Submitting a proposal

Instructions for submitting a request for Director’s Discretionary Time can be found here.


All proposals must be submitted using the MeerKAT Proposal Submission System (PSS). Prior to submitting a proposal, please ensure that you have done the following at the preparation stage:

  1. Read the MeerKAT Call for Observing Proposals and followed its relevant guidelines.

  2. Familiarised yourself with large active/previous MeerKAT projects and searched the MeerKAT archive, to ensure that your proposed science case and/or targets do not unduly overlap with active projects; it’s also possible that the data or data products you require for your science are already publicly available on our archive or repository of data releases.

  3. Performed sensitivity calculations to support the time request for your proposed observations.

  4. Simulated your observations using the Observation Planning Tool if you are uncertain about the overheads.

  5. Contacted the relevant leads if requesting beamformed observations on User Supplied Equipment.


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Science Page

  • Multi-year has been removed from the Proposal Type field and placed on its own, with a new field to indicated the number of years (2 - 4)

  • New Proposal Type added - XLP eXtra Large Proposal

  • “Pilot Studies for Large Proposals” field is present, and required if Large Proposals are selected

  • For XLP’s you will have to specify if it is a continuation or modification (or neither) of a prior project and will be prompted to add the Project ID , Title of the project .

    • For a continuation of a project the previously allocated hours would be required.

  • Science Case PDF allowed to be 4 pages if Large Proposal

  • XLP proposal's science case can be up to 8 pages

  • Previous Related Proposal section has been removed


Target Page

  • Changed warning message


Observation Page

  • Band selection field has changed requiring more information per band in the case of multi-year observations.

  • Limits for time are as follows:

    • Regular: 0.1 - 100 hrs overall

    • Large: 100.1 - 300 hrs overall

    • XLP: 300.1 - 2200 hrs overall (but you can only request a max of 500 hrs for this year)

    • S-band limit is 100 hrs overall

  • Multiple simultaneous sub-array indicator added


Data Management Page

  • Supercomputing center now has a dropdown selection for the name “OzSTAR”

  • If the proposal type is XLP, there is an Access Secured button.


Starting a new submission

Log into the MeerKAT Proposal Submission System homepage using your SARAO account credentials and click + New proposal and select the latest Call (“Batch”). First-time users should read the Getting a SARAO account page.


Click on ‘New proposal’ to start a new submission.


A PI can clone a proposal on which they were previously the PI, if the coversheets are largely unchanged.


Sessions that are left unattended for approximately 30 minutes will expire, requiring you to log in again. To log out, click on the user icon (top right) to access the menu.

The draft will be saved when pressing the save button, on every page transition (change pages), and every 2 minutes (if unsaved changes exist).

There are 6 sections to each submission which you will be able to arrive at by clicking on the numbered icon (“breadcrumb“) at the top.


Use the ‘Back’ and ‘Next’ buttons to move sequentially back and forth through the form, or click directly on the section numbers to jump to a section.

You do not need to fill in the sections in the suggested order, but you must fill all sections before you will be able to submit. You will be prompted to complete these before you are able to submit the proposal.


You will not be able to submit the proposal until all necessary fields are completed.

Exiting the form will send you back to your list of proposals on the PSS. You can continue editing your draft proposal at any time prior to the submission deadline, and can put the proposal into “revise" state prior to the submission deadline. If you reopen a submitted proposal for editing, you must resubmit it even if you’ve made no changes - otherwise the previously submitted proposal will remain in an edit/incomplete state!

Send feedback and bug reports

Should you encounter any issue, you can send the software team direct feedback from within the form by clicking on the speech bubble icon. This will automatically capture all details of your form in order to help them debug.

Team details

Input the names, email addresses, affiliations and countries of all the members of the project. This includes the Principal Investigator*, all Co-investigators* and the Technical Lead*. As relevant also indicate whether the proposal is a core component of a PhD thesis.


Provide details of your project:

  • Abstract (no more than 250 words).

  • Scientific categories (no more than three), and observation category. This helps allocate scientific reviewers to proposals.

  • Observation category. This helps during science as well as feasibility reviews.

    • Spectral line: Includes both 32K wideband as well as narrowband modes. While we understand that many observations will also make use of the continuum data for supporting or commensal science, select this if the spectral line observation forms an important part of the science case.

    • Continuum: Select this if your primary science case does not require high spectral resolution.

    • Image plane time domain: This refers to observations of slower transients that will be imaged using visibilities from the standard correlator modes.

    • Pulsars and fast transients: Select this category if you are going to be making use of User Supplied Equipment.

  • Proposal type category: Please refer to the Call document for definitions of the proposal types and time limits. Note that all categories can be Multi-year proposals.

    • Regular

    • Large: Large proposals must include details of pilot studies conducted prior to submitting this proposal.

  •  XLP: eXtra Large Proposals must have replied to the prior Expressions of Interest survey.

    • For XLPs you will have to specify if it is a continuation or modification (or neither) of a prior project.

    • For neither you will be prompted to add the Project ID and title of the most closely related previous MeerKAT project.

    • For modification you will be prompted to add the Project ID and title of the project you are modifying/adapting.

    • For continuation you will be prompted to add the Project ID, title and previously allocated hours for the project you are proposing to continue.



  • Multi-year: Need not necessarily be a Large proposal or XLP and this indicates the number of years (2 - 4) being planned for the proposed project, if not intended to be completed within 12 months.



  • Upload your science case as a pdf. Note that the pdf should be less than 10 MB and not exceed 3 pages for Regular proposals, 4 pages for Large proposals, and 8 pages for XLPs.


Attach/input (J2000) coordinates of your proposed targets, if they are known, as well as the requested integration time per target in seconds, excluding calibrators and calibration overheads. In the case of Target of Opportunity observations, subject to triggering criteria, you may tick the box to submit the proposal without specific targets. The triggering criteria must be clearly defined under the ‘Observation’ section. Also if, for instance, your project aims to cover a wide contiguous area of sky, you may choose to note those details in the ‘Additional Information’ box on the last page rather than submitting many individual targets. The total time for targets must be less than the total time on the Observation Details page, which includes calibrators and calibration overheads.

Large target lists may be uploaded as csv files.

  • Only targets of the format: NAME, RA, DEC, TIME will be imported.

    • sample: J0408-6545, 04:08:20.123, -65:45:09.61, 180

  • Both the RA and DEC coordinates can have arbitrary precision. However, RA will be truncated to 3 decimals, whereas DEC will be limited to 2 decimals.

  • Time, in seconds, is limited between 1 and 1440000.

  • A window will show a table of discarded targets, if any, stating the invalid fields under the REASON column.

  • Note that duplicate targets (same RA and DEC) will also be discarded.

Observation details

Observation Page




  • Choose between imaging or beamformed observations. Note beamformed observations can also include imaging. Selecting beamformed observations triggers a new dropdown selection box for User Supplied Equipment.

  • Choose the observing band(s), integration period, correlator channelisation, and centre frequency in the case of narrowband modes.

  • Indicate the amount of observing time (including overheads) that you are requesting. Note that for standard calibration schemes an overhead of 25% can be assumed. If different overhead fraction/time is expected (different calibration scheme, many short slews, etc), this must be justified in the Science Case and the OPT must be used to simulate the observations. Short observations (< 2 hours) tend to have much higher overheads due to the larger proportion of time spent on the bandpass calibrator. Please refer to our page on average overheads for further details.

  • In certain cases, night time observations may be necessary, e.g. to avoid solar interference or because simultaneous optical observations are planned. Note that night observations tend to be more oversubscribed and your preference needs to be justified in the Science Case.

  • For multi-year proposals there is an additional field within each band selection, indicating requested hours in the immediate 12-month cycle and overall for that band. 

  • For target of opportunity (ToO) observations, the triggering criteria must be clearly specified.

  • Multiple simultaneous sub-array proposals should be confirmed with SARAO before submitting.



Data management

  • MeerKAT datasets, particularly for spectral line modes, can become extremely large. Use the data volume calculator to estimate the size of the measurement set to be downloaded. Remember that you will need several times this in disk space to process the data.

  • Specify where you are planning to reduce the data. The compute requirements may be considerable.

  • Many of our users have experienced challenges in downloading data. Please indicate how you plan to transfer the data to the processing facility. Users who may need to download many terabytes of data and who have a slow internet connection may wish to make prior arrangements with SARAO to ship tapes (this requires appropriate tape drives).

  • If the proposal type is XLP, there is an Access Secured button.

  • You may wish to consider using the SDP pipeline and images for some purposes, particularly if rapid feedback is necessary.

  • Upload a one-page pdf detailing the data management plan including relevant team experience for Regular and Large proposals (see the Call document for details).

Saving and accessing saved drafts

After creating new proposals by clicking the + New Proposal button, and entering a Proposal Title and selecting a Batch, these proposals can be accessed by clicking on them from the list. Proposal changes are automatically saved when moving between pages, uploading a Science Case or Data Management Plan, by manually clicking on the Save button, or every 2 minutes if changes have been made. Once all fields have been completed, a PDF version of the draft proposal can be accessed from the the Submit page of the proposal, or from the proposals list by clicking the download button.

Draft proposals can be removed from the proposals list at anytime by clicking on the Delete button in the Submit page of the proposal.

Preparing multiple proposals

You will be able to have multiple active drafts in the PSS. Click + New Proposal in the homepage to start another draft.

Submitting, revising or withdrawing your proposal

Once all required fields have been completed, navigate to the Submit page of the proposal, download the draft PDF version and verify that all information is present and correct (including the attachments). Click the Submit button to submit the proposal. An email will then be sent to you and all individuals registered in the Team page.

After a proposal is submitted, it can be revised, but only before the deadline. This is done by clicking the revise button inside the the proposal that has been submitted. If a proposal has been reopened for revision, the proposal will need to be resubmitted, even if no updates were made.