Theory Proposals

Proposers may request financial support for for theoretical research that is relevant to the JWST mission, and that will have a lasting benefit for current or future observational programs with JWST.

A Theory Proposal should address a topic that is of direct relevance to JWST observational programs, and this relevance should be explained in the proposal. Funding of mission-specific research under the JWST Theory Program will be favored over research that is appropriate for a general theory program, such as the NASA Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics Theory Program. The primary criterion for a Theory Proposal is that the results should enhance the value of JWST observational programs through their broad interpretation (in the context of new models or theories) or by refining the knowledge needed to interpret specific observational results (a calculation of atomic cross sections may fall under the latter category). The results of the theoretical investigation should be made available to the community in a timely fashion.

As with the other AR Proposals, there is no limit to the funding that may be requested in Theory Proposals. For reference, it is expected that the majority of awards will fall under $150,000, with a median of about $75,000. The effort detailed in the Management Plan of the proposal should be commensurate with the level of funding to be requested in the budget submission. Theoretical research should be the primary or sole emphasis of a Theory Proposal. Analysis of archival data may be included, but should not be the main aim of the project. GO or AR Proposals which include a minor component of theoretical research will be funded under the appropriate GO or AR Program. 

A Theory Proposal may be submitted by a non-U.S. PI if there are one or more U.S. Co-Is who request funding. 

Award amounts for Theory Proposals are anticipated to be similar to those made for Regular AR Proposals. STScI also allows the submission of more ambitious proposals for which larger amounts of funding may be justified.

The ‘Scientific Justification’ section of the proposal should describe the proposed theoretical investigation and also its impact on observational investigations with JWST. Review panels will consist of observational and theoretical astronomers with a broad range of scientific expertise. They will not necessarily have specialists in all areas of astrophysics, particularly theory, so the proposals must be written for general audiences of scientists. The ‘Analysis Plan’ section of the proposal should discuss the types of JWST data that will benefit from the proposed investigation, and references to specific data sets in MAST should be given where possible. This section should also describe how the results of the theoretical investigation will be made available to the astronomical community, and on what time-scale the results are expected.


Next: Calibration AR Proposals