Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2015 Special Projects Funding Announcement

Competition: Conferences & Workshops - This competition is closed. See awarded projects.

Closing Date: June 15, 2015

UPDATED MAY 26, 2015

(Please note that even though the overall Special Projects FFO ends on June 30, the due date for this particular competition is June 15.)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (latest update: 6-11-2015)

The National Sea Grant Office anticipates that up to $200,000 will be available to support proposals for conferences or workshops addressing regional or national issues and with regional or national participation. Applications for this funding will be considered until 11:59 pm, Eastern Time, June 15, 2015. Applications may address any of the goals in any of the four focus areas listed in section I.A. of the Special Projects Funding Opportunity, which can be found at:


It is a programmatic priority that if multiple applications are selected, an attempt will be made to distribute selected applications broadly across the four focus areas (depending on the number, size, quality, and goals addressed in the applications received). It is also a programmatic priority that an attempt will be made to fund some work that reflects the value of Sea Grant's integrated approach to research, extension and education (again, depending on the applications received).

Applications should request no more than $20,000 in federal funds to be considered for this funding opportunity. Non-federal matching funds of at least 50% of the federal request must be included in the application.

An application must include these components as described in the Federal Funding Opportunity: SF-424 form, 90-2 Project Summary (use the "Short Form"), and Project Description. In addition, the application must include a 90-4 form and Standard Forms 424A, 424B and CD-511. The "Short Form" 90-2 and 90-4 forms are available on the Sea Grant Forms and Templates webpage. The other forms are included in the application package from grants.gov.

Include the phrase "2015 Conferences and Workshops" in the proposal title. Applications need not fill the entire 15-page maximum for Project Description. Depending on the complexity of the proposed activities, a 2-or 3-page description may suffice.

Applications must be submitted on grants.gov to Federal Funding Opportunity NOAA-OAR-SG-2014- 2004033, Special Project "F", no later than 11:59 PM Eastern Time on June 15, 2015.

This competition is only open to Sea Grant Programs, the National Sea Grant Library, and the National Sea Grant Law Center. Applications from multiple Sea Grant Programs are acceptable, but must have a single lead Sea Grant Program who submits the application, and cannot request more than $20,000 in total.

For how to submit, evaluation criteria, general programmatic priorities and selection factors, eligible applicants, required elements of the application, and other necessary information, please consult Federal Funding Opportunity NOAA-OAR-SG-2014-2004033, available on grants.gov. Questions may be sent to oar.hq.sg.competitions@noaa.gov.

Posted April 16, 2015


Q: How many awards, of what size, do you anticipate?

A: We expect to make about $200,000 in awards for this competition. If all the successful applications ask for the maximum allowable amount (from the announcement, "Applications should request no more than $20,000 in federal funds to be considered..."), this will allow us to make ten awards. If applications ask for less than $20,000, we may be able to award more than ten.

Q: I'm unclear what the application deadline is in grants.gov.

A: June 15, 2015. The overall Special Projects Federal Funding Opportunity has supported several individual competitions with different end dates. But an application must be received by grants.gov by June 15, 2015 to be considered for the Conferences & Workshops competition.

Q: When will the winners be announced?

A: We hope to have the technical evaluations done and a slate of recommended applications forwarded to Grants Division by early July. The actual awarding of the winning grants could take several months longer.

Q: Will these be new grants, or additions to the omnibus grants?

A: We anticipate adding these to the omnibus grants, except where circumstances with individual awards make that inadvisable.

Q. What is "competition F"?

A: The Special Projects Funding Opportunity was designed to support several individual competitions. Competition F, which is being used for the Conferences and Workshops competition, is the only one open right now. When you download the application package from Grants Online, it will ask you to select which competition you want the package for, but Competition F should be your only option.

Q: Are indirect costs were allowed? What is the allowable rate?   

A: Yes, indirect costs are allowed. The indirect request in the application should follow your institution's Negotiated Indirect Cost Recovery Agreement (NICRA). Your Sea Grant Program, or the Office of Sponsored Programs, should know this rate.

Q: Can we apply for a grant to support a conference or workshop that has already taken place?

A: No. However, if there are followup activities to the conference or workshop that have not yet taken place (for example, publication of a Proceedings), one could apply for a grant to cover these future conference- or workshop-related costs.

Q: Can we apply for a grant to support a conference or workshop that is already planned?

A: Yes. However, if the event is already planned to take place and be funded in some other way, a reasonable question the reviewers might ask is, "what is the value of awarding a grant to support an event that already has sufficient support?". Such an application would do well to include an answer to this question.

Q: How far out into the future could a proposed conference or workshop take place?

A. Any conference or workshop funded with this year's funds should take place (or at least should incur expenses that need to be paid) no later than September 2016.

Q: If successful in the competition, would you be able to fund a conference or workshop this October?

A. yes.

Q: Would an application for support for a general conference (for example, a regional Sea Grant meeting) be eligible, or does the conference have to have a special topic?

A: A general conference would be eligible.

Q: Can I propose international travel in my application?

A: Yes. It would be good to make sure it is clear in the application how the international aspect of the conference or workshop supports the Sea Grant focus areas.

Q. May several Programs get together and submit a single Conferences & Workshops application, and if selected have each Program receive a separate award?

A. No--grant rules require a separate application for every award.

Programs working together on a joint proposal could identify one Program to act as Lead, who would submit the application, receive all the funds, and distribute funds to the other participating Programs though subawards, invitational travel, etc.

Alternatively, Programs working together on a joint proposed activity could submit individual but coordinated applications. Each application should clearly state that it is an application of a jointly proposed conference or workshop, and each should contain the identical proposal narrative which describes the entire proposed activity, including the roles of all participating Programs. It is necessary that each application contain the identical proposal narrative, so that the technical review and scoring of that proposal narrative will be valid for all applications.

The SF424 and other forms and budget justifications in each individual Program's application should describe only that one Program's request and match. The sum of requested federal funds from all participating Programs must be no more than $20,000, and each application must propose matching funds of at least 50% of its own federal request. 

Q: Are Resumes/CVs and Letters of Support required? Are they allowed? Do they count against the 15-page limit?

A: Neither is required. Both are allowed, if they are included in the Project Description (and therefore subject to the Project Description 15-page limit).

Q: I can't attach the 90-2 form to the application package. Can I just attach a PDF of the form instead?

A: No. The 90-2 form is an enhanced Excel spreadsheet, and when it is converted to a PDF, too much information is lost. If your Office of Sponsored Programs says they can't attach an Excel spreadsheet to the application, you have two options: (1) have them prepare the grants.gov application package manually rather than using third party form-filling software (which often won't accept an Excel spreadsheet), or (2) prepare and submit the application package without the 90-2 form, and have an Authorized Representative send the 90-2 form as an email attachment to oar.hq.sg.competitions@noaa.gov. An emailed 90-2 form must be sent before the application deadline, and must include in the cover email a request to attach the form to the application that was submitted through grants.gov.

Q: I have a question not listed here.

A: Questions may be emailed to oar.hq.sg.competitions@noaa.gov.

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