SNAP: Science for Nature and People
Call for Working Group Proposals
The first SNAP Call for Proposals is now CLOSED. Selected proposals will be notified in October 2013.
The next SNAP open Call for Proposals is tentatively scheduled for March 2014.
SNAP is a new scientific collaboration by
The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS ) was initiated in 1995 to promote synthesis, analysis, and multidisciplinary collaboration directed toward addressing major questions in ecology and allied disciplines. In a new partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC ), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS ) – SNAP : Science for Nature and People – the Center seeks projects that use existing data to fill important knowledge gaps and advance solutions to significant problems at the intersection of nature conservation and human well-being. We request proposals for Working Groups that will be initiated before the end of 2013. Proposals may require some original modeling, and in rare cases funding may be provided to collect some original data that fill gaps in an otherwise relatively complete picture. Projects must have the potential to generate clear outcomes for improving human well-being and nature conservation, and should examine a geographic scale that can produce generalizable conclusions and/or replicable solutions.
SNAP is a boundary institution — at the boundary between analysis and action. We seek proposals for Working Groups that help answer two overarching questions:
- How can conservation actions benefit a critical mass of people today while addressing long-term ecological resilience and sustainability?
- How can economic development be achieved without irreversible or severe environmental damage?
Working groups should include expertise from both inside and outside of academia. A key component of successful proposals is the integral involvement of staff from TNC, WCS, or both, as members of Working Groups; proposals that do not involve these organizations will be returned without review. Involvement of human development organizations is also encouraged.
It is expected that TNC, WCS and their partners will be well positioned to apply the working group results to a significant conservation and development problem in a short timeframe. The proposal must outline an implementation strategy that demonstrates the potential for specific, achievable outcomes. Before preparing a full proposal, WCS and TNC staff should vet ideas with SNAP leadership by contacting cingram [at] wcs [dot] org (Carter Ingram) or craig_groves [at] tnc [dot] org (Craig Groves), respectively. Individuals from other organizations should contact NCEAS Director proposal [at] snap [dot] is (Frank Davis). Proposals from Principal Investigators (PI) who have not initiated contact prior to submission may be returned without review.
It is critical that proposed activities take advantage of the Center’s unique resources. NCEAS provides:
- An intellectually stimulating environment for scientific collaborations and discovery,
- Exceptional scientific support and computing facilities, and
- Excellent linkages to a wide array of institutions and organizations dealing with similar issues, including the UC Santa Barbara faculty and campus.
Research Venues— In most circumstances, SNAP synthesis research will be conducted at NCEAS. However in some cases, it may be important for one or more of the Working Group meetings to be held internationally in order to facilitate participation by a wider group of participants and stakeholders and to enhance the likely uptake of findings.
Data Expectations —NCEAS emphasizes the use of existing data and information. Consequently, the Center has a strong commitment to developing the means to locate, access, analyze and make data available broadly and to imbuing scientists and other users with a sense of sharing information. To this end, Working Groups must commit to the highest standards of openness and transparency, and agree to make derived data (data resulting from the Working Group analyses from which the original data cannot be reconstituted) publicly available. Furthermore, researchers are strongly encouraged to document their original data and make these publicly accessible as well. Proposals must include an estimate of the derived data products and timetable for making derived data publicly available. See the NCEAS Data and Information Policy  for details.
The NCEAS scientific computing staff will contact the Working Group prior to the start of its first group meeting and assist with the development of a realistic plan and timeline for the archiving of data and software products from the Working Group. NCEAS can provide some staff assistance with data management and analysis.
Proposals for SNAP Working Groups must be submitted by 9 September 2013. Decisions will be announced in early October.
Individuals of any nationality, in any institution or governmental agency, may submit a SNAP proposal. Individuals from the private sector are welcome and should consider issues of intellectual property and open access before applying. First-time applicants and professionals from any relevant field or discipline are encouraged to submit a proposal. Proposals may involve activities with partial support from other institutions or agencies.
SNAP proposals are relatively short (fewer than 2000 words, excluding cover sheet, citations, references, figures, tables and budgets) and yet need to include enough information in an effective form to allow for an accurate evaluation. Include the following information in your proposal, where applicable. Here are a few helpful links:
|Date of Submission|
|Short Title – Two or three words for use as a project name (25 characters max)|
|Working Group Leaders' Name(s) and Complete Contact Information|
|TNC or WCS lead(s) and Complete Contact Information (if different from Working Group leaders)|
|Project Summary – A brief scientific abstract of your project|
|Proposed Start and End Dates - (duration not to exceed 24 mos)– (month/ year to month/year)|
|How You Heard - Indicate how you heard about the SNAP Call for Proposals.|
|Identify when and with whom (Carter Ingram, Craig Groves, Frank Davis) you vetted this proposal idea prior to submission.|
|Under Consideration Elsewhere? -Is this proposal (or a closely aligned proposal) under consideration elsewhere? If so, please briefly describe the circumstances.|
|BODY OF PROPOSAL|
|Problem Statement – Clear and concise statement of what is to be done, why it is important, and how it will be accomplished. Include an explicit statement of how results and products will be applied to an existing problem and who the intended audiences are for this work. Ensure that the problems that are being addressed are tractable – that is, the data and information needed to address these problems through analyses exist and are available to Working Group members.|
|Proposed Activities – Brief description of data sources, methods, and why they are appropriate.|
|Names of Participants and institutions with which participants are associated|
|Timetable of Activities|
|Anticipated Results and Benefits – Include the plan for applying the results to an existing problem at the nexus of nature conservation and human well-being, as well as descriptions of anticipated data and software products. Applicants are encouraged to provide indication of how target audiences will implement anticipated results or how products of Working Groups will be field-tested by TNC, WCS, or other conservation organizations and will lead to conservation and human well- being outcomes.|
|Project Cost Sharing: Summarize other sources and amounts of project support (details can be provided in the budget section below).|
 Nature conservation can refer to either biodiversity conservation efforts directly (including matters related to composition, structure, and function of ecosystems) or to addressing broader issues of conservation concern that are more problem oriented (e.g., climate change, land use change, sustainable fisheries, sustainable energy development, mitigation, biodiversity offsets, green growth, illegal trade in wildlife, and other conservation priorities of TNC and WCS).
Proposals will be accepted in digital format only, as a Microsoft Word or PDF file. Proposals should be submitted as a single, complete document, formatted to standard letter size (8.5” W by 11” L) with graphics embedded directly in the document. The body of the proposal should follow the cover sheet. Information to be included in the cover sheet and body of the proposal is provided in the table above. Do not send compressed collections of files, such as .ZIP files.
Send the proposal document as an email attachment to proposal [at] snap [dot] is. All those who submit proposals will receive an email confirming receipt within 24 hours of submission. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please call (805) 892-2500 with the first PI’s name and proposal title and someone will follow-up with you shortly. Please contact proposal [at] snap [dot] is if you have difficulty submitting your proposal, or if you have extenuating circumstances that would prevent you from submitting a digital version of your proposal by the deadline.
Proposals should include an estimated budget, which can be prepared using the provided budget worksheet (pc ) (mac ). The budget should include meeting participant costs, and other miscellaneous costs:
Participant costs for meetings at NCEAS include reimbursement for actual travel, lodging and per diem expenses. The budget worksheet (pc ) (mac ) will assist in making estimates for these participant costs. For meetings at other sites, please estimate participant and any other costs using a similar format;
No salary support for participants is typically provided; however, if the work would substantially benefit from the provision of salary support for WCS or TNC participants, PIs should briefly outline the needs and also the commitments that WCS or TNC has already made to such support, if any. If a student research assistant or postdoctoral-level researcher is requested for the project, describe their essential role and responsibilities as part of the budget justification. This individual will ordinarily be located at NCEAS;
- Miscellaneous costs include other essential expenses that cannot be covered with other resources such as communications or data purchases. In general, we will not pay for computing equipment, research equipment, or field supplies.
A brief budget justification should be included for any costs except for participant costs associated with meetings at NCEAS.
Proposals are evaluated for their scientific merit, novel approaches, and adherence to priorities described in the Request for Proposals. The SNAP Leadership Team reviews proposals and makes recommendations to the SNAP Governing Board regarding which proposals to support. The Leadership Team may solicit ad hoc reviewers to assist in their review as subject matters demands. The Governing Board, in consultation with the SNAP Executive Director, makes the final decisions about which proposals to support. Proposal PIs will be informed of the funding decision and provided a brief written review of their proposal within 6 weeks of the submission date.
Proposals that are clearly inappropriate for this program (e.g., those requesting overhead, funds to be spent at the investigator's home institution, funds intended to support new data collection, or otherwise non-responsive to the priorities outlined in this RFP, etc.) will be returned without review.
Groups of up to 20 scientists work at NCEAS for a few days to a few weeks (generally smaller groups and longer stays are most effective), concentrating on specific issues that require in depth analysis of data and synthesis of ideas. Each Working Group typically meets 1-3 times a year.
It has been the experience at the Center that working groups of 15 or fewer individuals meeting for at least 5 days are the most productive. Thus, we STRONGLY suggest that applicants consider these thresholds.
Working Groups should be interdisciplinary and include expertise from both inside and outside of academia. Groups should integrally involve staff from TNC, WCS, or both, throughout the process.
Working Group proposals must designate at least one participant with considerable analytical expertise who will serve as the liaison with the NCEAS technical staff.
Working Groups should also identify one or more participants whom will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the NCEAS Data and Information Policy  are met.
It is expected that all Working Groups will involve a diverse group of participants, including a substantial proportion of women and members of under-represented communities.
Successful Working Groups typically involve a mixture of senior and junior colleagues (e.g. postdocs and graduate students), all of who make significant intellectual contributions to the work.
An analysis of NCEAS Working Group productivity was published in:
Hampton, S.E., and J.N. Parker. 2011. Collaboration and productivity in scientific synthesis . BioScience 61: 900-910.
The Role of NCEAS
NCEAS administrative staff works with group leaders and members to schedule meetings, plan travel to and from the Center, make local hotel arrangements, and provide logistical assistance during meetings in Santa Barbara.
NCEAS technical staff consults with Working Group leaders prior to meetings to discuss computing needs and to help resolve data acquisition and data management issues. Computing staff provides advice on scientific computing, data analysis, and visualization. The Center also provides online collaborative services (e.g., a password-protected intranet for the Working Group) and general IT support. Areas of staff expertise include statistical analysis and experimental design, programming in a variety of 3GL and 4GL languages, server and desktop computer hardware and software support, database design and implementation, and data management.
Working Group visitors to NCEAS have access to advanced PC, Macintosh, and Linux workstations running a broad range of software for accomplishing all phases of data analysis. High performance computing is available for memory- and/or processor-intensive modeling, statistical, visualization, and data management projects.
NCEAS has two main conference rooms with additional space for breakout groups. Both conference rooms are equipped with LCD projectors, SMART boards, white boards, printers, as well as Ethernet and wireless Internet access. Our lounge serves as an informal breakout space and is also used for receptions, seminars and other events.
Working Groups have ample opportunity to interact with researchers in residence at NCEAS including Postdoctoral and Center Associates. See NCEAS directory for a list of current residents.