ALMA Expects to Resume Scientific Observations in 2021

23 December, 2020

Following the postponement of Cycle 8 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) will now start the next cycle of observations in October 2021. A Call for Proposals (CfP) with detailed information on Cycle 8 2021 is anticipated to be issued on March 17. In addition, the current cycle of observations (Cycle 7), also interrupted by the pandemic, should be resumed in March. 

ALMA Cycle 8 2021 will span for 12 months, with an estimated total available time for approved science observations of 4300 hours on the main array and 3000 hours on the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), also known as the Morita Array. This new observation cycle will also have a supplemental Call for Proposals for the ACA, which will open on September 8, 2021.

ALMA will use a new Proposals Review Process. A portion of the submitted proposals will be ranked using a distributed peer-review process. After a successful pilot run in the Cycle 7 Supplemental Call, ALMA will use a distributed peer-review system for all proposals requesting less than 25 hours on the 12m array, and ACA stand-alone proposals requesting less than 150 hours on the 7-m array. In this review system, for each submitted proposal, the Principal Investigator (or one of the delegated co-investigators) will be responsible for reviewing up to 10 other submitted proposals, thus increasing the ALMA community’s involvement in the review process.

Large proposals and proposals requesting more than 25 hours on the 12-m array will be reviewed by science review panels, as in previous cycles. 

All Cycle 8 2021 proposals will be reviewed using a dual anonymous procedure where the identity of the investigators will be concealed from the reviewers. By using this procedure, ALMA aims to minimize unconscious bias.  

More details on the proposal review process are available on the Frequently Asked Questions page here.

As the global response to the pandemic continues to evolve, we encourage interested parties to follow the ALMA Science Portal and ALMA website for the latest information. 

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