Change page style: 

GIFS Home Page


Based on Science Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) Recommendation 3.12, Gemini launched the Gemini Instrument Feasibility Studies (GIFS) Request for Proposals (RfP)  in 2014. The main purpose of the studies was to give the community the opportunity to provide their own compelling science cases, requirements, and enabling instrument design compliant with a set of top-level STAC-provided guiding principles.  We asked each study to demonstrate technical and cost feasibility within a $8M-$12M cost target.

Gemini received eight proposals in December 2014 and awarded four teams study contracts in April 2015. The studies were independent and non-competitive, meaning there was no resulting down select or intention of pursuing a particular instrument concept. The collective aim of the studies was to inform Gemini of the combined science-capability-cost trade space. These studies will be used to derive important science cases and requirements for our next new instrument, Gen 4#3.  Each study concluded in October 2015.


The four funded GIFS studies were: 

  • GEONIS: The Gemini Efficient Optical and Near-infrared Imager and Spectrograph (GEONIS) study led by Nick Konidaris and managed by Dan Reiley at the California Institute of Technology. For further information, visit the GEONIS home page.
  • GMOX:  The Gemini Multi-Object eXtra-wide-band spectrograph (GMOX) study was led by Massimo Robberto and managed by Stephen Smee at Johns Hopkins University. For further information, visit the GMOX home page.
  • MOVIES: The Montreal-Ohio-Victoria-Echelle Spectrograph (MOVIES) study was led by Alan McConnachie and managed by Les Saddlemyer at the National Research Council of Canada Herzberg. For further information, visit the MOVIES home page.
  • OCTOCAM: The OCTOCAM study was led by Antonio de Ugarte Postigo and managed by Pete Roming and Christina Thöne. The project was coordinated from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia (IAA-CSIC). For further information, visit the OCTOCAM home page. 

Each feasibility team was requested to produce a study for a workhorse instrument with broad scientific appeal that enabled a wide range of science cases. Gemini requested proposals for science cases and corresponding instrument feasibility consistent with the STAC's desire to produce an instrument of broad capability that will keep us competitive in the era of the large scale surveys. 

Each study team was asked to evolve their proposed science objectives and cases, to derive science-based requirements and to demonstrate technical and cost feasibility through instrument design. Their proposed instruments needed to be highly efficient and capable of maintaining the 8-meter aperture whilst demonstrating modest technical risk.

Each team produced three deliverables; the first was a status presentation at the Toronto 2015 Future & Science of Gemini Observatory meeting, 14-18 June 2015. This meeting provided the teams with a unique opportunity to interact with the Gemini community.

The second was the end-of-study presentations; these were held during a two-week period in Hilo Hawai'i between 21 September and 2 October 2015. The four study teams, the Gemini staff working on the project, the external stakeholders and experts came together to review and discuss components of the studies. Each of the four teams attended a one-day review session, made presentations on their study, and received feedback.

The third deliverable was the final end-of-study report, submitted to Gemini by the end of October 2015. They evolved based on feedback provided before the review (based on an initial draft of the report), during, and after the review (a list of recommendations were sent to each team).

A version of each of these deliverables are publicly available at the GEONISGMOXMOVIES, and OCTOCAM home pages. For reasons of confidentiality, the management section of the final reports and management presentations have been removed.

Please visit the Gen 4#3 home page for the latest information.