EarthScope National Office (ENO)
National Science Foundation
Directorate for Geosciences
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):
January 12, 2007
In furtherance of the President's Management Agenda, in Fiscal Year 2006, NSF has identified programs that will offer proposers the option to utilize Grants.gov to prepare and submit proposals, or will require that proposers utilize Grants.gov to prepare and submit proposals. Grants.gov provides a single Government-wide portal for finding and applying for Federal grants online.
Synopsis of Program:
This solicitation calls for proposals to establish an EarthScope community-based office to foster and support integrated science, education, outreach, and related activities for the EarthScope program. The office will facilitate and coordinate EarthScope scientific planning and Education and Outreach activities. The office will facilitate collaborative research and when necessary, form scientific responses to “events” in EarthScope topics and/or regions of interest.
Cognizant Program Officer(s):
Kaye Shedlock, telephone: (703) 292-4693, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):
Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Cooperative Agreement
Estimated Number of Awards: 1
Anticipated Funding Amount: $400,000 Estimated average of approximately $400,000 per year for FY2007 and in subsequent years, for up to 4 years, pending annual performance and availability of funds.
Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
- Academic Institutions located in the U.S.: U.S. universities and colleges located in the U.S.
Limit on Number of Proposals per PI:
A. Proposal Preparation Instructions
Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Guidelines apply. The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
Full Proposals submitted via Grants.gov: NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf/)
B. Budgetary Information
C. Due Dates
January 12, 2007
Award Conditions: Standard NSF award conditions apply
Reporting Requirements: Standard NSF reporting requirements apply
EarthScope is an Earth science program to explore the 4-dimensional structure of the North American continent. The EarthScope Program provides a framework for broad, integrated studies across the Earth sciences, including research on fault properties and the earthquake process, strain transfer, magmatic and hydrous fluids in the crust and mantle, plate boundary processes, large-scale continental deformation, continental structure and evolution, and composition and structure of the deep-Earth. In addition, EarthScope offers a centralized forum for Earth science education at all levels and an excellent opportunity to develop cyberinfrastructure to integrate, distribute, and analyze diverse data sets.
The nucleus of the Program is the EarthScope Facility, a multi-purpose array of instruments and observatories consisting of the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD), and the USArray. These instruments and observatories are providing an unprecedented amount of geophysical data to address the processes that formed and continue to deform North America.
A series of community meetings and workshops beginning in 1999 culminated in the publication of EarthScope science (March 2002) and facility construction (October 2001) plans. The integrated science plan developed by the community, EarthScope: Scientific Targets for the World’s Largest Observatory Pointed at the Solid Earth, identified and discussed scientific targets for EarthScope, program needs beyond the construction of the facility, and the EarthScope audience. A key need identified in the integrated science plan was “EarthScope must proactively develop a communication mechanism with the broad research community capable of using EarthScope data and results.” One option identified in the plan was the creation of an “EarthScope Office.” Recommended responsibilities of that office include: serving as a “central clearing house” for EarthScope products; initiating peer-reviewed, integrated EarthScope publications (for example, monographs and/or comprehensive annual EarthScope science reports); organizing workshops and sessions at national meetings; publishing a monthly newsletter, and maintaining an up-to-date web presence, including an EarthScope archive.
Community involvement in the leadership of the EarthScope program has been growing and evolving during the construction of the facility. A robust competitive science support program is underway and exciting results have emerged including penetration and identification of the San Andreas Fault at depth, the capture of an Aleutian volcanic eruption with GPS stations, and the capture of a Pacific Northwest silent earthquake episode with borehole strain, GPS, and seismic installations. This kind of breakthrough science is why NSF is building this large and complex facility for the community. The EarthScope program has matured to the point that a proactive, community-based EarthScope office is now necessary.
Development of the EarthScope Office
Proposals are invited to create a national EarthScope office to foster and facilitate integrated EarthScope science, education, and outreach. The office will require dedicated full time support staff, but these should be kept to a minimum, leveraging technical capabilities in the facilities. Most of the communications infrastructure for EarthScope already exists, so the primary role of the office staff will be to interact directly with NSF, an EarthScope Steering Committee, and facilities staff to provide recommendations and content for communications, both web and print pieces. Currently, NSF convenes an ad hoc EarthScope Program Committee (EPC) twice a year to review the program and provide recommendations. It is anticipated that this ad hoc committee will work with the head of the EarthScope Office (the proposal PI) to develop an EarthScope Steering Committee that includes the proposal PI as a member. There are advantages to establishing an EarthScope office that moves geographically and evolves with the program (three or four locations over the lifetime of the program – i.e. western, central, and eastern contiguous US, Alaska). Such an office would provide focus and engage the community.
The office should incorporate an Education and Outreach (E&O) effort that is closely coordinated with existing efforts, facilities, and the EarthScope science community. The E&O effort should effectively promote EarthScope discoveries within the local, regional, and national communities, which include the general public, formal and informal educators, partners, technical specialists, and other professionals. The EarthScope E&O effort will explicitly encourage partnerships with non-traditional institutions and non-profit organizations, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI), Community and Tribal Colleges, National Parks, and museums.
Specific office tasks might include, but are not limited to:
Under this Solicitation, proposals may be submitted for up to 4 years. The program expects to make 1 standard or continuing grant or cooperative agreement depending on the quality of submissions and the availability of funds. Approximately $ 400,000 is expected to be available in FY2007 to support proposals received under this Solicitation.
Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
- Academic Institutions located in the U.S.: U.S. universities and colleges located in the U.S.
Limit on Number of Proposals per PI:
Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov or via the NSF FastLane system.
Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is not required by NSF in proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation.
January 12, 2007
Detailed technical instructions regarding the technical aspects of preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail email@example.com. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.
Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane Website at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp.
Before using Grants.gov for the first time, each organization must register to create an institutional profile. Once registered, the applicant's organization can then apply for any federal grant on the Grants.gov website. The Grants.gov's Grant Community User Guide is a comprehensive reference document that provides technical information about Grants.gov. Proposers can download the User Guide as a Microsoft Word document or as a PDF document. The Grants.gov User Guide is available at: http://www.grants.gov/CustomerSupport. In addition, the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide provides additional technical guidance regarding preparation of proposals via Grants.gov. For Grants.gov user support, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grants.gov Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Grants.gov. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this solicitation.
Submitting the Proposal: Once all documents have been completed, the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must submit the application to Grants.gov and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to Grants.gov. The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.
Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program and, if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements, for review. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer.
All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria: intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.
The two NSB-approved merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which the reviewer is qualified to make judgements.
What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?
What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?
NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:
Integration of Research and Education
One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.
Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.
Additional Review Criteria:
Proposals that create synergy among the various EarthScope components and activities are encouraged.
Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Adhoc Review or Panel Review.
Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.
After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the date of receipt. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.
A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.
In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.
Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See Section VI.B. for additional information on the review process.)
An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1); * or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions * and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.
*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/general_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpm.
For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require more frequent project reports). Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report.
Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.
PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational) publications; and, other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system. Submission of the report via FastLane constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete.
General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:
For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:
For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:
The NSF Website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this Website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, MyNSF (formerly the Custom News Service)is an information-delivery system designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Regional Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail or the user's Web browser each time new publications are issued that match their identified interests. MyNSF also is available on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/mynsf/.
Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.
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NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.
NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.
Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.
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The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; and to another Federal agency, court, or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records, " 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.
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Suzanne H. Plimpton
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Division of Administrative Services
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
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