The NCEAS Call for Working Group Proposals includes:
- Formatting and Submission Instructions
- Proposal Review Process
- Financial Information
- Tips from the Science Advisory Board
- Description of Working Groups
- Sample of Successful NCEAS Working Group Proposal
Include the following in your proposal, where applicable:
|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|
|Project Summary – A brief scientific abstract of your project|
|Proposed Start and End Dates - Proposed start and end date of project (month, year)|
|Proposed Data Release Date - Date you expect to submit data set(s) to NCEAS (month, year)|
|Is this a resubmission? - Yes/No (If yes, provide date(s))|
|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|
|Proposed Activities – Brief description of methods and why they are appropriate|
|Names of Participants|
|Timetable of Activities|
|Anticipated Results and Benefits – Include description of data and software products and proposed public release date|
|Indicate how you heard about the NCEAS Call for Proposals|
|Is this proposal (or a closely aligned proposal) under consideration elsewhere (e.g., NESCent, SESYNC)? If so, please briefly describe the circumstances.|
|Curriculum Vitae for Each Working Group leader – Two (2) page maximum for each|
Proposals will be accepted in digital format only, as a Microsoft Word or PDF file. Proposals should be submitted as single, complete documents, 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] nceas [dot] ucsb [dot] edu. All those who submit proposals and references 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] nceas [dot] ucsb [dot] edu 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.
For answers to questions not addressed on this Call for Proposals site, please email proposal [at] nceas [dot] ucsb [dot] edu, visit the NCEAS web site, or call (805) 892-2500.
Proposals are evaluated for their scientific merit, novel approaches, and rationale for involving NCEAS. The Center’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) reviews proposals and makes recommendations to the Director who, in consultation with the Deputy Director, makes the final decisions about which proposals to support.
Board Members are given a list of proposals under consideration and submit a list of those they prefer to review. Review assignments are made considering these preferences. Reviewers recuse themselves from proposal review when there might be a conflict of interest, according to the terms of the NCEAS Review Process and Conflict of Interest Statement.
A context statement and reviews written by Board members (but not the actual scores given by reviewers) will be returned to the PI(s) without revealing the names of the reviewers. While reviews are provided to applicants, they may not reflect the discussions that takes place at the Science Advisory Board meetings. These discussions are much less focused on specific content than the nature, scope, and innovation in the proposed project.
Proposals that are clearly inappropriate for NCEAS (e.g. those requesting overhead, funds to be spent at the investigator's home institution, or funds intended to fund new data collection, etc.) will be returned without review.
Support includes reimbursement for actual travel, lodging and per diem expenses. No salary support is provided. Participant costs, including airfare, hotel and per diem expenses, are paid. Working Group leaders are responsible for preparing lists of the names, addresses, and contact information for participants invited to their meetings.
To help you develop successful proposals, the Science Advisory Board has developed a few rules of thumb to guide your proposal preparation:
- Proposals are evaluated primarily on the significance and novelty of the idea(s) under consideration and should be question-driven (i.e., not purely descriptive).
- Provide a clear rationale for why this should be, or can only be, done at NCEAS.
- Be clear and concise. Give brief examples of major points you are making or approaches you are using. “Trust me” proposals are not effective.
- Include a diverse array of participants who are committed to the project. Pay attention to gender balance and include individuals from underrepresented institutions and groups. For each participant, specify the expertise brought to the project and whether he/she has agreed to participate.
- Indicate where the data used in your project will come from and its availability.
- 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. The Center facilitates the meetings by making local arrangements.
- 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. Deviations from these levels should be discussed with the Director or Deputy Director and soundly justified in the proposal.
- 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 who will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the NCEAS Data and Information Policy are met.
- An important characteristic of NCEAS emerges from the interactions that take place among the resident scientists (Postdoctoral Associates and Center Fellows) and the visiting scientists in Working Groups. Thus, in the evaluation of proposals, we consider aspects of the proposed research and the nature of the participants that might promote effective interactions. This is inherently subjective, but we believe it is an important component of what makes the NCEAS model effective.
- It is expected that all Working Groups will involve a diverse group of participants, including women and members of under-represented communities.
- NCEAS is particularly interested in increasing opportunities for graduate student participation in the Center's activities. It is expected that all Working Groups will involve one or more graduate student participants. Graduate students should be full intellectual participants in Working Group activities and are not expected to serve in a support role for the group.
- Funding occurs through an NSF grant to UC Santa Barbara, which reimburses actual expenses (i.e., the Center does not award grants to other institutions). Applicants are encouraged to consider additional funding sources to leverage NCEAS resources.
- An analysis of NCEAS Working Group productivity was published in: Hampton, S.E., and J.N. Parker. 2011. Collaboration and productivity in scientific synthesis (PDF). BioScience 61: 900-910.