SARAO Opens Call for Observing Proposals on the MeerKAT Radio Telescope


The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has announced an opportunity for interested applicants to apply for observing time on the MeerKAT telescope. The goal is to maximise the impact of the telescope while contributing to South African scientific leadership and human capital development. This call is open to Postdocs and PhD students regardless of affiliation.

About Meerkat

MeerKAT is a radio interferometer located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.MeerKAT consists of 64 dishes with superb sensitivity on baselines of up to 8 km. This Call offers continuum, spectral line, and pulsar/fast transient capabilities employing the UHF (580-1015 MHz), L- (900-1670 MHz), and S-band (1.75-3.5 GHz) receivers.

Components of Proposal

All complete proposals consist of the following compulsory sections 

  • Cover sheets 

Note that if the proposal is to form a core component for the PhD thesis of a listed PI/co-PI, this should be indicated under team details. If a team member has been involved in any previous projects regarding Meerkat Open time or closely related projects, they are required to give a brief status update on three recent projects. If the project has resulted in a publication, kindly include information about the paper’s title and any bibliographic information. Lastly, a large project must have retired scientific risk through the results of a pilot study. There should be an indication of an integrated time for each target.

  • Science case containing scientific and technical justification

This should be one PDF document (maximum size 10 MB) with a size 11 font size and standard margins. Any abstract, relevant figures/tables and references must be included within its page limit. The page limit for the Science Case is; 3 pages for regular and multi-year proposals and four pages for large proposals. No team member should be explicitly identified, as this proposal will be in a dual-anonymous fashion. Note that this document should be written for an astronomer who is not an expert in the subfield of astronomy. There should not be an assumption of knowledge on galaxy clusters and star-forming galaxies. This component will also comprise a technical and scientific justification.

  • Data analysis/ management plan

This should be a one-page PDF document which is non-anonymised and will be used to assess the feasibility of the proposed project. In addition, there is an expectation for proposers to use this section to indicate the resources that they have at their disposal to achieve the task; these resources include software, hardware and personnel with the necessary expertise.

Proposals will be reviewed on the merits of their science case and feasibility. Moreover, proposals that form a core component for the PhD thesis of South African-based students or that build South African capacity for Key Science with SKA1 will be advantaged compared to otherwise similarly meritorious proposals.

To access instructions, documentation and tools required to prepare and submit proposals, access the MeerKAT Knowledge Base here.


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