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Each year UCO provides funding for Faculty and Researchers with the primary goal to provide funding for instrumentation design, technology development, workshops, or other significant service activities that directly address the strategic and functional goals of UCO.

The call for proposals for the UCO Mini-Grant Program is made each August with deadlines in the end of October or early November.

Latest UCO Mini-Grant Call for Proposals

UC Observatories Mini-Grant Program FY22
Call for Proposals
Call Release Date: September 7rd, 2021
Deadline: Monday, November 8, 2021

The University of California Observatories announces a call for proposals to its 2021-2022 Mini-Grant program. The Mini-Grant program is designed to support system-wide activities that significantly contribute and advance UCO’s core mission.

Scope and Goals:
The primary goal of the Mini-Grant program is to provide funding for instrumentation design, technology development, workshops, or other significant service activities that directly address the strategic and functional goals of UCO. Examples of activities that may be supported include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Design of new or upgraded instrumentation and capabilities for Keck, TMT, or Lick
• Development of enabling technologies for future UCO instrumentation and telescopes
• Technology prototyping for the above, including potential costs of testing on a telescope
• Workshops or meetings for instrumentation planning or instrument science teams
• Software development for data pipelines or observatory infrastructure
• Purchase of equipment (such as filters or gratings) for UCO instruments
• Purchase of lab equipment to be used for UCO-related instrumentation work
• Writing of major external funding proposals for UCO-related instrumentation
• PI activities for a major Lick, Keck or TMT instrument
• Managing major UCO facilities
• Leadership role in fostering international technological or scientific collaboration or partnerships for UCO facilities or instruments
• Sustained major fundraising activities on behalf of Lick, Keck, or TMT

Appointment to one of the following UCO positions will automatically be accompanied by one month of summer salary or one quarter of teaching release annually (further described in Salary Support or Teaching Release section below):
• UC Co-Chair of Keck Science Steering Committee (SSC)
• UC Co-Chair of TMT Science Advisory Committee (SAC)
• Chair of UCO Advisory Committee (UCOAC)
• UC Liaison to TMT Board

Funds Available:
The total amount of funding available for this proposal call is $200K. An individual PI may submit more than one proposal if the proposals clearly address distinct topics or activities. Matching with campus-based or external sources of funding is encouraged but not required. Funds are expected to be used over a one-year period, but grantees may submit a request for a one-year no-cost extension at the end of the grant period if the project duration exceeds one year. No IDC is applicable.

Salary Support or Teaching Release:
In direct connection with the above instrumentation, infrastructure or service goals, funding may be requested for salary support for faculty (up to a maximum of one summer month per year), researchers, postdocs, or graduate students. The funding request must be clearly justified in terms of the time required for the project personnel to carry out the proposed instrumentation-related activities. Standard benefits rates may be included on salary costs.

Proposal PIs should base their budget requests on actual salary and benefits costs as provided by their departmental financial officers. Faculty may also choose to request funding for up to one quarter (or one semester at Berkeley or Merced) of administrative/service teaching release. Administrative/Service teaching release should only be requested in circumstances where an unusually high level of faculty effort is required. Time freed up from teaching must be used to pursue the UCO-related activities as described in the proposal. Administrative/service teaching/course buyout rate is based on each campus set rate. Before requesting teaching release, the faculty should verify with their department chair to confirm that the reduced teaching is allowed and what the administrative/service rate is.

Funding may not be requested or used to support or subsidize the astronomical research of the PI or Co-Is (e.g., paying for travel to observing runs, support for time spent analyzing Keck or Lick scientific data, etc.).

Who May Apply:
The criteria for eligibility to submit proposals as PI are the same as the criteria for eligibility to apply for UC Keck observing time as PI: this includes UC ladder rank faculty and ladder rank emeritus faculty, UC scientists with appointments in the Professional Research Series, and research scientists and staff scientists holding full-time career- track or career appointments at LBNL and LLBL. See the link for specific details.

Proposal Content:
The proposal should be a maximum of 5 pages in length. It should contain a descriptive title, brief abstract, and a list of the names and campus affiliations of the PI and any Co-Is. Text should use a font size of 11 points or larger; single-spaced. The proposal should include the following sections:

• Project Justification (3 pages) should include two pages of supporting program text with up to one additional page for figures and references. The Project Justification should include a description of the project goals, methods to be employed or activities undertaken, roles for personnel involved in the project, and equipment justification.
• Budget and Deliverables (2 pages) should include a specific budget request broken down by major items with justification, a timeline of the proposed activities, and specific proposed deliverables. Since funding will be allocated from UCO, administrative overhead (F&A) should not be included in the proposal budget. Costs for equipment and supplies should be based on actual vendor quotes whenever possible, and must include sales tax. Travel should be based upon reasonable airfare, mileage, meal and lodging per diem for potential destination(s). If the proposal includes in-kind contributions from UCO staff, this must be reflected in the budget. Please contact Anna Korossy (akorossy@ucolick.org) who will provide the recharge rate.

Proposal Submission:
Proposals should be submitted via SPG proposal submission system (like that used for UC Keck and Lick proposals) by Monday, November 8, 2020. A summary of the submission process can be found on the UCO mini-grant web page: https://www.ucobservatories.org/observers/uco-mini-grant-program/

Any questions about the proposal or submission please contact the Associate Director, Anna Korossy (akorossy@ucolick.org), and cc’d to the UCOAC Chair, Shelley Wright (saw@physics.ucsd.edu).

Proposal Evaluation and Selection:
Proposals will be evaluated and ranked by the UC Observatories Advisory Committee (UCOAC). The final decision on funding will be made by the UCO Director. Criteria for selection will include relevance to UCO goals for instrumentation and technology development, support of the capabilities of the Keck, Lick, and TMT Observatories, timeliness and feasibility of the proposed work, and benefit to the UC astronomical community as a whole. Following the proposal selection, PI’s of successful proposals will be asked to provide the contact information of a financial officer at their campus to coordinate the transfer of funds. UCO will provide reviewer comments to all PIs after the selection process has been completed.

Reporting Requirements:
At the conclusion of the one-year funding period, the PI will be required to submit a report describing the work undertaken and results obtained as a result of the grant (2 pages maximum; 11 point font or larger; single spaced). The grant report should describe the activities, outcomes, and expenditures from your UCO allocation for this program. The report will be read by the UCOAC and the UCO Director, and will help the UCOAC to evaluate the efficacy of the Mini-Grant program as a whole.

If the program/PI is requesting additional funding in a subsequent Mini-grant proposal, the grant report will be used in that year’s proposal evaluation process, Requests for no-cost extensions must be accompanied by a progress report on expenditures and progress to date. Please submit all reports and requests for extensions to Anna Korossy (akorossy@ucolick.org) and cc’d to the UCOAC Chair, Shelley Wright (saw@physics.ucsd.edu). Please write “UCO Mini-Grant Reporting” in the email subject line. Grant reports should be submitted before or on the subsequent deadline of FY23 Mini-grant program.

Proposal Submittal Instructions

Proposals for the mini-grant program will be submitted online in a process very similar to that used for UC Keck proposals.

Submitting an application is a two-step process: on-line creation of a proposal cover sheet and uploading a pdf-format file with the Justification, Budget and other support materials.

Step 1: Create a proposal cover sheet and be assigned a Proposal ID#. Go to the web page below, enter the information required for the form, submit the form and note the assigned proposal ID#, which is required in Step 2.

https://spg.ucolick.org/cgi-bin/time_apps/MiniGrant/

Step 2: Prepare a pdf Proposal.

The proposal should be a maximum of 5 pages in length. It should contain a descriptive title, brief abstract, and a list of the names and campus affiliations of the PI and any Co-Is. Text should use a font size of 11 points or larger; single-spaced. The proposal should include the following sections:

1. Project Justification (3-page limit),
2. Budget and Deliverables (2-page limit),

Create a pdf-format of this document and upload it at the submission web page:

https://spg.ucolick.org/cgi-bin/MiniGrant/login.cgi

Past funded Project Titles

2020-2021 funded UCO Instrumentation and Service Mini-Grants (FY21)

Completing a focal plane wavefront sensor conceptual design for SCALES – Rebecca Jensen-Clem, UCSC
Science and Simulations for Keck/HISPEC and TMT/MODHIS – Quinn Konopacky, UCSD
Visible Light Di raction-Limited Polarimetric Imaging at Lick – Max Millar-Blanchaer, UCSB
Adaptive Optics for Keck and Beyond – Jessica Lu, UCB
LIGER FINAL DESIGN PHASE: PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS A AND OPTO-MECHANICAL DESIGN – Shelley Wright, UCSD
Facilitating the Development of TMT/PSI: Progress Report and 2020-2021 Request – Mike Fitzgerald, UCLA
Service Mini-Grants

UCOAC Chair – Shelley Wright (UCSD)
Co-Chair of TMT SSC – Tomasso Treu (UCLA)
Co-Chair of Keck SSC – Aaron Barth (UCI)
TMT (Board) – Michael Bolte

2019-2020 funded UCO Instrumentation and Service Mini-Grants (FY20)

A new Keck AO Precision Calibration Unit for Astrometry – Jessica Lu, UCB
Evaluating HiPIMS Process for Robust Protected-Ag Coatings – Andrew Phillips, UCSC
Upgrading the UC Davis Lick/Keck Remote Observing Room – Chris Fassnacht, UCD
Facilitating the Development of TMT/PSI – Chris Fassnacht, UCD
Testing a 10 μm detector for TMT’s Planetary Systems Imager – Andy Skemer, UCSC
Fundraising Activities for Lick Observatory – Alex Filippenko, UCB
PypeIt: A Data Reduction Pipeline for UCO and WMKO – Hennawi, Joseph, UCSB
Service Mini-Grants

TMT Int’l science collaboration – Treu, Tommaso (UCLA)
Co-Chair of Keck SSC -Treu, Tommaso (UCLA)

2018-2019 funded UCO Instrumentation and Service Mini-Grants (FY19)

Supplement to Keck White Paper Funding for the SCALES Design – Andy Skemer, UCSC
Facilitating the Development of TMT/PSI – Mike Fitzgerald, UCLA
An On-Sky Demonstration of Fiber Observation with Keck – Kevin Bundy, UC Observatories
A Robust MKID Program for UC Telescopes – Ben Mazin, UCSB
CUBEpy: a PYTHON-based Package for the Extraction of Point Source Spectra from KCWI Data Cubes – Dan Weisz, Berkeley
Pypelt: A Data Reduction Pipeline for UCO and WMKO – Xavier Prochaska, UCSC
Lenslet-Slicer Hybrid IFUs: From Colors to Chemistry – Andy Skemer UCSC
Service Mini-Grants

Fundraising Activities for Lick Observatory – Alex Filippenko, UCB
Foster TMT International Science Collaboration – Alex Filippenko, UCB
TMT Board – Michael Bolte, UCSC
Co-Chair of Keck SSC – Jean Brodie, UCSC
Chair UCOAC – Gillian Wilson, UCR

2017-2018 funded UCO Instrumentation and Service Mini-Grants (FY18)

Enhancing Multi-Object Spectroscopy with Ground-Layer Adaptive Optics at Keck – Jessica Lu, UC Berkeley
Modeling Fiber Performance for Ultra-Faint Spectroscopy – Kevin Bundy, UCO
APF 2.0: Stabilization of the Automated Planet Finder for a New Discovery Landscape – Courtney Dressing, UC Berkeley
PYPIT: A Data Reduction Pipeline for UCO and WMKO – J. Xavier Prochaska, UCSC
A MKID-based Multi-Object High Resolution Spectrograph – Ben Mazin, UCSB
Preparing for Solar System Science with TMT and IRIS – Michael H. Wong, UC Berkeley
Hardware Upgrades for the UC San Diego Remote Observing Facilities – Quinn Konopacky, UCSD
Upgrade to Mainland-Only Remote Observing Facility at UCR – Brian Siana, UCR
Service Mini-Grants

Continuing to foster the TMT International Science Collaboration – Tommaso Treu, UCLA
Working Toward New UCO Funding & Partnerships – Andrea Ghez, UCLA
Fundraising activities for Lick Observatory – Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley

2016-2017 funded UCO Instrumentation and Service Mini-Grants (FY17)

Enhancing Multi-Object Spectroscopy with Ground-Layer Adaptive Optics at Keck – Jessica Lu, UC Berkeley
A Wide-Field AO-Fed Integral Field Spectrograph for Keck – James Larkin & Michael Fitzgerald, UCLA
A Mini-IFU for Keck-AO/NIRSPEC – Andy Skemer, UCSC & Michael Fitzgerald, UCLA
FOBOS: A Fiber-Fed MOS for Keck – David Schlegel, LBNL
A MKID-based Multi-Object High Resolution Spectrograph – Ben Mazin, UCSB
Next-generation hardware for Remote Observing at UC Facilities – Graeme Smith and Jason X. Prochaska, UCSC
Replacement UPS for UCLA Remote Observing Site – Ian McLean, UCLA
Fostering the TMT international science collaboration – Tommaso Treu, UCLA
Working Toward New UCO Funding & Partnerships – Andrea Ghez, UCLA
Fundraising activities for Lick Observatory – Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley
2015-2016 funded UCO Instrumentation Mini-Grants (FY16)

Public Release of the MOSDEF Data Reduction Package for the MOSFIRE spectrograph on Keck I – Mariska Kriek, UC Berkeley
Proposal Preparation and Team Building for the TMT Coronagraph, a Second Generation Instrument – Michael Fitzgerald, UCLA
A Workshop to Develop the Science Case for FOBOS, a Proposed New Optical Multi-Object Spectrograph for Keck – David Schlegel, LBNL
Preparations for KRAKENS, a Proposed MKID-Based Imager for Keck – Ben Mazin, UCSB
Upgrade to UC Santa Barbara Remote Observing Site – Crystal Martin, UCSB

2015-2016 funded Service Support (FY16)

(Formal Service Mini-Grants did not exist at this time)

Working Toward New UCO Funding & Partnerships – Andrea Ghez, UCLA
Fundraising activities for Lick Observatory – Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley