Proposal Support

This page gathers basic resources that may be useful to ISSC members preparing proposals requesting support for small-team LSST-related projects involving significant data science research.

Funding sources

The main sources of US federal support for LSST-related research are NSF and DOE.

Relevant programs run by NSF include:

This list is not exhaustive; in particular, NSF occasionally announces short-lived grant opportunities not listed here. An example is the National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes program, which issued a one-time call for proposals for astronomy-focused AI research institutes in 2023. To stay abreast of new funding opportunities, subscribe to the mailing lists for the directorates of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) (see the bottom of the sidebars on each page).

DOE supports the construction of the LSST camera. DOE’s science support for LSST mainly focuses on dark energy and dark matter research. See the DOE Office of Science Funding, specifically their annual funding opportunity announcements. Note that DOE opportunities often have more strict eligibility requirements than NSF opportunities (e.g., PIs may have to hold tenured or tenure-track positions).

The Rubin Observatory LSST Project runs the telescope and the Data Management effort; it is federally funded. The LSST Discovery Alliance (LSSTDA, formerly the LSST Corporation, LSSTC) is a not-for-profit corporation that helped initiate the project, and that raises philanthropic funding to help the project succeed. LSSTDA occasionally solicits proposals for small research projects; see their Enabling Science page for more information. LSSTDA runs the LSST Interdisciplinary Network for Collaboration and Computing (LINCC), which oversees the Catalyst Fellowship program, and programs supporting the creation and sharing of analysis tools for key LSST science goals.

Rubin-LSST information for proposers

October/Nov 2023 update: For recent information on Rubin’s plan and timeline for the Early Science Program, see the presentation by Leanne Guy and Bob Blum at the August 2023 Rubin Project and Community Workshop (PCW): “Early science with Rubin: What to expect in year 1 of Operations” (PDF slides available there). The timeline has changed a bit; see the October update on Community: Update of Rubin Observatory Construction Plan. The Early Science Program document (see below) was updated on 31 Oct 2023 with the latest timeline as of that date. hosts a web site for scientists collecting many resources useful for proposers. Some notable resources are listed here. NSF proposers take note: Proposal project descriptions currently may not include URLs (see NSF PAPPG 2.D.2.d.ii). Some project docs are thus archived at sites that make them citable via a DOI; these are highlighted below.

Three publications likely to be especially useful are these:

Thanks in part to support from DOE, the Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) has been especially active in this pre-survey preparation period. If your work is relevant for cosmology (including some topics in extragalactic astronomy and transient and variable star astronomy), these documents hosted at the LSST DESC public website may be useful (DESC also maintains a very extensive collaboration-only website with lots more):

These and other related documents are collected on DESC’s DESC Planning Documents page.


The Rubin Project maintains a helpful glossary of technical terms and acronyms associated with Rubin/LSST: Glossary & Acronyms. (Rubin’s EPO site hosts a simplified glossary: Rubin Education Glossary.)

As examples of what you’ll find in the glossary, note the specific ways that “object” and “source” are used in LSST publications: