation, or may be awarded Suzaku, NRAO, Arecibo, NOAO or VERITAS observing time.

As a resource to proposers list of the titles and abstracts of programs selected in previous mission cycles is available here.

Additional Details

Fermi proposals may be submitted by investigators at both US and non-US institutions, but only PIs or Co-Is sited at US institutions may receive funding from NASA. Proposals without any investigators sited at a US institution will be evaluated (such an evaluation may assist an investigator obtain funding from a foreign funding agency), may result in a pointed LAT observation, or may be awarded Suzaku, NRAO or NOAO observing time.

Fermi's proposal process will have two Phases. In Phase 1 you will submit a cover page and a scientific justification; the cover page (generated by a webform) will include a maximum budget cap and the scientific justification should include a brief management section that describes the resources required (e.g., FTE). There is also an ARK/RPS form to summarize your proposed management plan and schedule. The page limit for this section is 4 pages for a Regular proposal, and 6 pages for a Large proposal. An additional page describing technical details of your proposed Suzaku, NRAO, Arecibo, VERITAS or NOAO observations must be added if you are applying under the 'joint proposal opportunity.' A peer review panel will review your Phase 1 proposal, and you will submit a Phase 2 budget proposal only if your Phase 1 proposal has been tentatively accepted.

Proposals should be single-spaced, typewritten, English-language text, using one or two columns, and using an easily read font size of 12-point or larger and no more than 15 characters per horizontal inch. No smaller font should be used in the subsections of the proposal, including references, however, figure captions can be in fonts as small as 10-point. In addition, the proposal shall have no more than 5.5 lines per inch of text. Pages should have at least one-inch (2.5 cm) margins on all sides. Proposals not conforming to the format above will be declared noncompliant and rejected without any further review.

PIs of Large (multi-year) projects approved in previous cycles must submit a progress report annually on the Phase 1 proposal due date (rather than on the anniversary of the award date). A Large project may be funded for a total of 3 years. PIs of Regular proposals that were approved for 2 years in the previous cycle need not submit a progress report for Phase 1.

The Fermi GI Process

The Fermi GI Review is typically held in the spring, and results are communicated to the Principal Investigators several weeks later. Additional interested reviewers are always welcome. If you would like to be considered as a reviewer, please send an e-mail to the HEASARC Peer Review mailbox.

If accepted, the Principal Investigator will be notified to submit Phase 2 budget proposals through NSPIRES. Details of the submission will be provided in the proposal acceptance letter.

Documentation for Past GI Programs

Supporting Materials for Submitting Fermi Proposals