Facility request procedures how does it work
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Facility Request Procedures: How does it work?. NSF Facilities Users’ Workshop 24 September 2007 Brigitte Baeuerle (EOL), Jim Huning and Steve Nelson (NSF/ATM). PRESENTATION OBJECTIVES. To describe current request process for Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities;

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Facility Request Procedures: How does it work?

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Facility request procedures how does it work

Facility Request Procedures:How does it work?

NSF Facilities Users’ Workshop

24 September 2007

Brigitte Baeuerle (EOL), Jim Huning and Steve Nelson (NSF/ATM)

Presentation objectives


  • To describe currentrequest process for Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities;

  • To explain the reasoning behind the changes, implemented in late 2004;

  • To clarify roles and responsibilities of NSF Program Officers, Facility Managers (FMs), Observing Facilities Assessment Panel (OFAP) and Principal Investigators (PIs)

Nsf deployment pool dp


  • Reserved “pot” of money (approx. 4 Million/year) exclusively dedicated to support field campaigns that use LAOF;

  • Covers costs associated with deployment of LAOF (shipping, fuel, fees, leases, comms, per diem, housing, travel, …);

  • Does not cover salaries (except temp hires and OT);

  • Does not cover PI support or expenses;

  • Does not cover maintenance;

  • Does not cover purchase of new instrumentation;

  • Does not cover expenses related to project-specific support provided by CDS or FPS (former JOSS support).

Observing facilities assessment panel ofap

Observing Facilities Assessment Panel (OFAP)

  • NCAR-run Advisory Panel

  • 18 scientists/recognized experts in fields of observational meteorology

  • Appointment based on recommendation by NSF POs, FM, current OFAP members, interest

  • Meets twice per year (Spring, Fall)

  • 5 year term (approx. 6 mtgs)

  • Provides technical assessment of facility requirements to FM, PIs and NSF POs;

  • Provides input concerning experiment design and facility usage incl. resources allocations (flight hours, expendables etc)

Facilities covered by dp


  • NSF/NCAR C-130


  • UWY King Air

  • NRL P-3 with NCAR ELDORA

  • Wyoming Cloud Radar (on KA as well as C-130)

  • CSU/CHILL Radar

  • NCAR SPOL Radar

  • NCAR Integrated Sounding Systems (ISS/MISS) & Multiple Antenna Profiler (MAPR)

  • NCAR Integrated Surface Flux Systems (ISFS)

  • GPS Advanced Upper0Air Sounding Systems (GAUS, MGAUS)

  • GPS Dropsonde (AVAPS) System

    Not currently covered:

  • Driftsonde

  • Raman-shifted Eye-Safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL)

Implementation of new procedures in 2004


New policy and procedures are now in effect and began to impact programs this fiscal year with T-PARC

Main Objectives:

  • Assists NSF program officers and the broader community in more effective planning for field campaign

  • Assist FM in more effective planning of maintenance and improvements in NSF supported facilities



For PIs:

  • Increased lead time for planning of field campaigns, especially complex programs;

  • More rigorous and thorough early review process early in the planning process;

  • Formal proposal to NSF (SPO) provides a mechanism to support project management

    For NSF:

  • Better coordination with international and national partners; representatives of other agencies may attend/present at OFAP (for clarity and to enhance overall understanding of proposed campaign)

  • Holistic review of entire scientific and experimental design; many field campaigns involve critical facilities that were previously not reviewed along with the NSF facilities;

  • Better understanding of total campaign cost



For EOL:

  • Increased lead time for planning of field campaigns, especially complex programs;

  • FMs are finding it easier to schedule facility upgrades and maintenance as well as new developments in between campaigns


  • Some additional up-front work on all parts (cost estimates, additional documentation…);

  • PIs have to be organized early on;

  • Increased trend in demand for facilities many years out

Request process


Procedures are now different for “large” and “small” programs.

  • “Large” Programs:

    • Field Costs >$1,000K (multiple facilities), and/or Unusually Complex Programs,

    • and/or Programs with Int’l Partners

  • “Small” Programs – all the rest

  • NSF, in consultation with PIs and FMs, will determine category, cost estimators also available from EOL website

Small programs process


  • Contact/Inform NSF Program Manager

  • Provide Letter of Intent to EOL & NSF

    • Name, Location, Dates, Facilities, Science

    • Inclusion in long term planning schedule

  • Contact/Interact w. FMs / Facility Staff reg. requirements/ plans

  • Prepare/Submit Facility Request to FMs;

  • Prepare/Submit OFAP science overview ppt to FMs;

  • Prepare/Submit NSF Proposal to NSF; science portion to EOL/Univ;

  • For NCAR-led campaigns, prepare/submit Proposal to EOL Director for mail scientific review

Small programs timeline


Requests possible bi-annually (1 Jul/1 Dec)

15-21 months ahead of campaign

8 months for implementation

Large field programs 1m or complex

Large Field Programs(>$1M or Complex)

  • Two antecedent documents required: Scientific Program Overview (SPO) and Experimental Design Overview (EDO)

    • Required before submission of science proposals

    • Required before submission of facility requests

  • SDO and EDO are formal documents and final decisions for science proposal submission(s) will be made based on their reviews

Scientific program overview


  • Overall justification of the scientific program

  • Section D, Project Description

    • Scientific Rationale - Holistic

    • Brief description of experimental design;

    • Relationship to prior similar efforts;

    • List of all facilities and PIs (irrespective of source of support);

  • Formal submission of the SPO to NSF via Fastlane; NSF will distribute SPO or equivalent document to relevant FMs and OFAP

Experimental design overview


  • Overall concept of the experimental design, resource needs and management.

  • Holistic

  • Structure

    • Executive Summary

    • Scientific Rationale/Objectives

    • Experimental Design

    • Project Mgt (before and during field campaign)

    • Data Mgt

    • List of Facilities and PIs

  • EDO submitted to NSF (Huning and NSF Program Officer); copy to relevant FM and to OFAP

Large programs process


  • Contact/Inform NSF Program Manager (summer/fall FY-3)

  • Provide Letter of Intent to EOL & NSF

    • Name, Location, Dates, Facilities, Science

    • Inclusion in long term planning schedule

  • Preliminary Meeting with FM(s) and facility staff

  • Obtain preliminary cost estimates from FM for inclusion in SPO

  • Prepare/Submit SPO to NSF

  • Prepare/Submit EDO to NSF and EOL

  • Prepare/Submit .ppt overview to EOL

  • Prepare/Submit Facility Request to FM

  • Prepare/Submit NSF Proposal to NSF; science portion to EOL/Univ.

  • Prepare updated .ppt overview to EOL

Large programs timeline


Only one review cycle per fiscal year.

Scientific Review of SPO (completed by May FY-2) as well as individual science proposals (completed by Jan FY-1)

FY-2 SPO/EDO and Facility Request submission dates under discussion

8 to 19 months for implementation

The black hole what happens in between the time a request is submitted and the ofap meeting

The black hole – what happens in between the time a request is submitted and the OFAP Meeting?

  • FM Responsibilities:

    • Preparation of feasibilities and cost estimates for facility requests and/or preparation of project assessments for EDOs;

    • Preparation of Project Feasibility Presentations for OFAP Meeting

      Note: Documents shared with NSF and PIs ahead of OFAP

  • NSF Responsibilities:

    • Conduct of scientific review of all NSF submitted proposals (SPOs as well as individual proposals);

Facility request procedures how does it work

  • EOL Responsibilities:

    • Where NCAR scientists have lead proposal, EOL Director will oversee scientific review process and coordinate with appropriate NCAR Lab Director, NSF program office and Facility Managers

    • Preparation of “Global Feasibility” (possible project combinations based on direct facility conflicts, resource limitations etc., shared with NSF)

    • Planning/Conduct of all aspects of OFAP Meeting including sending out review material to OFAP

What happens at the ofap meeting

What happens at the OFAP Meeting?

  • Each OFAP member is asked for review preferences and conflicts of interest before mtg;

  • Each OFAP member is assigned up to 4 OFAP requests in their area of expertise before OFAP meeting, one of those as lead reviewer;

  • Each project is introduced – w/o bias - by lead reviewer using scientific overview presentation provided by requesting PI, to entire OFAP, followed by feasibility analysis presentation by facility staff;

  • Assigned review team presents their evaluation, followed by discussion involving all OFAP attendees (i.e., NSF, Facility staff, OFAP)

  • Review team summarizes findings in writing and provides to FM


What happens after the ofap meeting

What happens after the OFAP Meeting?

  • Summary shared with NSF and PIs

  • PIs are welcome to respond to NSF PO

  • NSF Program Officer makes final decision based on scientific review of all NSF submitted proposals, feasibility analyses, OFAP recommendation and advice as well as budgetary and scheduling constraints.

  • NSF PO informs PIs about decision

  • EOL provides Allocation Letter

Questions from workshop attendees

Questions from Workshop Attendees

  • Out of cycle requests

    • Not covered by DP but NSF PO Program Funds

    • Challenging: schedule constraints, little adaptability

  • Cost Recovery

    • On a non-interference basis with NSF programs

    • Also require some kind of scientific review

    • “Appropriate Use of the Facility”

  • Multi-year Programs

    • Approval for several years possible

    • Mid-project review suggested

    • Will require cost adjustments




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