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FT Rules

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1. All participants are expected to behave in an ethical manner. Although the reviewers assigned to each proposal will not be disclosed to PIs, their grades and written reviews will be kept in a database at Gemini and may be used as part of the internal assessment and review of the Fast Turnaround program.

2. All published deadlines in the Call for Proposals must be met by the proposer(s) or the proposal will be removed from consideration for the current round.

3. By submitting a proposal, the PI or the nominated co-I is committing to providing ratings and brief written assessments of as many as 8 other proposals submitted during the same round

(a) Failure to provide all requested ratings and written assessments before the cutoff date and time will result in the PI’s proposal being automatically removed from further consideration.

(b) The PI may delegate the ranking and assessment of the other proposals to a single co-investigator on his/her proposal. That person must be named in the relevant field in the PIT. If no name is provided, the reviewer will default to being the PI. Changes to the reviewer may not be made after the proposal deadline.

(c) A different assessor must be designated for each submitted proposal in a given round. A PI is allowed to submit more than one proposal per round, but only if this rule is followed. If it is not followed the proposal will be rejected for that round.

(d) The title, abstract, and investigator list of each proposal will be provided to a number of potential reviewers, in order for conflicts of interest to be identified prior to review.

(e) The reviewers must identify and declare conflicts of interest. They must also agree to keep proposals confidential and use them only for the purpose of providing the assessments. Only the designated reviewer will have access to the proposals.

4. PIs of FT proposals must be affiliated with the following partner countries or institutions: USA (including Gemini staff), Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Korea, University of Hawaii, Chile, or Japan. The US "open skies" policy does not apply to the Fast Turnaround program. Specific conditions apply; see the "Detailed eligibility" section below. The FT program is closed to applicants from a given partner once that partner has used 10% of its Gemini time each semester on FT programs. Approximate FT time available per semester per telescope is:

  • USA: 90 hrs (each telescope)
  • Canada: 25 hrs (each telescope)
  • Argentina: 4 hrs (each telescope)
  • Brazil: 9 hrs (each telescope)
  • Korea:  7 hrs (each telescope)
  • Chile: 16 hrs (Gemini South only)
  • University of Hawaii: 16 hrs (Gemini North only)

5. A graduate student may be the PI of a proposal, but must nominate a PhD co-investigator to act as a “mentor” for the reviews. The mentor’s conflicts of interest must be declared on the form received by the PI, and the mentor is bound by the same terms as the PI.

6. Repeat submissions are permitted, as are submissions of proposals previously rejected by other time allocation committees. Each submission implies agreement to review other proposals, regardless of whether the proposal was also submitted during a previous round.

7. Proposals for non-standard observing modes/instrument configurations may not be accepted. Prospective users should be aware of the list of unavailable observing modes given in the call for proposals, and contact the Fast Turnaround Team in advance if they are considering something unusual. Otherwise, the technical assessor will decide later whether that mode/configuration can be supported.

8. Proposals must not request more time than the amount available in the most restrictive weather condition bin. For example, with the 20 hours per month per telescope currently being made available, the 50-percentile WV bin for each telescope will contain 10 hours. A proposal for WV50 time with all other weather conditions less restrictive should then not request more than 10 hours in total. Likewise a CC50 IQ70 WV80 proposal with sky brightness unspecified also should not request more than 10 hours. A proposal requesting IQ20 should not request more than 4 hours.

9. One or more targets must be observable starting one month after the proposal deadline (the current CfP will give the acceptable RA range). If the requested instrument is not available at that time, the first target(s) must be observable on the first night that the requested instrument is scheduled for use.

10. In cases where more than one proposal requests similar observations of the same object, deference will be given to the already accepted program (whether FT, queue, classical, etc.) if it exists. Otherwise deference will be given to the proposal receiving the highest grade.

11. Both Standard and rapid targets-of-opportunity are now accepted through the FT program. Note, however, that highly time-constrained programs may not be accepted if they conflict with existing time-critical observations. Feel free to contact us in advance of proposing if your time-critical observations may fall into this category.

12. GMOS MOS programs are allowed. Because masks are currently cut at each site (no shipping needed), we now allow preimaging. However, the target must be available for preimaging early in the awarded cycle and well visible for the rest of the active cycle so the MOS observation can be completed. We strongly recommend to design masks based on catalogs however, without preimaging, since we cannot guarantee that preimaging will be taken early on in the cycle.  We also strongly recommend that masks are designed ASAP since there is still overhead for checking and cutting the masks of at least 1-2 weeks.

13. Because of the “rapid response” nature of the program, proposals with technical problems, or those for which technical feasibility cannot be established, will be rejected outright (but may be corrected/clarified and resubmitted at a future deadline).

14. When <7 proposals are received in any month we will also request reviews from a standing panel of external reviewers. PIs (or their designated co-Is) will still review each other's proposals; we will simply include scores from the external assessors as well as those from people who have submitted proposals that month.

15. FT proposals will be ranked by their mean score and time will be allocated in this order, taking into consideration the available time and likely weather conditions. In the event of a tie between two or more proposals, the clipped mean (the mean excluding the single top and bottom grades) will be used to decide the ranking. Proposals must achieve a final (mean) grade of 2.0 or above in order to be awarded time. This implies that there may be occasions when the full amount of FT time available for a given month is not allocated even when more than the full amount of time was requested.

16. If a program is accepted, the observations must be ready (i.e., Phase II completed) by approximately 10 days after the notifications are sent (each Call for Proposals will show the specific dates).

17. Accepted programs will be active for four months from the deadline (i.e., they expire after 3 months in the FT queue).

18. The PI of each proposal will receive the written reviews, the proposal's final score, the technical assessment, and information about target conflicts.

19. For accepted proposals, the proposal title, PI's name, time request, rough target coordinates (hrs:mins, deg), instrument and observing conditions will be made public.

20. Violation of rule 3e, or repeated failure to provide useful rankings and reviews, will result in penalties including being prohibited from submitting to the Fast Turnaround program. A PI should contact the Fast Turnaround Team (Fast.Turnaround at if she or he believes that the ideas in her/his proposal have been co-opted or shared with others by a reviewer. Disputes will be arbitrated by the Gemini director.

Detailed eligibility rules
Each partner defines eligibility for their own community FT time. Eligibility to participate in FT is generally the same as Gemini partner access. One important exception is that US "open skies" policy does not apply, and US FT PIs must be affiliated with a US institution. Japanese community PIs, including Subaru staff, are eligible for Japan (JP) time north and south and should select this option. University of Hawaii PIs must be employed by a UH department and should select UH for Gemini North programs. They remain eligible for US programs at Gemini South. Other Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii staff are eligible as US PIs, both north and south.

Gemini Observatory Participants