Division of Astronomical Sciences
Management and Operation of the Gemini Observatory
Letter of Intent Deadline Date: November 28, 2014
Full Proposal Deadline Date: February 27, 2015
Proposals are solicited to manage and operate the Gemini Observatory through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration currently consisting of the funding partners of the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as host institutions in Chile and Hawai’i. The Gemini Partnership operates twin optical/infrared optimized 8 m diameter telescopes on the superb sites of Mauna Kea, Hawai'i and Cerro Pachón, Chile, providing large light-collecting areas, exquisite image quality, high infrared transparency (especially at Mauna Kea), agile and efficient scheduling queues, access to the entire sky, and well-developed infrastructures. Gemini North and Gemini South have carried out scientific operations since 2000 and 2001, respectively, addressing fundamental scientific questions with new observational and operational techniques.
The terms under which the Partnership currently operates are codified in the International Gemini Agreement, signed through the end of calendar 2015 by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. An updated version of this agreement, which will apply through the end of calendar 2021, is being finalized by the partners and a draft version of this document will be made available to proposers as part of the resource library being compiled for this solicitation. The Gemini agreement specifies the roles of the NSF, the Gemini Board, and the managing organization. Namely,
- The NSF serves in two capacities in the Gemini Partnership. It acts as Executive Agency according to the terms of the International Gemini Agreement, and as such is empowered to act on behalf of the Partnership to execute necessary administrative actions. In addition, the NSF serves as the U.S. funding agency, having programmatic responsibility for oversight of U.S. interests in the Partnership.
- The Gemini Board is a supervisory and regulatory body responsible for budgetary and policy oversight, guidance of the managing organization for Gemini, and review of the terms of the award between the Executive Agency and managing organization. The Gemini Board is composed of representatives from each of the partner countries, in approximate proportion to partner share. U.S. members include an NSF representative and members of the U.S. scientific community.
- According to terms set forth in the Gemini Agreement, the appointment of the managing organization for Gemini includes review and approval by the partners. Funding is accomplished through a cooperative agreement (CA) between the NSF and the managing organization. The Awardee resulting from this solicitation will serve as the managing organization, as defined in the Gemini Agreement.
The Awardee will work closely with NSF and the scientific community to ensure that the Gemini Observatory continues to support, sustain and advance frontier science as enabled by Gemini’s unique research capabilities and as promoted through a culture of excellence. In cooperation with NSF and within available resources, Gemini will plan and execute a viable, coherent and inclusive program of research and education, consistent with the objectives and priorities of the scientific community. The Awardee will manage facilities and equipment provided by NSF, will provide and develop additional equipment as necessary to fulfill the approved programmatic scope, and will provide support and technical personnel to manage the Gemini Observatory as a well-integrated research and education facility.
Proposals should describe how the proposing institution(s) will provide observing capabilities and access to the resulting scientific data; facilitate an integrated program of research, education, training and outreach; maintain instruments, facilities and infrastructure; manage and develop a skilled and diverse workforce; and establish appropriate relationships with universities, industry, private organizations and the international community to support the mission of the Observatory.
The successful proposal will be awarded as a cooperative agreement(s) with a duration of six (6) years beginning January 1, 2017.
 Also termed the Gemini Agreement, see http://www.gemini.edu/science/support/Gem_Agreement_combined.pdf.
What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)
Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program