Request Process for Large Field Campaigns



The LAOF request process is determined on the basis of the complexity of the field component and the deployment costs. In general, large field campaigns display one or more of the following attributes:
  • International and/or remote deployments
  • Significant international and/or interagency collaboration
  • Large investigator team and multiple science proposals
  • Involvement of multiple LAOF, especially aircraft that require operations coordination
  • Multiple science objectives
  • Difficult deployment logistics
  • Lengthy field activities
  • LAOF deployment costs in excess of $1.25 Million

Since exceptions to these general guidelines will occur, it is essential that Principal Investigators discuss all proposed field activities with their NSF Program Officer as well as the appropriate Facility Managers in a timely manner. If you are unsure how your project would be classified, please contact NSF or the LAOF Request Coordinator for guidance.



  • Letter of Interest
  • Scientific Project Overview (SPO)
  • Experiment Design Overview (EDO)
  • Project overview in the form of a presentation
  • Facility Request
  • Individual Scientific Grant Proposals



There is only one target-date per year for the submission of a large campaign request. The request is a two-step process and takes approximately one year. The lead investigators are responsible for taking the outlined actions and for providing the material below to NSF and the LAOF Partner Organizations. If you are unfamiliar with the mentioned documentation, please review the Request Documentation Definition section of this website.
FY-n references refer to the fiscal year (October through September) in which an action has to be taken. The campaign will take place in FY-0, FY-1 refers to one fiscal year before the campaign and so on.

  • Anytime in FY-3: Initiate contact with your NSF Program Officer and the appropriate facility manager(s) to alert them of your intentions and get preliminary advice concerning timing and objectives.
  • 15 September FY-3: Submit a Letter of Interest to the NSF LAOF Program Director and the LAOF Request Coordinator.
  • 15 November FY-2: Request preliminary cost estimates for each facility either through the LAOF Request Coordinator or by directly contacting the appropriate facility managers.
  • After the Spring OFAP FY-2: Provide written response to the OFAP Assessment and EDO Assessment to the LAOF Request Coordinator.

STEP 2 (assuming favorable review of SPO [see the section below]):

  • July/August Timeframe FY-2: Contact your NSF Program Officer well in advance to discuss and receive advice on the timing of submitting individual science proposals to NSF.
  • 15 August FY-2: Complete Facility Request Form(s) and up to six science presentation slides via PRESTO
  • 31 August FY-2: Submit an electronic copy of the Scientific Grant Proposal(s) or equivalent to the LAOF Request Coordinator.
  • After the Fall OFAP FY-1: Provide written response to the OFAP Assessment and feasibilities to the LAOF Request Coordinator.



The review and NSF approval of a large field campaign is a two-step process:

Review and Approval of the SPO: The scientific review and approval process of an SPO is always the responsibility of NSF. Once the SPO is submitted as a formal proposal through Fastlane, its review follows the NSF merit review process. In addition to the normal NSF review criteria, reviewers of the SPO are also asked to comment on the following aspects of the experiment:

  • Importance/uniqueness of the research
  • Adequacy of experimental and research plan for hypothesis testing or problem definition
  • Structure of the program
  • Major gaps or flaws (if any)
  • Essential components of the overall effort
  • Qualifications of all participants

Once the external reviews are received, the NSF Program Officer will evaluate the SPO (and EDO) on the basis of received reviews. If the Program Officer determines that the proposed campaign is meritorious and programmatically supportable, the principal investigators will be invited to submit individual research proposals to the cognizant NSF Program Officer(s). Otherwise, the request process ends at that time. It should be stressed that an invitation to submit individual proposals does not automatically guarantee funding for the requested large field campaign; however, it does clear the project to move into the next phase.

Review and Approval of Individual Science Proposals: Once the SPO is approved, the PI team is invited to submit individual science proposals to NSF via Fastlane following the requirements specified in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide. The review of each project proposal is handled through the NSF merit review process. After the scientific review is completed, the NSF Program Officer will inform each PI whether his/her proposal was declined or recommended for reward. Please make sure that at least one lead science proposal clearly states and justifies the need for the requested LAOF. Only facility requests with underlying funded science proposals will be approved and funded through the Deployment Pool.



Please note that NCAR-led large field campaigns are handled slightly differently due to the unique relationship between NSF/AGS and NCAR:

1) All communications between the NCAR PI and the cognizant NSF Program Officer have to be conducted through a designated NCAR Point-of-Contact (POC), who is usually an NCAR Science Division Director. The NCAR POC should discuss all planned field activities with the NSF Program Officer as early as possible and before a Letter of Interest is submitted. For more information about the role of the NCAR Point of Contact see "Review Procedures for NCAR-led Science Proposals".

2) As part of the NCAR proposal preparation process, the NCAR PI, with assistance from their Lab/Division administrative resources, will register the field campaign with the Proposal and Awards system in accordance with NCAR Budget and Planning guidelines and deadlines. NCAR PIs are allowed to include a small budget with the SPO to pay for activities such as workshops, site visits, and other planning activities. Once the project is registered with and approved by NCAR Budget and Planning, the NCAR PI will be responsible for submitting the SPO via Fastlane to NSF.

3) The review of the SPO will be carried out by NSF. The cognizant NSF Program Officer will make the final decision on whether to approve or decline an SPO.

4) If the project is invited to move forward, the NCAR PI is asked to follow the same procedures as described under "Review Procedures for NCAR-led Science Proposals", i.e., the NCAR PI will submit his/her science proposal to the EOL Director. All other project-related proposals that originate within the university community will have to be submitted to the cognizant NSF Program Officer via Fastlane.

5) Please note that the above requirements only apply to proposals that are submitted to NSF/AGS with the assumption that all research activities of the NCAR team will be covered by the NCAR base budget. Science proposals that target programs outside of NSF/AGS and require the use of NSF LAOF but will have to be submitted directly to the cognizant NSF Program Officer via Fastlane.