JWST Cycle 1 Proposal Preparation

Cycle 1 proposals must be submitted through APT, and must include an uploaded PDF file containing the Proposal Narrative. Templates for proposal submission are provided. The reference version of APT, to be used by all Cycle 1 proposals, will be released in March 2020.

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Science justification templates

Templates for JWST Cycle 1 proposal PDF attachments

Note: The templates have intentionally different margins to accommodate about the same amount of text per page.

Make sure you use the appropriate template for your proposal type. Proposers are encouraged to refer to Getting Started with JWST Proposing in planning and submitting their proposals. Proposers should also be familiar with the policies on data rights, duplications, and other important topics covered in JWST General Science Policies.

A proposal consists of a completed APT proposal form and an attached PDF file. Template files (above) are available in several popular word processing environments for the creation of the PDF file. Your PDF attachment should obey the page limits as outlined in the section below. There is a limit on the total number of pages, as well as on the amount of text in the "Scientific Justification" section.

The entire PDF attachment must be anonymized, in accordance with the guidelines specified in JWST Cycle 1 Anonymous Proposal Review.

Team expertise and background section

Please remember to complete this section. The tree editor in APT shows a separate, free-format text box to provide this information. See JWST Cycle 1 Anonymous Proposal Review for further guidance. Do not add a "Team Expertise and Background" section within the PDF submission. This text will break the anonymity of the review, which would be a flagrant compliance violation and subject to disqualification of the proposal before the review panel stage. STScI will not redact PDFs.

Page limit restrictions

The Cycle 1 proposal must be submitted electronically. The Astronomer's Proposal Tool (APT) is the interface for all submissions for JWST.

The proposal consists of 2 parts:

Both are submitted directly from within APT. The PDF attachment must be prepared with the templates provided, without changing fonts or margins. Those proposals which do not adhere to these restrictions will be penalized in the review process; non-compliant pages will be removed and not be made available to reviewers. Do not change the format of any of the templates provided by STScI. In the table below, the page limit for the "Scientific Justification" refers to the limit for all text, figures, and tables for that section. The addition of material for the "Technical Justification and the Analysis Plan" section must not exceed the total page limits below. References do not count against the page limits. Proposers must include figures and tables within each appropriate section (these can be embedded within the text or included at the end of the section). Tables must use 12 pt font, and figures should be large enough to be legible.

Proposal Category

Page Limit for the Scientific Justification

Total Page Limit for PDF Attachment

Small GO, DD, Calibration, and Survey

AR (Regular, Theory, or Community Data Science Software)49
Medium GO510
Large and Treasury GO, Legacy AR712

Calibration GO and Long-Term GO proposals should determine whether their program is small, medium, or large, depending on the hours requested, and use the appropriate page limits.

Proposal narrative

The PDF attachment must contain a Proposal Narrative with sections that discuss the following topics. 

  1. Scientific Justification: This section should present a balanced discussion of background information, the program's goals, its significance to astronomy in general, and its importance to for the specific sub-field of astronomy it addresses. The members of the review panels will span a range of science expertise, so one should write this section for a general audience. Depending on the type of proposal, the following items should also be included:
    • Treasury GO, Legacy AR, and Pure Parallel proposals should address the value to the astronomical community of the data products that will be generated by the program.
    • Survey proposals should provide a complete description of the target sample.
    • AR proposals should describe how the project improves upon or adds to the previous use of data.
    • Theory proposals should include a description of the scientific investigations that will be enabled by the successful completion of the program, and their relevance to JWST.
    • Calibration proposals should describe what science will be enabled by the successful completion of the program, and how the currently supported core capabilities, their calibrations, and the existing data processing are insufficient to meet the requirements of this type of science.
    • Community Data Science Software Proposals should describe how the software packages that will be developed are relevant to and necessary for the reduction or interpretation of JWST data.

  2. Technical Justification: Describe the overall experimental design of the program, justifying the selection of instruments, modes, exposure times, and requirements. Describe how the observations contribute to the goals described in the scientific justification. Quantitative estimates must be provided of the accuracy required to achieve key science goals. The JWST ETC generally provides sufficient information to determine the necessary exposure time. For modes that require target acquisition, proposers should verify that the exposure specifications provided meet the stated criteria for success. Successful target acquisitions are crucial for the success of the specified observations, and must be verified. The description should also include the following:
    1. Special Observational Requirements (if any): Justify any special scheduling requirements, including time-critical observations. Target of Opportunity observations should estimate the probability of occurrence during Cycle 1, specify whether long-term status is requested, identify whether ToOs are disruptive or non-disruptive, and state clearly how soon JWST must begin observing after the formal activation. 
    2. Justification of Coordinated Parallels (if any): Proposals that include coordinated parallel observations should provide a scientific justification for and description of the parallel observations. It should be clearly indicated whether the parallel observations are essential to the interpretation of the primary observations or the science program as a whole, or whether they address partly or completely unrelated issues. The parallel observations are subject to scientific review, and can be rejected even if the primary observations are approved. 
    3. Justification of Duplications (if any): as detailed in the JWST Cycle 1 Proposal Policies and Funding Support and the JWST Duplicate Observations Policy. Any duplicate observations must be explicitly justified.

  3. Analysis Plan:  (required only for AR, Calibration, and Theory Proposals) All AR Proposals should provide a detailed data analysis plan and describe the datasets that will be analyzed. Inclusion of a target list is not required. Observing proposals that involve complex data analysis should include discussion of the analysis plan as part of the Technical Justification.

    Legacy AR Proposals should also discuss the data products that will be made available to the community, the method of dissemination, and a realistic timeline. It is a requirement that data products be delivered to STScI in suitable digital formats for further dissemination via the MAST Data Archive or related channels. Any required technical support from STScI and associated costs should be described in detail.

    Theory Proposals should discuss the types of JWST data that will benefit from the proposed investigation, and references to specific data sets in the MAST Data Archive should be given where possible. They should also describe how the results of the theoretical investigation will be made available to the astronomical community, and on what timescale the results are expected.

    Calibration Proposals should discuss what documentation, and data products and/or software will be made available to STScI to support future observing programs. Proposers should explain how their programs complement ongoing calibration efforts by the STScI instrument groups. They should contact the relevant instrument groups to ensure that efforts are not duplicated, and if they are, justify why the duplications are necessary.

    During the budget review process, the Financial Review Committee will compare the requested costs with the commensurate work outlined in the Analysis Plan. Support for resources outside the original scope of work will not be considered.

Proposers are reminded that the review panels will include observational and theoretical astronomers with a broad range of scientific expertise. They will not necessarily have specialists in all areas of astrophysics so the proposals must be written for general audiences of scientists.

For a checklist of items to complete when writing your JWST proposal, see the Getting Started with JWST Proposing.

Next: JWST Cycle 1 Single-Stream Proposal Process

Latest updates
    Added templates for Cycle 1 DD programs
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