Frequently Asked Questions

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Is there a guideline for funds expected to be allocated per proposal?

There is no set cost for a JWST program. There are no guidelines for $ amount per observation hour and there is no formula. The total funding level for the Cycle 1 GO/AR program has not yet been set by NASA. Proposers are required to provide their best reasonable estimate of the resources required to achieve their programs’ science goals.

The budget submissions are reviewed by the JWST Financial Review Committee (FRC), comprised of 10-12 astronomers drawn from the broad community.  The Cycle 1 JWST FRC will meet in July 2021. There are different variables in assessing the amount ultimately awarded for a specific program. The FRC will review the complexity of the work and compare it to the budget request and the experience of the investigators performing the work. A strong, clear budget narrative is key. Guidelines on the priorities adopted by the FRC in their review are given in the Cycle 1 Call for Proposals. The FRC will recommend a funding amount for each program. The total recommended funding amounts for all programs must not exceed the contract cycle value (the total grant funding available for GO, AR and DD programs) for JWST Cycle 1. 

What is the anticipated start date of the budget period?

Proposers should assume the following key dates. Budget periods will start no earlier than May 1, 2022

JWST Launch


Completion of Commissioning


GO Cycle 1 Programs start


Is there a set date for the completion of the work to be performed with this budget?

It is expected that all research efforts will be completed within the three-year period of performance. For smaller programs, the formal budget can specify a shorter time period. If circumstances arise that prevent the research from being completed within the three-year period of performance, the option to request a one year no-cost extension is available.

Do I need to submit my budget narrative individually or can I present the narrative together with other Co-Is from my home institution?

Grants Administration will issue a separate budget for each institution receiving funding under a given program. Each budget submitted requires a narrative. The budget narrative must justify all costs represented in the budget and identify the effort of each person participating whether funded or unfunded. If one budget represents several Co-Is from the same institution, then the narrative can be collective.

My proposal includes co-investigators from Canada, ESA member countries or other countries - should I describe their participation?

Yes. NASA funding is restricted to eligible US investigators as defined in the General Grant Provisions. The Canadian Space Agency is providing a separate funding process for Canadian investigators; scientists based in other countries should explore their national funding processes. The budget narrative must be clear in explaining the relative contribution of foreign investigators to the overall science program. The FRC will assess the appropriate level of funding to support the work by the eligible US investigators.

Can I ask for support for ground-based observations, associated theoretical modeling and/or associated laboratory analyses?

Yes, provided that the need for those observations, modeling and/or analyses were discussed explicitly in the originally-submitted JWST proposal. The total costs for ground-based observations and laboratory work are limited to no more than 10% of the total budget.

What should I assume about data products and the pipeline?

The standard pipeline reduction is expected to remove instrumental signatures from individual data frames and will be capable of producing higher-level science data products. Users with specific questions should consult the JDOX documentation for the instrument in question at, or contact the help desk at for more detailed information.

I have a number of senior people on my team. Will I be penalized for that in the budget review?

No. The FRC use the budget narrative to assess the work required to achieve the science goals.  The recommended funding will be appropriate to support that work, and will take due account of the seniority of the personnel involved.

When will I receive the PI Notification letter with the approved amount for the program?

After NASA provides funds to STScI, the Program Admin PIs and their institutions are notified of the approved funding for their programs. It is the responsibility of the Program Admin PIs to notify each funded Co-I of the amount approved for their portion of the project/grant.

Can I request preparatory funding?

Normally, funding for a GO program will not start until the first observation is taken. However, Preparatory Funding is available for GO programs. Up to 25% of the total approved budgeted amount may be requested to begin essential work prior to observations. Preparatory funding is awarded subject to completion of all pre-award requirements.  Requests for preparatory funding must be justified in the budget narrative. All funding is contingent on the availability of funds from NASA. GO programs should not expect Preparatory Funding prior to May 1 2022. Funding for AR programs will be made available at the start of Cycle 1 and are not eligible for preparatory funding.

I would like to add a co-I to my program. How do I go about doing this?

If you would like to add a co-I, please send your request to and CC your program coordinator. They will put in a request for those changes, which the JWST SPG will review and make the necessary changes to your program if approved.

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