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Fermi Guest Investigator Program

Fermi Cycle 8 Update

The call for Fermi Cycle-8 Guest Investigator proposals has now closed. A total of 190 proposals were received and have been logged in at the FSSC. A scientific peer evaluation process is expected to be completed by early April 2015, with the final selection process being competed by NASA HQ later that month.


Proposals to the Fermi Cycle-8 program should be submitted through the ARK/RPS online facility by 16:30 EST January 22, 2015. Proposers should be aware of the several new developments.

The maximum budget cap for one and two (Regular) year proposals has been reduced to $70,000 per year. It is anticipated that the average Cycle-8 grant will be $60,000. The cap for Large Projects is unchanged. We anticipate the selection of ~30-40 Regular proposals (that could be of one or two year duration) in addition to two or three Large proposals. For additional details please refer to the Fermi appendix to the 2014 ROSES NRA, and feel free to contact the Fermi Science Support Center help desk with any questions.

An additional joint program agreement has been established with the ESA INTErnational Gamma Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL). Through this joint program Fermi Guest Investigators and be awarded INTEGRAL observation time for the pursuit of their Fermi-related science objectives. Details can be found in the INTEGRAL-Fermi joint program MOU.

Another recent development is the now imminent release of the long anticipated "Pass-8" reprocessed database. Pass 8 is expected to lead to improvements including a reduction in background contamination coupled with an increased effective area, an improved point-spread function, a better understanding of the systematic uncertainties and an extension of the useful energy range for photon analysis to below 100 MeV and above a few hundred GeV. Key details can be found in Atwood et al 2013.

The Fermi - Suzaku joint will be continued in cycle 8, but with new restrictions owing to the degraded condition of the power subsystems onboard the Suzaku satellite. Any observations awarded under this joint program are subject to the constraints detailed in the Suakau AO-10 documentation. In particular, proposals requiring use of the HXD detectors will not be considered. Also, the AO-10 observation period will end after October 2015, so joint program observations will have to occur by then. It is possible that some joint observations could be scheduled prior to the formal start of Fermi Cycle 8.

Joint Observation Programs

Multiwavelength observations made in conjunction with Fermi scientific investigations have the potential to enhance the scientific return of the mission and advance the field. The Fermi project has thus established a number of joint observation programs. The Fermi GI program can award optical, radio, X-ray or gamma-ray observations through Fermi's joint programs with NRAO, NOAO, Arecibo, Suzaku, VERITAS, and INTEGRAL. Note that only a single year of joint-program observations can be awarded through the Fermi GI Program regardless of the duration of awarded Fermi support. There are a number of important technical and policy details regarding these joint programs and prospective proposers are strongly encouraged to refer to the respective MOUs:

http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/nrao.html,
http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/noao.html,
http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/arecibo.html,
http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/suzaku.html,
http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/veritas.html, and
http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/proposals/integral.html

Again, 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.

Important - Please Read

In recent proposal cycles about 2-5% 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."

Schedule for Fermi Cycle 8

Cycle-8 call for proposals (ROSES D.6) released October 20, 2014
Fermi-VERITAS NOIs Due December 17, 2014
Proposals Due January 22, 2015, 4:30 PM EST.
Proposal Peer Review March/April 2015
Stage-2 Proposal Solicitation May 2015
Final Selections Announced June 2015
Fermi Cycle 8 Begins August 4, 2015
Cycle-8 Grants issued ~Oct/Nov 2015

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, NOAO facilities or on the Suzaku or INTEGRAL satellites 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 observing time through our joint program agreements.

There are two proposal classes: (1) Regular proposals with research plans that can be completed in one or two years, and (2) Large proposals whose research plans are more expansive and may take up to three years to complete. Regular proposals spanning two years are intended for projects that could be partially accomplished in a single year, but would benefit from a more comprehensive multiple year study, as opposed to Large proposals whose scope cannot be accomplished in a single year. Regular and Large proposals have distinct page limits and budget caps and annual reporting procedures. Please refer to the Fermi appendix of the ROSES NRA for details. The large majority of selected proposals are expected to be among the Regular proposal category.

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

Additional Details

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. 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, NOAO or INTEGRAL observations is required 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.

The continuation into year two of Regular Projects that were approved for two years duration will not require a second scientific peer evaluation. The PIs of such projects will however be solicited by the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) for a progress report that will be reviewed by NASA prior to the release of year-2 funds.

Documentation for Past GI Programs

This information is retained for historical reference only. Please refer exclusively to the documents pertaining to the current proposal cycle in preparing your proposal.