RFP-II Frequently Asked Questions
Select a category to navigate to that set of questions:
- Research Themes
- Proposal Submission (Instructions, Forms)
- Peer Review
- Awards and Contracting (GoMRI AU)
- Master Research Agreement
- GoMRI/Research Board
Q: How many RFP-II proposals can one person participate in?
A: An individual may be involved in a maximum of three proposals in any capacity (e.g, PI, co-PI, collaborator, etc.). Submission of more than one proposal by an individual as PI and involvement in more than two proposals as co-PI, or involvement in more than three proposals as a co-PI or collaborator in any way will disqualify all such proposals involving the individual. It is the responsibility of the submitters to confirm that each member of the entire team is within the eligibility guidelines.
Q: Is there a limit on the number of co-PIs for RFP-II? Do the co-PIs need to be from different institutions? How should personnel (other than co-PIs) be included?
A: Each proposal is limited to a PI and up to 3 co-PIs from up to three additional institutions. Any co-PIs may be from the same institution as the PI. There is no requirement for multi-institutional proposals. As research teams can be formed in many different ways, it is the responsibility of proposers to clearly define the roles of those who are not co-PIs. The research will include work by undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral research associates as appropriate. Collaborators, contractors, associates, technical support, etc. are permitted but their relevance and involvement with the proposed work and impact on the budget should be clearly defined. The Narrative Description of the Approach should include the role(s) of key personnel within the research project, and the number of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students involved (see Appendix B in GoMRI RFP II Instructions for template). The Budget Template (see Appendix C in GoMRI RFP II Instructions for template) includes fields to identify personnel roles.
Q: If I am an investigator funded by RFP-I or RFP-III, can I apply to RFP-II?
A: RFP-III PIs and co-investigators may apply to RFP-II. RFP-I co-PIs may apply to RFP-II, but RFP-I Consortium Directors may not apply. Consortium Directors already have a significant commitment to GoMRI research and duties connected with the Consortium. For RFP-I co-PIs there will need to be a clear indication that the proposed research for RFP-II is distinct from RFP-I funded efforts and that the co-PI does have the time to devote to the RFP-II effort given their RFP-I funding and other efforts in which they are involved.
Q: If I am a PI or co-PI for RFP-I or RFP-III, do these count against the total of three possible RFP-II proposals? In other words, if I am already a GoMRI-funded investigator, can I still propose to participate in three RFP-II projects?
A: Previous GoMRI funding does not reduce the number of RFP-II projects in which you may participate unless you are a Consortium Director funded through RFP-I. Please review the following FAQ regarding RFP-II eligibility with previous GoMRI funding. https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/faq-rfpII/index.php?qa=467&qa_1=am-an-investigator-funded-by-rfp-or-rfp-iii-can-apply-to-rfp-ii
Q: Is there a limit on the number of proposals submitted by a lead institution?
A: There is not limit on the number of proposals per institution.
Q: Are for-profit entities eligible to apply for funding?
A: For-profit institutions are not allowed to participate as the lead institution (as RFP-II states) nor are they allowed to participate as co-PIs. Involvement of investigators at for-profit institutions must take another form if desired but can include allocation of funds (they can be collaborators, contractors, etc.).
Q: Are government entities eligible to apply for funding?
A: Government agencies are not allowed to receive funding from the RFP-II opportunity. Involvement of investigators at government agencies must take another form if desired. For example, they can be unpaid collaborators. Government entities include national research laboratories (e.g., DoD, DOE, etc.). Investigators at government facilities run by a for-profit contractor are also not eligible to participate as PI or co-PIs.
Q: Recent clarification to the RFP states that DoD research labs are ineligible to apply during Phase II. Please confirm that the US Naval Research Laboratory falls under this rule.
A: Yes, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is a government entity and is therefore ineligible for GoMRI RFP-II funding. Involvement of investigators at government agencies must take another form if desired. For example, they can be unpaid collaborators.
Q: If the Involvement of investigators at federal government agencies, is in the form of contractors, could they be paid through my University which is the lead Institution for our proposal?
A: Investigators at government facilities run by a for-profit contractor or for for-profit entities are also not eligible to participate as PI or co-PIs. Involvement of investigators at government agencies or for-profit entities must take another form if desired. For example, they can be unpaid collaborators.
Q: If a federal agency can be involved in a RFP-II proposal as a subcontractor, could they be paid through my not-for-profit institution which is the lead?
A: Government agencies are not allowed to receive funding from the RFP-II opportunity, regardless of the funding pathway. Involvement of investigators at government agencies must take another form if desired. For example, they can be unpaid collaborators.
Q: I am a director of an RFP-I funded Research Center. I have been asked by two RFP-II groups to act as an un-compensated “collaborator” to help coordinate their outreach and data management activities through our Center, as well as to provide input on sampling design and interpretation of results. Is such a collaboration role allowed under the RFP-II rules?
A: As indicated in previous FAQs, RFP-I Consortium Directors may not apply to RFP-II. However, coordination of RFP-II research with RFP-I funded research consortia is encouraged. Please ask the submitting PI to include RFP-I Consortium Director(s) as a no-cost collaborator. The Narrative Description of the Approach should include the role(s) of key personnel within the research project.
Category: Research Themes
Q: Does an RFP-II proposal have to address all five research themes listed in the RFP?
A: Each proposal is expected to develop and enunciate a clear plan to address any one of these themes. Multi-themed proposals will not be considered. The plan should clearly describe how the proposed research would serve to accomplish the long-term goals of the GoMRI.
Q: What information is publicly available on GoMRI-funded research (from RFP-I and RFP-III)? How can RFP-II PIs know that they can compliment (rather than duplicate) funded research?
A: Information about the Consortia funded through RFP-I and the projects funded through RFP-III can be found at the following URLs, respectively. https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/research/awards/year-2-4-rfp-i-consortia-grant-awards/ https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/research/awards/rfp-iii-awards/
Q: Is further clarification of Research Themes available?
A: Each proposal is expected to develop and enunciate a clear plan to address any one of the themes. The plan should clearly describe how the proposed research would serve to accomplish the long?term goals of the GoMRI. Thus, it is incumbent upon the proposers to demonstrate the relevance of the planned work or system to the goals of GoMRI as stated in RFP-II (https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/) and the MRA (https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/about-gri/master-research-agreement/).
Q: Is my specific research topic applicable to the goals of the GoMRI Research Themes?
A: Research Board policy is to not prejudge proposal ideas so as to not displace the role of the peer review process or give competitive advantage to any applicant.
Q: Would RFP-II proposals benefit from establishing close connection(s) to one or more funded RFP-I Consortia, such as demonstrating what tools developed by the Consortia they would use and how they might complement the Consortia research?
A: Proposals will be judged on the criteria outlined in RFP-II. Collaborations with a GoMRI Consortium should be made if it improves the research quality or capacity of the proposal, but there is no requirement or expectation of collaboration with existing Consortia.
Q: What is the letter of intent (LOI) deadline?
A: The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) is 17 January 2012 at 9:00 p.m. EST. No proposal will be accepted without an LOI.
Q: How do I submit an LOI? What is the format?
A: LOIs must be submitted to the Research Board on or before 17 January 2012 at 9:00 p.m. EST to https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-letter-of-intent-submission-form/ and must follow all of the instructions detailed in the RFP-II Instructions document, which can be found at https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-how-to-apply/
Q: Will LOIs go through an evaluation/selection process?
A: LOIs will not be evaluated. LOIs provide essential information required by the GoMRI to avoid conflicts of interest in the establishment of lists of potential reviewers and for determining the number of reviewers needed for the proposal evaluation process.
Q: As was the case with RFP-I, will RFP-II LOIs received be posted to encourage collaboration among PIs and co-PIs before the final proposals are due?
A: For RFP-II, LOIs will not be posted. RFP-II is focused on individual investigators or small groups of investigators. Investigators seeking collaboration are encouraged to post on the GoMRI Collaboration Forum: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/forum/.
Q: The LOI submission page asks for an “Estimated Budget”. How close to this amount do we need to be for the proposal itself?
A: The LOI budget is estimate that will be used to help understand the potential scale of the proposed work. It is understood that revisions to the estimate may occur during the proposal writing process.
Q: The previous LOI version required a description of the proposed projects; RFP-II does not seem to require this. Is this correct?
A: Yes, this is correct; a project description is not required for the RFP-II LOI.
Q: The LOI asks for a list of “Co-PIs, existing institutional partners and key researchers”. Does this mean we should list other individuals besides PIs and co-PIs?
A: For the LOI, only PIs and co-PIs should be listed. Please also see a related FAQ: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/faq-rfpII/index.php?qa=431&qa_1=collaborators-different-institutions-personnel-included.
Q: After LOI submission, can we change the title of the project or change or add personnel?
A: Yes, personnel additions and modifications are allowed after the LOI submission, as well as changes to the proposal title and Research Theme. Please note that the purposes of the LOI are articulation of interest and preparation for the peer review process. The LOI will not be considered as part of the formal review. Only the full proposal, to be submitted by 9:00pm EST 8 March, 2012, will be reviewed for purposes of selection and award.
Q: Does the LOI need to be submitted through the institution’s sponsored program office?
A: Applicants should follow the policy of their institution regarding submission of the LOI.
Q: How many LOIs have been submitted?
A: The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative received 629 Letters of Intent (LOI) for RFP-II prior to the LOI deadline on January 17. The purpose of the required LOI submissions is to facilitate peer-review planning.
Category: Proposal Submission (Instructions, Forms)
Q: When is the proposal submission deadline?
A: The deadline to submit a proposal is 8 March 2012 at 9:00 p.m. EST.
Q: How do I submit a full proposal? What is the format?
A: Full proposals must be submitted to the Research Board on or before 8 March 2012, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. EST to https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-upload-of-proposal-to-research-board/ and must follow all of the instructions detailed in the RFP-II Instructions document, which can be found at https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-how-to-apply/
Q: The Project Description (Section 4) should be less than 15 pages. This includes 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, and 4e. In the RFP-II Instructions document it is stated �the suggested page ranges provided below are acceptable ranges for each element of the Project Description�” However, there are no suggested page ranges in the document. Are there any guidelines on the number of pages for each sub-section within Section 4?
A: The Project Description should be a maximum of 15 pages in length and should include sub-sections 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, and 4e. There are no guidelines on the number of pages for each sub-section. The GoMRI RFP-II Instructions document has been updated and the reference to suggested page ranges has been removed. https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-how-to-apply/
Q: I am a co-PI from a university outside the US. Is the electronic signature of the vice-rector of research of my university valid in the Conflict of Interest Disclosure?
A: An updated Conflict of Interest Disclosure form is now available here: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/. You should fill out the Organizational/Personal Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form as an individual. Section D will be signed by the PI of the proposed research project. Electronic signatures are valid.
Q: When I try to fill out the proposal cover page template with the proposal title, the print shrinks and becomes so small that I cannot read it. The title submitted in our LOI is 21 words long, and the cover page template seems to only fit 10-12 words comfortably. Should we create a running title that is shorter or should we try something else?
A: The cover page template includes three lines of space for the proposal title. Please utilize all three lines. The print will shrink to allow for longer titles.
Q: The RFP-II directions say that the cover page must be signed under “Proposal Authorization” by the research institution. Does this refer only to the leading institution or to all collaborating institutions?
A: The proposal authorization should be completed by the lead research institution of the proposal.
Q: Could you please provide Word versions of all the required templates for the proposal?
A: Word versions of the templates are available here: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/ If the template is changed, the proposal may be returned without review.
Q: What information should be included on the complete list of partner institutions and project personnel? How is this different from the PI and co-PI information provided on the coversheet?
A: For the complete list of partner institutions and associated project personnel, please list all individuals involved with the project and their institution (not just the PI and co-PIs).
Q: Two different versions of the RFP-II submission instructions have been found. One requires justification of equipment cost greater than $10,000 and sub-awards greater than 100,000 per year. The other, states requirements of $5,000 and $25,000 for equipment and sub-awards, respectively. Which one is correct?
A: The RFP-II Preparation and Submission Instructions have been updated. Please identify equipment costing more than $5,000. Sub-awards for more than $25,000 per year should submit a separate budget and budget justification.
Q: Could you please clarify if the provided templates are required or if they are simply examples? For example, are we required to use the table provided in Appendix B or can we present the information in a different format?
A: The provided templates must be within your proposal, found here: http://www.gulfresearchinitiativeorg/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/. Within the project description, an applicant must provide a complete list of partner institutions and associated project personnel (1page limit). Appendix B may be modified to allow PIs to display this information.
Q: We need more instructions on completing the online Upload of Proposal to Research Board. (1) Is it possible to see all the three steps of the online submission process? We can only see Step 1 of 3. A picture of the complete three steps will be helpful. (2) Are we able to save information entered before clicking the submit button? (3) Are we able to access the form at any time without losing the information entered before the deadline and before pressing “submit”?
A: Screen shots of all pages of the web form are available here: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/rfp-ii-upload-of-proposal-to-research-board/. The proposal upload and web submission must take place at one time. There is not the opportunity to save the form and complete it at a later time.
Q: While putting the RFP II proposal together, I noticed that the references need to be in the format used for the journal Science. We have three pages of references, most of which are journal articles with two or more authors. Surprisingly, such references need to have the full name of the authors per the Science instructions. Before we dedicate the time needed to doing this, I wanted to confirm that this is essential to the proposal process.
A: As the instructions indicate, please follow the Science Reference Style for citations: http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/contribinfo/prep/res/refs.xhtml#general.
Q: One of our potential Co-PIs has done some consulting for an organization that is contracting for BP. Our proposed work and his role in it will have no financial or intellectual benefit to the company or to BP, so our institution does not consider it a conflict of interest, however, it would seem appropriate to declare it on the GoMRI COI. This work is ‘outside’ work, separate to his University affiliation.
A: This information should be disclosed in Sections A and B of the Organizational/Personal Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form.
Q: The RFP indicates references cited according to Science, but as of 1 Jan 2010, Science includes titles in references for some publications and not others; which format does GoMRI want us to use; this decision will significantly impact the number of possible references cited.
A: Please do include titles, as requested by the Science Reference Style guide. Examples are available here: http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/contribinfo/prep/res/refs.xhtml#general.
Q: Please clarify the manner in which (i.e. who) will be signing off in sections C and D of the conflict of interest form. Does PI need to complete this form also? Who signs on behalf of the PI — certifying that PI has no conflict of interest?
A: Each PI and co-PI should fill out Sections A, B and C of the Organizational/Personal Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form as an individual. Section D, of all associated disclosure forms, will be signed by the PI of the proposed research project. Electronic signatures are valid.
Q: On the proposal submission, I can’t get past “total budget request.” The form will not accept my number, although I am entering only numeric values and a valid number.
A: Please only enter numeric values; do not enter a $ or commas. Please make sure that you are using the most recent version of your preferred web browser.
Q: Do RFP-II proposals need to have an outreach component similar to that of RFP-I?
A: Outreach and public education efforts, which are appropriate to proposed scientific work, can be included in the proposal, but are not required. RFP-II awardees will work with the GoMRI to promote and coordinate such efforts.
Q: Can you specify what elements should be included under PI and co-PI “information”?
A: Please review the cover page template for more information: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/ PI and co-PI name and contact information are required.
Q: In the “Narrative Description of Qualifications” the instructions say to provide: “metrics of progress to be used in evaluating personnel involved in the project.” Are these metrics to be those for GoMRI to use to evaluate personnel involved or those for the PI to use to evaluate personnel?
A: The intent of the requested ‘metrics of progress to be used in evaluation personnel involved in the project’ is to guide internal management of the research project, led by the PI. If appropriate, the metrics described in the proposal could also be used by the GoMRI Research Board in evaluation of the research project.
Q: Where do letters of collaboration from co-PIs and other collaborators get inserted?
A: The format of proposals responding to RFP-II does not allow for “letters of support/collaboration.” Proposals responding to RFP-II are required to set forth, in the body of the proposal, the arrangements or details of collaborations, as noted in RFP-II and the instructions for proposals. If the collaboration includes funding, the budget for collaboration and justification should be explained in the budget section of the proposal as appropriate. We recognize that as part of their own internal procedures, institutions may require letters of support or collaboration of their collaborators.
Q: Will GoMRI require that we have the necessary permits from National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) approved before we submit the full proposal or can these be submitted later? The permitting process for NMFS is usually 9 months and we want to make sure that we allow enough time to complete this process.
A: The GoMRI does not require that necessary permits be approved prior to submission of a full proposal in response to RFP-II. However, the GoMRI expects that research under any award is compliant with federal, state, and local regulations, including acquisition of required permits.
Q: I plan to include figures in color and it is important the reviewers see these figures in color. Should I provide an external link where these figures can be seen in color? I understand that reviewers might print in black and white, but why can’t they view these color figures on their monitor, directly from the proposal pages (which, I presume, will be provided electronically?). Are you providing reviewers with black and white hard copies?
A: Proposals will be provided electronically to reviewers. Some reviewers may choose to print proposals in black and white for review. All relevant information to judge the proposal should be in the body of the proposal. Proposers should not expect reviewers to follow external links.
Q: Based on this statement in the Instructions: “It is essential that provision be made that video data tagged with appropriate information be included in the data submissions”, is it expected that every proposal will involve the taking of video? Or, is it meant that IF there is video as part of the data, it must be tagged with the appropriate information?
A: It is not expected that all proposals will involve video. If video data are included, then they must be tagged with the appropriate information.
Q: Is the Table of Contents part of the 15-page narrative limit in terms of page count? Should the Table of Contents include all the items in the full proposal in addition to the 15-page narrative or should it refer only to the 15-pages, halting short of 5. Facilities?
A: The Table of Contents is a separate required section of the full proposal; this section should include all items in the proposal. There is not a page limit for the Table of Contents.
Q: Regarding section 4d) Narrative Description of Data Management Objectives, can you clarify concepts, such as software or other materials to be prodcued in the project?
A: The PI and co-PI(s) should determine the data management objectives to be included in section 4d: Narrative Description of the Data Management Objectives. This information will be specific to the type of research proposed.
Q: Two versions of the instructions have been found with varying description of the requirements- under ‘qualifications’ one version requires “a description of the infrastructure and experience for administering contracts and grants”. The other version omits this requirement. Which is correct?
A: Please refer to the instructions posted here: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GoMRI_RFP_II_Instructions.pdf.
Q: In regards to the CV format….The announcement states that copies of publications should not be included, but is there any limit to the number of publications listed in the CV? And is there a preferred two page format since there isn’t a template?
A: There is not a standard format or template for the biographical sketches of key personnel. Please include information as you deem appropriate, within the two-page limit.
Q: Since the required start date is between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2012, if we propose to begin work in December 2012, will our project end in Dec. 2015 or will it have to end by July 2015? In other words, do we have three years from the actual start date?
A: If a project is awarded for a 3 year duration, the project will end 3 years from the start date of the grant agreement.
Q: Please clarify who signs off in section D of the conflict of interest form certifying that the PI himself has no COI.
A: For the PI, section D of the Organizational/ Personal Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form will be signed by the PI.
Q: Will the GOMRI pay for graduate student fringe benefits and tuition remission?
A: Yes, graduate student fringe benefits and tuition remission are allowable costs. Please include these costs within your budget template and justification.
Q: We would like to participate in a scheduled cruise this coming summer. The cruise would take place after the earliest possible start date (July 1, 2012), but we would need to purchase cruise supplies before July 1. Will pre-award costs be allowed (similar to what NSF allows)?
A: The GoMRI allows the possibility to negotiate a 90-day pre-award period. Proposers/Awardees should contact their Office of Sponsored Programs (or similar office) to determine the conditions under which pre-award spending is allowed at their institution.
Q: The budget section states, “Include a copy of the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement as supporting documentation.” Is this a requirement for all proposals or only those that request administrative support in the direct costs? If needed for all proposals, is a copy for all institutions receiving funds in the proposal required or just the lead institution?
A: For all proposals, please include a copy of the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement for the main budget and each subcontract over $25,000 per year.
Q: In the case of proposals submitted with internationally based co-PIs, would the grant be able to cover salary for the international co-PI or just travel and research costs?
A: GoMRI proposals may include salary for international researchers. Please also see https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/faq-rfpII/index.php?qa=427&qa_1=eligible-submit-lead-pis-from-states-other-than-gulf-states
Q: What is the earliest start date for the budget?
A: The start date must be between July 1, 2012 and Dec 31, 2012
Q: What costs are considered Participant/Trainee Support Costs?
A: Participant support costs are direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not grantees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects.
Q: The GoMRI RFP-II Instructions state that duplications of overhead for subcontracts are not allowed. However our institution’s standard protocol is to charge overhead on an initial percentage (e.g., the first 25%) of a subcontract. Is this considered duplicate overhead?
A: Overhead on subcontracts should follow the institution’s guidelines that have been federally approved. These guidelines, for example, may allow for an overhead charge on an initial portion of the subcontract. This is not considered a “duplication” of overhead.
Q: Can a subcontractor charge overhead without a federally negotiated rate?
A: If, for any reason, an organization does not have an indirect cost rate agreement, then the organization must submit the following with their cost proposal: 1) copy of actual indirect rate (and details on how the rate was derived) to be validated by financial statements and 2) if applicable, projected future rates and assumptions used in deriving those rates.
Q: How should one schedule and budget for ship time? Do we use the UNOLS ship time request system?
A: Applicants need to negotiate with individual ship operators and provide the information and costs in your proposal and budget. At the time of award selection and execution of grants, the Research Board may facilitate coordination of ship use to maximize effectiveness for research and simultaneously reduce costs to the extent practicable (without jeopardizing achieving the objectives of the funded research).
Q: For a budget for a participating institution, if the sub-award is less than $25,000 per year, a separate budget is not required. Does a break down of costs need to be provided in the PI’s budget justification or is it sufficient to just give the total coast and indicate the work that will be done by that institution?
A: Please include the total cost (<$25,000 per year) and describe the work to be performed within the PI budget justification.
Q: I would like to seek clarification on the length of the budget justification. Is two pages the total allowable length for a 3-year project budget? Under the full proposal description, in section 6a it states we use the Appendix C template. In section 6b, it states “submit a separate budget and budget justification (2-page limit) for each participating institution..”
A: There is not a page limit specified for the budget justification of the Lead Institution. Partner and sub-award institutions are limited to 2 pages for a budget justification. Please use the annual budget template for all submitted budgets: http://www.gulfresearchinitiativeorg/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/.
Q: For budgeting the annual PI/Co-PI travel to meet with the GoMRI Research Board, where is the likely location of the meeting?
A: Meeting localities have not been specified at this time. However, past meetings have largely been within the Gulf of Mexico region.
Q: Please explain in detail what is meant by “fringe benefits”. Does this mean the social security that the university pays to the government for hiring a person? Or does this social security belong to the “salary”? (I am an international co-PI).
A: Fringe benefits include employment benefits (such as compensated leave costs, insurance, retirement benefits, social security, etc.) granted by an employer that has monetary value, but does not affect basic wage rates or salary. Fringe benefits are allowable as a direct cost (if not included as an indirect cost) in proportion to the salary charged to the grant, to the extent that such payments are made under formally established and consistently applied organizational policies.
Q: Are there fundamental differences between allowable budget costs for co-PIs and contractors or collaborators?
A: What constitutes an allowable budget cost must conform to an institution’s rules and regulations that have been federally agreed upon, as well as the provisions set out in the Master Research Agreement.
Q: Can you please clarify how much overhead each institution is allowed to charge? The RFP states, “Overhead charges on the main budget and subcontracts should be no higher than the federally applied overhead rates for the corresponding institutions.” Does this mean that each institution should not charge overhead higher than any other institution’s federal rate? Does the lead institution’s rate restrict what other institutions can charge?
A: Each budget and sub-award budget should include the overhead rate that is applicable to that specific institution.
Q: I am an international co-PI, should I include the taxes in the budget?
A: Include all costs as allowed by standard approved policies at the submitting institution.
Q: If a subcontract is written to a for-profit service provider, rather than a sub-awardee, and the amount will exceed $25K/yr, is a budget required for the service providers? If so, should the budget template be used, or another form?
A: For the purposes of RFP-II, sub-contracts and sub-awards are the same. If a requested budget exceeds $25,000 per year, the annual budget template and accompanying budget justification must be submitted.
Q: Does GoMRI allow additional compensation for PIs, Co-PIs, personnel? (i.e. in excess of 12 months) for duties performed outside regular work hours. Is there a limit of compensation during the academic year (9 months) or summer (3 months)?
A: Compensation must follow approved guidelines of the proposing institution. Additional compensation, beyond 12 months, is an allowable cost but must be clearly explained in the budget justification. Within the budget template, please note with an asterisk that this is additional time required.
Q: Should there be a separate budget justification for each year or just one justification written as a summary of the entire project?
A: Lead institutions should provide a budget justification for each of the three years of proposed research.
Q: The RFP states, regarding the budget and budget justification, that the PI should submit a separate budget and budget justification (2-page limit) for each participating institution in cases where the sub-award exceeds 25,000 per year. Does this mean that the sub-award can only submit this information in two pages or does this mean that the budget can be two pages and the budget justification can be two pages?
A: All submitted budgets must use the annual budget template, provided here: http://www.gulfresearchinitiativeorg/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/rfp-ii-submission-forms-and-templates/. Accompanying budget justifications for sub-awards exceeding $25,000 per year are limited to 2 pages in length. There is not a page limit specified for the budget justification of the Lead Institution.
Q: If I have a 2-year project, may I request $1.5 million for year 1 and $0.5 million for year 2, or am I restricted to 1 million each individual year?
A: Funding for each approved proposal is expected to be between $100,000 (minimum) and $1 million (maximum) per year for up to 3 years. Annual requests cannot exceed $1 million.
Q: I am working on the budget, and wanted some clarification on the budget and budget justification. Is the following correct: 1. I submit an overall budget (total cost of the project) for each year, and I use the annual budget template for this.
A: Please use the annual budget template to provide a project budget for each year. For each sub-award exceeding $25,000, please submit annual budget templates and accompanying budget justification.
Q: Does the NIH salary cap apply?
A: No, the NIH salary cap does not apply to the GoMRI. Please budget salary according to the rate agreed upon by your institution.
Q: Is the purchase of a high-end instrument (essential to the project) an allowable cost? If so, is there a “ceiling” regarding allowable equipment costs?
A: What constitutes an allowable budget cost must conform to an institution’s rules and regulations that have been federally agreed upon, as well as the provisions set out in the Master Research Agreement (MRA). According to the MRA, researchers are encouraged to obtain access to necessary equipment, if possible, through collaborations and partnerships. Please identify equipment costing more than $5,000 within the annual budget template and accompanying budget justification. GoMRI funding can be used to purchase items included in an Approved Research Project, as approved by the GoMRI Research Board.
Q: I understand that GRI funds cannot be used for construction and infrastructure. Does this also exclude the purchase of large equipment such as outboard research vessels, trucks, medical equipment or items that are readily available for purchase?
A: Capital expenditures not considered part of the GoMRI budget generally refer to large infrastructure items like ships, autonomous underwater vehicles or laboratories. Equipment over the price of $10,000 is considered capital equipment. Any project wanting to use capital equipment must attempt to obtain this equipment from other members of the consortium, other consortia, or lease as necessary. If this equipment cannot be obtained as explained above; then the equipment must appear as a capital expenditure in a line item budget with justification for the consortium and be evaluated by the Research Board. For the purposes of RFP-II, please identify equipment costing more than $5,000 within the annual budget template and accompanying budget justification.
Q: Should an institution include the cost of equipment (i.e. instrumentation over $5K) in their indirect cost base?
A: Within the annual budget template, please list the cost of equipment under section C. Equipment. Indirect Costs are those costs which are not readily identifiable with a particular cost objective but nevertheless are necessary to the general operation of an organization. For all proposals, please include a copy of the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement for the main budget and each subcontract over $25,000 per year.
Q: How much explanation is required in the budget for equipment costing more than $5,000? Should one sentence be provided that details what the equipment will be and what it will be useful for or is a detailed paragraph required that notes (for Co_PIs not to exceed 2 page limits) the brand name and Gigabyte storage or processing speed for a Compuer Server etc.?
A: If a piece of equipment will be purchased for a cost of $5,000 or more, please identify that as a separate line item in the annual budget template.
Q: Should a copy of the negotiated IDC rate agreement be included for subawards?
A: Yes, please include a copy of the indirect cost rate agreement for each institution with a sub-award exceeding $25,000 per year.
Q: We have a budget $300,000 for two years study, this is okay?
A: Yes, a budget of $300,000 for a 2-year study is acceptable.
Q: We have a no-cost collaborating RFP-I Consortium Director involved in our proposed project. However, we would like to use a Research Associate from the consortium director’s institution for field research at their location. Can we include a subcontract to this institution just for costs of the RA salary and supplies, while the director remains as a collaborator at no cost? Or is it unallowable for any/all costs to go to the collaborating Consortium Director’s institution?
A: As indicated in previous FAQs, RFP-I Consortium Directors may not apply to RFP-II. However, coordination of RFP-II research with RFP-I funded research consortia is encouraged. The submitting PI should include RFP-I Consortium Director(s) as a no-cost collaborator. A subcontract to the institution is allowable, provided that the RFP-I director remains a no-cost collaborator.
Q: Are no-cost collaborators (national or international), who have expertise that will strengthen the proposal, permitted? Can their CVs be included to establish such expertise? Should the supportive role they will play be part of the work plan?
A: No-cost collaborators (national or international) are permitted. However, 2-page CVs are only allowed for the PI and co-PIs. Copies of publications should not be included. The Narrative Description of the Approach should include the role(s) of key personnel within the research project, and the number of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students involved (see Appendix B in GoMRI RFP II Instructions for template).
Q: Our submission will have one PI, two Co-PI’s located at another University and a final Co-PI located at a third University. Our PI will utilize three other professors at our University in the research. Should these professors be considered key personnel? Or, should they be considered research associates and placed in the budget in the section for Other Direct Costs?
A: It is discretion of the applicant how to designate personnel. All personnel must be included in sections A and B of the annual budget templates.
Category: Peer Review
Q: How will proposals be selected?
A: The review process will be conducted in a manner similar to that at NSF, in which panels of experts will evaluate the proposals and provide these evaluations and their recommendations to the Research Board for final selection of funded proposals and decisions about allocation of funding.
Category: Awards and Contracting (GoMRI AU)
Q: How large will RFP-II awards be?
A: Funding for each approved proposal is expected to be between $100,000 (minimum) and $1 million (maximum) per year for up to 3 years. The level of funding for each project is expected to be different, concomitant with the requirements of the research to be performed. The total funds available for distribution through RFP-II will be up to $7.5 million per year for up to 3 years.
Q: What is the duration of a RFP-II award?
A: RFP-II will fund activities for 1 to 3 years in duration. Each grant will be awarded for a period not to exceed 3 years, and annual continuation of funding will be subject to acceptable progress as judged by the Research Board as well as satisfaction of such additional requirements as are set forth in the GoMRI MRA.
Q: Are changes in research direction or allocated resources allowable once an award is granted? Are there limits on changing the PI or primary institution, as there was for RFP-I?
A: Grantees will be required to submit prompt written notification for any significant proposed changes in research direction or allocation of resources (including lead PI or institution) of an Approved Research Project . A determination shall be made by the Research Board pursuant to the terms of the Award Agreement whether to permit, not permit, or terminate the Approved Research Project. Section 4.5 of the MRA states: If it becomes necessary to substitute the named Research Project Director under an Approved Research Project, then the Lead Research Institution shall provide prompt written notification of the proposed change to the Research Board and a determination shall be made by the Research Board pursuant to the terms of this Agreement whether to continue or terminate the Approved Research Project under the new Research Project Director.
Q: In the Publication, Data, and Intellectual Property guidelines, it states that “the GRI AU will maintain or contract for public database of GRI research results (data and metadata), with data to be posted with minimum time delay.” Does the AU have first right to publish all data before submission to public database?
A: The AU is responsible for maintaining a database of all information collected during the GoMRI program period and, where needed, assist the researcher in submitting data to a national data repository. The AU does not publish data; it is a requirement of researchers to publish their own data in peer-reviewed journals. However, through the interactive nature of the database; once information is available it may be shared between researchers.
Q: The instructions call for plans for “including submission of essential metadata to the Federal database” What are considered essential metadata? What is meant by Federal database?
A: Essential metadata are considered all metadata identified within the scope of the approved research program as well as any other information that will provide a contextual background on collected data that will permit future use of the data. The Federal database refers to national data repositories approved for receipt of specified formatted datasets; e.g., National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC).
Q: Does GoMRI fund 100% of the requested budget?
A: As stated in the RFP, the Research Board may elect to award a grant for any, all, or none of the proposed activities in any given proposal.
Q: What is the earliest start date for the budget?
A: The start date must be between July 1, 2012 and Dec 31, 2012.
Q: The RFP states that “To the extent that any home institution of any PI or Co-PI submitting a proposal in response to this RFP-II is restricted by law from agreeing to any applicable MRA provision,
A: Please include any objections to the MRA under section B: Optional Information to be submitted to the Research Board. Please note that this section is restricted to 1 page in length.
Category: Master Research Agreement
Q: What is the GoMRI Master Research Agreement?
A: On March 14, 2011, BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (the Alliance or GoMA is a non-profit entity formed by the Governors of the five Gulf Coastal States) entered into the GoMRI Master Research Agreement (GoMRI MRA). The GoMRI MRA creates the structure for the GoMRI, the selection and distribution of grants from the GoMRI, as well as the funding, conduct, and oversight of research in furtherance of the purposes of the GoMRI. Any investigator or co-investigator and their research institution that receives funding, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, under the GoMRI is subject to and must comply with the terms and conditions of the GoMRI MRA. The MRA can be viewed here: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/about-gri/master-research-agreement/
Category: GoMRI/Research Board
Q: What is the GoMRI Research Board?
A: The GoMRI Research Board has 20 members, 10 appointed by BP and 2 recommended by the Governor of each of the five Gulf Coast States and appointed by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The Research Board operates as an independent entity. Information on the membership of the Research Board can be found at: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/gri-research-board/board-roster/
Q: What is the purpose of RFP-II?
A: RFP-II requests proposals from individual investigators or collaborative efforts involving a PI and up to three co-PIs from up to three additional institutions and is focused on essentially the same Research Themes described in RFP-I with revision of Theme 5 (see page 8 of RFP-II for Research Themes).
Q: How can I submit inquiries regarding this RFP?
A: Requests for clarification of RFP-II and proposal instructions must be submitted via the GoMRI website: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/faq-rfpII/. Questions will not be accepted via phone or direct e-mail to BP, GoMRI AU, any Research Board member, or any other group. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions posted on the website before submitting a question. This will be updated regularly with all responses to submitted questions. Pertinent additional information given to any prospective PI will be posted on the GoMRI website https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-ii/ and forwarded to all prospective PIs as identified by their submission of an LOI. Prospective PIs will be the single point of contact for all correspondence.
Q: What is the timeline for the selection process once proposals have been submitted?
A: The announcement of proposals funded in response to RFP-II will be made on June 30, 2012.
Q: Will GoMRI provide any assistance in acquiring oil for use in the research projects?
A: GoMRI will provide assistance to researchers as a facilitator in acquiring oil reference material. While researchers will be responsible for the completion and submittal of material requests, GoMRI will track requests and intervene on behalf of the researcher if any unresolved issues arise.