Request Process for Educational Deployments

The National Science Foundation reserves a portion of the NSF Deployment Pool for use by educators wishing to gain access to observational facilities for classroom instruction and hands-on learning experience. Instruments can be made accessible for graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 education, including facility deployment to a university for a limited period of time. As such, educational deployments offer unprecedented opportunities for project-based learning, real-time research, and teamwork in the field of observational meteorology.


Proposals will be judged using the following criteria:

  • Description of the education activity including the type of course (e.g., undergraduate versus graduate, majors versus non-majors)
  • Planned use of data being collected
  • Number of undergraduate/graduate students that will be included in the proposed activity
  • Implementation of ancillary, opportunistic K-12 educational and outreach activities

Before submitting your request you may want to see what other educators have done in past educational deployments.


All US academic institutions are eligible to submit a request/proposal.  Submission of a proposal by students will also be accepted but must be accompanied by a statement of approval by a faculty advisor. Repeat requests by the same educator will be accepted no more frequently than every other year. Schools or instructors who successfully requested a facility more than three times are required to "raise the bar" and propose additional activities that go above and beyond hands-on teaching activities in support of classroom instructions (e.g., preparation of online learning activities illustrated with real-life data examples).


Requests for use of facilities in educational deployments should be submitted at least four and no more than six months ahead of the start of the coursework associated with the intended deployment. This will allow sufficient time for an instructor to properly integrate the instrument deployment activities into their course material. Off-cycle deployment requests will be considered under special circumstances.


1. Submit Initial Request Form
Educators requesting an observational facility for educational purposes first need to submit an Initial Request for an Educational Deployment. You will receive a response in 3-5 days indicating the availability status during the requested times.

If the facility is available, requestors will be encouraged to submit a proposal to request a facility through the Educational Deployment Program (EDP). At this point, requestors will be put into contact with the Facility Manager(s) to determine feasibility and other needs that may impact the cost estimates.

2. Submit Proposal and Feasibility/Cost Estimate 
Requestors must electronically submit a short proposal four to six months prior to the deployment that includes information about the requestor, the facility / facilities of interest, deployment dates and location, needed expendables, and expected support including teaching and training activities to be conducted by facility personnel, as well as a narrative (no longer than five pages) of the planned activity including a brief summary of the type of course(s) to be conducted; the number of students involved; the techniques to be utilized to collect and analyze data; the project goals and expected outcomes; and the length and dates of the deployment. The proposal also must include at least one activity that is directed at K-12 education and/or public outreach. A concerted effort should be made to include students from groups underrepresented in the atmospheric sciences. 

The submitted proposal must also be accompanied by a facility-prepared feasibility and cost analysis. Proposers will have already been put in contact with the point of contact for the desired observing platform to discuss the proposed project and identify the appropriate time period. The length and dates of the deployment can be variable but cannot conflict with an approved research field deployment of an NSF facility or a planned upgrade/test period for an instrument/platform. Proposals and feasibility/cost estimates should be submitted electronically to the EDP Request Coordinator

>> View and download the EDP Proposal Outline

3. NSF Approval Process for Educational Deployments
Once the request is received, the proposal will be reviewed by a panel comprised of two Facility Managers of the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities, two current members of the Observing Facilities Assessment Panel, and the facility provider of the requested facility. Once the reviews are received, the NSF LAOF Program Director will make the final decision whether to approve or decline a request. You will be informed of the outcome of your request by the EDP Request Coordinator.


Requestors will work with the Facility Manager(s) to carry out the proposed educational deployment. Facility staff or a technician can be requested for deployment to provide guidance and training of facility for instructors and students.


Submit a Final Report
A final report of the educational deployment is required no later than eight weeks after the end of the deployment. The report should include

  • A recap of the educational objectives conducted
  • A description of the deployment and class procedures, including student assignments
  • An assessment of the success of the activity both from the instructor’s and participating students’ points of view
  • A narrative of outreach activities
  • A section on lessons learned
  • A detailed breakdown of the number of individuals reached during the entire deployment.
  • The final report should be submitted to the EDP Request Coordinator.

Any questions concerning this request process or details about the availability of facilities should be directed to Alison Rockwell (NCAR/EOL) or an appropriate Facility Manager.

Footnote 1: The NSF Deployment Pool supports expenses directly associated with the deployment of the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF).