RFP-VI Frequently Asked Questions
Select a category to navigate to that set of questions:
- Awards and Contracting
- GoMRI/Research Board
- Master Research Agreement
- Peer Review
- Research Themes
- Proposal Submission (Instructions, Forms)
- Proposal Content (Required Information)
Category: Awards and Contracting
Q: How large will RFP-VI awards be?
A: For each approved proposal, the maximum annual funding for each Individual Investigator will be $500,000 per year and for each Research Consortium will be $3 million per year. The GoMRI Research Board anticipates funding 15-20 Individual Investigator and 8-10 Research Consortium awards, based on the quality of the proposals received.
Q: Who will handle grant administration?
A: As described in the GoMRI Master Research Agreement (MRA), BP will transmit funds to a non-profit entity (the Grant Unit) for distribution to RFP-VI PIs and Consortium Directors, and the Grant Unit will enter into grant agreements with the Lead Research Institution of each awarded RFP-VI proposal.
Q: What is the timeline for the selection process once proposals have been submitted?
A: The announcement of awards funded in response to RFP-VI will be made in mid-September 2017.
Q: Is there a limit on the number of subawards allowed? If so, can subawards be made through a collaborating institution?
A: There is no limit on the number of subawards allowed. Subawards must be made through the lead institution, and GoMRI will require copies of all subaward agreements.
Q: If a proposal with a federal agency partner is successful, is there a mechanism within GoMRI to get money to a federal agency?
A: Every agency has different rules and regulations in regards to receiving outside research funding. Please ensure that you have reviewed your internal policies in advance of submitting your proposal.
Q: Please clarify the intent of the paragraph about matching commitments and the inclusion of cost sharing under the Full Proposal Facilities, Equipment, Ship Time, and Other Resources sections (A.5. page 13 of RFP and B.5. Page 18 of RFP).
A: Any support by home institutions should be clearly identified and described, so that reviewers can assess the value added to the proposed work. Support by home institutions, in any form, that does not add to the intrinsic value of the proposed work or is included to gain a competitive advantage is prohibited.
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: 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: What if an organization does not have an indirect cost rate agreement?
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: Are indirect costs included in the costs total, and are indirect costs a part of the overall total allowed maximum?
A: Yes, indirect costs are included in the total budget and the overall allowed maximum budget.
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: For a participating institution with a sub-award 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/Consortium Director’s budget justification, or is it sufficient to just give the total cost and indicate the work that will be done by that institution?
A: For a participating institution with a sub-award less than $25,000 per year, please include the total cost (<$25,000 per year) and describe the work to be performed within the PI/Consortium Director (lead institution) budget justification.
Q: What constitutes an allowable budget cost?
A: 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) https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/about-gomri/master-research-agreement/. 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 $10,000 within the annual budget template and accompanying budget justification.
Q: Should there be a separate budget justification for each year or just one justification written as a summary of the entire project?
A: Please provide one justification written as a summary of the entire budget.
Q: Are for-profit entities eligible to apply for funding?
A: For-profit entities are not eligible to apply for funding as a lead institution, therefore, an individual from a for-profit institution can not be the lead PI. However, an investigator may have an existing relationship, or may find it advantageous to enter into a new relationship, with a private or for-profit entity. Thus, individuals at private or for-profit entities can contribute to proposals in other roles (co-PI, collaborator, etc.) in the form of products, services, and expertise.
Q: Can we use our own budget template?
A: All applicants must use the required budget template available on the GoMRI RFP-VI website.
Q: Does a collaborator from a different institution that is providing a service or analysis need to be a co-PI?
A: No, the PI or Consortium Director may draw appropriate talent from partnering institutions and organizations, regardless of whether a PI or co-PI is at that institution. All participants conducting activities financed, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, through GoMRI are subject to and must comply with the terms of the GoMRI MRA. Further, there must be a separate budget and budget justification submitted for any institution with a sub-award exceeding $25,000.
Q: Can we budget salaries beyond December of 2019 to cover the No Cost Extension Period?
A: No. All work must be planned and budgeted for within the 2-year award period. A no-cost extension is not guaranteed and may be approved by the Research Board, if requested.
Q: Do you have a template for the Overview Summary Budget for the Consortium Proposal
A: Please use the Cumulative tab within the budget template for the Overview Summary Budget.
Q: Is a consumable item of technical equipment considered to be a Capital Expenditure?
A: Capital equipment generally refers to items that if purchased, may cost over $10,000, and, thereby, be described as capital expenditures. As indicated in RFP-VI, identify and fully justify items of equipment costing more than $10,000. Full justification is required. GoMRI funds may only be used for Capital Expenditures to the extent that the investigator was not able to obtain access to the required capital equipment through other collaborations or partnerships, and such funding has been specifically approved by the Research Board under an approved grant or annual continuation of funding under such grant.
Q: What kind of documentation is needed to show the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement for a foreign institution?
A: Please provide a statement as to the institutional- or government-approved indirect cost rate of the foreign institution. This document should be signed by the individual authorized to sign such documentation on behalf of the research institution.
Q: For a lead institution filling out the annual budget, under which line should the total cost of partner organizations be included?
A: The lead institution should include the total annual budget for all partner organizations under Line 5 (“Subawards/Contractual Costs”) under Other Direct Costs on the budget form.
Q: The Annual Budget Template has a pre-populated formula for inclusion of fringe benefits to funds requested. Do we have to use this formula?
A: No. If your institution does not calculate fringe as a percentage, please adjust the excel formula to incorporate fringe benefits as necessary. Please include health insurance in your calculation of the fringe benefit percentage.
Q: How many RFP-VI proposals can one person participate in?
A: An individual can be the PI or the Consortium Director of only one submitted proposal and only involved in up to three submitted proposals in any capacity (PI, co-PI, collaborator, etc.). Should an individual be the PI or Consortium Director on more than one proposal, or should an individual appear on four or more proposals, all proposals involving the individual will be disqualified. It is the responsibility of the submitter to confirm that each member of the entire team is within the eligibility guidelines. If an individual appears on multiple proposals, this should be clearly noted in the List of Participants and in Current and Pending Support; in each proposal, a clear description should be included to explain how the proposed work is complementary, not duplicative, of other proposed efforts and how the participant will budget his or her time.
Q: How should personnel (other than co-PIs) be included?
A: 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 (4.b. in the RFP) should include the role(s) of key personnel within the research project, and the number of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students involved. The Budget Template includes fields to identify personnel roles.
Q: Is there a limit on the number of proposals submitted by a lead institution?
A: There is no limit on the number of proposals per institution.
Q: Are for-profit entities eligible to apply for funding?
A: For-profit entities are not eligible to apply as the lead on any proposal. However, an investigator may have an existing relationship or may find it advantageous to enter into a new relationship with a private or for-profit entity. Individuals at private or for-profit entities can contribute in the form of products, services, and expertise that will be crucial to the delivery of the research objectives. As with all participants in the GoMRI, any activities by government, private, or for-profit entities will be subject to the terms of the GoMRI MRA (https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/about-gomri/master-research-agreement/).
Q: Is there a limit on the number of co-PIs for RFP-VI? Do the co-PIs need to be from different institutions?
A: Individual Investigator proposals will involve a PI and up to three co-PIs; there is no requirement for co-PIs. Co-PIs may be from a different institution or the same institution as the PI; there is no requirement for multi-institutional proposals. Research Consortia proposals must include a PI and co-PIs at three or more institutions; each proposal must have at minimum of two Co-PIs, from two additional institutions.
Q: Are current lead PIs of RFP-V project eligible to be PI or co-PI on RFP-VI proposals?
A: Consortium Directors, PIs and co-PIs funded through any previous GoMRI RFP (RFP-I, RFP-II, RFP-III, RFP-IV or RFP-V) may apply to RFP-VI in any capacity. The proposed work may be related to previous work or may be a completely new topic. Additionally, participation in current GoMRI funded projects does not count towards the number of proposals (Maximum of three) that someone can be a participant in.
Q: What is the full extent of the geographic region within which field work funded by GoMRI RFP-VI should take place?
A: There is not a prescribed geographic area for field work funded through RFP-VI.
Q: Is a written contractual arrangement between a PI and Co-PI’s at three or more institutions required at the proposal stage in order to meet the definition of being a Research Consortia?
A: A submitted proposal with a signed cover page by the PI and the PI’s institutional official serves as the notice of a contractual agreement between the consortium director/PI and the institutions of the Co-PIs.
Category: GoMRI/Research Board
Q: What is the source of funding for RFP-VI?
A: RFP-VI projects are funded through a $500 million commitment from BP to create an independent research program following the Deepwater Horizon incident.
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://gulfresearchinitiative.org/gri-research-board/board-roster/.
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://gulfresearchinitiative.org/about-gomri/master-research-agreement/.
Q: Research funded through RFP-VI is limited to 2 years, from January 2018 through December 2019.�Is there a possibility that GoMRI may continue to offer grant funding beyond 2020?
A: RFP-VI will fund activities for two years, 2018 and 2019; a maximum of six months No Cost Extension may be available. There are no plans for GoMRI to offer additional grant funding beyond 2020.
Q: Can new GoMRI Consortia apply as part of RFP-VI?
A: As stated in the RFP, all proposals submitted in response to RFP-VI will be treated as new efforts and all proposals, whether Consortia or Individual Investigator, will be reviewed using the same process, criteria, and scientific rigor.
Category: Master Research Agreement
Q: Who should I contact to negotiate terms and conditions of the MRA?
A: The GoMRI Master Research Agreement is not open for negotiation. If you have specific sections or clauses you would like clarified, please submit questions through this system.
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 GoMRI Research Board for final selection of funded proposals and decisions about allocation of funding.
Q: Will the LOI be considered as part of the peer review?
A: The LOI will not be considered as part of the formal review, however no proposal will be accepted without an LOI. Only the full proposal, to be submitted by March 3, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. CT will be reviewed for purposes of selection and award.
Q: After LOI submission, can we change the title of the project or add/modify personnel and institutions?
A: Yes, personnel and institution (including Lead Institution) 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.
Q: Should the proposed project be included on the Current and Pending support form?
A: Yes. This follows NSF practice.
Q: When is the letter of intent (LOI) deadline?
A: Add answer The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) is Monday, November 14, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00p.m. CT. If you have submitted an LOI , you will receive a LOI number once the LOI deadline has passed. No proposal will be accepted for review without an LOI number.
Q: How do I submit an LOI? What is the format?
A: LOIs must be submitted to the Research Board via electronic form on or before November 14, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00p.m. CT to https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/RFP-VI/RFP-VI-submission-forms-templates/RFP-VI-letter-intent-submission-form/ and must follow all of the instructions as detailed in the RFP.
Q: Will LOIs go through an evaluation/selection process?
A: LOIs do not go through an evaluation/selection process. LOIs provide essential information required by 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: The LOI submission page asks for an “Estimated Funding Request.” How close to this amount do we need to be for the proposal itself?
A: The LOI Estimated Funding Request is an 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: 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(s). Please note that the purposes of the LOI are articulation of interest and preparation for the peer review process.
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: Will project summaries included in the LOIs be visible to the general public or to others competing in RFP-VI?
A: No. All Letter of Intent information including project summaries will be kept confidential within GoMRI.
Q: How do we input foreign addresses for the LOI? As an international Co-PI, what should be put in the required �state� field?
A: For the purposes of completing the LOI to include international partners and personnel, please use the state of the lead institution for the required state field.
Q: Can an institution or company by a Co-PI in its own right, or does there have to be a named individual from the institution/company who will act as Co-PI?
A: Institutions themselves cannot be Co-PIs. Individual investigators must be named as Co-PIs, collaborators, etc.
Q: Can I submit a full proposal if I did not submit an LOI?
A: No, submission of an LOI by the deadline is required to submit a full proposal.
Category: Research Themes
Q: Must all the items within a theme be addressed in the proposed research?
A: No, while a proposal may address one or more of the research themes, it is not necessary to address each aspect of a given theme.
Q: How many research themes should an RFP-VI proposal address?
A: Proposals may address one or multiple themes.
Q: What information is publicly available on GoMRI-funded research? How can RFP-VI applicants complement (rather than duplicate) funded research?
A: Information about the research that has already been funded by GoMRI can be found at the http://research.gulfresearchinitiative.org/.
Q: Is my specific research topic applicable to the goals of the GoMRI Research Themes?
A: The GoMRI 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.
Category: Proposal Submission (Instructions, Forms)
Q: When is the proposal submission deadline?
A: The deadline to submit a proposal is March 3, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. CT.
Q: When will the RFP-VI proposal submission links be available?
A: The RFP-VI full proposal submission links will become available beginning the day after the LOI deadline has passed on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
Q: The RFP-VI directions say that the cover page must be signed under “Proposal Authorization” by the research institution. Does this refer only to the lead institution or to all collaborating institutions?
A: Proposal Authorization should be completed by the lead research institution of the proposal.
Q: Is there a required format for the 2-page biographical sketches for PIs, Consortium Directors, or Co-PIs?
A: No. As indicated in RFP-VI, there is not a standard format or template for the biographical sketches of key personnel. Please include information as you deem appropriate, within the 2-page limit. Please note that the biographical sketches are required for the PI, Consortium Director and Co-PI only.
Q: Are biographical sketches required for associated project personnel?
A: Yes. For RFP-VI, key associated project personnel biographical sketches should be included as a link to an online biographical sketch/CV.
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 March 3, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00p.m. CT. Proposals, including all required documents, must be submitted in a single PDF file via a web-based submission and must follow all of the instructions detailed in RFP-VI. Individual Investigators or Collaborative Efforts – https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-vi/rfp-vi-submission-forms-templates/rfp-vi-full-proposal-submission-form-individual-investigators/. Research Consortia – https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-vi/rfp-vi-submission-forms-templates/rfp-vi-full-proposal-submission-form-consortia/.
Q: For any of the online submissions (LOI or full proposal), can you save information entered before clicking the submit button, so that we can complete the online forms in steps?
A: No. When completing the online submission forms for both the LOI and the full proposal, there is not an opportunity to save the form and complete it at a later time. To assist in submission, we have prepared screen shots of all pages of the web forms which are available for download here: https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/RFP-VI/RFP-VI-submission-forms-templates/.
Q: Does the 5000 character limit on the Letter of Intent Project summary include spaces?
A: Yes, spaces are part of the character limit.
Q: What font will be required for the proposal?
A: Information about acceptable fonts can be found on page 22 of the RFP.
Q: Is it necessary to use the Collaborators Roles Template?
A: Applicants may choose to use the Collaborators Roles Template to “specify the role(s) of key personnel within the research project and the number of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students involved,” to fulfill the requirement in the Narrative Project Description of the Full Proposal. Please note that the completed template is considered part of the narrative project description 15-page limit.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of Co-PIs in the Full Proposal Submission Form for Research Consortia?
A: Though there is no limit to the number of Co-PIs for a Research Consortia the online form will accept up to 15 Co-PIs. A full list of all consortium participants should be included in your proposal as required in the RFP under Section 8. Personnel.
Q: Do PIs and Co-PIs on an RFP VI proposal, have to list on their current and pending, support from another GoMRI Supported project if their role on that project is for example, a Research Scientist or Lab Tech?
A: Yes, any current GoMRI-funded research support should be listed as current funding. All current project support from whatever source (e.g., Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the proposed PI and co-PIs must be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s).
Q: Are personnel forms (bios, C&P, previous funding cert.) required for personnel included on the project that are not PIs or co-PIs?
A: Bio-sketches and current and pending support information must be provided for Consortia Directors/PIs and Co-PIs only. Previous funding certification must be provided for Consortia Directors/PIs, Co-PIs, and all key personnel.
Q: Are more than 5 relevant publications allowed to be included in the biographical sketch?
A: PI and co-PI biographical sketches (2?page limit per person) can only include a list of up to 5 relevant key publications.
Q: May a PI/co-PI include more than one link to their CV in the personnel listing?
A: Biographical sketches must be provided for Consortium Directors, PI(s) and co-PI(s). As indicated in RFP-VI, there is not a standard format or template for the biographical sketches of key personnel. Please include information as you deem appropriate, within the 2-page limit.
Category: Proposal Content (Required Information)
Q: Where do letters of collaboration from co-PIs and other collaborators get inserted?
A: The format of proposals responding to RFP-VI does not allow for “letters of support/collaboration.” Proposals responding to RFP-VI are required to set forth, in the body of the proposal, the arrangements or details of collaborations, as noted in RFP-VI 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: Can marine mammals be investigated under this RFP?
A: Yes, marine mammals are included within Theme 3, as listed on page 3 of the RFP.
Q: Should conflicts-of-interest be entered into the proposal, and if so where?
A: No conflicts-of-interests are to be included in the proposal. Successful applicants will be required to complete conflict-of-interest disclosure forms as part of the grant process.
Q: Does the Science Reference Format refer only to the list of References, or does the text need to be cited by number sequentially?
A: The Science Reference Format only refers to the list of References. It is not necessary to number in-text citations.
Q: There is usually a request for a listing of individuals with conflicts to identify those who should not serve as reviewers, but I see no such requirement
A: GoMRI does not allow PIs to request specific individuals not review their proposal. As stated in the RFP, “Independent reviews are performed by scientific peers, for whom conflicts of interest are fully vetted”.
Q: Should we provide a list of individuals with whom we have had authorship or collaborative relationships within the last 4 years?
A: No, a list of individuals with whom you have authorship or collaborative agreements is not required.
Q: In the Personnel section, please clarify what should be included under the complete list of partner institutions and associated project personnel? Where should this be included?
A: All institutions associated with the proposal and any key personnel member working on the proposed project at those institutions (who is not a Consortium Director, PI, or co-PI), must be included under this section including a link to an online bio sketch/CV for each key personnel member. The complete list of partner institutions and associated project personnel should be included after the biographical sketches.