Time Allocation Criteria

The following criteria have been formulated by the South African SALT TAC (SASTAC). They do, however, make general sense and we encourage you to heed them even if you don’t apply for time from SASTAC.

The principal investigator and/or one or more co-investigators of SALT observing proposals requesting time from the South African allocation must be based at a South African institution(s). In the case of multi-partner proposals, the amount of time requested from the South African allocation must be justified by the degree of South African participation. In deciding which proposals are awarded time, the committee will look closely at all the proposals, and consider the criteria listed below:

  1. Scientific excellence and impact;
  2. Technical feasibility;
  3. The degree of participation and engagement of investigators from the South African

    astronomical community, particularly young or less experienced researchers/students and

    those from previously disadvantaged communities;

  4. Exploitation of the unique abilities and strengths of SALT and its instrumentation, in line

    with the SALT Strategic Document;

  5. Synergies with other South African or front ranked international facilities;
  6. The chances of a high profile scientific result;
  7. Assessment of the investigators’, particularly the PI’s, ability to perform;
  8. The timescale for a publishable result, but allowing for long-term programmes, where

    they are appropriately justified.

Preference will be given to completing/continuing on-going programmes, subject to reasonable status updates showing suitable progress in line with the proposed science.

The committee shall use its discretion to judge the relative weighting of the above criteria. SASTAC may suggest additional criteria as they see fit, provided that they are equitable, promote scientific excellence, the interests of South African astronomy and the reputation of SALT. All proposed modifications to the criteria for proposal evaluation must be approved by the SALT Task team prior to the call for proposals in which the modified criteria would be employed.

Following the direction of the SALT Task Team, SASTAC shall entertain proposals for large (key) projects and promote the inception thereof where possible. Such proposals will be held to the highest scientific and technical standards.

Proposals failing to include all mandatory information (such as target list, exposure time calculations) as indicated in the call for proposals, shall be rejected without scientific review. Reasons for the rejection shall be communicated clearly to the PIs concerned.

In their feedback to the PIs SASTAC shall be clear, informative and constructive, advising the PIs how to improve their proposal in case a lower ranking was given. While SASTAC’s decisions for ranking proposals are final and not subject to appeal, they should be ready to defend their process and adherence to the above criteria if questioned by the SALT Task Team.