THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN REPLACED BY NSF 11-551

Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC)


Program Solicitation
10-524

 

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Biological Sciences

Directorate for Engineering

Directorate for Geosciences

Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences


Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): 

     March 15, 2010

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

     April 15, 2010

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

Please be advised that the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) includes revised guidelines to implement the mentoring provisions of the America COMPETES Act (ACA) (Pub. L. No. 110-69, Aug. 9, 2007.)   As specified in the ACA, each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals.  Proposals that do not comply with this requirement will be returned without review (see the PAPP Guide Part I: Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II for further information about the implementation of this new requirement).

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title: 

Water Sustainability and Climate  (WSC)

Synopsis of Program:

One of the most urgent challenges facing the world today is ensuring an adequate supply and quality of water in light of both burgeoning human needs and climate variability and change. Despite its importance to life on Earth, there are major gaps in our basic understanding of water availability, quality and dynamics, and the impact of both a changing and variable climate, and human activity, on the water system.  The goal of the Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) solicitation is to understand and predict the interactions between the water system and climate change, land use, the built environment, and ecosystem function and services through place-based research and integrative models. Studies of the water system using observations at specific sites in combination with models that allow for spatial and temporal extrapolation to other regions, as well as integration across the different processes in that system are encouraged, especially to the extent that they advance the development of theoretical frameworks and predictive understanding. Specific topics of interest include:

  • Determining the inputs, outputs, and potential changes in water budgets in response to both climate variability and change, and human activity, and the effect of these changes on biogeochemical cycles, water quality, long-term chemical transport and transformation, terrestrial, aquatic and coastal ecosystems, landscape evolution and human settlements and behavior.
  • Developing theoretical frameworks and models that incorporate the linkages and feedbacks among atmospheric, terrestrial, aquatic, oceanic, and social processes that can be used to predict the potential impact of climate variability and change, land use and human activity on water systems on decadal to centennial scales in order to provide a basis for adaptive management of water resources.
  • Determining how our built water systems and our governance systems can be made more reliable, resilient and sustainable to meet diverse and often conflicting needs, such as minimizing consumption of water for energy generation, industrial and agricultural production and built environment requirements, reuse for both potable and non-potable needs, ecosystem protection, and flood control and storm water management.

Proposals may establish new observational sites or utilize existing sites and facilities already supported by NSF or other federal and state agencies (e.g. USEPA, USGS).  Proposals that do not broadly integrate across the biological sciences, engineering, geosciences, and social sciences may be returned without review.  Successful proposals are expected to study water systems in their entirety and to enable a new interdisciplinary paradigm in water research.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

  • Enriqueta C. Barrera, Program Director, Division of Earth Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8551, email: ebarrera@nsf.gov

  • Paul Bishop, Program Director, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems, telephone: (703) 292-2161, email: pbishop@nsf.gov

  • Cheryl Eavey, Program Director, Division of Social and Economic Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-7269, email: ceavey@nsf.gov

  • Bruce Hamilton, Program Director, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems, telephone: (703) 292-8320, email: bhamilto@nsf.gov

  • Robert O'Connor, Program Director, Division of Social and Economic Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-7263, email: roconnor@nsf.gov

  • Thomas Torgersen, Program Director, Division of Earth Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8549, email: ttorgers@nsf.gov

  • Saran Twombly, Program Director, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-8133, email: stwombly@nsf.gov

  • Kathleen Weathers, Program Director, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-8227, email: kweather@nsf.gov

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.041 --- Engineering
  • 47.049 --- Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • 47.050 --- Geosciences
  • 47.070 --- Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • 47.074 --- Biological Sciences
  • 47.075 --- Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences
  • 47.076 --- Education and Human Resources
  • 47.078 --- Office of Polar Programs
  • 47.079 --- Office of International Science and Engineering
  • 47.080 --- Office of Cyberinfrastructure
  • 47.081 --- Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

 

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:  Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards:    8 to  14   Estimated Number of Awards: Three categories of awards are anticipated for this solicitation. Category 1 Awards: Small exploratory or incubation grants to develop teams, identify sites, hold workshops and develop plans for establishment or operation of a study site. These will be 1-2 years in duration for up to $150,000. Category 2 Awards: Place-based observational and modeling studies, up to 5 years in duration and for a maximum of $5 million for each award, Category 3 Awards: Synthesis and integration grants that will only use existing data to integrate and synthesize across sites, 3-5 years in duration and for a maximum of $1.5 million for each award. An estimated 3-5 awards are expected to be made for Category 1 proposals, 2-3 awards for Category 2 proposals and 3-5 awards for Category 3 proposals.

Anticipated Funding Amount:   $16,000,000  is expected for the FY2010 competition, pending availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Organization Limit: 

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.
  • Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
  • Proposals from individuals, for-profit organizations, Federal agencies or foreign organizations will not be accepted.

PI Limit: 

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 

 An individual may appear as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, other senior personnel or investigator on only one category 2 or category 3 proposal submitted in FY 2010 in response to this solicitation. In addition, that individual may participate in only one category 1 proposal. This limitation includes proposals submitted by a lead organization, any sub-award submitted as part of a proposal, or any collaborative proposal. Proposals that do not meet this requirement will be returned without review.

 

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Submission of Letters of Intent is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not Applicable
  • Full Proposals:
    • Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part I: 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/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide)

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements: Cost Sharing is not required under this solicitation.
  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:  Not Applicable
  • Other Budgetary Limitations: Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): 

         March 15, 2010

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

         April 15, 2010

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria:   National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

 

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions:   Standard NSF award conditions apply.

Reporting Requirements:   Standard NSF reporting requirements apply.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Summary of Program Requirements

  1. Introduction

  2. Program Description

  3. Award Information

  4. Eligibility Information

  5. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Due Dates
    4. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. NSF Merit Review Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process

  7. Award Administration Information
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements

  8. Agency Contacts

  9. Other Information 

  10. Appendix

 

I. INTRODUCTION

One of the most urgent challenges facing the world today is ensuring an adequate supply and quality of water in light of both burgeoning human and ecosystem needs and climate variability and change. Variations in evaporation and precipitation patterns due to climate and land use changes, as well as increasing water usage to meet human needs, are fundamentally changing the availability, quality, and timing of water across the globe. Despite its importance to life on Earth, there are major gaps in our basic scientific knowledge of the water cycle, including the impact of a changing climate and human activity on water availability and quality. Forces shaping the sustainability of water as an essential resource include, but are not limited to, extreme events such as floods and droughts; watershed disturbances such as such as deforestation, desertification, and urbanization; construction of engineered infrastructure such as dams and irrigation systems; and threats such as pollutants, invasive species, and climate change.

Water connects physical, geochemical and ecological processes occurring at the Earth’s surface, and in the atmosphere and oceans, and links and integrates the natural environment with human social and engineered systems at multiple scales of space and time. Water systems are distribution networks for natural and anthropogenic chemicals, living organisms, and particles, encompassing complex and interacting suites of chemical, biological, and physical processes that alter and are altered by water and its constituents. On this foundation, humans add engineered and social systems to control, manage, utilize, and alter the water environment for a variety of uses and through a variety of organizational and individual decisions. The central role that water plays in human existence, and the challenges that face our society in adapting to our altered water resources, lead to an overarching question that links societal needs with fundamental science:

How can we protect ecosystems and better manage and predict water availability for future generations given alterations to the water cycle caused by climate variability and change and human activities?

In order to address this question we require a holistic, predictive understanding of complex water cycle and water resource processes, the feedbacks associated with the water system, and the vulnerability and resilience of water systems to climate and anthropogenic change. In this context, a water system comprises the drainage basin and its physical, chemical, and biological constituents, including water networks, ecosystems, the built environment, the oceanic and atmospheric systems that govern evaporation and precipitation in the basin, and the source water bodies and terminal lakes or seas into which the water flows. There have been few attempts to study an entire water system with an integrative, systems science approach or even study similar aspects of different water systems in a comparative sense that will develop such a framework. Scaling from the leaf or engineered infrastructure element level to transboundary basin level as well as transferability of our understanding from one system to the next are significant challenges in water systems science and engineering. A systems analysis of the planet’s water system focused on aspects such as feedbacks and linkages among climate change, ecosystems, built environments requirements, and human activity can provide a common theoretical framework that can transcend disciplinary boundaries and lead to improved understanding, prediction, and management of water resources and protection of ecosystems.

A number of technical reports that have influenced the scope of science for this particular solicitation and may be of interest to prospective investigators are listed in the FAQ section of this solicitation.  See Appendix in Section X of this solicitation.  The FAQ's contain additional important information.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The goal of the Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) solicitation is to understand and predict the interactions between the water system and climate change, land use, the built environment, and ecosystem function and services through place-based research and integrative models.  Studies of a water system in its entirety using observations at specific sites in combination with models that allow for spatial and temporal extrapolation, as well as integration across the different processes in that system are encouraged, especially to the extent that they advance the development of theoretical frameworks and predictive understanding. Water systems may include relatively pristine systems, built or engineered water environments or anthropogenically modified ecosystems and may range from a built environment site or a single watershed to the basin scale. Proposals may involve field observations and the installation of advanced sensor arrays, in situ instrumentation and equipment at new observational sites anywhere or they may utilize facilities and sites already supported by NSF (e.g., Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites, Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs), WATERS Network Test Beds, Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Observatories: Prototypes (CEOPs) or other federal, regional, or state agencies (e.g., USEPA, USDA, USGS, NOAA).

Successful proposals are expected to broadly integrate across the biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, and engineering enabling a new interdisciplinary paradigm in water research using a systems science and engineering approach to develop theoretical frameworks for a predictive understanding of the topics listed below:

  • Determining the inputs, outputs and potential changes in water budgets in response to both climate variability and change, and human activity, and the effect of these changes on biogeochemical cycles, water quality, long-term chemical transport and transformation, terrestrial, aquatic and coastal ecosystems, landscape evolution and human settlements and behavior.
  • Developing theoretical frameworks and models that incorporate the linkages and feedbacks among atmospheric, terrestrial, aquatic, oceanic, and social processes that can be used to predict the potential impact of climate variability and change, land use and human activity on the water cycle and water availability on decadal- to centennial-scale in order to provide a basis for adaptive management of our water resources.
  • Determining how our built water systems and our governance systems can be made to be reliable, resilient and sustainable to meet diverse and often conflicting needs such as minimizing consumption of water for energy generation, industrial and agricultural production and built environment requirements, reuse for both potable and non-potable needs, as well as, for flood control and storm water management.

This Solicitation seeks proposals to build interdisciplinary research teams to pursue topics such as those listed above that cannot readily be addressed by traditional disciplinary programs within the National Science Foundation. 

For more information on this solicitation, you may view the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) in Section X.

III. AWARD INFORMATION

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards: 8 to 14 Estimated Number of Awards: Three categories of awards are anticipated for this solicitation. Category 1 Awards: Small exploratory or incubation grants to develop teams, identify sites, hold workshops and develop plans for establishment or operation of a study site. These will be 1-2 years in duration for up to $150,000. Category 2 Awards: Place-based observational and modeling studies, up to 5 years in duration and for a maximum of $5 million for each award, Category 3 Awards: Synthesis and integration grants that will only use existing data to integrate and synthesize across sites, 3-5 years in duration and for a maximum of $1.5 million for each award. An estimated 3-5 awards are expected to be made for Category 1 proposals, 2-3 awards for Category 2 proposals and 3-5 awards for Category 3 proposals.

Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $16,000,000 is expected for the FY2010 competition, pending availability of funds.

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds and quality of proposals. This program is expected to last ~5 years, subject to availability of funds and programmatic considerations.

IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Organization Limit: 

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.
  • Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
  • Proposals from individuals, for-profit organizations, Federal agencies or foreign organizations will not be accepted.

PI Limit: 

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 

 An individual may appear as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, other senior personnel or investigator on only one category 2 or category 3 proposal submitted in FY 2010 in response to this solicitation. In addition, that individual may participate in only one category 1 proposal. This limitation includes proposals submitted by a lead organization, any sub-award submitted as part of a proposal, or any collaborative proposal. Proposals that do not meet this requirement will be returned without review.

Additional Eligibility Info:

Proposals from individuals, for-profit organizations, Federal agencies or foreign organizations will not be accepted. However, individual researchers and researchers at ineligible organizations (including foreign universities and colleges) may be included on proposals from eligible institutions through subawards or as consultants.

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Letters of Intent(required):

A one-page Letter of Intent must be submitted via FastLane 30 days before the full proposal submission deadline. Letters of Intent received after this date will not be considered compliant and any associated full proposal will be returned without review. Each Letter of Intent must include the following:

1. TITLE – The title of a WSC proposal must be preceded by the words “WSC-Category 1, 2 or 3” as appropriate.

2. TEAM - Names, departmental and university affiliation, and expertise of the Principal Investigator and all co-Principal Investigators.

3. SYNOPSIS (GOALS) - Brief description of the specific goals of the proposal (maximum of 250 words).

These letters of intent help NSF anticipate review requirements for full proposals. They will not be used as pre-approval mechanisms for the submission of full proposals and no feedback is provided to the submitters of an LOI.

Letter of Intent Preparation Instructions:

When submitting a Letter of Intent through FastLane in response to this Program Solicitation please note the conditions outlined below:

  • Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) Submission is not required when submitting Letters of Intent
  • A Minimum of  and Maximum of 10 Other Participating Organizations are allowed
  • Submission of multiple Letters of Intent is not allowed

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.

  • Full proposals submitted via FastLane: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). 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. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov. Proposers are reminded to identify this program solicitation number in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
  • Full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via Grants.gov should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov. The complete text of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide). To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the Grants.gov site, then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Application Instructions link and enter the funding opportunity number, (the program solicitation number without the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper copies of the Grants.gov Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

In determining which method to utilize in the electronic preparation and submission of the proposal, please note the following:

Collaborative Proposals. All collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system. Chapter II, Section D.4 of the Grant Proposal Guide provides additional information on collaborative proposals. 

All proposals should explain how the proposed activity would address the goals of this program. Successful proposals are expected to broadly integrate across the biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, and engineering enabling a new interdisciplinary paradigm in water research using a systems science and engineering approach. Principal Investigators should carefully identify within the proposal the innovative aspects that are the focus of their project. They should also provide clear explanation and justification of the importance (within the context of the water system science and engineering) of the predictive understanding that will be generated by their project. In addition, category Category 2 proposals should clearly lay out the arguments for why their proposed water system is best to accomplish this goal and how they expect to transfer the knowledge they gain more broadly to other sites or systems. Proposals should have a brief, but compelling description of how the proposed work integrates across the biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, and engineering and the expertise that each team member would bring to the project.

Title of Proposal

The title of a WSC proposal must be preceded by the words “WSC-Category 1, 2 or 3” as appropriate. The title should state clearly and succinctly the focus of the project.

Conflicts of Interest Table Required

Proposals must include, in the single copy documents section, a list in a single alphabetized table, with the full names and institutional affiliations of all people with conflicts of interest for all senior personnel (PI and co-PIs) and any named personnel whose salary is requested in the project budget. Conflicts to be indentified are (1) Ph.D. thesis advisors or advisees, (2) collaborators or co-authors, including postdoctoral researchers, for the past 48 months, and (3) any other individuals with whom or institutions with which the senior personnel (PI, co-PIs, and any named personnel) have financial ties, including advisory committees (please specify type).

Inclusion of Management Plan Required

All Category 2 and Category 3 proposals must include a three page management plan as a "Supplementary document" with the following information: (1) a description of the management structure that will enable the team to work effectively, specifically explaining how the collaboration between the different disciplines will achieve a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts and achieve the goals of the program; (2) a work plan which outlines the major tasks required to achieve the objectives of the project and a timeline for completion of these tasks, and (3) a brief description of the qualifications of the senior personnel as well as the contribution they are expected to make to the project.

Inclusion of Data Management Plan Required

All Category 2 proposals must include a data management plan in the "Supplementary document" section that describes how metadata and data collected as part of their project will be disseminated to the broader community as well as plans for longer term archival of these data. All data collected by Category 2 projects funded through this solicitation will be freely and openly available to any interested investigator as soon as practical, but no later than 12 months following collection. Where possible, all PIs are strongly encouraged to use existing data centers and data portals to archive and disseminate their data (e.g. HIS for hydrologic data, NCEAS Data Repository for ecological data, BCO-DMO for Biological and Chemical Oceanography data).

Other Considerations

Where appropriate, investigators are encouraged to work in association with existing projects, observational networks, experimental watersheds, long-term ecological research sites or research centers, or testing and evaluation facilities, whether supported by NSF or other agencies, such as USEPA, USGS, USDA or NOAA. In such proposals, the project description should make clear how the proposed work differs from and augments activities already supported. A letter stating the specifics of cooperation or support from the on-going activity for the proposed project should be included as Supplementary Documentation.

Education and outreach must be addressed and integrated effectively. Competitive projects must integrate research and education and PIs are encouraged to extend their education and outreach efforts beyond the traditional university setting, especially when partnering with other agencies or groups. Investigators are encouraged to include students as active participants on interdisciplinary teams. Informal education channels, such as science centers, aquariums, and similar facilities may be used to help enhance the public's ability to deal with complex environmental information related to water systems science and engineering to make informed decisions.

Proposals are encouraged to use innovative instrumentation, observational technologies, and associated software for observing, modeling and analyzing complex water cycle and water resource processes, and to coordinate with partnering organizations on their methodologies. Proposals should clearly discuss how the instrumentation and the field measurement techniques or strategies would be used. However, proposals for the development of specific in situ instrumentation or remote sensing technologies are directed to other programs.

 

B. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing:   Cost sharing is not required under this solicitation.

Budget Preparation Instructions:  

Budgets should be prepared in compliance with the GPG guidelines.

Research Platforms and Facilities: Budgets should include all costs charged to the project for platforms and facilities required for the proposed research supported by NSF (e.g. UNOLS research vessels, research aircraft, or field equipment) or other agencies (e.g., USEPA) except where those costs are explicitly waived (in writing) by the operating agency. Please contact a cognizant NSF program officer for information on which platform or facility costs must be included in the proposal. Principal investigators are responsible for filing the appropriate requests with the operators of such major research platforms; a copy of the request (e.g. a UNOLS ship time request) must be attached as an appendix to the proposal. All PIs funded through this program are required to attend a 3-day annual grantee conference to be held in the Washington DC region and should include the travel costs for this in their budget.


C. Due Dates

  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): 

         March 15, 2010

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

         April 15, 2010


D. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

  • For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:

    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 fastlane@nsf.gov. 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.

  • For Proposals Submitted Via Grants.gov:

    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: support@grants.gov. 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.

VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES   

Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program where they will be reviewed if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements. 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 of interest with the proposal.

A. NSF Merit Review Criteria

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, original, or potentially transformative 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?

Examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf.

Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

NSF staff also 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:

    In responding to the standard NSF review criteria, reviewers will be asked to place emphasis on the following:

    • The extent to which the proposal addresses the three topics listed under Program Description (Section II of this Solicitation).  Novel approaches that will result in a theoretical framework for a predictive understanding of one or more of these topics will be given priority.
    • Proposals that are interdisciplinary and broadly integrate across the biological sciences, geosciences, social sciences, and engineering.  This breadth of interdisciplinary research is expected to be reflected in the Principal Investigators involved in this project.  Proposals that do not satisfy this review criterion may be returned without review.
    • Sites proposed for Category 2 awards that are of sufficient size to address socially and scientifically significant water processes, encompassing surface earth, ecosystem, and engineering problems with ties to issues of climate change or sustainability. Each site should present well-defined, but poorly understood, processes that can be measured and studied with potential for significant advances in understanding expected in a 5 year time frame.
    • For Category 3 (synthesis) proposals, a high priority should be “scaling” the results from observations made at individual sites and “integrating” observations made at multiple sites, to obtain better understanding of processes at the regional scale.
    • Data and results of the proposed work will be freely and opening available to other researchers and the general public.

    In accordance with the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 10-1), all proposals submitted in response to this solicitation must explicitly address the Broader Impacts criterion.  Although proposed Broader Impacts activities in any of the identified categories are acceptable, WSC investigators are especially encouraged to undertake activities that effectively address goals and challenges associated with one or more of the following key areas:

    • recruitment, education and training of the future scientific, engineering, technical, and policy workforce needed to pursue basic research on water systems;
    • tools and infrastructure to provide government and industry policymakers with current knowledge on issues related to water systems, so as to better inform decisions on adaptation and mitigation;
    • improving public awareness and understanding of the interconnections between water systems, climate change and sustainability and the impacts, and technical strategies for adaptation and mitigation;
    • opportunities to engage a diverse community of learners and educators in WSC research; and,
    • development and dissemination of water systems-related educational resources for formal (K-16) and informal settings that have been informed by research in the learning sciences. 

B. Review and Selection Process

Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/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 deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later.  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.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Notification of the Award

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.)

B. Award Conditions

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 Research 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/award_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

 

C. Reporting Requirements

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, and a project outcomes report for the general public.

Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports, or the project outcomes report 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. The project outcomes report must be prepared and submitted using Research.gov. This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project. This report will be posted on the NSF website exactly as it is submitted by the PI.

 

VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

  • Enriqueta C. Barrera, Program Director, Division of Earth Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8551, email: ebarrera@nsf.gov

  • Paul Bishop, Program Director, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems, telephone: (703) 292-2161, email: pbishop@nsf.gov

  • Cheryl Eavey, Program Director, Division of Social and Economic Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-7269, email: ceavey@nsf.gov

  • Bruce Hamilton, Program Director, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems, telephone: (703) 292-8320, email: bhamilto@nsf.gov

  • Robert O'Connor, Program Director, Division of Social and Economic Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-7263, email: roconnor@nsf.gov

  • Thomas Torgersen, Program Director, Division of Earth Sciences, telephone: (703) 292-8549, email: ttorgers@nsf.gov

  • Saran Twombly, Program Director, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-8133, email: stwombly@nsf.gov

  • Kathleen Weathers, Program Director, Division of Environmental Biology, telephone: (703) 292-8227, email: kweather@nsf.gov

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:

  • Grants.gov Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from Grants.gov within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail: support@grants.gov.

IX. OTHER INFORMATION

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, National Science Foundation Update is a free e-mail subscription service 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 when new publications are issued that match their identified interests. Users can subscribe to this service by clicking the "Get NSF Updates by Email" link on the NSF web site.

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.

 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

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.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov

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Send an e-mail to:

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  • To Locate NSF Employees:

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PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

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.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Suzanne H. Plimpton
Reports Clearance Officer
Division of Administrative Services
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230

X. APPENDIX

Water Sustainability and Climate Solicitation Frequently Asked Questions (WSC FAQ's)

1.     Question: What is meant by a water system?

Answer: In this context, a water system comprises the drainage basin and its social, physical, chemical, and biological constituents, including water networks, ecosystems, the built environment, the atmospheric system that governs evaporation and precipitation in the basin, and the source water bodies and terminal lakes or seas into which the water flows.

2.     Question:  What is meant by "place-based research"?

Answer: Studies of a water system (as defined above) using observations at specific locations in combination with models that allow for spatial and temporal interpolation within the system as well as extrapolation beyond the specific system understudy to other systems.

3.     Question:  Are there any restrictions on the sites that may be proposed for Category 1 or 2 proposals?  Should they be located only in the U.S?

Answer:  No.  The sites may be located anywhere in the world, but there must be a clear justification for why a particular site best suits the goals of the proposal and this solicitation. Sites may include relatively pristine systems, built or engineered water environments or anthropogenically modified ecosystems and may range from a built environment site or a single watershed to the basin scale.   Sites should be of sufficient size to address socially significant water, surface earth, ecosystem and engineering problems with ties to issues of climate change or sustainability.

4.     Question: Can sites build upon existing observational and engineering infrastructure?

Answer:  Yes, proponents are encouraged, where appropriate, to build upon existing observational and engineering infrastructure (e.g. NSF-funded LTER sites, CZOs, WATERS Network Test Beds, Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Observatories: Prototypes (CEO-Ps) sitesor facilities operated by other agencies such as USEPA, USGS, USDA or NOAA).

5.   Question: The solicitation is entitled "Water Sustainability and Climate."  Does this mean that all proposals must include climate research?

Answer:  Proposed research must take an integrative systems approach to study water dynamics and take into account the feedbacks and linkages amongst a number of facts.  While water sustainability is often connected to climate change and variability, this need not be an explicit component or focus of every proposal, as long as the proposed research clearly addresses sustainability issues and spans the bioscience, engineering, geoscience, and social science disciplines.

6.     Question: Can proposals submitted to this solicitation include the cost of developing and testing new sensors or instrumentation?

Answer:  No.  While proponents are encouraged to utilize advanced in situ sensor and instrumentation and new remote sensing technology, proposals for the development and testing of new sensors and instrumentation, and other remote sensing techniques are directed to other NSF programs.

7.     Question: I am interested in developing integrated, regional scale climate and water system models.  Is it appropriate to submit to this solicitation?

Answer:  Your work might be appropriate for a Category 3 (Synthesis and Modeling) proposal for this solicitation, but the NSF Solicitation on Decadal and Regional Scale Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models (ESMP) might be more appropriate for your project. Please talk with the relevant Program Officers.

8.     Question: Category 1 proposals seem to be planning proposals.  Does this mean that the "Water Sustainability and Climate" solicitation will be re-issued in future years?

Answer: It is the intent to re-issue the solicitation annually each year through FY 2014, subject to availability of funds and programmatic considerations.

9.    Question: My co-proposers and I would like to involve industry in our WSC proposal, and we have an industry partner who wants to participate.  Is a GOALI proposal permitted under the WSC solicitation?

Answer:  Yes.  For the title, use "WSC Category X (1, 2, or 3, as appropriate)-GOALI: continuing title."  Make sure to comply with the instructions posted for GOALI.  In particular, intellectual property (IP) requirements must be addressed.

10.     Question: My colleagues and I wish to explore the possibility of submitting a proposal that involves USEPA facilities and/or researchers.  How can we do this?  What about utilization of facilities operated by other Federal agencies (e.g. USGS, USDA, NOAA)?

Answer: For NRMRL/USEPA, contact Thomas Speth at Speth.Thomas@epamail.epa.gov.  Also refer to the material at http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/facilities.html.  For other units of USEPA, contact Audrey Levine at Levine.Audrey@epa.gov.  For other Federal agencies talk to one of the cognizant NSF program officers identified in this solicitation for appropriate contact information.

11. Question: What are some of the relevant reports issued by NSF and other federal agencies?

Answer: 

Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth's Surface, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2010.

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12700&page=R1

Hydrologic Science Priorities for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, An Initial Assessment, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. 1999.

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9659&page=R1

WATERS Network Science Plan

www.watersnet.org/docs/WATERS_Network_SciencePlan_2009May15.pdf

Climate Change and Water Resources Management:  A Federal Perspective.  Circular 1331, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1331, 65p. 2009

http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1331/

GEO Vision Report (Water: Changing Perspectives)

http://www.nsf.gov/geo/acgeo/geovision/start.jsp

2001 Water and Watersheds Progress Review

http://www,epa.gov/ncer/publications/workshop/pdf/2001_water_watersheds.pdf

Transitions and Tipping Points in Complex Environmental Systems

http://www.nsf.gov/geo/ere/ereweb/ac-ere/nsf6895_ere_report_090809.pdf

NSF-EPA WATERS Workshop (May 2008)

http://www.epa.gov/ord/NRMRL/pubs/600r08073/600r08073pt1.pdf

Energy Demands On Water Resources: Report To Congress On The Interdependency Of Energy And Water

http://www.sandia.gov/energy-water/docs/121-RptToCongress-EWwEIAcomments-FINAL.pdf

NAE Grand Challenges (March 1, 2009 Summit on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges at Duke University)

http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/cms/challenges.aspx

WATERS Network Social/Behavioral/Economic Science Agenda Workshop Final Report

http://www.watersnet.org/docs/WATERS-SBE-Workshop-Report-Final-20091123.pdf

Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality Strategic Plan

http://www.ostp.gov/galleries/NSTC/Fed%20ST%20Strategy%20for%20Water%209-07%20FINAL.pdf

NOAA Hydrology program Strategic Science Plan

http://www.weather.gov/oh/src/docs/Strategic_Sience_Plan_2007-Final.pdf



 

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