Starting with the upcoming winter observing period, IRAM offers the possibility to apply for observing time in the framework of a Large Program for the 30-meter telescope and the Plateau de Bure interferometer.
A Large Program should require a minimum of 100 hours of observing time, spread over a maximum of two years, i.e. 4 contiguous semesters. In the next two years, IRAM will accept a limited number of Large Programs to be carried out per semester and instrument (30-meter and Plateau de Bure interferometer), allocating a maximum of 30% of observing time to such projects.
The Large Program should address strategic scientific issues leading to a breakthrough in the field. Large Programs should be coherent science projects, not reproducible by a combination of smaller normal proposals.
The Large Program proposals should contain a solid management plan ensuring an efficient turnover, including data reduction, analysis, and organization of the efforts.
Because of the large investment in observing time, but also of the inherent support from IRAM, it is advised that Large Programs involve one or more IRAM internal collaborators.
During the execution period of the Large Programs (ideally before mid-term), the team leading the Large Program should report to IRAM about the preliminary results and possible technical difficulties, so that IRAM can assess the progress made, assist with any problems encountered in the course of the observations, and, if needed, adjust the program scheduling.
The proprietary period ends 18 months after the end of the last scheduling semester in which the Large Program was observed. The raw data and processed data then enter the public domain. An extension of this proprietary period may be granted in exceptional cases only. A corresponding request will have to be submitted to the IRAM director.
Because of the scope of the Large Programs and the need to explain the organization of the project, Large Program proposals will have a maximum length of 4 pages (not including figures, tables, or references), instead of the 2 pages for normal proposals. Large observing program proposals should be submitted using the standard proposal templates; just check the ``Large Program'' bullet on the cover page. The following sections should be included: i) Scientific Rationale, ii) Immediate Objective, iii) Feasibility and Technical Justification, and iv) Organizational Issues. For the Plateau de Bure interferometer, the latter section must include a consideration of sun avoidance constraints and configuration scheduling.
The scientific evaluation of the Large Program proposals will be done by the full Program Committee (all 12 members, except if there is a direct implication of one the members in the proposal). External reviewers will be asked to evaluate Large Programs, if needed. In addition to the scientific evaluation, there will be an assessment of the technical feasibility by IRAM staff.
For the upcoming winter semester 2008/2009 (September 2008 deadline), the call for Large Programs will be open for the Plateau de Bure interferometer, and only for HERA and MAMBO at the 30-meter telescope. This is because the implementation of the new single pixel receivers at the 30-meter (EMIR) will not take place before the beginning of the winter semester. A call for Large Programs using EMIR at the 30-meter telescope will be issued for the summer semester 2009.