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Opportunity: 2017 Request for Proposals for Instrument Upgrade Projects

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RFP Document Set:

Questions & Answers as of 7/21/2017

Release Date:
July 24, 2017

Proposers Conference:
August 24, 2017

Notices of Intent Due Date:
September 14, 2017

To receive updates and notifications, email:

Proposal Due Date:
October 5, 2017

Gemini Observatory is committed to upgrading its existing operational instruments to keep them scientifically competitive and to create new instrument capabilities at the observatory.  As part of this effort, Gemini annually seeks community-created science-driven proposals to improve our current instruments through our Instrument Upgrade Program (IUP). Gemini’s Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) endorsed the observatory’s guidelines for the IUP in their 2015A report.  Facility instrument fact sheets can be downloaded here for Flamingos-2GMOS-NGMOS-S,GNIRSGPIGSAOINIFS, and NIRI.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) welcomes projects for amounts between 0 and the full 600,000 USD budget. In addition to this budget, Gemini is also offering to provide, at its cost, a science grade HAWAII-4RG (H4RG) detector and detector controller package, with specifications to be agreed upon with the selected team to be incorporated into an upgrade. Gemini is seeking to fund two projects, but may choose to fund either one or more than two projects depending on the requested funds, the available staff effort, and the perceived benefit of each project. 

Contracts can be awarded to profit or non-profit institutions or companies within the nations that fund the Gemini Observatory (regular or limited term participants). The RFP is also open to non-participant country Principal Investigators who have significant and relevant experience in using, designing, and/or building a Gemini instrument. 

To encourage a wide variety of participant organizations, Gemini will provide up to one night (10 hours) of observing time per project to be used to realize and demonstrate the scientific potential of the upgraded instrument. 

What are the IUP requirements? 

IUP projects should produce a tangible result that creates and or enables new science with existing facility instruments and GRACES.  The IUP is not meant to fund paper studies or other work that does not provide a real upgrade to our existing capabilities. Software upgrades that add new capabilities or operational improvements are allowed; data processing software proposals are not.  All proposed projects must meet our available funding and schedule constraints.

Proposers need to clearly demonstrate the project’s scientific value and relevance to Gemini’s user community. The project should require a minimal level of effort from Gemini staff to develop, implement, and maintain. Gemini will assess the impact of the project and the outcome against the resources needed to support the project. Gemini will assign the relevant resources, pending availability, to assist the team with their work such that the upgrades are successfully achieved. Gemini will also assess the significance of the proposed upgrade in view of the current long-term instrumentation plans.

The project must include readiness testing prior to going on-sky and full characterization of the upgrade afterward. Gemini will only consider proposals for efficient instrument upgrades of minimal to moderate technical risk.  The proposal must thoroughly identify and suggest the mitigation of key risks and instrument downtime. The upgraded instrument must comply with the Gemini Interface Control Documents (ICDs).  

The schedule for the 2017 RFP release, review, and completed signed contract lasts five months.  Gemini intends for awarded work to start on the instrument upgrade projects by March 2018.   We expect small projects to be completed within 12 months, and larger ones, within 24 months of the contract execution date.  

To ask questions, request clarifications or receive notifications about the RFP schedule, please provide contact information including an email address to Karen Godzyk ( 

IUP 2017 Proposers Conference

Proposers Conference Details

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2017 

Time:  1:00pm Mountain Standard Time  UTC -7

Location:  Via Zoom Client Teleconferencing  


  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Overview of the Gemini Instrument Upgrades Program
  • Questions and Answers

Click here for the Conference Presentation

Click here for the Conference Questions and Answers Document

Click here for the Conference Recording

Please email if you plan to attend.

Connection Details 

  • If you have never used Zoom before, it is HIGHLY recommended that you run a test well in advance of the meeting time.
  • Though not necessary to connect to the meeting, you may pre-download the Zoom client at:
  • Please connect 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
  • Please mute your microphone during the meeting when you are not speaking.  

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:

Please click this URL to start or join. 

Or go to and enter the meeting ID:  151 200 384  

Join from a polycom: 200 384  

Join from a dial-in phone: Dial: +1 (415) 762-9988 or +1 (646) 568-7788 Meeting ID: 151 200 384  

This meeting will be recorded.  

Opportunity: 2017 Request for Proposals for Instrument Upgrade Projects | Gemini Observatory


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