Abstract collage of science-related imagery

Management and Operation of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The IceCube Neutrino Observatory (ICNO) is a national facility that enables a wide array of internationally collaborative scientific research in ground based neutrino astrophysics. The physical infrastructure of the ICNO consists of: (1) a fixed array of sensors deep in the ice beneath the South Pole (the main IceCube detector), (2) a surface array of sensors (IceTop), (3) a data acquisition system and associated computing and communications systems at South Pole Station that facilitate recording sensor data, limited analysis and filtering of data for such things as event detection, and transmitting approximately 110 GB/day of data to a data system in the United States, and (4) a computing system for data management and analysis that is hosted by the awardee institution (currently University of Wisconsin, Madison).

The IceCube Collaboration is an international collaboration of scientists (currently involving over 40 institutions from more than 10 countries) who conduct scientific analysis of data collected by ICNO. In addition to conducting scientific analysis of ICNO data, members of the collaboration contribute to the overall enterprise by performing service work (labor) needed to operate the ICNO or prepare data for scientific analysis, and some collaborating institutions provide computing and database infrastructure and services to facilitate the work of the Collaboration. Collaboration members also contribute funds on a per-person basis to the Common Fund which is used to help cover costs of computing equipment and software development required by the Collaboration.

The ICNO Management and Operation (M&O) activity, the subject of this solicitation, constitutes the human interaction and labor needed to keep the ICNO physical infrastructure operational, to manage detector operational parameters that serve the science as defined by the IceCube Collaboration, to conduct data management and data reduction activities as a service to the Collaboration, to coordinate the contributions of in-kind labor or services contributed by members of the Collaboration, and to manage the Common Fund.

The ICNO is located at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where it is operated under the auspices of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) (http://www.usap.gov/). ICNO is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by an awardee organization, currently the University of Wisconsin, Madison, under a cooperative agreement with NSF. The awardee organization is responsible for all management and administrative tasks enumerated below, for the operational interface with the USAP and for the organization and conduct of the ICNO operations as defined by the IceCube Collaboration (defined below).

The ICNO's core mission is to facilitate access for researchers to IceCube’s state-of-the-art observational capabilities and data. The ICNO data enable the research community to pursue a broad range of modern astrophysical investigations from studying neutrinos generated by cosmic rays in the Earth's atmosphere, to neutrinos coming from the Sun, the Milky Way Galaxy, and extragalactic sources. ICNO data are also used by the Collaboration to study the most violent cosmic events (active galactic nuclei and black holes) in the universe, as well as seeking indirect observations of Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

Proposals are solicited to organize and manage all ICNO administrative and technical activities at the South Pole as well as those activities at the awardee institution or contributed as service work or resources by Collaboration members at U.S. or foreign institutions. International partners in the IceCube Collaboration provide additional funding and personnel support, approximately matching anticipated funds provided by NSF to the U.S.-based ICNO M&O awardee institution. The awardee will work closely with NSF and the IceCube Collaboration to ensure that ICNO continues to facilitate frontier science, supported through separate research proposals, which can be enabled by these unique observations. In cooperation with NSF and within available resources, the ICNO M&O awardee will plan and execute a viable, coherent and inclusive program to facilitate research and education, consistent with the objectives and priorities of the scientific community.

The primary effort is to manage the ICNO M&O workforce of scientists, engineers, technicians and administrators to ensure that ICNO tasks are properly defined and assigned and that the resources needed to perform each task are available when needed. Efforts include monitoring activities so that resources are used efficiently to accomplish the required tasks and to achieve the scientific objectives set forth by the IceCube Collaboration (see governance document and other materials in the Solicitation Resource Library).

Proposals should describe how the proposing organization will provide access to research capabilities and ICNO 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 partnerships with academic institutions, industry, and nonprofit entities.

Within available resources and consistent with the expectations and criteria identified in this solicitation, the successful proposal should present a compelling, sustainable vision for the ICNO that will facilitate integration of research and education activities in the various fields of neutrino physics.

Program contacts

Vladimir Papitashvili
Program Director, Antarctic Astrophysics & Geospace Sciences
vpapita@nsf.gov (703) 292-7425 GEO/OPP
James Whitmore
Program Director, Particle Astrophysics
jwhitmor@nsf.gov (703) 292-8908

Awards made through this program

Browse projects funded by this program
Map of recent awards made through this program