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ALMA Cycle 2 Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals for ALMA Early Science Cycle 2 has been announced on Oct 24, 2013:

The ALMA Director, on behalf of the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) and the partner organizations in East Asia, Europe, and North America, is pleased to announce the Early Science Cycle 2 Call for Proposals (CfP). Members of the astronomical community are invited to propose for scientific observations that will be scheduled from June 2014 to October 2015. At full operational capability, the ALMA Observatory will include an array of fifty 12-m antennas for long baseline interferometric observations (the 12-m Array), and the Atacama Compact Array (ACA, aka Morita Array) composed of twelve 7-m antennas for short baseline interferometric observations (7-m Array) and four 12-m antennas for single-dish observations (Total Power or TP Array). Cycle 2 observations provide an exciting opportunity for science from this unique world-class facility, though completion of the full 66-antenna array remains the highest ALMA priority.

Information on the proposal preparation can be found here.


The ALMA Early Science Cycle 2 capabilities include:

  • Thirty-four 12-m antennas in the 12-m Array, nine 7-m antennas in the 7-m Array, and two 12-m antennas in the TP Array
  • Receiver bands 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 9 (wavelengths of about 3.1, 2.1, 1.3, 0.87, 0.74 and 0.44 mm)
  • Both single field interferometry and mosaics
  • Spectral-line observations with all Arrays (except Band 9 with the TP Array) and continuum observations with the 12-m Array and the 7-m Array
  • Polarization (on-axis, continuum, selected frequencies in Band 3, 6 and 7, no ACA, no mosaics)
  • Mixed correlator modes (both high and low frequency resolution in the same observation)
  • Baselines up to 1 km for Bands 8 & 9
  • Baselines up to 1.5 km for Bands 3, 4, 6, & 7

Use of the ACA for short baseline interferometry and single-dish observations will only be offered to complement observations with the 12-m Array, and not as a stand-alone capability.

It is anticipated that about 2000 hours of 12-m Array time and ACA time will be available for Cycle 2 projects and highest priority projects transferred from Cycle 1. Complete details are available in the Cycle 2 Proposer's Guide.

Best efforts

Cycle 2 observations will be conducted on a best efforts basis, similar to Cycle 1 and Cycle 0 observations, and in parallel with commissioning and verification of the whole ALMA system.

Successful proposers will share risk with ALMA. Observatory staff will perform data quality assurance and will provide reduced data products via the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs). But project completion cannot be guaranteed, and the quality of the data and data reduction may not meet the standards expected when ALMA is in full scientific operations.

Proposal submission

The ALMA Science Portal at is the principal resource for scientific users. All proposals must be prepared and submitted electronically using the ALMA Observing Tool (OT) software. A LaTeX template is recommended for the preparation of the proposal scientific justification. Registration at the Science Portal is required for ALMA proposal submission.

Deadline for proposal submission is 15:00 UT on December 5, 2013.

Supporting Documents

All documents supporting this CfP are available at the ALMA Science Portal. Proposers are advised to consult the Roadmap and the Proposer’s Guide. Additional useful information is available in the ALMA Technical Handbook and Early Science Primer.

Obtaining Help

For information not provided at the Science Portal, proposers may submit a Helpdesk ticket. Registration at the ALMA Science Portal is required for Helpdesk ticket submission.

Proposal Review

All proposals submitted in response to this CfP will be subject to peer review by an international committee. Proposals will be assessed for their scientific merit and their potential contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge, as well as the extent to which the planned observations demonstrate and exploit the ALMA Cycle 2 capabilities. Projects with the potential to deliver compelling science from relatively short observations will be favorably considered.

Proposals will be checked for duplication, as defined by the Cycle 2 Proposer’s Guide, against successful Cycle 1 (though not Cycle 0) projects. The Proposal Review Committee will make recommendations regarding potential duplications.

Cycle 2 proposals involving partial or full duplication of an approved Cycle 1 project by the same research team must include an explicit statement about the duplication(s). The proposers must specify if the duplicating observations need to be repeated in Cycle 2, even if they are successfully completed in Cycle 1. Such repetition must be scientifically justified. A list of the metadata from Cycle 1 proposals designated for transfer into Cycle 2 will be posted to the Science Portal in early November, so that Cycle 2 PIs can avoid duplicating these observations.

A Cycle 1 status report is on-line. Proposers may check the observational status of their Cycle 1 projects using the Project Tracker, available at the Science Portal.

ALMA users from Taiwan

A PI in Taiwan has access to ALMA through both East Asia (EA) and North America (NA) regions. He/She can register in the ALMA Science Portal. After registration, the user can select freely (and also can change it) to which region the time should be charged to. Also for submitting Helpdesk tickets, both regions can be selected. Accordingly, and since as a rule, ALMA users should have only a single account. If you have two accounts, and they are not merged automatically, please remove one or submit a Helpdesk ticket.

In Cycle 1, a PI in Taiwan can have a 50/50 split option for time charge. To facilitate the explanation, here we assume some one submits a proposal with this split option, and requests a total time of 10 hrs, i.e., 5 hrs in EA and 5 hrs in NA.

If one selects the split option, it depends on where the proposal stands in BOTH queues. For the proposal to be accepted, it needs to fit within BOTH queues; i.e., for the above proposal submitted for Cycle 1, the 5 hrs needs to fit within the NA 270 hr allotment and the other 5 hrs needs to fit within the EA 180 hr allotment. If it only fits within one queue and not the other, it will not be given a "High Priority" status.

Note that this is not necessarily a double jeopardy; it depends on the relative over-subscription between the two regions, and how close to the dividing line the proposal lies. Not obvious for the example of a 10 hrs proposal; more-so for larger proposals where e.g. fitting 20 hrs into two queues is easier than fitting 40hrs into one.

On the other hand, a Taiwanese PI can submit two 5hr proposals SEPARATELY, one with EA as the Executive, another with NA as the Executive. Then each part would be judged against the relevant queue, - they get all the time if they pass both Executives cutoff; they get 5 hrs if they only pass one Executives cutoff.

Note that this workflow would only work for projects that could be split by number of targets, not total integration time, since there is a prohibition against submitting the exact same proposal with different Executive affiliations.

Key dates

24 Oct 2013: Release of Cycle 2 Call for Proposals and related tools and documents.
24 Oct 2013: Science Archive opens for proposal submission.
5 Dec 2013 (15:00 UT): Proposal submission deadline.
Apr 2014: Proposal Review Process outcome notification
1 Jun 2014: Start of ALMA Cycle 2 Science Observations.
Oct 2015: End of ALMA Cycle 2 Science Observations.

ALMA Taiwan Mock Review

The Taiwan ARC node will hold a mock review of ALMA proposals for Cycle 2, as for Cycle 1. In Cycle 1, the over-subscription rate was about 6. In Cycle 2, the over-subscription rate may be about the same. Thus, only very well-prepared proposals will succeed. Prospective users should have their proposals prepared now.

Proposals fail sometimes due to 1) unclear science questions or goals and/or poorly designed experimenting methods/approaches, but also often due to 2) poor writing or last minute compilation. The purpose of this review is to improve the quality of ALMA-T proposals for better success rate by enforcing potential users to prepare the proposals early, thus, to at least eliminate the last minute writing and to further sharpen the science ideas.

This mock review is mainly targeted at new users, postdocs, and students in Taiwan. Nonetheless, all Taiwanese users are welcome to submit their proposals.

The proposal submission deadline is 2013.11.19. Full proposal, including scientific and technical justification, figures and tables, is required to submit to in pdf format. Half-cooked proposals will benefit little from mock reviewing. Technical assessment will be carried out by the Taiwan ARC staff. Scientific review will be conducted through paper by a review panel, including Vivien Chen, Naomi Hirano, Sheng-Yuan Liu, Satoki Matsushita, Kazushi Sakamoto, and Wei-Hao Wang.

Technical and scientific review comments will feedback to the PIs through email a week later on 2013.11.26. Face-to-face discussion with the ARC staff or review panel members may be considered and arranged. PIs can incorporate these comments into proposal revision before "true" submission.

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