Announcing the JCMT Large Programs (II)

The EAO are pleased to provide an early announcement of the second Call for JCMT Large Programs. This information is being provided ahead of the opening of the Call in order for current and new teams to pursue discussion and planning. Submissions will be accepted from February 15th up until the March 15th deadline. This will coincide with the 17B PI Call.

Up to 3000 hours of time to be awarded between:  August 2017 and January 2020

The call will open

Wednesday February 15th 2017

This is to coincide with the JCMT 2017 Users meeting (for more details click here)

The closing date for submissions is

Wednesday March 15th 2017

15:00 Hawaiian Standard Time


The East Asian Observatory announces the opening of a second JCMT Large Program Call for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. Large Programs are defined by the observatory as projects which require significant amounts (> 200 hours) of observing time, require more than a single semester to complete and that take full advantage of the JCMT instrumentational capabilities to address multiple important scientific questions.

This call is aimed at continuing and growing the impact of the first generation of JCMT Large Programs undertaken as EAO/JCMT and the JCMT Legacy Surveys.


Submissions will be accepted from scientists in any of the East Asian Observatory regions (Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea) and participating JCMT regions (UK and Canada). For more information please read  the EAO eligibility pages. Any scientist from these regions is eligible to participate at any level (PI or co-I) in a survey proposal. Collaborations are strongly encouraged and subject to the requirements detailed below (see Large Program Definitions and Requirements). Multiple PIs are allowed for Large Program proposals.

Following the approval of a Large Program, admission to a Large Program collaboration will be opened to scientists from all participating regions until the start of survey observing. Membership management following that date will be at the discretion of the individual survey management team. The JCMT will provide assistance in maintaining survey sign-up and membership distribution lists and webpages as required.

Large Program Definitions and Requirements

Successful JCMT Large Programs proposals will:

  • be self-contained, and address a number of important scientific questions;

  • generally request a minimum of 200hrs;

  • use SCUBA-2 (alone or with POL-2 modules) and/or HARP-B and/or RxA.

  • demonstrate legacy value, fully justifying the need for survey status, rather than that of a conventional TAC proposal;

  • include investigators from at least two regions, including at least one JCMT partner region (UK or Canada) and at least one EAO region (China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea). Collaborations between more than two regions are strongly encouraged – the assessment process will consider the degree to which the proposals represent the interests of all the relevant communities;

  • include a viable management plan (e.g. membership rules), and publication plan;

  • identify and explain any link(s) to other survey(s);

Proposal Requirements

The proposal should:

  • address all of the requirements listed above
  • list all PI(s),  co-Is and their regional affiliations
  • include both a scientific and technical case
  • in the technical case, the proposal must utilize the available integration time calculators provided by the observatory to justify their time request (see Calculating Integration Times below)
  •  specify the weather conditions (read opacity) that it requires or can tolerate. The amount of time available per weather/opacity band varies through the year
  • be submitted via the Hedwig proposal system, by March 15th, 2017. Any questions regarding proposals should also be directed to this address or to the help desk
  • Source lists – if the proposal requires an extensive list of sources, this can be included as a separate file that will not be considered part of the page count. 

Time Available

EAO intends to allocate up to half of the available science time between August 2017 and the end of January 2020 (the end of 19B) to Large Program proposals that meet the required goals. The JCMT normally operates a 12-hour night, running from approximately 7:30pm to 7:30am HST.  Table A and Table B show source transit times during (roughly) the first and seconds halves of the year.

The table below shows the estimated distribution of available science time for surveys. This constitutes 50% of the total available time – the other 50% will remain available for P.I. projects. The hours are broken down in approximate distribution as a function of weather grade. Weather grade percentages per semester are derived from long-term averages (2003-2015) as determined by the CSO radiometer and 183GHz Water Vapor Meter (WVM) at JCMT. The figure provides the same hourly distributions, in graphical form.



Large Program Review and Proprietary Periods

The Scientific Time Allocation Committee will assess all proposals during April and May 2017, and provide recommendations for survey time awards to the JCMT Board. The JCMT Board will determine the final allocations and award announcements will be made to successful P.I.s in June 2017. At this time, sign-up for membership to successful surveys will be announced and supported by the JCMT. Surveys will be asked to prepare for submission of observations to the observatory which will commence in August 2017.

Large Program data will have the same proprietary period as P.I. data collected at the JCMT, consisting of a full year following completion of the semester in which the data was taken. There will be a mid-Large Program review to assess the performance of the Large Programs in progress. Large Program proposals are asked to include a description of their intended publication plan, taking the proprietary period and review into account. 

Large Programs (II) Proposal Timeline

Large Program Call Announcement November 2016
JCMT 2017 Users Meeting 13th/14th February 2017
Large Program Call Opens 15th February 2017
Large Program Call deadline 15th March 2017
Large Program Review April/May 2017
Large Program Awards announced June 2017
Large Program sign-up July 2017 – 1st August 2017
Large Program start 1st August 2017
Large Program completion 30th January 2020

Resources for Large Program Planning

Available Instrumentation and Observing Modes

The current status and availability of the JCMT instrument suite is here.

Continuum Receivers

  • SCUBA-2 (simultaneous 450µm & 850µm imaging)
  • POL-2 (Polarimetry commissioned at 850µm)

Heterodyne Receivers General overview

  • RxA3 (211-272 GHz) – has a single receptor.
  • HARP (325-375 GHz) – is a 16-element B-band array.

Heterodyne Backend

Several modes of heterodyne observing and several switching schemes are supported.

Calculating Integration Times

Integration time calculators or formulae are available, for

They should be used to calculate the integration time needed to reach a given RMS per channel or beam or output-map pixel as a function of receiver, frequency, observing mode, elevation and sky opacity.

The JCMT Observing Tool (JCMTOT) gives equivalent results for all instruments.

  • Overheads for pointing, focussing, and calibrations should not be added to the time request. These activities will be accounted for separately. Calibration observations (eg. focus, pointing, flux calibrators) and other unavoidable overheads (eg receiver tuning) are no longer charged to science projects and instead are charged to an observatory accounting code. There is therefore no need for applicants to provide calibration overhead estimates in their proposals.The observatory will perform regular and appropriate calibration observations to ensure that all science data obtained are sensibly calibrated.
    • Spectroscopically, this involves observations of one of our Spectral Line Standards at one of about ten different standard line frequencies . If your programme frequency is one of these, then you’re decidely in luck. In any case, the calibration allows you to assess the performance of the instrument. We will perform such an observation at least once per programme unless a previous calibration is still appropriate, and more often if circumstances change or if more than a couple of hours pass.
    • For continuum work, continuum calibrators will be observed at both operational wavelengths of SCUBA-2 (450µm, 850µm) at appropriate times and airmass to meet the general needs of the science programmes.

    If a proposal demands more unusual or more frequent calibrations then this needs to be clearly stated in the proposal and the time for these calibrations requested explicitly. If you have queries about what our default calibrations might be or what extra overheads are generated by your calibration requirements please get in touch with us.

Previous JCMT Data/Large Program data and Legacy Survey data

Survey scientists are strongly encouraged to investigate the existence and availability of any previous JCMT data in their areas of interest. The JCMT Science Archive (JSA) hosted by CADC should be used to investigate this. We also encourage perusal of the information on the previous JCMT Legacy Surveys, and to make use of the clash tool used in previous JCMT semesters, which indicates whether sources entered are in regions that were observed previously.

Large Program Discussion and Collaboration

To help cultivate ideas discussions on potential new JCMT Large Programs EAO have provided a wiki for interested JCMT users:

This wiki is read only. To get an account on this wiki to edit and create new discussion pages please email h.stilmack <@> for an account.

For further discussion and questions regarding new Large Program ideas please email h.parsons <@>

Finally if you still have questions or concerns, please contact For all users and potential users of the JCMT it is recommended to send an email to to subscribe to our JCMT email list for future telescope announcements.

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