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Questions and Answers about
AODP Proposals and Awards

Please address all questions in writing to the System Project Office at

(Last updated November 1, 2004)

Q: The AODP and NSF Proposal Cover and Certification Pages require that proposers agree and comply with AURA and NSF terms and conditions if an award is made as a result of this proposal application. Will these terms and conditions be negotiated upon award notification, or could you tell me where I can find the terms and conditions that will apply to this effort?

A: The terms and conditions will be negotiated with the successful proposer upon award of the AODP sub-award.

Q: Is the Letter of Intent deadline a hard deadline?

A: The purpose of the Letters of Intent is to provide NOAO the required information needed in order to determine the review panel size and composition.

In the announcement, the letter of intent has a "due date", not a "deadline", meaning that NOAO may choose to accept late letters. In each case, the decision will depend on the status of review planning, the review panel size and workload, the topic of the LOI with respect to the range of experience represented on the panel, and NOAO's evaluation of the conformance of the project to the AODP Roadmap priorities.

Q: What are the award terms concerning intellectual property?

A: Terms concerning Intellectual Property (IP) will be addressed in the individual sub-award. The requirement for public disclosure of the IP will be limited to that IP that is developed as a result of this award.

Q: Can non-U.S. institutions and investigators participate in proposals to the Adaptive Optics Development Program?

A: The AODP is open to U.S. PI’s and host institutions only. Non-U.S. Co-I’s, collaborators, senior personnel,. etc, may be proposed; however, AODP funding may not be used to pay salary and personnel costs of non-U.S. participants.

Q: How many Letters of Intent were received for the 2004 AODP proposal cycle?

A: The AODP received 22 letters of intent for proposals totaling approximately $8M in first year funding requests, with $26M total requested over 5 years.

FAQ from 2003 proposers

Questions and Answers about AODP Proposals and Awards

Q: What is AODP policy concerning confidentiality of proposals and the proposal review process?

A: The AODP intends to treat as confidential the content of all proposals, and to limit access to that necessary for management and review. Review panel members are asked, in general, to respect this policy. However, panel members may, at their own judgment, discuss specific informational points or issues with colleagues of their choice (e.g., to benefit from their special experience or knowledge), under similar understanding of confidentiality. (This option should be exercised with restraint, and never in the case of material identified by the proposer as proprietary.) Review panel members should not communicate directly with proposal authors during the review process.

Following the announcement of awards, unsuccessful proposals will remain confidential. Successful proposals will be announced by title, PI, abstract and award amount, plus additional descriptive information as appropriate for reporting of the AODP program and activities.

Panel membership will be treated by AODP as confidential information, but inevitably will not remain entirely unknown to the community. Panel members may choose to disclose their own participation (preferably not during the review process), but are asked to respect the anonymity of the other members.

The discussions which take place in the panel meetings should not be repeated in any other forum, and the conclusions of the panel deliberations should only be communicated through the official channels of AODP and NSF.

Q: What is AODP policy concerning conflicts of interest and the proposal review process?

A: The AODP review panel membership will be selected to avoid conflicts of interest, including the appearance of conflicts of interest, based on the information supplied by prospective proposers in the required Letters of Intent. In addition, the AODP will ask panel members to examine their relationship to project participants, proposing institutions, and contractors with respect to possible conflict of interest. A complete statement of the current NSF Directorate for Engineering Small Business Innovation Research instructions to reviewers concerning conflicts of interest is incorporated by reference here as an element of AODP policy. Panel members should follow these instructions in both letter and spirit, and should notify AODP staff or the panel chair in the event of a real or possible conflict. In addition, panel meetings will begin with a review of conflict of interest policies and issues.

Q: Can you give us an estimate on when the AODP awards will be made? We need to know how soon we might enter into financial commitments if our proposal is successful.

A: For this year's proposals (due October 3, 2003), the proposal review panel is expected to return decisions on awards by November 17, 2003. The subsequent negotiation of agreements, including review by NSF and AURA, should be completed by December 15, 2003 for agreements that do not present unusual complications or extensive iteration.

Q: Can you tell us what percentage of the yearly AODP funds available will be allocated specifically for laser guide star development work?

A: The only explicit constraint on the size of awards is the amount of funding projected to be available. The funding level is now identified at $2.9M in the first year, with a projected (but not guaranteed) level of $4M next and following years. The only guidelines for distribution of funds are those in the Announcement of Opportunity and the Road Map, both accessible from the AODP Web page. Briefly though, these documents do not give a percentage allocation.

Q: I could only find a June 2000 version of the AO road map [see:] Was it ever updated? What about high contrast imaging/planet detection technology, which has developed significantly since then?

A: The June 2000 version is the most recent. A steering committee will be convened in early 2004 to prepare an update. In the current round of proposals, the panel members will be expected to use their own experience and familiarity with continuing AO and large-telescope developments to interpret the AO road map appropriately in the current context. Proposals for high contrast imaging/planet detection technology will be welcome.

Q. At what time on Friday, Oct 3rd, are the proposals due?

A. Proposals should be submitted as .pdf or WORD attachments sent to by 24:00 (Midnight--proposer's local time) on Friday, October 3. "Midnight" on Friday, October 3, is understood to mean the minute following 11:59 PM local time (23:59 local time). Receipt of your proposal will be acknowledged via e-mail no later than Monday, October 6.

Q. I'm an NOAO scientist and one of the groups preparing a proposal for AODP has invited me to participate in their effort at the 20% level. Can my salary be included in the budget for their proposal under the AODP ground rules, or does this create a conflict of interest because I'm an employee of NOAO?

A. NOAO is not allowed to receive funds from successful AODP awards. NOAO staff can be named as participants on an AODP proposal, but no budgetary support for them can be requested by the proposers.

Q. In the course of our proposed AODP work, we expect to make use of equipment furnished by NOAO. What can NOAO say about its plans for adaptive optics on the SOAR telescope?

A. NOAO is planning to build a compatible AO system for the SOAR telescope and has included this project in its Long Range Plan. The design work for the AO System is nearing completion; NOAO will complete that project subject to its (expected) success at the Preliminary Design Review. NOAO's SOAR AO plans pre-date the Announcement of Opportunity of the AODP, and are independent of AODP outcomes.

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