SNAP Call for Proposals

Science for Nature and People

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Due Date: May 18, 2015 4:00 pm PDT

PDF of this SNAP Call for Proposals, 2015

For inquiries email proposal [at]



The Science for People and Nature (SNAP) initiative ( addresses major questions at the intersection of nature conservation and human well-being, where the sought-after solutions require synthesis and analysis of existing data and have a clear pathway to implementing conservation actions. SNAP is a partnership between the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). We are pleased to announce the third annual Request for Proposals (RFP) for interdisciplinary working groups to fill knowledge gaps and advance solutions to the significant challenges at the intersection of nature conservation and human well-being.

Interested applicants should carefully review the information in this RFP including Appendix A: Proposal Table. To apply, proposals should be uploaded as a PDF at no later than 4:00 pm PDT on Monday, 18 May 2015.


Program Overview

SNAP working groups convene individuals from a broad variety of disciplines, sectors, and institutions – from academics to field practitioners, to funders and policy makers. At the boundary of scientific analysis and conservation action, SNAP groups address two core questions:

  • How can nature conservation broadly benefit human well-being while enhancing longer-term ecological resilience and sustainability?
  • How can economic development and humanitarian activities be conducted in a sustainable manner and what alternatives and tradeoffs can be explored to achieve this sustainability? 

Working group results are expected to be:

  • High-impact: Results are novel and rigorous enough for publishing in a top-tier peer-reviewed journal, and data are made publicly available.
  • Rapid: 18-24 months, typically employing analysis and synthesis of existing datasets.
  • Collaborative: Iterative working meetings convene around research questions larger than the interest of any one sector: academic, government, non-governmental, and private.
  • Interdisciplinary: Participants include individuals across a spectrum of specialties, job functions and institutions related to nature conservation, economic development, and/or human well-being.
  • Inclusive: TNC and WCS staff are integrally engaged as they are well positioned to apply new knowledge in field programs or the policy arena. 
  • Directly linked to implementation: The results generated have a clear pathway to specific and well-articulated actions.
  • Open Science: Results of SNAP working groups, including data generated as a result of working group analyses, are expected to be made accessible to the public. Such transparency makes the results available for further inquiry and learning, and contributes to the professional credibility of SNAP and the broader scientific community.

Other characteristics of a SNAP working group:

  • NCEAS is generally the preferred location for convening working group meetings, but other locations are possible if warranted.
  • Data used by and/or resulting from the working group’s efforts are made publicly available within six months of completion according to the SNAP Data Principles and Policy.
  • WCS and/or TNC staff must be collaborators in proposal creation, working group meetings, and implementation of key findings.
  • PI’s are committed to biannual written and oral programmatic reports and a final project report.
  • Working groups acknowledge SNAP funding in all publications, presentations, and other products, and include the use of the SNAP logo in media where other institutional logos are used.



Researchers and practitioners of any nationality affiliated with an academic, governmental agency, or not-for-profit institution may submit a SNAP proposal. Individuals operating independently are also eligible to apply. We do not fund working groups led by corporate and other private sector entities, although individuals from these institutions are eligible to participate as part of a SNAP working group.



Working group budget requests should not exceed US$100,000 per year or US$200,000 for a 2-year period, unless the proposers can bring additional funds from non-SNAP sources. In general, any measure of external funds enhances the likelihood of SNAP funding, assuming the proposal meets the requirements outlined in this Request for Proposals.

SNAP funds may be used to defray the costs associated with convening working groups, engaging a facilitator, acquisition and integration of existing data, and publication of results. In general, we do not fund collection of new primary data. Most working group meetings are held at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA where we provide significant logistical coordination (travel, accommodations, meeting facilities, and reimbursements) as well as data management, analysis and technical support. A research assistant or postdoctoral-level researcher may be requested if their essential role and responsibilities form part of the budget justification; such individuals are also typically located at NCEAS.

SNAP funds may not be used to pay salaries of working group participants or to cover any capital or overhead expenses. We encourage proposals that identify matching funds. Budgets should be submitted using the SNAP budget worksheet template. 


Proposal Development and Decision Process 

  • Proposals must be developed either within or in collaboration with SNAP partner institutions. Interested researchers should contact one of the following for help with shaping proposals, and identifying appropriate collaborators:

o    For PIs from WCS: Carter Ingram (cingram [at]

o    For PIs from TNC: Jensen Montambault (jmontambault [at]

o    For all other PIs: Craig Groves (proposal [at]

  • Applicants must submit complete information as described in Appendix A: Proposal Table.
  • The SNAP Management Team staff will review all proposals to make sure they are complete and in line with priorities described in the Request for Proposals.
  • The SNAP Science Advisory Council will review all complete and relevant proposals for scientific merit and actionable links to nature conservation and human well-being outcomes. (see for information on members of the Science Advisory Council)
  • The SNAP Executive Director, Craig Groves, and the SNAP Governing Board will consider final recommendations of the Science Advisory Council.
  • Applicants will be notified of the decision made on their proposals by 10 September 2015.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What constitutes the nexus of nature conservation and human well-being?

Nature conservation can refer to either biodiversity conservation efforts directly (including matters related to composition, structure, and function of ecosystems) or broader issues of conservation that are more problem-oriented (e.g., climate change, land use change, sustainable fisheries, biodiversity offsets, illegal trade in wildlife, and other conservation priorities of TNC and WCS).

Human well-being, in the broadest terms, is about the objective and subjective factors that make up a person's health and quality of life. It is context specific. Human well-being can be affected by material and non-material components, such as basic material needs (e.g., adequate income, housing), physical and mental health, social relations (e.g., cohesion, strong social support networks), freedom and choice, governance, and equity and equality.

SNAP working groups investigate questions that include concurrent or integrated gaps in the knowledge of both nature conservation and human well-being and are clearly and logically linked to conservation actions.

What is the model of a good working group?

Based on 20 years of experience with NCEAS working groups and the first two rounds of approved SNAP proposals, effective working groups should expect to include:

  • Interdisciplinary team of 12-18 individuals from a broad suite of sectors, institutions, and specialties who would not otherwise convene around a research question, including humanitarian, sustainable development, and other cultural and spiritual organizations.
  • A diversity of participants including a substantial proportion of women and members of under-represented communities.
  • A facilitator can be very helpful for planning and running the first meeting, especially for PIs new to collaborative synthesis working groups.
  • Members from TNC and/or WCS in a position to lead new actions based on new knowledge.
  • Iterative working meetings (usually 3 – 4 meetings, 4-5 days in duration) focused on data analysis and synthesis; most are held at NCEAS.
  • One designated technical liaison to work with NCEAS; this may be a research assistant, post-doctoral associate, or member of the working group. The purpose of the technical liaison is to engage with NCEAS IT staff and scientific programmer on what computing services the working group may need including collaboration capabilities (project management capabilities and email alias), data entry and organization, database development, statistical analysis, modeling, and metadata development and distribution. 

Am I required to include individuals from WCS and/or TNC as members in my working group?

Yes. A key component of successful proposals is the integral involvement of staff from TNC, WCS, or both, as members of working groups as they are well positioned to help link the working group results to action in the field or policy arena. Proposals that do not involve these organizations will be returned without review. Working groups should include expertise from both inside and outside of academia.

What is a clear pathway to implementation and how can it be demonstrated?

Successful proposals will include a theory of change that articulates a likely series of actions and intended outcomes that will ensue as a result of the new knowledge generated by the working group. Theories of change may be conveyed in diagrams, text, or ideally both. A sample theory of change diagram and narrative are included below in Appendix B.

Are multiple sources of funding required for a successful application?

No, multiple sources are not required for a SNAP proposal. However, applicants are encouraged to identify supplementary funds.

We welcome proposers (e.g. foundations, agencies, others) with their own funding who want to use the SNAP intellectual infrastructure and NCEAS informatics and convening support to tackle synthesis projects at the intersection of conservation and human well-being. These proposals will still be reviewed following the normal SNAP review process; however, if the matters are pressing, the review process can be fast-tracked.

How do I prepare a SNAP budget?

Proposals should include an estimated budget, which can be prepared using the budget worksheet template provided. Participant costs for meetings will default to NCEAS as the meeting location and will automatically calculate on the provided “Domestic” worksheet including standard estimates for participant’s travel, lodging, and food. For meetings to be scheduled outside of the US, please use the “International” worksheet and provide estimates for approximate travel, lodging, and food costs (not to exceed US$55 per day) in that location. Use the “Other Expenses” worksheet to estimate additional services (e.g. postdoc salary and benefits, facilitator support) and any other expenses unique to your proposal.

Please remember that no salary support from SNAP is provided for working group participants and that no overhead charges should be included as part of the budget.


Submission Information

Proposals are due no later than 4:00 pm PDT on Monday, 18 May 2015. Proposals can be submitted at: and should be uploaded as a single PDF file. Information required in the cover sheet and body of the proposal is outlined in the Appendix A: Proposal Table below. Proposals should be submitted as a single document formatted to standard letter size (8.5” W by 11” L) with cover sheet and graphics embedded directly in the document. Do not submit compressed collections of files, such as .ZIP files. Receipt of proposals will be confirmed in email.


Contact Information 

For any challenges submitting your proposal, extenuating circumstances that prevent you from meeting the deadline, or other questions not addressed in this RFP, please contact NCEAS at:

Email: proposal [at]
Tel.: (805) 892-2500




Date of Submission

Descriptive Title

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)

Proposed Working Group Start Date (month/year)

Proposed Working Group  End Dates(duration not to exceed 24 month) –  (month/year)

Total Funding Requested from SNAP – Amount (in US$) you are requesting from SNAP

Total Funding from Match or Leverage – Amount (in US$) you have or expect to raise from other sources

How You Heard - Indicate how you heard about the SNAP Call for Proposals

SNAP Management Team Contact - Carter Ingram, Jensen Montambault, Craig Groves, Frank Davis, or others on the SNAP Management Team you collaborated with as you developed this submission.

Under Consideration Elsewhere? -Is this proposal (or a closely aligned proposal) under consideration elsewhere? If so, please briefly describe the circumstances

Project Summary – A brief scientific abstract of your project.


The body of the proposal should not exceed 2,500 words (excluding cover sheet, references, figures, tables, and budgets); proposals in excess of the word limit may not be reviewed. The body of the proposal should follow the cover sheet. Include literature citations as appropriate.

Project Statement – What do you propose to do? State clearly the problems you are addressing, your objectives, and the nature of your research (quantitative or qualitative).

Intellectual merit of the proposed project

  • Clearly identify the scientific gaps where broad collaboration and data synthesis can help.
  • Identify other work underway in this area and how the work you proposed to do will be different and/or add value to the current state of knowledge.
  • Include a brief description of the analyses that will be conducted including identifying the data sources and methods to be used and why they are appropriate. Please note that SNAP does not fund new data collection unless it is a minor component of the overall project. 

Qualifications of the proposer (individual or team) to conduct working group

  • How does the proposed composition of the working group equip the group to successfully accomplish this research?
  • Please provide names of participants and institutions with which Working Group members are associated. Indicate the expertise or specialty of each participant where possible and whether participants are confirmed.
  • Identify your Technical Liaison (this could be a project participant, PI, or Postdoctoral Associate).

Design for long-term nature conservation and human well-being impact

  • Why does it need to be done? Provide a clear articulation of the significance of this research for the benefit of nature conservation AND human well-being?
  • Describe how the results from your working group will be used to influence policy and practice. Describe these impacts within your theory of change (see Appendix B) including specific, actionable and time-bound applications to policy, management practices, and/or influencing decisions.
  • Your theory of change should clearly articulate your intended outcomes for both nature conservation and human well-being.
  • Please describe anticipated journal articles, data, software products, or other working group outputs (e.g., conceptual frameworks, policy recommendations, new scientific or conservation methods).

Potential for up-take and momentum

  • Who represents the target audience for your project? What indication do you have that they need or are looking for this information?
  • How will you tailor the findings of this enterprise to meet their needs?
  • Applicants are encouraged to provide an indication of how target audiences will implement anticipated results, and/or how products of the working group will be field-tested by TNC, WCS, or other conservation or development organizations, and will lead to conservation and human well-being outcomes.

Timetable of activities

  • Outline the timing for your working group meetings and describe what you plan to accomplish at each meeting. This is usually best accomplished in a table. Try to ensure that your project is feasible in terms of the resources available and the amount of time allocated to various activities. 

Working Group budget

Project cost sharing:

  • Provide information about other funding sources and the amount of support. If your proposal is accepted, a detailed budget will be requested for full project costs.

Literature Cited




SNAP Working Group Theory of Change Examples


Perfect Storm: Analyzing the impact of storm-water run-off and mitigation on biodiversity, ecosystem function and human health*

Storm-water run-off is understood to affect freshwater and coastal marine biodiversity and ecosystem function, as well as human health in many parts of the globe. Challenges to improving policies and practices to reduce these impacts include the variation in both the quality and quantity of run-off and in the effectiveness of land-use and water quality regulations. In addition, lack of coordination among government, conservation and humanitarian organizations and academics of different disciplines has resulted in fragmented studies on the social and ecological impacts of run-off. To address these challenges, significant knowledge gaps must be overcome to understand the most important factors (or combination) to abate and mitigate these impacts on nature and people. Such gaps may be filled through synthetic analysis of existing data. 

To accomplish this, the potential activities of our working group include:

1)      Compiling and standardizing existing datasets on

a.       quality and quantity of storm-water run-off and related regulations

b.      records of storm-water run-off impacts on human and ecological systems

c.       results of relevant management interventions

2)      Analysis, synthesis and modeling based on this data to understand

a.       relationships among these factors in four locations key to WCS and TNC in Latin America and the U.S.

b.      policies and management actions that can effectively reduce such impacts 

3)      Convening key stakeholder and policy advisory groups from above locations to

a.       improve coordination among storm water managers, watershed managers, community, conservation and public health organizations

b.      clarify current trends and information needs in storm-water run-off management

c.       identify new, integrated solutions to reduce impacts to people and nature

In year one, we expect direct outputs to include a standardized dataset and synthetic analysis of the effectiveness of run-off mitigation efforts published in a high-impact peer-reviewed journal and publicized as a SNAP blog. The analysis is intended to also to highlight potential stakeholders and policy levers in the selected sites. We identified policy-makers, practitioners and other decision makers who are well-positioned and eager to use this information.

By the end of the second year of the SNAP working group, we anticipate that these results will support a network of scientists that will begin to use and contribute to expanding the publicly accessible data set. An intended result of the stakeholder meeting is increased collaboration, including jointly written fundraising proposals for conservation and public health interventions in key locations related to important factors from our findings. These proposals should include funding for robust impact monitoring. After the SNAP working group has concluded, we expect this implementation will continue via the new collaborations sparked by our analysis and convening. New data from the impact monitoring will be incorporated into the publicly accessible datasets, setting the standard for future research and implementation.

*Hypothetical example, not based on any actual assessment of data.