Call for LOFAR2.0 Large Programmes


LOFAR2.0 is a major upgrade to LOFAR, the Low-Frequency Array, supported jointly by the members of the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT) Foundation. Full LOFAR2.0 roll-out is expected in 2024-2025, followed by early shared-risk observations and full operations thereafter.

LOFAR2.0 offers simultaneous low- and high-band observing, increased field-of-view, and various other improvements to the sensitivity and operation of the telescope. An overview of LOFAR2.0 capabilities can be found here. These include the LOFAR2.0 White Paper, a system overview, a description of supported observing modes, and LOFAR2.0 Services & Policies documents.

Proposals for LOFAR2.0 Large Programmes (L2LP) are now solicited (a prior Expression of Interest is not a prerequisite). The ILT Board will establish a Large Programme Portfolio covering the commissioning year, followed by the first 4 years of operations, during which the major part of the net observing time, about 17,500 – 20,000 hours in total, will be devoted to the Large Programme Portfolio.

In parallel, access will continue for peer-reviewed research proposals of more limited scope; periodic calls for these will be initiated closer to the start of LOFAR2.0 full operations.

The LOFAR Family Meeting (12-16 June in Olsztyn, see will feature a session on LOFAR2.0 including some discussion time for L2LP proposing teams. The ILT intends to organise additional workshops and interaction opportunities for prospective L2LP proposers, where further technical questions can be addressed in depth.

A mandatory template (LaTeX, see also this PDF) is provided to prepare your proposal. It provides more details on issues to be covered in your text, some of which are summarised below. Details on the review process are given here.

The submission deadline is noon UTC on 12 October 2023. Please submit your proposal as a PDF by e-mail to For this special call no web interface or other proposal tool will be operated.

In-depth justification of all resources required is needed: next to observing time, this includes storage and compute capacity, analysis pipelines, and further support requested of the ILT. The ILT resources will be limited, and additional resources contributed by an L2LP team will be of significant benefit, especially where these can be incorporated into the production data flow for the L2LP project. A further explanation of the anticipated limitations is given here.

A staged approach with initial allocations will reflect an affordable best-efforts total resource scenario, as explained here. As LOFAR2.0 matures, the ILT aims to work with L2LP teams to secure extended capability and capacity for science output/impact over time, allowing phased adjustments to allocations. Also given the anticipated early, shared-risk commissioning stage, a proposed staged approach to L2LP projects is preferred (e.g., Pilot survey, Phase 1 depth/area, Phase 2 depth/area).

The L2LP review process

Full proposals will be reviewed by experts who will consider the scientific merit and impact; feasibility of observing and processing; strength and inclusiveness of the proposing team; and plans for publication and dissemination of results, including distilled data products with value to a broader community. This review will lead to an advice to the ILT Board, who will establish the Large Programme Portfolio based on scientific excellence, feasibility and timeliness, and other considerations - including the overall breadth, legacy value, and productivity of LOFAR, specific relevance for partner country research communities, and general impact and engagement of the wider community, within the available and affordable resource constraints.

Data storage and processing capacity

Affordable data storage and processing capacity may be exceeded by the LOFAR2.0 observing (online) capabilities. The ILT anticipates that (final) science data products, generated through standard pipelines (such as image cubes) can be kept available indefinitely (under open access policies), but that raw/intermediate products may only be retained for further processing within a restricted dwell time. As an indicative example: processing of visibility data to image cubes may have to be carried out within an average timespan of one to two years, thus significantly restricting achievable combinations of final image cube field size, spanned bandwidth, spatial and spectral resolution, given available compute clusters to handle a sustained observing rate. Allocation of data storage dwell times and other parameters may be tailored to specific science projects. Additional resources contributed by an L2LP team will be of significant benefit, especially where these can be incorporated into the production data flow for the L2LP project. Composition of the Large Programme Portfolio will take into account, among other factors, the potential to realise (afford) the resources necessary to achieve overall science excellence and high impact for the community. Extensive interaction of L2LP team members with ILT experts is also expected during the course of L2LP projects.