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EPA/NSF Partnership for Environmental Research
EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Research
NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, Division of Social and Economic Sciences
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy (DMVEP)

NSF 00-152

Opening Date:  September 18, 2000
Closing Date:  December 18, 2000

Introduction
Program Description
Eligibility Information
Award Information
Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
Proposal Review Information
Award Administration Information
Contacts for Additional Information

See past and current research online

INTRODUCTION

In Fiscal Year 2001, the EPA/NSF Partnership for Environmental Research is targeting two areas for support:

  • Technology for a Sustainable Environment
  • Decision-Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy
This announcement solicits applications for Decision-Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy (DMVEP). DMVEP encourages research that will contribute to the development of practical, credible approaches for estimating the benefits and costs of environmental programs and improving decision making about environmental issues. Awards made through this competition are dependent upon responsiveness of the proposals to the announcement, the quality of the proposed research, and the availability of funds.

EPA and NSF anticipate making approximately 10 awards, totaling about $1.5 million. The projected range is from $60,000 to $200,000 per award per year, with durations from 1 to 3 years per award. Field experiments, survey research, and multi-investigator projects may justify the higher end of this range; however, total requests in excess of $400,000 are discouraged.

Proposals in response to this announcement must be received at NSF (see below) by December 18, 2000. It is anticipated that awards will be made by Summer, 2001. Awards resulting from this competition may be made by either EPA or NSF, at the option of the agencies, not the grantee.

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA and NSF officials indicated as the cognizant program officers in the contacts section. E-mail inquiries are preferred.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

In April, 2000 the DMVEP program completed an interim progress assessment to solicit expert recommendations to make the program more responsive to requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act and to identify underserved DMVEP research areas where cost-effective results-oriented research could be undertaken. In preparation for this meeting, the program also issued a contract to compile information about grants made in previous years.

The assessment's recommendations reaffirmed the partner agencies' commitment to supporting research that would further decision-making and valuation-related sciences and contribute demonstrably to an improved environment. Participants suggested several important topic areas. The top three are the focus of the FY 2001 DMVEP solicitation (see below). The assessment encouraged expanded outreach efforts. As a result, this solicitation will favor proposals that outline a strategy to communicate results to users who can effect environmental improvement.

The FY 2001 Decision-Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy (DMVEP) competition solicits proposals in three focus areas:

  • research on ecosystems valuation, including methodological improvements as well as ways to incorporate non-monetizable or non-quantifiable ecological information into environmental policy decisions;
  • research comparing individual environmental values with group or collective valuation of environmental amenities, and research on group or collective valuation in general; and
  • research on aggregate, organizational and institutional environmental decision making and use of environmental information in government agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and communities.
The competition encourages proposals from researchers from all behavioral, social, and economic sciences. It supports both collaborative and interdisciplinary scientific efforts, as well as research conducted within a single disciplinary tradition. It encourages collaborations with non-social science disciplines when needed to answer social science-based questions. The competition especially encourages research that integrates valuation and decision-making approaches for environmental policy.

Investigators that will use survey, interview or focus group techniques should provide information about their plans for data collection and analysis, including information about their instruments, in the Project Description section of the proposal. The Project Description section should also describe the policy relevance of the proposed research and explain how the results will be communicated to groups and organizations that can effect environmental improvements. Plans for data sharing should also be specified here. The Proposal Preparation section in this announcement contains further important information about these requirements and how to meet them.

Relationship to Current EPA Activities

The EPA/NSF DMVEP program relates to the activities of several EPA programs, including the:

  • National Center for Environmental Economics, Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, and
  • economic analysis programs in most EPA program offices and several regions.
Personnel from these offices will assist the EPA Office of Research and Development in determining the program relevance of proposals, as described further below.

Relationship to Current NSF Activities

This EPA/NSF activity relates to several NSF programs and initiative areas. NSF social sciences programs, especially the Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences program (http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/ses/drms) and the Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology program (http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/ses/sdest), support research directed at:

  • increasing the understanding and effectiveness of problem solving, information processing, and decision making by individuals, groups, organizations, and society,
  • improving approaches and information for decision making concerning management and direction of research, science and technology, and
  • developing and transmitting knowledge about ethical and value dimensions associated with science, engineering, and technology.
Other NSF social science programs supporting related research include the Political Science program, the Sociology program, the Economics program, the Geography program and the Cultural Anthropology program. The EPA/NSF activity also relates to NSF initiatives in the areas of Biocomplexity and the Environment, and the Human Dimensions of Global Change.

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

The categories of proposers identified in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program announcement/solicitation.

Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and State or local governments are eligible. However, profit-making firms and federal agencies are not eligible to apply to this program. Personnel in profit-making firms may participate as non-funded co-investigators or through sub-contracts with the awardee institution.

Federal employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. However, federal agencies, national laboratories funded by federal agencies (FFRDCs), and federal employees are not eligible to submit applications to this program and may not serve in a principal leadership role on a grant. Under exceptional circumstances the principal investigator's institution may subcontract to a federal agency or FFRDC to purchase unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, unique analyses or instrumentation not available elsewhere, etc. A written justification for such federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency that commits to supply the specified service. Federal employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program. Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Dr. Robert E. Menzer (listed in contacts).

AWARD INFORMATION

EPA and NSF anticipate making approximately 10 awards, totaling about $1.5 million, in DMVEP. The projected range is from $60,000 to $200,000 per award per year, with durations from 1 to 3 years per award. Field experiments, survey research, and multi-investigator projects may justify the higher end of this range; however, total requests in excess of $400,000 are discouraged. Awards will be made either by NSF or EPA, at the option of the agencies, not the applicant. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf012. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

Additional Requirements - Project Description

Policy and Outreach. To assist in the evaluation of research outreach plans, proposals to DMVEP must include a "Policy Relevance and Outreach" section of up to two pages in the 15 page limit. The pages should describe the policy relevance of the proposed research and identify the target group(s) likely to benefit from this research, who will be made aware of the results. Once identified, the PI must elaborate on the potential benefits of this research for the designated target group(s). The PI should also address ways that members of the research team intend to communicate the results to the group(s). EPA will consider this discussion in undertaking the program relevance review described in the review section of this announcement.

The Project Description section of proposals submitted to DMVEP may exceed the 15 page limit for the following two purposes:

Protocol Description. Many proposals submitted to DMVEP will use survey or interview or focus group techniques in their research. Proposals involving these techniques may include up to three additional pages, titled "Protocol" with information about these instruments.

Data Availability. In addition, if the project will produce data and information of value to the broader research community, the applicant should also include a discussion titled "Data and Information Availability." This discussion, not to exceed two additional pages, should describe the data and information products, the management plans for their validation, quality control, archiving, costs for these activities, and whether and under what conditions the data will be made available to interested parties.

For awards that involve environmentally related measurements or data generation, these two pages should describe a quality system that complies with the requirements of ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs." ANSI/ASQC E4 is available for purchase from the American Society for Quality Control, phone 1-800-248-1946, item T55. Only in exceptional circumstances should it be necessary to consult this document.  An EPA guidance document, "Guidance on Satisfying EPA Quality System Requirements for STAR Grants (EPA QA/G-l STAR) is available for potential applicants which addresses in detail how to comply with ANSI/ASQC E4 for STAR grants.  This may be found on the internet at http://www.epa.gov/ncerqa under "announcements".

Documentation about collaborative arrangements or access to research sites should be placed in Proposal Section I, Special Information and Supplementary Documentation.

Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement/solicitation number (NSF 00-152) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207). Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

Budgetary Information

In accordance with Congressional requirements (see GPM 330), NSF requires that each awardee share in the cost of research projects resulting from unsolicited proposals. For purposes of NSF, proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation are considered unsolicited. The awardee may meet the statutory cost sharing requirement by choosing either of two alternatives: (1) by cost sharing a minimum of one percent on the project; or (2) by cost sharing a minimum of one percent on the aggregate costs of all NSF-supported projects requiring cost sharing.

The minimum one percent statutory cost sharing requirement discussed above need NOT be entered on Line M of the NSF Form 1030.

Other Budgetary Limitations.  Subcontracts which exceed 40% of the total direct cost in any year in which a subcontract is awarded must be especially well justified. Budgets must include travel funds to DC for a DMVEP workshop in each year of the grant.

Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation must be submitted by 5:00 PM, local time, on December 18, 2000
FastLane Requirements.

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Announcement through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call 1-800-673-6188.

Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. The signed copy of the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207) must be postmarked (or contain a legible proof of mailing date assigned by the carrier) within five working days following proposal submission and be forwarded to the following address:

National Science Foundation
DIS B FastLane Cover Sheet
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230

PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

Proposal Review Process

Reviews of proposals submitted to DMVEP are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF and EPA invite the proposer to suggest at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

Proposals will be reviewed against the following general review criteria established by the National Science Board. Following each criterion are potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the evaluation. These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Each reviewer will be asked to address only those that are relevant to the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

Principal Investigators should address the following elements in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both of the above-described merit review criteria. NSF and EPA staff will give these elements careful consideration in making funding decisions.

Integration of Research and Education

One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities

Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens - women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities - is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

Additional Review Criteria

The above statement of review procedures is a general NSF statement. In this competition, NSF and EPA do an initial screening of all grant applications to determine their compliance with legal and administrative requirements. The agencies use a panel review process to review the proposals. This review is designed to evaluate each proposal according to its scientific and technical merit. Each review group is composed primarily of academic social scientists. The process uses the merit criteria established by the National Science Board described above. NSF will also consider the criteria for integrating research and education and encouraging diversity. Although panelists do not use budget information in evaluation of scientific merit, they are asked to provide input on appropriateness or adequacy of the proposed budget and its implications for the potential success of the proposed research. EPA and NSF coordinate project selection to avoid duplication. In making the final selection, the principal EPA programs to which this activity relates use criteria of program and policy relevance. Besides the NSF criteria indicated above, NSF program officers look at the overall portfolio to try to achieve balance or synergies from the meritorious proposals selected for support. Copies of the evaluations by the technical reviewers will be provided to each applicant. Funding decisions are the sole responsibility of EPA and NSF. Grants are selected on the basis of technical merit, relevancy to the research priorities outlined, program balance, and budget. By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants EPA and NSF permission to share the application with technical reviewers both within and outside the agencies. Applications containing proprietary or other types of confidential information will not be reviewed.

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and signed by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are mailed to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF and EPA who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Panel Review.
Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

NSF and EPA will be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months for 95 percent of proposals. The time interval begins on the proposal deadline or target date or from the date of receipt, if deadlines or target dates are not used by the program. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

After programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to either the NSF or EPA Divisions of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or EPA or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF or EPA Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF or EPA Grants and Agreements Officer does so at its own risk.

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the NSF or EPA Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant Program Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See section on Proposal Review Information above for additional information on the review process.)

NSF Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions * and (5) any NSF brochure, program guide, announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/grants/grants_gac.htm. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, (NSF 95-26) available electronically on the NSF web site at
http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpm. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO web site at http://www.gpo.gov.

EPA Award Conditions

For awards made by the Environmental Protection Agency, the funding mechanisms for all awards issued under this solicitation will consist of grant agreements between EPA and the recipient. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, grants are used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than acquisition for the direct benefit of the Agency. In using a grant agreement, EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial involvement during the course of the grant between the recipient and the Agency. EPA grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with 40 CFR Part 30 and 40 or the most recent FDP terms and conditions, depending upon the grantee institution. EPA provides awards for research in the sciences and engineering related to environmental protection. The awardee is solely responsible for the conduct of such activities and preparation of results for publication. EPA, therefore, does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

EPA grantees will follow the EPA reporting requirements as indicated at the time of award. For further information about these requirements, applicants can contact the EPA officials listed in this announcement.

Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF or EPA will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF or EPA review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on: project participants (individual and organizational); activities and findings; publications; and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.

CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

General inquiries should be made to the EPA/NSF Partnership for Environmental Research  Program:

Ann Bostrom (Substantive DMVEP Information),
DRMS Program,
Program Officer, SBE, SES, 995,
telephone: 703-292-7263,
e-mail: abostrom@nsf.gov.

Matthew Clark (Substantive DMVEP Information),
Economic, Social and Behavioral Sciences Program Manager,
Environmental Protection Agency,
ORD/NCER, MC8722R,
1200 Penn Ave., NW DC,
telephone: 202-564-6842,
e-mail: clark.matthew@epa.gov

Rachelle D. Hollander (Substantive DMVEP Information),
SDEST Program,
Program Officer, SBE, SES, 995,
telephone: 703-292-7272,
e-mail: rholland@nsf.gov.

Robert Menzer (General Information on Competition),
Environmental Protection Agency,
Senior Science Advisor,
National Center for Environmental Research,
telephone: 202-564-6849,
e-mail: menzer.robert@epa.gov.

C Robert Wellek (General Information on Competition),
ITSP Program,
Deputy Division Director, Engineering, CTS, 525,
telephone: 703-292-9054 (fax),
e-mail: rwellek@nsf.gov.

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact,
Philip Johnson,
Computer Specialist,
SBE, BCS, 995,
telephone: 703-292-8740,
e-mail: pxjohnso@nsf.gov.

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