JWST Proposal Checklist

JWST Cycle 3 proposers are encouraged to follow this checklist for writing and submitting proposals for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

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(tick) Know the deadlines

The Cycle 3 proposal deadline is October 25, 2023 by 8:00pm US Eastern Daylight Time

Director's Discretionary Time proposals can be submitted at any time.



(tick) Know where to find the JWST user documentation



(tick) Learn the JWST observation planning tools

Proposers should assume JWST performance as described in the JWST User Documentation, and as assumed by the JWST Exposure Time Calculator ETC 3.0.



(tick) Design a JWST observing program in APT

  • Download and install the latest version of APT
  • Create a New JWST proposal in APT and fill out the Proposal Information section
  • Enter your target or targets  
  • Create a new Observation Folder and a new Observation with an observation template. 
  • View an Observation with the Aladin visualizer tool. 
  • Resolve any errors or warnings in APT.
  • Check for duplicate observations.



(tick) Write your science proposal

Create the PDF attachment of the proposal narrative, which includes a number of required text sections such as the Scientific Justification and Technical Justification.



(tick) Submit your JWST proposal

  • Attach the PDF of your scientific proposal to the APT program on Proposal Information form.
  • Preview and Verify the entire proposal by selecting the APT PDF Preview tool. This view will merge the information provided in APT along with the PDF attachment, and is what the Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) will review. APT supports UTF-8 for the title, abstract, observing description and observation comment, but make sure all special characters appear correctly. 
  • Submit your completed proposal with APT. Select the APT Submission Tool in the top tool bar and follow the instructions. In the Submission Log window you will see a message giving the time of the submission, the assigned proposal ID (if a new proposal), and the submission status.
  • After the initial submission, proposals can be re-submitted as needed (up to the stated deadline). Resubmitting does not change the proposal number received upon the initial submission.



(tick) Wait and check

After you submit your proposal, all investigators will receive an automatic email acknowledgment that the submission was received successfully. If you do not receive that email within minutes of your submission, please check the APT Submission Log field for a problem. In addition, all investigators will receive an additional email indicating whether your proposal was successfully processed after the submission deadline.

If you do not receive this acknowledgement within 72 hours of the deadline, please submit an incident to the JWST Help Desk, as your submission was not received and the TAC will not see your proposal; please provide the submission ID information from the APT Submission Log field. If there are any problems associated with your PDF attachment or APT information submitted, you will be contacted by email separately.

Notification of your proposal's status (approved or rejected) generally occurs within ~4 weeks of the Telescope Allocation Committee meeting. The full list of approved programs will be made public.  



(tick) Next steps for approved programs

U.S. investigators with approved JWST programs are eligible for funding. See JWST Grant Funding and Budget Submissions for further details. 

Successful JWST observing proposals will be reviewed by a STScI instrument scientist and program coordinator. Programs may require adjustments or revisions after the award. Proposers should submit programs that are executable, but STScI expects iterative optimization between the institute and the PI of accepted Cycle 3 programs. The instrument scientist and program coordinator will iterate with proposers to finalize the observations in accordance with TAC recommendations, under the approval of the STScI director.


Next: JWST Anonymous Proposal Reviews





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