27 January 2013

Announcement of Opportunity


The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation encourages members of the CFHT community to participate in the development of new capabilities for CFHT through this Announcement of Opportunity (AO). These new capabilities should be made available to the CFHT community on an accelerated timescale, in accord with the recent CFHT Board statement about the future of the Observatory. Proposed new capabilities might exist in a variety of forms including upgrades to existing instruments, modest-scale new instruments, or major new instruments that are externally subsidized. In any case new capabilities must be built within the budget and schedule constraints outlined below. This opportunity is open to any member of the CFHT Partnership, including full and associate Partners. Interested proposers are asked to submit proposals for consideration by 23 August 2013 and are encouraged to participate in the CFHT Users’ Meeting 6-8 May 2013 when a special session will be organized for concepts to be vetted, initial community feedback heard, and potential collaborations across the CFHT Partnership further developed.

Background Information

CFHT’s total scientific impact in recent years remains competitive with other ground based facilities worldwide, including those with considerable aperture gains over CFHT. The data plotted correspond to 2005-2009 publications and are adapted from Crabtree(2011). Total impact is defined to be the average impact per paper multiplied by the total number of papers published.
In recent years CFHT has demonstrated, through a combination of innovative use of the telescope and powerful instrumentation, a level of scientific impact that is on-par with leading astronomical facilities worldwide. CFHT’s core strategy to remain competitive is to maintain this approach while exploring options for growth and advancement in the framework of collaborative operations and development with the other Mauna Kea Observatories. This AO seeks to build the near-term elements in CFHT’s bridge to the future. MegaCam, WIRCam, ESPaDOnS, and SITELLE are all expected to be offered to CFHT’s community for a number of years, operated remotely from Waimea through a sophisticated queue. With this baseline capability in place a combination of Large Programs and PI science will be executed using these instruments which, as a result of this new surge in development activity, may be either upgraded or augmented with new instrumentation. On-going investment in new capabilities, like that offered here, will help ensure CFHT’s competitiveness and remains an essential part of CFHT’s strategic plans.

Proposal Components and the Selection Process

In order to qualify for consideration all proposals must include the following components –

  • Science Case Summary
  • High-level description of technical approach with the following key subsystems described at a conceptual level as they pertain to the proposed new capability
    • Optical design/layout
    • Mechanical design/layout
    • Detector system
    • Control system
    • Data handling system
    • Operational considerations
  • Resources needed to design, build, test, and deliver proposed new capability, clearly identifying which are being requested from CFHT and which would be provided by the proposing team
    • Cost estimate for parts and materials
    • Nominal cash flow needs from CFHT
    • Labor estimate
  • Initial project plan including development milestones, design reviews, and delivery date
  • Approach to managing the development activity and requirements for CFHT technical support, both during the development phase and post-delivery
  • Summary of proposing team members and host institutions identifying demonstrated relevant expertise, available infrastructure (e.g., labs, machine shops, etc.), and level of institutional commitment to support proposed activity.
Proposals must not exceed 20 pages, including all text and figures, be formatted on 8.5x11 inch or A4 paper and use at least 10 pt font size. Proposers will have the opportunity (but are not required) to present their concepts during the 2013 CFHT Users’ Meeting so that community input can be incorporated in proposals prior to their submission in August 2013 and opportunities for collaboration explored. Proposals will be evaluated by the CFHT Scientific Advisory Council soon after their submission, with technical support from CFHT as required.

The above list represents the selection criteria that will be used to assess proposals. Care should be given to all elements of proposals since a decision to fund them will be based upon a fairly broad range of factors.

Budget and Schedule Constraints

An overarching goal of this solicitation is to enable new and innovative capabilities on CFHT on fairly fast time scales and within CFHT’s funding constraints. Accordingly, proposers should scale their plans to have their proposed new capabilities developed and deployed in 3 years or less. The total funding available to support one or more proposals is USD3,000,000. Proposals that can be developed more quickly and/or at lower cost will have a competitive advantage. These constraints are being provided to avoid a mismatch of resource availability and schedule needs at CFHT with the expectations of proposing teams.

Funding for the development of proposals from CFHT is not available on the expectation that the level of effort required to produce the proposals of the length and complexity outlined here are within the resource base of most institutions interested in responding to this AO.

Key Dates in 2013

Announcement of Opportunity Released: 27 January
CFHT Users’ Meeting: 6-8 May
Proposals Submitted to CFHT: 23 August (5:00p HST)
Proposals Reviewed by SAC: September
Final approval by CFHT Board: October
Announcements to Proposing Teams: October

Submission Instructions

Proposals can be submitted either electronically or through the mail to the addresses listed below.

Postal Submission:
CFHT Corporation
65-1238 Mamalahoa Hwy
Kamuela, Hawaii 96743
Attn: Doug Simons

Electronic Submission:   

Any queries about the proposal process should be directed to the CFHT Executive Director ().