Large Programs [2017 - 2019]


The call for the 2017 - 2019 Large programs is now closed.
The Deadline is February 29 23:59 UT.

This call is for proposals that will be executed during the 2017A - 2019B semesters

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Proposals are submitted using the NorthStar proposal system hosted by CFHT.

Important notices:

  • After analysis of the data collected for each instrument, we recommend using the following conversion for the number of hours per night for each instrument:

    • MegaCam:  5.5 Hours/night
    • WIRCam:   5.0 Hours/night
    • ESPaDOnS: 7.5 hours/night
    • SITELLE:  6.5 hours/night

  • Please submit your programs to the Large Programs community.

  • Target lists: please enter a small number of representative targets so that the software can process your proposal. The target list does not need to be complete. If your proposal is accepted, the targets will be entered via our PH2 tool. What is important for the review process is that you upload a table of RAs of your targets with your proposal. Please see the instructions in the proposal submission form.

  • Four instruments are available for this call: MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS and SITELLE.


Large Program definition.

A Large Program proposal must request at least 100 nights of observing time on CFHT and may request up to the maximum total of 429 nights from Canada and France (plus potential contributions by other partners). Proposals led by UH-based PIs that request 50% of their total time from the UH Agency can request a minimum of 50 nights. Within the total time requested, the observing plan must be able to obtain all the requested data in no more than six semesters, but must also be robust enough to allow a reduced data acquisition rate and a simultaneous extension beyond six semesters. The proposals should specifically discuss their robustness to such changes, for example by presenting several data acquisition timelines. 

For scheduling purposes, Large Programs are considered a separate Agency at CFHT. The amount of time allocated each semester is split into A (higher) and B (lower) priority time along the ratio 40%(A) and 60%(B), and LP observations will be carried out with the same A/B observing priority policy as is applied to all other Agencies. This arrangement spreads the risk associated with weather and telescope problems equally between regular and Large Programs. Additionally, the proposed LPs should consider spreading their target RAs throughout the year and requesting observing conditions that are not overly constraining. Historically, the average completion fraction for Large Programs at CFHT is above 80%, but some programs - particularly those with stringent requirements - have had lower completion fractions. LP time allocations are not carried forward from one semester to the next.

Selection process.

The Large Program evaluation committee will consider the scientific merit of the proposals, the feasibility of the observations at CFHT, the robustness of the proposed program to changes in data acquisition rate and a resulting extension beyond six semesters, the data and project management plans, and the capability of the team to handle the data reduction and scientific analysis. Other factors which will be taken into account in the selection process and that need to be addressed in the proposal include the risks associated with incomplete data collection (potentially linked to overloading an instrument or requesting too large a fraction of some observing conditions), the willingness of the LP team to provide immediate data access to the CFHT community, the potential use for the data beyond the main scientific goals of the LP, the potential legacy value of the data acquired, and the inter-Agency nature of the LP team. All necessary calibration data should be requested as part of the original LP allocation.

It is important that proposing teams seek the advice of CFHT on the evaluation of risk.

Proprietary Periods

- Participating community access:

  • The default is that all members of a participating community to a LP (i.e. allocating observing time to the LP) will have immediate access to the data through the CADC.
  • The PI may propose to retain the usual one year proprietary period for participating community access (or any other period not to exceed one year from the time the last data is acquired, as is the case for any PI program).
  • - World Access:

  • The default is the standard one year proprietary period after the end of each semester for the duration of the LP.
  • The PI may request, with justification, that world-access be denied for an extended period not to exceed one year after the last data in the LP is acquired.
  • Multi-Agency Proposals:

    If you intend to submit a joint proposal between two or more Agencies or partner communities, you are required to distribute the total amount of hours requested among the participants. This distribution should be made according to the relative scientific contribution from each community in your collaborative team. In other words, it is up to you as PI to assess this distribution. You will find on the summary form a section "Hours per agency" where this distribution has to be made. The National TACs of any named community will be given that proposal and asked to comment on scientific value and confirm their willingness to contribute time to the Large Program agency.