This site is optimized for use with Firefox version 3.6 or higher and Internet Explorer version 7 or higher.

For an optimal user experience, please utilize a newer version of either of these browsers.

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Office of Education Home Page
NOAA Office of Education NOAA Office of Education NOAA Homepage

 

QUICK LINKS

 

EDUCATION RESOURCES

 

NOAA EDUCATION STRATEGIC PLAN (PDF)

2013 Environmental Literacy Grants Program FAQs

NOAA funding opportunity NOAA-SEC-OED-2013-2003614 is now closed. Review of applications will occur from March-June, 2013. It is anticipated that recommendations for funding under this announcement will be made by September 30, 2013. Collaborative projects funded under this announcement will start no earlier than October 1, 2013.

NOAA's Office of Education conducted two informational webinars on February 5 and February 6, 2013. You can access the February 6 webinar, the preferred version, here and the Q&A session here.

You can also access the February 5 webinar here and the Q & A here.

(Note: If your question is not on this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) found at Grants.gov (search under CFDA number 11.008) please contact one of the program officers at (202-482-0793) or oed.grants@noaa.gov)


Templates, models and checklists

  • Where can I find the templates mentioned in the FFO?
  • Are there any models for the two budget elements?
  • Are there any checklists to help me ensure I submit a complete application?
  • Is it possible to get a copy of a funded application from a previous year?

Required Project Components and Areas of Emphasis

  • What types of project activities are allowed?
  • What do you mean by "capacity-building" activities?
  • What does "collaborative teams" mean in the context of the funding announcement?
  • How do I find out whether a particular aquarium has previously received a grant from NOAA’s Office of Education?
  • How do I learn more about successful capacity-building activities previously funded by NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Grants Program?
  • Is it required that my project reach groups traditionally underserved and/or underrepresented in Earth System science?
  • We are part of a state university system, where each campus acts as an independent unit. Would multiple campuses applying as collaborators satisfy the requirement to have "a collaborative team of two or more U.S. institutions?"

Grants.gov and Submission Information

  • How do I get registered for Grants.gov?
  • I am registered with NSF's FastLane. Do I also need to register with Grants.gov?
  • How do I fill out an application in Grants.gov?
  • How do I access the application package in Grants.gov?
  • Is my version of Adobe Reader compatible with Grants.gov?
  • I am having technical problems submitting my application through Grants.gov.  What do I do?
  • When are the full proposals due?
  • Do all collaborative applicants need to register and submit applications separately in Grants.gov?
  • Are original ("wet") signatures required on any part of the application?
  • May I submit an application by email or fax?
  • What if Grants.gov or my institution's Internet connection is unavailable at the submission deadline?
  • Can I request an extension of time to submit an application?
  • I submitted my application to Grants.gov but later discovered a mistake or missing element in my application. What should I do?


Eligibility Requirements

  • What types of applicants are allowed to apply to this funding opportunity?
  • How do I find out whether a particular aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)?
  • May a federal employee serve as a PI or co-PI?
  • May NOAA personnel (both Federal employees and contractors) serve as Co-PIs?
  • Are individuals unaffiliated with an institution allowed to apply?
  • May foreign (non-US) institutions apply?
  • May graduate students serve as PIs for this funding opportunity?
  • How many applications can an investigator or institution submit this year to this funding opportunity?
  • Can Federal Agencies apply for funds?
  • Are Sea Grant College Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves subject to 10% funding cap for NOAA partners?


Application Preparation

  • Are there any templates for the full application?
  • The required application elements listed in the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) are not consistent with what is listed in the mandatory and optional documents sections in the "Grant Application Package" of Grants.gov. Which list do I follow?
  • Where in Grants.gov should I upload the required application elements?
  • Will you enforce the page limits on full applications?
  • Does the list of references cited in the full application project description count against the 15-page limit?
  • What elements are required for the full application package?
  • I do not have any current or pending support to report or any references embedded in the project description. Do I still need to include these required elements of the application in the Project Narrative?
  • Can I submit letters of commitment? If so, how?
  • Can additional letters of commitment be submitted after the application deadline?
  • Can I submit appendices to the project description with additional information on the proposed project activities?
  • What do I put down under items #16a and 16b on the SF-424 for the Congressional district if there is more than one district for the applicant and/or project or if my state only has one district?
  • On SF-424, I do not know what is meant by "Applicant Identifier", "Federal Entity Identifier", "Federal Award Identifier" and "State Identifier" (items 3, 4, 5a, 5b, 6, and 7). Where do I find this information?
  • On the CD-511 form, the field for "Award Number" is required. What should I put in this field?
  • I want to submit an application that does not address the identified priorities. How will this affect my chances of success?
  • Where can I find the reference: Price, C.A. 2012. Learning Experiences of Children and the Mythbusters Live Show. Unpublished evaluation report from the Museum of Science and Industry Evaluation and Research Team?
  • Where can I find the reference: Romano, C. 2012. A checklist of best practices for digital product design and usability evaluation?
  • On p. 25 of the announcement, the deadline for submission says EST in one sentence and EDT in the second. Which is it?
  • Can a project have impact in a foreign country?
  • On the application check list for the non-lead institution it states under project narrative "none" but on grants.gov application it is a "mandatory" document to upload. What should we upload to the mandatory narrative attachments form in grants.gov?
  • Do we need a data-sharing plan if we are having students collect data that will not be contributed to any scientific study or NOAA monitoring system? (We do not plan to do any QC/QA on the plan.)
  • Our project budget will cover 5 years, but the SF424a only provides space for reporting 4 years of funding. How do I fill out the form for all 5 years?

Budget Information

  • What is the total amount of funding for which I can apply?
  • What is the minimum amount of funding for which I can apply?
  • May faculty request academic year salary in addition to or instead of summer salary?
  • May application budgets include equipment?
  • Are sub-awards allowed?
  • Should I provide documentation for my institution's negotiated indirect cost agreement?
  • What if my institution does not have a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement?
  • Can the amount for evaluation exceed the recommended 10-20% of the total project budget?
  • What categories should be included in the budget table and narrative?
  • Is there a cap on the amount I can allot for any particular budget category?

Project Partners and NOAA Assets

  • What types of project partners would make an application more competitive?
  • What NOAA entities are available for me to partner with?
  • Where can I find more information on NOAA assets that might be used in my project?
  • Who should NOAA letters of commitment come from?

Collaborative applications

  • What qualifies as a collaborative team?
  • How many institutions should be part of a collaborative team?
  • How should our collaborative application be submitted?
  • Who should serve as the lead institution for the collaborative team?
  • Do lead applicants and non-lead applicants submit the same application elements?
  • If one applicant in a collaborative team submits a late or incomplete application, will the collaborative project still be reviewed?
  • Can applications be submitted by institutions that are not part of a collaborative team?
  • How should we set up the management structure of the collaborative team?
  • Who should be listed as the PI and Co-PIs on my title page?
  • Do the collaborative institutions/applicants have to be in multiple states or just the project’s areas of impact?
  • How do we determine whether an institution/organization should be a collaborative applicant or a partner sub-awardee?

Spherical Display Systems Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a spherical display system?
  • What visualizations are available for spherical display systems?

Cooperative Agreements

  • Do I need to indicate whether my application is for a cooperative agreement or a grant?
  • What is the difference between a cooperative agreement and a grant?

Templates, models and checklists

Q: Where can I find the templates mentioned in the FFO?
A: Our Templates & Models page

Q: Are there any models for the two budget elements?

A: Yes; again, please look at our Templates & Models page. There are models for the budget table, budget narrative, and SF-424A form.

Q: Are there any checklists to help me ensure I submit a complete application?
A: Yes, checklists for completing a full application are available on our Templates & Models page. There are separate checklists for lead applicants and non-lead applicants. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

Q: Is it possible to get a copy of a funded application from a previous year?
A: NOAA's Office of Education is not authorized to distribute the applications outside of our internal grants process. If you are interested in seeing a particular application, we recommend you contact the Principal Investigator directly for assistance.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov

[Back to Topics]


Required Project Components and Areas of Emphasis

Q: What types of project activities are allowed?
A: All projects must build the capacity of informal educators (including interpreters and docents) and/or formal educators (pre- or in-service) to use NOAA data and data access tools to help K-12 students and/or other public audiences understand and respond to global change. This will be done through enhancing educators' ability to use the wealth of scientific data, data visualizations, data access technologies, and other assets available through NOAA (plus additional sources, if desired) to engage K-12 students and/or other members of the public. Projects should aim to increase educators' effectiveness in promoting stewardship and increasing informed decision making by a diverse pool of K-12 students and/or other members of the public.

Q: What do you mean by "capacity-building" activities?
A: Capacity-building activities may include, but are not limited to, professional development focused on the understanding, use, or interpretation of data; training in approaches for incorporating data into relevant stories related to global change; training in the use of new technologies or data access tools; and/or the fostering of professional learning communities/communities of practice to enhance educators'/interpreters' scientific knowledge, pedagogy, interpretive, and/or communication skills.

Q: What does "collaborative teams" mean in the context of the funding announcement?
A: For Priority 1, "collaborative teams" must consist of two or more institutions in the United States. The following types of institutions may serve as applicants on a collaborative team for Priority 1: institutions of higher education; other nonprofits, including informal science-education institutions such as museums, zoos, and aquariums; K-12 public and independent schools and school systems; and state, local and Indian tribal governments in the United States. For-profit organizations, foreign institutions, and individuals are not eligible to apply.

For Priority 2 "eligible applicants" are exclusively two or more 501(c)(3) non-profit aquariums in the United States. At least one applicant must be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Q: How do I find out whether a particular aquarium has previously received a grant from NOAA’s Office of Education?
A: A comprehensive list of grants previously funded through NOAA Office of Education’s Environmental Literacy Grants program can be found at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/all_elg_awards.html

Q: How do I learn more about successful capacity-building activities previously funded by NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Grants Program?
A: See the “Awards” tab under http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg.html

Q: Is it required that my project reach groups traditionally underserved and/or underrepresented in Earth System science?
A:No; however, addressing the STEM needs of underrepresented and/or underserved groups is an area of special interest in this funding opportunity, and is a specific component of the review criteria.

Q: We are part of a state university system, where each campus acts as an independent unit. Would multiple campuses applying as collaborators satisfy the requirement to have "a collaborative team of two or more U.S. institutions?"
A: Yes, collaborative applications from multiple campuses that are part of the same state’s university system would satisfy that requirement.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.


Grants.gov and Submission Information

Q: How do I get registered for Grants.gov?
A: Get registered right away! Getting started with Grants.gov is easy, but it can take up to 3 weeks to complete the registration process. Go to www.Grants.gov and click on "Get Started". We recommend going to the Grants.gov "Get Registered" site that explains the steps involved in the registration process.

Q: I am registered with NSF's FastLane. Do I also need to register with Grants.gov?
A:Yes, you need to register separately with Grants.gov. Registration with NSF's FastLane does NOT constitute registration with Grants.gov.

Q: How do I fill out an application in Grants.gov?
A: View a Grants.gov demonstration at this site.

Q: How do I access the application package in Grants.gov?
A: The application package is now available in Grants.gov. You can search for it using the Funding Opportunity Number, NOAA-SEC-OED-2013-2003614, or the CFDA number, 11.008.

Q: Is my version of Adobe Reader compatible with Grants.gov?
A: To determine if your version of Adobe Reader is compatible with Grants.gov, use their application test package here.

Q: I am having technical problems submitting my application through Grants.gov.  What do I do?
A: Go to the Grants.gov resources FAQ for additional support. www.grants.gov/applicants/submit_application_faqs.jsp. For documentation purposes, if you are experiencing difficulties with your Grants.gov submission we recommend that you contact the Grants.gov help desk and record and save your ticket number.

Q: When are the applications due?
A:Applications are due by 11:59:59 pm EST on March 12, 2013 (note that Office of Education staff will only be available to answer questions until 5 PM EST). Applications submitted after this deadline will not be accepted.

Please note: Grants.gov requires applicants to register with the system prior to submitting an application. This registration process can take several weeks and involves multiple steps. In order to allow sufficient time for this process, applicants should register as soon as they decide they intend to apply, even if they are not yet ready to submit their applications. Also, even if an applicant has registered with Grants.gov previously, the applicant's password may have expired or their central contractor registration may need to be renewed prior to submitting to Grants.gov. Grants.gov will not accept submissions if the applicant has not been authorized or if credentials are incorrect. Authorizations and credential corrections can take several days to establish. Please plan accordingly to avoid late submissions. For further information please visit the Systems Award Management (SAM) website.

Q: Do all collaborative applicants need to register and submit applications separately in Grants.gov?
A: Yes, each applicant in the collaborative team must be registered separately in Grants.gov and must submit separate applications.  If any applicant has problems downloading the application forms from Grants.gov or uploading the application into the Grants.gov system, they should contact Grants.gov Customer Support at 1-800-518-4726 or support@grants.gov.

Q: Are original ("wet") signatures required on any part of the application?
A: When submitting through Grants.gov, the final electronic submission by the authorizing official is equal to an original ("wet") signature.

Q: May I submit an application by mail, email, or fax?
A: No. Only applications submitted electronically through Grants.gov will be accepted.

Q: What if Grants.gov or my institution's Internet connection is unavailable at the submission deadline?
A: Please avoid this problem by submitting early. If you choose not to submit until the last minute, you do so at your own risk.

Q: Can I request an extension of time to submit an application?
A: No.

Q: I submitted my application to Grants.gov but later discovered a mistake or missing element in my application. What should I do?
A: As long as the problem was discovered before the posted application deadline, you may re-submit the corrected application to Grants.gov. Please notify Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov that you have re-submitted an updated application. Once the application deadline has passed, submitted applications may not be corrected or updated.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]

Eligibility Requirements

Q: What types of applicants are allowed to apply to this funding opportunity?
A: Eligible applicants for Priority 1 are collaborative teams of two or more institutions in the United States. The following types of institutions may serve as applicants on a collaborative team for Priority 1: institutions of higher education; informal science-education institutions, including museums, zoos, and aquariums; other nonprofits, including informal science-education institutions such as museums, zoos, and aquariums; K-12 public and independent schools and school systems; and state, local and Indian tribal governments in the United States. For-profit organizations, and foreign institutions, and individuals are not eligible to apply. Each individual applicant must submit an application to NOAA as part of the collaborative team. Applications to Priority 1 that do not meet these eligibility criteria will not be merit reviewed.

Eligible applicants for Priority 2 are collaborative teams that are exclusively composed of two or more 501(c)(3) non-profit aquariums in the United States. At least one applicant in each collaborative team must be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Each individual applicant must submit an application to NOAA as part of the collaborative team. Applications to Priority 2 that do not meet these eligibility criteria will not be merit reviewed.

Q: How do I find out whether a particular aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)?
A: A list of the aquariums currently accredited by AZA can be found at www.aza.org/current-accreditation-list.

Q: May a federal employee serve as a PI or co-PI?
A: Federal employees may not serve as PIs or co-PIs on any application; however, they may be included as key personnel or project partners

Q: May NOAA personnel (both Federal employees and contractors) serve as Co-PIs?
A. No, NOAA personnel (both Federal employees and contractors) cannot serve as Co-PIs, but can be listed as project partners.

Q: Are individuals unaffiliated with an institution allowed to apply?
A:No, individuals are not eligible to apply; only institutions may submit pre-proposals and full applications.

Q: May foreign (non-US) or for-profit institutions apply?
A: No, foreign institutions or for-profit institutions are not allowed to apply to this funding opportunity. However, they may serve as project partners.

Q: May graduate students serve as PIs for this funding opportunity?
A: No; however, they may serve as Co-PIs or key personnel

Q: How many applications can an investigator or institution submit this year to this funding opportunity?
An individual may apply only once as Principal Investigator (PI) through this funding opportunity.  However, institutions may submit more than one application per funding opportunity and individuals may serve as co-PIs or key personnel on more than one application.

Q: Are Sea Grant College Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves subject to 10% funding cap for NOAA partners?
A: No, but they still are considered NOAA entities/partners. The 10% cap applies to Federal employees and Contractors working for Federal NOAA Offices and Programs

Q: Can Federal Agencies apply for funds?
A: Federal agencies cannot apply for funds.

Q: Are Sea Grant College Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves subject to 10% funding cap for NOAA partners?
A: No, but they still are considered NOAA entities/partners. The 10% cap applies to Federal employees and Contractors working for Federal NOAA Offices and Programs.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]

Application Preparation

Q: Are there any templates for the full application? A:Yes, there are suggested templates for the title page, project description, and current and pending support. We recommend that you use these templates to ensure that the information is provided in a manner that facilitates processing of your application. Additionally, there are models for the budget narrative and budget table that provide high quality examples, and there is also a model showing how to correctly fill out the SF-424A form. These templates are posted at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/funding_template.html.

Q: The required application elements listed in the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) are not consistent with what is listed in the mandatory and optional documents sections in the "Grant Application Package" of Grants.gov. Which list do I follow?
A: A complete application will include all of the elements and forms listed in the FFO regardless of what is shown in Grants.gov. (You can upload forms and documents into Grants.gov even if they are not listed as mandatory or optional documents of an application. See the Full Application Checklist of Required Elements at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/funding_template.html for more details about how and where to upload the required documents.)

Q: Where in Grants.gov should I upload the required application elements?
A: Please see the "Full Application Checklist of Required Elements" found at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/funding_template.html. This document provides information about how to bundle and upload the required application elements.

Q: Will you enforce the page limits on applications?
A: Yes. There are page limits only for the project description (15 pages) and the brief resumes (3 pages per resume). The page limits on the project descriptions are inclusive of figures and other visual materials.

Q: Does the list of references cited in the full application project description count against the 15-page limit?
A: No. References, milestone chart, budget information, resumes, current and pending support, and letters of commitment are not included in the 15-page project description limit.

Q: What elements are required for the full application package?
A: Checklists of all required elements are available at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/funding_template.html. Note that there are different checklists for lead applicants vs. non-lead applicants.

Q: I do not have any current or pending support to report. Do I still need to include this required element of the application?
A: Yes. If any PI or Co-PI has no current or pending funding beyond this application, this must be clearly indicated on a separate page under a heading "Current and Pending Support".

Q: Can I submit letters of commitment? If so, how?
A: Yes, letters of commitment may be included as part of the application submitted by the lead institution through Grants.gov. They will not count against the 15-page project description limit. For instructions on how to submit the letters, please see the Full Application Checklist of Required Elements at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/funding_template.html.

Q: Can additional letters of commitment be submitted after the application deadline?
A: No. All letters must be included as part of the original application submitted through Grants.gov before the application deadline.

Q: Can I submit appendices to the project description with additional information on the proposed project activities?
A: No, you may not submit any appendices beyond the required and optional application elements listed in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. Any non-requested elements submitted as part of an application package will be removed from the application prior to merit review.

Q: What do I put down under items #16a and 16b on the SF-424 for the Congressional district if there is more than one district for the applicant and/or project or if my state only has one district?
A:If the applicant has several offices in different districts, use the district with the largest population. If the project will take place in multiple districts, all districts involved may be used. The SF-424 requires that you enter numbers only. To find your Representative's district go to http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/olm112.aspx. If your state only has one representative (e.g. Alaska) or a delegate instead of a representative (e.g., District of Columbia), enter a zero.

Q: On SF-424,  I do not know what is meant by "Applicant Identifier", "Federal Entity Identifier", "Federal Award Identifier" and "State Identifier" (items 3, 4, 5a, 5b, 6, and 7).   Where do I find this information?
A: These items on the SF-424 do not apply to applications in this call for applications, so please leave them blank. (Note: The boxes in the SF-424 on grants.gov are not highlighted in yellow, which is an indication that providing this information is optional.)

Q: On the CD-511 form, the field for "Award Number" is required. What should I put in this field?
A: Please write "N/A" in the Award Number field.

Q: I want to submit an application that does not address the identified priority. How will this affect my chances of success?
A: Chances of success will be low because evaluation criterion #1 assesses how well the application addresses the program priorities.

Q: Where can I find the reference: Price, C.A. 2012. Learning Experiences of Children and the Mythbusters Live Show. Unpublished evaluation report from the Museum of Science and Industry Evaluation and Research Team?
A: Click here.

Q: Where can I find the reference: Romano, C. 2012. A checklist of best practices for digital product design and usability evaluation?
A: Click here.

Q: On p. 25 of the announcement, the deadline for submission says EST in one sentence and EDT in the second. Which is it?
A: There is a typographical error and the correct deadline is the second one, i.e., 11:59:59 PM EDT on March 12, 2013.

Q: Can a project have impact in a foreign country?
A: It would be allowable if a project also has impact in two or more states. Additionally, foreign organizations or U.S. organizations located outside of the US are able to serve as project partners. However, we are anticipating this funding opportunity to be highly competitive and it is likely that projects with impacts occurring within the US would out-compete projects with impacts occurring outside the U.S.

Q: On the application check list for the non-lead institution it states under project narrative "none" but on grants.gov application it is a "mandatory" document to upload. What should we upload to the mandatory narrative attachments form in grants.gov?
A: Even non-lead collaborative appilcants will have one document to upload there: the title page. Please see the instructions under Title Page on the downloadable checklist for non-lead applicants (available at http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/application_templates.html).

Q: Do we need a data-sharing plan if we are having students collect data that will not be contributed to any scientific study or NOAA monitoring system? (We do not plan to do any QC/QA on the plan.)
A: The data sharing policy is new for our agency and educators and students were not the intended audiences for this policy. So, in the section of your proposal for "data sharing plan" (see section IV.B.1(i) of the FFO), just briefly describe the data you will be collecting and what you plan to do with them and then, if you are recommended for funding and if we think these are the kinds of data that should be shared, then we'll ask for a more fully fleshed out plan when we enter into negotiations for making an award.

Q: Our project budget will cover 5 years, but the SF424a only provides space for reporting 4 years of funding. How do I fill out the form for all 5 years?
A: If your project has a duration of five years, in section B of the SF424a, sum your budgets for years 4 and 5 and put the combined amounts in column (4). Please note: The totals in section B, row k, should match the totals in section A, column g of the SF424a. For additional information on how to fill out this and other forms, please see our "Grant Application Templates and Models" website at: http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/application_templates.html.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.


[Back to Topics]

Budget Information

Q: What is the total amount of funding for which I can apply?
A: The total Federal amount requested from NOAA by all collaborative applicants combined must be no less than $500,000 and no more than $1,000,000 for all years of the project, including direct and indirect costs. No single institution may request more than 70% of the total combined federal request for the collaborative project. Collaborative teams of applicants requesting Federal support from NOAA of less than $500,000 or more than $1,000,000 total for all years, or collaborative teams of applicants in which an individual applicant requests more than 70% of the total combined federal request for the project, will not be considered for funding.

Q: What is the minimum amount of funding for which I can apply?
A: There is no restriction as long as the requirements are met.

Q: May faculty request academic year salary in addition to or instead of summer salary?
A: NOAA does not limit the amount of salary requested by faculty as long as it does not exceed 100% of an individual's time in a given year, including time accounted for on other grants.

Q: May equipment be included in the budget?
A: Yes. Equipment that is necessary to carry out the proposed project may be requested and should be justified in the budget table and narrative.

Q: Are sub-awards allowed?
A: Yes. The project description and budget justification should clearly state why there is a need for a sub-award, what the sub-awardee will do, and the organization(s) or individual(s) to which the sub-awards will be made. Additionally, if any funds are planned for a sub-awardee, you must describe and provide the funding amounts in the same level of detail as is provided in the overall budget, i.e., you should provide the same category break-down as for the overall budget for the sub-awardee budget, for all the categories that apply. The cumulative cost of the sub-awards should appear under the category of "contractual" in the SF-424A.

Q: Should I provide documentation for my institution's negotiated indirect cost (IDC) agreement?
A: Yes, if your institution has documentation of its negotiated indirect cost agreement, please upload this document to Grants.gov with the other budget information you will provide.

Q: What if my institution does not have a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement?
A: If your organization does not have a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement with a federal agency or the agreement is out of date and a renewal is not pending, you should list those indirect costs as direct costs in the budget narrative and SF-424A and leave the IDC rate at 0%.

Q: Can the amount for evaluation exceed the recommended 10-20% of the total project budget?
A: Yes; as long as the cost of evaluation is justified in the project description and budget narrative, there is no cap for the costs of evaluation.

Q: What categories should be included in the budget table and narrative?
A: Categories should match those in the SF-424A.

Q: Is there a cap on the amount I can allot for any particular budget category?
A: As long as the costs are justified in the project description and budget narrative, there is no cap on any budget category.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]

Project Partners and NOAA Assets

Q: What types of project partners would make an application more competitive?
A: Partnerships with both NOAA and non-NOAA entities are encouraged on all proposed projects. Although a specific type of partner will not necessarily make an application more or less competitive, the strength of each proposed partnership will be evaluated by reviewers. The application should clearly articulate the role of each partner and how the partnership will contribute to the success of the project activities. All project partnerships should also be articulated in letters of commitment.

Q: What NOAA entities are available for me to partner with?
A: NOAA entities include, but are not limited to, programs, offices, and organizations such as the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, National Marine Sanctuary Program, National Sea Grant College Program, National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, NOAA Cooperative Institutes, and Regional Associations of the Integrated Ocean Observing System. Websites and contact information for many of these entities can be found at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/NOAA_assets.html

Q: Where can I find more information on NOAA assets that might be used in my project?
A: A list of NOAA assets can be found at: www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/NOAA_assets.html

Q: Who should NOAA letters of commitment come from?
A: NOAA partner letters of commitment should come from Federal managers.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]

Collaborative Applications

Q: What qualifies as a collaborative team?
A: Eligible applicants for Priority 1 are collaborative teams of two or more institutions in the United States. The following types of institutions may serve as applicants on a collaborative team for Priority 1: institutions of higher education; informal science-education institutions, including museums, zoos, and aquariums; other nonprofits, including informal science-education institutions such as museums, zoos, and aquariums; K-12 public and independent schools and school systems; and state, local and Indian tribal governments in the United States. For-profit organizations, and foreign institutions, and individuals are not eligible to apply. Each individual applicant must submit an application to NOAA as part of the collaborative team. Applications to Priority 1 that do not meet these eligibility criteria will not be merit reviewed.

Eligible applicants for Priority 2 are collaborative teams that are exclusively composed of two or more 501(c)(3) non-profit aquariums in the United States. At least one applicant in each collaborative team must be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Each individual applicant must submit an application to NOAA as part of the collaborative team. Applications to Priority 2 that do not meet these eligibility criteria will not be merit reviewed.

Q: How many institutions should be part of a collaborative team?
A: A minimum of two institutions must serve as applicants on the collaborative team. There is no upper limit to the number of collaborative team members; however, the total Federal amount requested by all collaborative applicants combined must not exceed $1,000,000 for all years of the project, and no single institution may request more than 70% of the total combined federal request for the collaborative project.

Q: How should our collaborative application be submitted?
A: Each individual institution that is part of the collaborative team of applicants must submit a separate application through Grants.gov. Failure of any applicant team member to submit an application before the deadline will result in the entire collaborative project not being merit reviewed. One applicant from the collaborative team must be designated as the lead institution for the purpose of submitting applications and has different required elements for submission than the other collaborative team applicants.

Q: Who should serve as the lead institution for the collaborative team?
A: Any institution that is part of an eligible team of applicants may serve as the lead institution. Each collaborative team should designate only one lead institution. The identity of the lead institution must be indicated on the title page of each collaborative applicant.

Q: Do lead applicants and non-lead applicants submit the same application elements?
A: No, the required application elements are different for lead vs. non-lead applicants. Please see the Checklists of Required Elements available at www.oesd.noaa.gov/grants/elg/funding_template.html.

Q: If one applicant in a collaborative team submits a late or incomplete application, will the collaborative project still be reviewed?
A: No. All collaborative team members must submit complete applications before the application deadline in order for the collaborative project to be reviewed.

Q: Can applications be submitted by institutions that are not part of a collaborative team?
A: No. Only applications from institutions that are part of an eligible collaborative team (see above) will be accepted.

Q: How should we set up the management structure of the collaborative team?
A: Projects should have a clear management structure and decision-making process that specifies the roles of each collaborative applicant. Applicants may choose their preferred method for managing their collaborative team and should specify this choice in their project narrative. One applicant from a collaborative team must be designated as the lead institution for the purpose of submitting applications. A collaborative team may also assign this institution a leadership role in coordinating the project. Alternatively, collaborative teams may form a leadership committee that is responsible for overall coordination of project activities. Projects involving the development of new or modification of existing digital interactive media should include a digital architect in the project's management.

Q: Who should be listed as the PI and Co-PIs on my title page?
A: The PI and Co-PIs listed on your title page should be the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators from your institution. Individuals from partner institutions may also be listed as co-PIs, if desired.

Q: Do the collaborative institutions/applicants have to be in multiple states or just the project’s areas of impact?
A: Only the project’s impact must be in more than one state.

Q: How do we determine whether an institution/organization should be a collaborative applicant or a partner sub-awardee?
A: A collaborator should be substantively involved in the majority of the project conceptualization and implementation. A partner or sub-awardees' level of involvement is typically more specialized and focused on specific elements of the project.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]

Spherical Display Systems Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a spherical display system?
A: Spherical display systems are sphere-shaped "screens" onto which global data and other imagery can be shown. The displays typically range in diameter from 18 inches to 6 feet. One example is NOAA's Science On a Sphere (SOS), which consists of a 68-inch diameter opaque sphere onto which 4 video projectors project seamless "movies" of animated Earth system dynamics (http://www.sos.noaa.gov/What_is_SOS/index.html). Other examples of convex spherical display systems include, but are not limited to, Magic Planet (http://www.globalimagination.com/) and OmniGlobe (http://www.arcscience.com/).

Q: What visualizations are available for spherical display systems?
A: There are many. Please see the SOS web site for visualizations available for NOAA's Science On a Sphere.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]

Cooperative Agreements

Q: Do I need to indicate whether my application is for a cooperative agreement or a grant?
A: No, all applicants should apply for a non-construction grant. If the application is selected for funding, NOAA will determine if the proposed activities constitute substantial involvement of a NOAA entity to the extent that requires a cooperative agreement. Therefore, the applicant should describe in sufficient detail in the project description the nature of involvement of any participating NOAA entities in the project. If the project is selected for funding the exact nature of NOAA's involvement will be negotiated and included in the terms and conditions of the award.

Q: What is the difference between a cooperative agreement and a grant?
A: The legal definition of a Cooperative Agreement: The legal instrument reflecting a relationship between NOAA and a recipient whenever: (1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer money, property, services, or anything of value to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute and (2) substantial involvement (e.g., collaboration, participation, or intervention by NOAA in the management of the project) is anticipated between NOAA and the recipient during performance of the contemplated activity. Cooperative agreements are subject to the same OMB, Treasury, and other Federal laws and policies as grants. See 31 U.S.C. 6305. A grant is the funding instrument used when only condition (1) exists.

Q: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. What should I do?
A: Contact Stacey Rudolph at oed.grants@noaa.gov.

[Back to Topics]