Announcement of Opportunity for European Scientists to Join the NASA WFIRST Formulation Science Working Group


9 February 2016

The purpose of this Announcement of Opportunity (AO) is to solicit the participation of scientists affiliated with institutes located in the ESA Member States in the NASA WFIRST Formulation Science Working Group (FSWG).  

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA observatory designed to perform wide-field imaging and surveys of the near infrared sky. It will combine investigations of dark matter and dark energy with those of exoplanets. The current mission design makes use of an existing 2.4 m telescope, which is the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope's primary mirror. WFIRST will have two instruments, the Wide Field Instrument (WFI), and the Coronagraph Instrument (CGI). As the primary instrument, the Wide Field Instrument will measure the properties of a billion galaxies and will preform a microlensing survey to discover ~2,600 exoplanets over the course of the mission's nominal 6-year lifetime. The Coronagraph Instrument will be used to investigate some dozens of exoplanets over the course of the mission.  A description of the scientific objectives and the current WFIRST design is to be found in the Wide-Field InfraRed Survey Telescope Report by the Science Definition Team.

NASA has indicated an interest in a European contribution to this NASA-led mission. Such participation could include both ESA-provided items following a "Mission of Opportunity" proposal to the Science Programme of ESA and subject to approval by the Science Programme Committee (SPC) and contributions that would be funded directly by the Member States under ESA's coordination. In order to further develop the mission's development, NASA has established a science team and would welcome European participation to this team.  Information on the current FSWG and Science Investigation Team (SIT) members and the SIT topics can be found on the NASA WFIRST website.


ESA Announcement of Opportunity

Full details of the appointment requirements and conditions, the required contents of the proposal, the evaluation criteria and format of the proposals is given in the AO document. It is foreseen that up to two European scientists will be appointed to the FSWG.

The ESA Announcement of Opportunity for European Scientists to Join the WFIRST FSWG is available here together with an invitation to respond to this AO.

Letters of Intent SUBMISSION

Prospective proposers must submit a mandatory Letter of Intent (LoI) before the deadline indicated in Table 1. Their purpose is to allow ESA to prepare for the eventual evaluation process. Proposals not preceded by a corresponding Letter will not be considered. The AO gives details of the content and format of the LoIs.


Letter of Intent submission form
and must be received no later than: 
8 March 2016 at 12:00 (noon) Central European Summer Time


Proposals Submission

Letters of Intent and Proposals must be submitted electronically in PDF format (file size cannot exceed 20 MB) to the following e-mail address:


and must be received no later than: 
8 April 2016 at 12:00 (noon) Central European Summer Time



The schedule for this AO is given in Table 1 below:


Date of AO release 9 February 2016
Due date for Letters of Intent 8 March 2016, 12:00 (noon) CEST
Due date for Proposals 8 April 2016, 12:00 (noon) CEST
Appointment of successful candidates July 2016




Further queries should be addressed to:

Arvind Parmar (
Coordinator for Astronomy and Fundamental Physics 

with copy to

Luigi Colangeli (
Head of the Coordination Office for the Scientific Programme