Proposal Review

Review Process

All proposals will be subject to a technical assessment prior to a scientific review conducted by a Time Allocation Committee constituted by members of the eligible user communities and supported by independent external expert evaluations. Additionally, the review process will be dual anonymous to ensure a fair and unbiased assessment of all proposals. For more information on how this will be carried out, please see the Dual-Anonymous Proposal Information page.

The LMT review process consists of four basic steps:

  1. Technical Review: A technical review by the LMT team to verify that the project is technically feasible and that the time request is consistent with our instrument time-calculators.
  2. Scientific Review: A scientific review of the proposals, separated into different panels based on the scientific topic of the proposal (Milky Way, Nearby Universe, Distant Universe), and ranked within the panel according to scientific priority.
  3. Community Review: A review of the rank-ordered list by representatives of each LMT user community to adjust the ranking within the community’s set of proposals to account for needs and requirements in addition to scientific priority, resulting in a single priority list for that community. At this stage, the Community review panels can bring other criteria into consideration (e.g., student thesis projects) for the final ranking.
  4. International Review: A final review by representatives of all communities to work out any conflicts that may exist (ex. scientific, access to specific LST ranges) and prepare the final list of projects to be submitted to the observing queues for each community.

The scientific selection and time allocation criteria for approved scientific projects will be based on the potential of the proposals to satisfy some or all of the following goals:

  • Describes a clear and compelling science question that can be uniquely answered with the proposed LMT data.
  • Feasible projects that can be completed by the proposing team within the current range of uncertainties on the telescope and instrument performances.
  • Generate refereed journal publications that demonstrate the scientific impact of the LMT with an emphasis on research topics for which the telescope provides a unique capability with the suite of instrumentation (angular resolution, sensitivity, mapping speed, spectral coverage, etc.).
  • Scientific analysis and interpretation of the LMT data can lead directly to publishable results and do not require additional supporting observations that are currently unavailable.
  • Involvement and training of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, as well as demonstrations of the relevance of these LMT data to ongoing MSc and PhD student research programs (see the Proposal Guidance page for details regarding thesis plan submission).
  • Scientific collaboration between the research communities of the LMT partners.
  • Provide opportunities and material for immediate educational and public outreach purposes.
Any questions regarding the experiment design and technical feasibility should be directed to the LMT Helpdesk.

Following the technical and scientific peer review, each user community committee will provide a unified, prioritized list of proposals covering all scientific areas and based primarily on their anticipated scientific impact.

Time Allocation Committee (TAC)

Each of the user communities in the LMT Collaboration has a right to a share of the scientific observing time on the telescope. Refer to the current Call for Proposals for the percentage of observing time allocated to each user community.

Time allocation is completed as a consensus decision by the community and international review committees. This step involves taking the lists provided by each user community and reconciling any conflicts, including both direct scientific conflicts (e.g., the same set of observations are sought by different groups) as well as conflicts for access to specific LST ranges. The final result of this committee meeting will be a list of projects from each of the priority queues that are to be scheduled on the telescope.

The committee that does this work will have representatives of all user communities, in addition to the LMT Project Scientists. It is expected that the deliberations of the panel will be in accordance with the broad LMT goals and principles that guide the review process and based on mutual respect of the parties and the needs of their communities. In general, the resolution of conflicts could be achieved by encouraging collaborations or based on community needs identified during the Community Review and prioritization of proposals.

Evaluation Ranks

Each proposal review includes two summary evaluation scores: relative scientific ranking within the scientific subject panel and the scheduling priority grade. The scheduling priority grade is assigned based upon both the scientific ranking of your proposal and the amount of time available to your specific user community. The scheduling priority grades are as follows:

  • Grade A: top priority within their user community and are very likely to be scheduled on the telescope
  • Grade B: high priority within their user community, and they may be scheduled depending on source availability and other constraints
  • Grade C: priority ranking within their user community where they may be scheduled if there is time
  • Grade D: low priority within their user community that makes it unlikely that they will be scheduled under normal circumstances

The full and proportionate allocation of observing time for the prioritized scientific projects from each user community will be flexibly scheduled during the observing season to maximize the efficiency of the overall scientific program and the telescope operation.

PIs will also receive written comments from the Scientific Review and Technical Review.

Receiving the results of your proposal

When the review of all proposals is completed, each Principal Investigator will receive via email a disposition letter with a detailed review and feedback on their proposal, and the final designation will be posted on Hedwig. The final rankings of the proposals will also be listed on the Results of the Previous Call page. Depending on the assigned priority and ranking of the proposal, the PI will be contacted before scheduling the scientific program on the LMT to prepare the required observing scripts.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Our user community and pool of reviewers is very small, so some standard rules for conflict of interest will be relaxed. Examples:

  • Review of proposals from your home institution is OK
  • You may participate in the review even if you also have proposals in the review,
    though you will be expected to leave the discussion when these are considered.

We ask reviewers to consider removing themselves from the panel when:

  • You are PI or Co-Investigator on the proposal.
  • You have a close personal, professional or financial relationship with the proposal PI.
  • As a general rule we ask reviewers to be thoughtful about possible conflicts and biases so that the review avoids the appearance of this possibility.

Before deliberation on each proposal, we request that the panel discuss possible conflicts of interest and bias.