RFP-III Frequently Asked Questions

Select a category to navigate to that set of questions:

Category: Eligibilty

Q: Who is eligible to submit to RFP-III?

A: RFP-III is open to all academic and research institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.

Q: Are recipients of initial BP (GRI) Fast-Track Grants eligible to submit proposals to RFP-III?

A: Yes, recipients of initial BP (GRI) Fast-Track Grants are eligible to submit proposals to this RFP.

Q: If I am member of a Research Consortium for RFP-I, can I apply as an individual to RFP-III?

A: Yes, members of a Research Consortium for RFP-I can apply as an individual to RFP-III.

Q: Can an individual PI submit more than one proposal to RFP-III for different projects?

A: Yes, an individual PI may submit proposals for different projects under RFP-III.

Q: I am proposing to conduct a portion of field work in July/Aug 2011 and would consider further field work in Oct 2011. Is field work in October consistent with the funding constraints of this program? [I will have all samples analyzed by the end of funding period.]

A: RFP-III funds are devoted to observations and sampling during July 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011, followed by ancillary work if necessary as described in RFP-III. Funding is not for analyzing samples.

Return to top

Category: Research Themes

Q: Does an RFP-III proposal have to address all five research themes listed in the RFP?

A: No, observation and/or sampling programs of an RFP-III proposal must address at least one of the themes.

Return to top

Category: Proposal Submission (Instructions, Forms)

Q: Will letters of intent (LOIs) be required?

A: No, a LOI is not required for RFP-III.

Q: When is the proposal submission deadline?

A: The deadline to submit a RFP-III proposal is June 17, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. EDT and must be submitted at https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-iii/rfp-iii-submission-forms-templates/rfp-iii-online-submission-form/

Q: If, after submitting my proposal, I realize that it is incomplete, can I withdraw the proposal and submit a revised version?

A: No. Following submission, a proposal cannot be withdrawn and modified for resubmission in the same RFP.

Q: Are there specific forms to be used for the proposal?

A: Yes. The forms can be accessed via the web at: http://griresearchboard.org/rfp/RFP-III.html

Q: There is insufficient time for multi-university projects to subcontract work via contracts and too little time for a single proposal to work its way through 2-3 university’s bureaucracies. How do we link multiple proposals together? Should we submit individual proposals with a single proposal text (noting the linkage) with each institution’s budget? Some advice, please.

A: Admittedly, the timeline for both submission and review of RFP-III proposals is very ambitious. If time for preparation of multi-university proposals is found to be insufficient, individual proposals may be submitted. Information on the linkage between proposals should be included in the Project Description of each submission.

Q: What is “Appendix A” as listed in RFP-III under the Cover Sheet section of the Overview of Section III: Format of the Proposal? I see no explanation of Appendix A anywhere in the RFP-III information online. Is it simply the cover page template

A: “Appendix A” indeed refers to the cover page template. A footnote was intended to provide the corresponding web address, but unfortunately got lost. Similarly, “Appendix B” refers to the current and pending support information template.

Q: Regarding RFP III, the submission process requires a single pdf document. However, the (required) current-and-pending forms are formatted such that they cannot be merged into a single document. Can you provide guidance as to how to submit the proposal as a single pdf document with multiple current-and-pending pages (one for each PI)?

A: In order to insert or merge multiple Current and Pending Support Templates into your proposal, you will need to flatten the form fields of each Current and Pending Support Template after you have completed it. To do this in Adobe Reader, print the file to the PDF driver and re-save. In Adobe Acrobat, choose Flatten Form Fields under the Advanced Tab, PDF Optimizer, Discard Objects.

Q: The issue is that the forms provided include fields where one is supposed to enter information. The information that needs to go in the fields is bigger than the space provided, so many of the entry fields have a + in the corner. The only way I have to combine pdf files is through printing to a pdf.

A: RFP-III templates have been updated to correct this issue. Please re-download them at: https://www.gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-iii/rfp-iii-submission-forms-templates/

Q: On the RFP-III online submission form, should the name of the scientist submitting the proposal be listed or should the name of the Director of Grant and Contract Services be listed on the form?

A: The name of the scientist submitting the proposal should be listed.

Return to top

Category: Proposal Content (Required Information)

Q: What information needs to be included in the proposal?

A: The proposal to be submitted on or before June 17, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. EDT should contain a:
1. Cover sheet not to exceed 1 page and to include:
– Project title, Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators, affiliations, addresses
2. Project description not to exceed 3 pages and to contain or demonstrate:
– Description of the proposed work
– Rationale and a compelling need for funding (included in the 3 pages)
– Work plan showing that the proposed work can be completed in the allotted time (included in the 3 pages)
3. Budget for the work proposed, together with name and signature of appropriate institutional official, on a separate page
4. Information on all Current and Pending support for all investigators on separate page(s)
5. Supplementary documentation as needed (e.g., letter verifying vessel availability) (no more than 3 pages total for supplemental documentation)

Q: How do we provide evidence of scientific achievement to satisfy the “experience” evaluation criterion? Does this information have to be included in the Project Description or can we submit a separate biosketch? If a biosketch is allowed, in what section of the proposal do we submit this information?

A: Information on scientific achievements should be part of the supplementary documentation (max. 3 pages). A short biosketch should only provide information relevant to the planned project in an abbreviated form, i.e., for example, not a complete list of publications.

Q: There is an entry on the cover page for “Proposal Authorization.” Should the authorized institutional official sign the cover page as well as a separate page attached to the budget?

A: The person(s) duly authorized to sign such documentation on behalf of the Lead Institution should sign the cover page (this is the only place a signature is required), as well as any other appropriate pages (as deemed by the proposing institution).

Q: Can supplemental data (figures, tables, maps or photos of field sites) be included in the supplemental documentation? Can references for the Project Description be placed into the supplemental documentation?

A: Figures, maps, and photos should be included in the 3-page Project Description. In the exceptional case that figures, maps, or photos are required at high resolution they may be put into the supplemental documentation, but definitely all textual information on the proposal proper (including tables, figure legends, and references) must appear in the Project Description.

Return to top

Category: Budget

Q: Can we include ship cost in the proposal budget? Or are there going to be organized expeditions on particular ships?

A: Yes, ship cost may be included in the RFP-III proposals within the limits of maximum funds. There will be no expeditions organized by the GRI. However, PIs of selected proposals are welcome to coordinate their sampling/observation expeditions in order to use their funds most efficiently.

Q: Can I request funds for expenses incurred prior to 1 July (such as travel costs and chemical supplies)?

A: RFP-III says:
“Awards will be announced on June 30, 2011. For proposals approved by the GRI Research Board, spending can begin on July 1, 2011 for a 90-day period until the grant agreement has been signed.”
So, any costs prior to July 1 cannot be covered by the funds.

Q: Is the budget justification a separate form or part of the 3-page description?

A: The budget justification is part of the budget and should be included with the budget template.

Return to top

Category: Personnel

Q: How many investigators can be involved in each proposal?

A: There needs to be a convincing balance between the work proposed and the number of investigators involved. Note that both total funds available for RFP-III and for individual projects under RFP-III are limited. (See FAQ on funds available: http://griresearchboard.org/faq-r/index.php?qa=17&qa_1=how-large-will-rfp-iii-awards-be

Q: Can we budget for tuition for graduate student support?

A: Yes, tuition for graduate students can be budgeted.

Q: Can we budget for graduate student support for the fall semester (which ends December 20) to process samples?

A: RFP-III states: “All costs must be encumbered by November 30, 2011, and costs encumbered after that date will not be paid.” The main costs are expected to occur for observations and sampling in July through September, after that preservation of samples and archiving of observation data and samples should only create minor costs.

Return to top

Category: Awards and Contracting (GRI AU)

Q: How large will RFP-III awards be?

A: The total funds available for distribution through RFP-III are up to $1.5 million. Funding for each award is estimated to be $50,000 (minimum) and $300,000 (maximum) for five months (maximum). The level of funding for each RFP-III project is expected to be different, concomitant with the requirements of the continuing and emergent observations and sampling to be performed.

Q: What is the duration of a RFP-III award?

A: These awards are intended to sustain or initiate critical observations and sampling related to the DWH oil spill from July 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011. In addition to observations and sampling, up to two additional months of support are available for ancillary work, i.e., to catalogue the observations and samples and prepare them for availability to the wider community. All costs must be encumbered by November 30, 2011, and costs encumbered after that date will not be paid.

Q: Who will handle grant administration?

A: As described in the GRI Master Research Agreement (MRA), BP will transmit funds to a third party non-profit entity (the Grant Unit) for distribution to the investigators, and the Grant Unit will enter into grant agreements with the PI of each proposal.

Return to top

Category: Master Research Agreement

Q: What is the GRI Master Research Agreement?

A: On March 14, 2011, BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (the Alliance is a non-profit entity formed by the Governors of the five Gulf Coastal States) entered into the GRI Master Research Agreement (MRA). The GRI MRA creates the structure for the GRI, the selection and distribution of grants from the GRI, as well as the funding, conduct, and oversight of research in furtherance of the purposes of the GRI.

The work carried out under the auspices of the GRI is for the purpose of advancing knowledge and expected to be published in peer-reviewed journals with excellent reputations. By accepting funding under the GRI, each Principal Investigator, research institution and co-Principal Investigator agrees to be bound by all terms and conditions of the GRI MRA, including the Intellectual Property and Publications Policy of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. The MRA can be viewed here: http://gulfofmexicoalliance.org/pdfs/Gulf_of_Mexico_Research_Initiative_Master.pdf

Return to top

Category: GRI/Research Board

Q: What is the GRI Research Board?

A: The GRI 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 http://griresearchboard.org/about/board-membership.html

Q: What is the purpose of RFP-III?

A: RFP-III is intended to fill a funding gap in critical data acquisition, until such time as funds for projects that will be selected pursuant to RFP-I and/or RFP-II are available for distribution. RFP-III will involve accelerated proposal submission, review, and grant allocation procedures. No letter of intent is required.

The purpose of this RFP is to support continuity of observations and sampling and for initiation of emergent, e.g., time sensitive, observations and sampling during July 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011. In addition to observations and sampling, up to two additional months of support are available for ancillary work, i.e., to catalogue the observations and samples and prepare them for availability to the wider community. RFP-III is to sustain or initiate critical observations and sampling related to the DWH oil spill.

Q: What kind of research will be supported by RFP-III?

A: RFP-III provides stop-gap or emergency funding to continue observations and sampling and/or to initiate new observations and sampling during the summer months when GRI Year 1 funds would be depleted and before funds from RFP-I and RFP-II could be distributed. The actual research on the observation data and/or samples is to be performed under RFP-I and RFP-II.

Q: How can I submit inquiries regarding this RFP?

A: Requests for clarification of the RFP-III and proposal instructions must be submitted prior to 9:00 p.m. EDT June 13, 2011 via the GRI website: http://griresearchboard.org/faq-r/index.php

Questions will not be accepted via phone or direct email to BP, GRI AU, any Research Board member, or any other group. Please review the RFP-III Frequently Asked Questions posted on the website before submitting a question. This will be updated regularly with all responses to submitted questions.

Q: What is the timeline for the selection process once proposals have been submitted?

A: The announcement of proposals funded in response to RFP-III will be made on June 30, 2011.

Q: How will proposals be selected?

A: The awardees for RFP-III will be chosen through a competitive review of the proposals submitted in response to this RFP. The review process will be conducted by a subcommittee of the Research Board, who will provide their evaluations and their recommendations to the Research Board for final selection of funded proposals and decisions about allocation of funding. Due to the nature of RFP-III and the proposals, reviews of the proposals will not be provided.

Q: Why is this RFP named RFP-III?

A: The names RFP-I and RFP-II had been prescribed before the GRI Research Board became aware of the urgent need to provide stop-gap or emergency funding to continue observations and sampling and/or to initiate new observations and sampling during the summer months when GRI Year 1 funds would be depleted and before funds from RFP-I and RFP-II could be distributed. Sustainability of time series observations is critical to enhance understanding of the integrated Gulf of Mexico system.

Q: Has RFP-II been released?

A: No. RFP-II will be issued at a later date. The second RFP (RFP-II) will focus on activities involving less money and less internal management than a Research Consortium.