Abstract collage of science-related imagery

Management and Operation of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

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This document has been archived.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.


Proposals are solicited to manage and operate facilities of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). NRAO is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) that conceives, designs, builds, operates, and maintains world-class radio telescopes used by scientists from around the world to study virtually all types of astronomical objects, from bodies in our own Solar System to galaxies in the distant Universe. NRAO operates the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico; North American contributions to the international Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in Chile; and associated development laboratories, including a Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Management and operation of two other NRAO facilities, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope and the Very Long Baseline Array, are under consideration separate from this solicitation.

The Awardee will work closely with NSF and the scientific community to ensure that NRAO continues to support, sustain, and advance frontier science as enabled by unique research capabilities and as promoted through a culture of excellence. In cooperation with NSF and within available resources, the Awardee will plan and execute a viable, coherent, and inclusive program to support multi-user research and education, consistent with the objectives and priorities of the scientific community. The Awardee will manage facilities and equipment provided by NSF and by domestic and international partners, will provide additional facilities and equipment as necessary to fulfill the proposed programmatic scope, and will provide support and technical personnel to manage NRAO as a well-integrated facility to support research and education. The Observatory is a multi-user resource; as such, a significant portion of the NRAO research and education program should be carried out in collaboration with its stakeholder communities.

Proposals should describe how the proposing institution(s) would provide observing capabilities and scientific data; enable a competitive research program and an integrated program of education, training and outreach; maintain instruments, facilities and infrastructure; manage and develop a skilled and diverse workforce; and establish appropriate partnerships with universities, industry, private organizations, and the international community to support the NRAO mission.

The successful proposal will be awarded as a cooperative agreement for NRAO management and operations starting on 1 October 2016 for a duration of ten years contingent on the availability of funds and the successful outcome of regular management reviews. As necessary, the Awardee will define and execute a budgeted, scheduled, and tracked project plan to manage any transition from the current to the proposed model of NRAO management and operations. The transition period will commence with a transition award, under this cooperative agreement, on or after 1 April 2016 and conclude no later than 6 months thereafter.

Program contacts

Philip J. Puxley
ALMA Program Officer
ppuxley@nsf.gov (703) 292-7835
Elizabeth A. Pentecost
epenteco@nsf.gov (703) 292-4907

Awards made through this program

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