Principal Investigator Proposal Tool

The Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT) is offered for Windows, for Mac OS X and as a jar file for any operating system.

It can be downloaded from the software download page.


Before installing the PIPT, you need to ensure that Java 1.8 (“Java 8”) or higher is running on your computer. Please refer to the Java installation help for further information.

Version 5.3 or higher of the PIPT should run both under Oracle Java and under the OpenJDK


An online manual, which is a work in progress, is available as html and pdf.


If this requirement is fulfilled, the installation is straightforward: Just download the PIPT for your operating system and store it locally in a directory of your choice. Done!

On Windows, move the downloaded file to a convenient location and launch the PIPT by double-clicking its icon.

On Mac OS X, double-click the downloaded disk image to see its content. Move the file PIPT-n to a convenient location and launch it by double-clicking its icon.

On Linux (or any other operating system, for that matter) try to double-click on the icon of the file you’ve just downloaded, and see what happens. If this doesn’t produce the desired effect, open a terminal and type in

java -jar your_jar_file

where your_jar_file denotes the downloaded file.

When starting the PIPT for the first time, you will be greeted with a welcome message asking you to select a location for the cache. After that you will be informed that your cache requires an update, and you will be asked to log in so that the update can be made.

And finally, the PIPT frame appears and you can start creating and editing your proposals.

Tips & Tricks

The Tips & Tricks page contains various useful hints for creating your proposal in general and for using the PIPT in particular.


There are an FAQ for Phase I and and FAQ for Phase II. It is a good idea to have a look at both, as some questions apply to both Phase I and II, and may be answered in only one of the two FAQs.

Ask us!

And if none of the resources answers your question, send an email to In case your question is specific to your (phase 2) proposal, always include the proposal code (such as 2020-2-SCI-042) in the subject of your email. It can also be a good idea to export the proposal as a zip file (using the menu item File > Export as Zip File) and attach it to your email.

Version History

  • Version 5.5 fixes pool related issues.
  • Version 5.4 has improved cleaning functionality for removing strange errors and adds a warning if the maximum number of visits is less than the number of requested block visits.
  • Version 5.3 adds support for gravitational wave event proposals. It also fixes a bug that prevented target and block tables from being updated properly.
  • Version 5.2 fixes a bug in the submission process.
  • Version 5.1 fixes a bug with time accounting in pools and displays rejected visits in the table of blocks.
  • Version 5.0 includes full multi-semester support and improved ordering of blocks and targets.
  • Version 4.21 fixes a race condition which could lead to data not being accepted in the PIPT.
  • Version 4.20 lets you jump to the line of an error in the XML shown in the validation window.
  • Version 4.19 includes a warning for observations longer than an hour.
  • Version 4.18 allows for continuous block visits.
  • Version 4.17 adds a a technical filter.
  • Version 4.16 updates the HRS readout time and acquisition time, includes version 4.3.0 of the RSS Simulator and lets you store your user credentials.
  • Version 4.15 lets you define an expiry date for blocks and adds some improvements to the form for Fabry-Perotr setups.
  • Version 4.14 lets you submit commissioning proposals without prior validation.
  • Version 4.13 drops restrictions on the Principal Investigator.
  • Version 4.12 allows you to choose how to sort proposals in the navigation tree and lets you add publications to previous proposal details.
  • Version 4.11 fixes an issue which could lead to a spurious error message after submitting a proposal and could make proposal imports fail.
  • Version 4.10 requires Java 1.8 or higher.
  • Version 4.9 includes changes related to polarimetry,
  • Version 4.8 fixes a bug in the import of multiple blocks.
  • Version 4.7 lets you copy maximum lunar phases from your phase 1 proposal into the phase 2 proposal.
  • Version 4.6 includes updated arc overheads and fixes some bugs related to the new lunar requirements for phase 2.
  • Version 4.5 includes the new phase 1/2 requirements for the lunar conditions.
  • Version 4.4 fixes an issue with observing times for multi-semester proposals and enforces standard detector settings for HRS setups.
  • Version 4.3 improves the feasibility checking for phase 1 during submission of multi-semester proposals.
  • Version 4.2 adds feasibility checking for phase 1 during submission and improves the generated phase 1 summary pdf.
  • Version 4.1 improves the HRSA readout overheads and doesn’t ask for finalising submitted proposals any longer.
  • Version 4.0 offers 2MASS surverys for finding chart generation and has more meaningful names for the HRS target location.
  • Version 3.9 adds dummy target and lets you mark blocks that shouldn’t be submitted.
  • Version 3.8 fixes a bug related to importing Phase I proposals with a SALTICAM setup.
  • Version 3.7 improves some overhead estimates.
  • Version 3.6 allows you to check the feasibility of blocks with a target having a NASA JPL Horizons identifier.
  • Version 3.4 fixes some bugs related to overheads.
  • Version 3.3 corrects overheads for RSS arcs and flats, and it makes ThAr exposures optional for high stability mode HRS setups using the iodine cell.
  • Version 3.2 lets you submit phase 2 proposals for semester 2014-1.
  • Version 3.1 allows long-term proposals.
  • Version 2.93 fixes some BVIT-related issues.
  • Version 2.9 offers to view a timeline describing your observations. It also allows you to check the observability of targets in phase 1 proposals, it lets you move up to 3,600 sec of observing time to less restrictive observing conditions, and it fixes some overhead issues.
  • Version 2.75 again allows the submission of proposals with block lengths exceeding 90% of the maximum available track length. It also lets you copy blocks etc. between different proposals, but this should be considered an experimental feature.
  • Version 2.71 fixes a bug which prevents users from creating acquisitions.
  • Version 2.70 allows you to specify a minimum angular distance to the Moon and a maximum lunar phase. It also includes the latest changes in the Visibility Tool, which now has a plot showing the available track length. The length of blocks now must not exceed 90 % of the maximum available track length.
  • Version 2.50 lets you request time for any Moon in a phase 1 proposal. It also fixes issues with importing targets from file. Information about previous proposals can be copied from another proposal.
  • Version 2.40 lets you attach instrument simulations to a phase 1 proposal, mark proposals as priority 4 proposals and add information about previous proposals.
  • Version 2.30 lets you define a pool with blocks for a monitoring observation. It also fixes MOS-related calibration overheads. Upgrading is recommended.
  • Version 2.20 includes dithering, non-charged calibrations and improved calibration overheads. You are strongly encouraged to upgrade.