ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Call for Proposals is now open

The ALMA Director, on behalf of the Joint ALMA Observatory and the partner organisations in East Asia, Europe, and North America, is pleased to announce that the ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Call for Proposals for scientific observations is now open.

ALMA Cycle 8 2021 is currently scheduled for observations from October 2021 to September 2022. Users of any nationality or affiliation are invited to submit proposals before the deadline of 15:00 UT on Wednesday 21 April 2021.

During Cycle 8 2021, which will run from October 2021 to September 2022, the JAO anticipates 4300 hours of approved science time on the 12-m array and at least 3000 hours on both the 7-m and the Total Power Arrays.

The full proposal with key dates and links to the Proposer's Guide for this cycle is available here.


ALMA Regional Centre Community Assembly

From the EU ALMA Regional Centre:

"The European ALMA Regional Centre invites all European ALMA users to a virtual community assembly on 19 March at 12:30 CET (11:30 UT). At this community meeting, we will update you on the current and upcoming observing cycle and address FAQs on how PI science will be carried out. Also we can answer any questions you may have on your ALMA projects and support from the European ARC network. The meeting can be accessed at this link."


ALMA anticipates resuming science observations

Message from the Joint ALMA observatory:

"Dear colleagues,

While the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect our lives around the world, ALMA staff have been moving forward on the long road toward recovering the Arrays and resuming science operations. The antennas in the 12-m Array and ACA are in the process of being powered up and inspected one by one to make them ready for science observations. Before we can resume science observations, a series of end-to-end tests need to be completed, where test observing projects follow the complete process from data acquisition to processing and quality assurance. The positive news at the moment is that these tests have successfully completed using a subset of antennas.

Following the assessment on the safety and technical constraints in addition to the success of the end-to-end tests, ALMA anticipates restarting limited science operations in March 2021 with at least thirty-two and eight antennas on the 12-m and 7-m arrays, respectively. The array configuration is planned to be C43-4/C43-5, which will roughly correspond to the array when the operations were suspended in March 2020. Similar to the procedure for regular operations, projects in the Cycle 7 observing queue will be executed if suitable in terms of phase stability at the representative frequency and the achievable angular resolution with the available number of antennas. The execution time will be increased to account for the lower sensitivity of the reduced number of antennas in order to achieve the sensitivity requested by the Primary Investigator.

During the limited science operations phase, ALMA will also perform test observations on capabilities for future cycles and will continue the recovery of antennas to reach normal operations with the nominal numbers of antennas for Cycle 7 (see the Proposer’s Guide). All activities, including the limited science operations, are conducted in accordance with an extensive set of safety protocols for managing the risk posed by the corona virus. As always, the health and safety of all ALMA staff is our top priority.

Status updates will be provided in the Science Portal on a regular basis. The ALMA Regional Centers also continue to provide support for ALMA users. If you have any questions, or have comments or concerns related to the situation at ALMA, please contact the ALMA Helpdesk.

All ALMA staff wish you and your families to stay safe and healthy."


Distributed Peer Review and Dual Anonymous Procedure

We would like to remind our community that in Cycle 8 ALMA will adopt a distributed peer review process for proposals requesting less than 25 hours on the 12-m Array, and ACA stand-alone proposals requesting less than 150 hours. For each of these proposals, a designated reviewer must be set in the Observing Tool during the submission process. The reviewer will be responsible for reviewing up to 10 other submitted proposals based on their expertise. Please declare or update your expertise in the ALMA Science Portal profile to assure the optimal assignment of the proposals to be reviewed. If a reviewer fails to complete the assigned reviews, his/her proposal will be withdrawn from the process. Large proposals and proposals requesting more than 25 hours on the 12-m Array will be reviewed by science review panels, as in previous cycles.

All Cycle 8 2021 proposals will be reviewed using a dual anonymous procedure with the aim to minimize unconscious bias. Although the identity of the proposer team will be concealed from the reviewers, it is still the responsibility of the investigators to write their proposals to ensure that anonymity is preserved. Guidelines on preparing anonymous proposals will be made available in the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals.

A FAQ on the proposal process is available here.