RFP Deadline: Wednesday, October 5, 2016

(1) This is the second RFP this year. How often will you have a call for proposals?

  • From here forward, we plan to have an annual call for proposals.

(2) Currently, we have an NSF grant funded for cross-site research. We would like to get the group together for follow-up work using our cross-site research and existing cross-site data from various LTERs. Would that look like it should have been funded by the original DEB grant, or can I make it clear how it builds on the previous research?

  • Make it clear how it’s building — e.g. new questions, new outputs.

  • Using synthetic datasets that have been put together in past research does not disqualify you.

(3) If we submitted a proposal to the last RFP and received feedback, should we include a “Response to Previous Reviews” section in the proposal or treat this as an entirely separate round?

  • Don’t need to directly respond to previous reviews, especially since these proposals are short.

  • Just submit as a new proposal.

  • We’ll be able to see that you’re re-submitting and have previous reviews on hand.

(4) Please highlight any differences to proposal process between the last round and this round if you’ve changed anything.

  • This time we’ve articulated interest in the urban LTER topic areas as well as the traditional core research topics, so we may get additional proposals in those areas.

  • The process will remain largely the same. Will have a new set of panel reviewers.

  • Two changes:

    • Last round, we asked proposals to include participants and their expertise somewhere in the proposals. This time, we’re asking for a table with this information (the table falls outside the 2000 word limit).

    • Last time, we asked applicants to “consider” diversity. In this proposal, we ask proposers to include how they are specifically addressing diversity in the working groups.

(5) Will proposals be entertained if they propose meetings off-site (as opposed to at NCEAS) to reduce the carbon footprint?

  • Yes and no. We do encourage meetings here at NCEAS but not necessarily all of them.

  • NCEAS offers resources including computing facilities and possibly soon other training opportunities.

  • We understand it can reduce cost and carbon footprint to meet off-site, so that can happen.

  • Don’t prescribe how many meetings must occur in each place, but we would like to see the groups here at some point (either first meeting or shortly thereafter).

  • Imagine all groups having a mix of in-person and virtual meetings. Just want to know the rationale for where you want to meet.

(6) I’ve sent some data in for one of the working groups that got funded in the last round. The data requirements for that group are very similar to those of my proposal but our questions are very different. What are your thoughts on having some part of the data plan be in coordination with an existing working group?

  • Since this is the second RFP, we haven’t dealt with that question yet.

  • If you can take advantage of and leverage existing data integration efforts, and in the process create an even larger and more integrated database across working groups– that’s terrific!

  • Definitely articulate how your questions and outputs will be different.

(7) Budget Question: in the RFP you give a link to an excel sheet where you can calculate your budget, but where do we include that in the proposal? It doesn’t seem to be part of the body of the proposal.

  • Just include the worksheet as a PDF at the end after the CVs.

  • We will eventually calculate the budget again. The spreadsheet is intended to provide you guidance but isn’t set in stone.

(8) What kind of details do you want about the liaison person’s analytical expertise? Is it ok to just show that we’ve published this kind of large dataset before, or are you looking for something more specific?

  • This is a point person on the team that will work with NCEAS staff on any of the data or analytical questions. The person doesn’t need to have any specific analytical expertise — they are just the point person for any technical issues.

  • Does help if you can demonstrate that you’re familiar with the challenges of synthesis work, data integration, so forth. But we’re not setting some bar in saying “considerable analytical expertise.”

  • In general, people underestimate the challenge of integrating these datasets across sites, so no matter how good you are at, there are likely to be challenges you didn’t anticipate. We have folks here who work these challenges daily and will work with your point person.

Please contact us with any additional questions: proposals@lternet.edu.