The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Gulf Research Program
Gulf Research Program  >   Grants  >   Education Grants 2018  >  

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

Project directors are advised to review proposal preparation and submission instructions carefully and submit any questions to well in advance of the submission deadline. Although the Gulf Research Program strives to respond to applicants’ questions within 2 business days, the response time depends on the volume of questions received and the complexity of the question asked. The Gulf Research Program does not guarantee that applicants’ questions will be answered before submission deadlines. Applicants are advised to submit LOIs and full proposals well in advance of the submission deadlines as a precaution against unanticipated delays. Please plan ahead.

Please be advised that the Gulf Research Program expects applicants to have reviewed the Grant Agreement prior to submitting an application to ensure that the applicant is aware of the applicable terms under which the grant is offered. It is the policy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to entertain potential modifications to the Grant Agreement only under the most exceptional circumstances. Rather, successful applicants are strongly encouraged to sign the Grant Agreement as presented.

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Letter of Intent
A letter of intent (LOI) is required for this funding opportunity and must be submitted via the
online application system. LOIs submitted by other means (including mail, fax, or e-mail) will not be considered. The LOI is not binding and is used by program staff to gauge the size and range of the competition so that staff can better manage the selection of reviewers. In addition, the information contained in a LOI is used to help avoid potential conflicts of interest in the review process.

The LOI must include the following elements:

Required Contact Information Form that includes:
  • Required Information on the
    • Applicant
    • Project Director
    • Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)
    • Grant/Contract Administrator (if different from AOR)
  • Optional Information. Responses in this section will not be shared with reviewers and will not affect the proposal evaluation.
    • Suggestions for reviewers. The suggestions may be considered for the peer review of full proposals, but the selection of reviewers is the responsibility of the Gulf Research Program.
    • How did you hear about this funding opportunity?
    • Demographic information
CLICK HERE to see sample form.

Required Letter of Intent Form that includes:
  • Project director
  • Key personnel
  • Project director or key personnel’s involvement in other letters of intent
  • Proposed project title (up to 15 words)
  • Overview of proposed project (up to 250 words)
  • Relevance statement (up to 350 words)
  • Anticipated outputs and potential outcomes (up to 150 words)
  • Research involving human subjects, if applicable
CLICK HERE to see sample form.

No later than 3 weeks after the LOI submission deadline, the project director will be notified of the Gulf Research Program’s decision to either encourage or discourage submission of a full proposal. The Gulf Research Program's decision is advisory only, which means that submitters of both favorably and unfavorably reviewed LOIs are eligible to submit full proposals. The intent of encourage/discourage decisions is to improve the overall quality of the full proposal and encourage re-thinking, particularly if an LOI is not specifically responsive to the RFA topic.

Full Proposal:
Full proposals must be submitted via the online application system, and they cannot be submitted if the applicant did not submit an LOI. Proposals submitted by other means (including mail, fax, or e-mail) will not be considered. The online form for submission of a full proposal will be available on February 15, 2018 to applicants who have submitted an LOI. It is important that all proposals conform to the instructions provided. Conformance is required and will be strictly enforced. The Gulf Research Program may reject, without review, proposals that are not consistent with the instructions.

The full proposal must include the following elements:

Required Full Proposal Form that includes:
  1. Project director
  2. Key personnel
  3. Key personnel’s involvement in other full proposals
  4. Open Research and Contributor ID (ORCID)
  5. Project title (up to 15 words)
  6. Overview of proposed project (up to 250 words)
  7. Relevance statement (up to 350 words)
  8. Detailed description of proposed project (up to 3000 words)
  9. Anticipated outputs and potential outcomes (up to 500 words)
  10. Demographics of population served (up to 100 words)
  11. Preliminary evaluation plan (up to 500 words)
  12. Research involving human subjects, if applicable
  13. References cited
  14. Total budget requested
  15. Budget justification (up to 1,000 words). CLICK HERE to see a sample budget justification.
  16. Subaward to FFRDC(s) or UARC(s), if applicable
  17. Attachments
    • Required attachments
      • Budget form. CLICK HERE to download form and complete it to provide information on the proposed budget. Budget requests should be developed commensurate with the support needed to achieve the project goals.
      • Resume(s). A resume (limited to two pages for each person) is required for each individual identified as project director and key personnel. CLICK HERE to see additional resume specification. Please combine all resumes into a single PDF before uploading it as an attachment.
      • Collaborators and other affiliations: The purpose of this form is to help us eliminate potential conflicts of interest during our reviewer recruitment. CLICK HERE to download form and complete it to provide information on the following (including their current organizational affiliations):
        • All persons who are currently, or who have been collaborators (i.e. an individual with whom you work closely to co-design or conduct a project) or co-authors with the individual on a project, book, article, report, abstract, or paper during the 48 months preceding the submission of the proposal.
        • The individual’s own graduate and postdoctoral advisor(s) and their current organizational affiliations.
        • All persons (including their organizational affiliations) with whom the individual has had an association as a graduate or postdoctoral advisor.
    • Optional attachments:
      • Tables and figures. The textbox for Project Description does not support figures and tables. Applicants may upload a PDF document with a list of equations to support the project description. Applicants may include up to three (3) illustrations (for example, figures and tables) in the PDF to support the project description. If the total number of optional illustrations in the PDF exceeds three, only the first three that appear in the document will be considered in peer review.
      • Letters of support. Applicants may upload a PDF with letters of support from collaborators or anticipated organizations/participants. Please combine all letters of support into a single PDF before uploading it as an attachment.
CLICK HERE to see sample full proposal form

Research Involving Human Subjects:
If the proposed project involves research on human subjects, the applicant shall comply with the Department of Health and Human Services Regulations (Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46) regarding the protection of human research subjects, unless that research is exempt as specified in the regulation.

All projects involving human subjects must have approval from an institutional review board (IRB), unless they qualify for an exemption from IRB review, before an award can be made. Where IRB approval is required, proposers should file their proposal with their local IRB at the same time the proposal is submitted to the Gulf Research Program so that the approval procedure will not delay the award process. A proposal may be submitted to the Gulf Research Program without IRB approval; but if the proposal is selected for funding, award will be made conditional upon IRB approval within 60 days of the notice of conditional award.

If a proposed project involving human subjects is exempt from human subjects regulations [see 45 CFR 46.101(b)], the applicant must provide documentation that an IRB (or some authority other than the project director or key personnel) has declared the project exempt from the human subjects regulations. Documentation should include the specific category justifying the exemption.

Peer Review Process:
All complete proposals will be sent to external reviewers for panel review. The external review panel will evaluate the proposals on the basis of the Full Proposal Rubric, discuss the merit and all received comments of each proposal, and rank the proposals. The Gulf Research Program will make reasonable efforts to develop a review panel in which external reviewers will not be affiliated with any institution that submitted proposals. In any event, external reviewers with conflicts of interest are recused from reviewing or participating in any discussion of proposals. Program staff will examine the full proposals and prepare a grant-funding plan taking into consideration the review panel’s ranking of the proposals, summaries from the panel discussion, and the program’s funding availability, current portfolio, objectives, and goals. The grant-funding plan will be subject to oversight by a subset of current or former Gulf Research Program Advisory Board members. The Gulf Research Program strives to have current or former Advisory Board members not affiliated with institutions that submitted projects oversee the grant-funding plan and recommend a list of projects for funding. Individual proposals and their reviews will not be reviewed by current or former Advisory Board members affiliated with the institution that submitted the proposals. Current or former Advisory Board members are recused from individual proposals involving conflict of interest. The final decision for funding will be made by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

CLICK HERE to see the Gulf Research Program’s conflict of interest and confidentiality policies.

Review Criteria:
Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the review criteria outlined below. The review criteria rubric for the letter of intent stage is intended to help provide feedback to applicants on their proposed project. Applicants will receive feedback regardless of receiving an overall encourage or discourage recommendation in the letter of intent stage. In both review stages, reviewers may raise additional concerns that are not covered by the rubrics.

CLICK HERE to see the Letter of Intent Review Rubric

CLICK HERE to see the Full Proposal Review Rubric

Project Evaluation:
Although not necessary at the letter of intent stage, all applicants will be required to address program/project evaluation in their full proposals. The full proposal stage will require that applicants outline the design components expected to be included in the program/project evaluation. Applicants will also be required to provide evidence that a qualified program evaluator has been identified and budgeted into the project or include an in-house evaluation expert as key personnel.

An education evaluation design checklist is provided below to assist applicants with identifying budget and personnel requirements to fulfill their evaluation needs if awarded. Each awardee is expected to submit an evaluation plan designed per project by a relevant expert and submitted to the Gulf Research Program to review within three months of contract award date. The Gulf Research Program will also review awardees’ evaluation plans and progress at reporting periods throughout the grant period.

CLICK HERE to see Education Evaluation Design Checklist.

Additional Resources:
NOAA NMS- Evaluation Design Guidance
NOAA NMS- Evaluation Plan Examples

Information Products:
The Gulf Research Program requires that any information products (curricula, training programs, training videos, etc.) be made publicly available. The sections of the full proposal pertaining to anticipated outputs and preliminary evaluation should address dissemination of any anticipated information products.