The Research Fellowship Program is organized and managed by the University Consortium-side of the NW CASC.
2021-2022 Research Fellowship Program Request for Proposals
The Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (NW CASC) invites proposals for its 2021-2022 Research Fellowship Program from graduate students at University of Washington (UW), Boise State University (BSU), Oregon State University (OSU), University of Montana (UM), Washington State University (WSU) and Western Washington University (WWU) and postdoctoral scholars at BSU, OSU, UM, WSU, and WWU (this fellowship cannot support postdocs at UW).
The NW CASC Fellowship Program supports research related to climate adaptation for Northwest natural and cultural resource management and provides training in the principles and practices of developing decision-relevant science. Funding will be available as early as Fall Term 2021, to support research performed during the 2021-2022 academic year.
The deadline to submit proposals is March 15, 2021.
Do you want to learn more about the NW CASC’s Research Fellowship Program? Do you have questions about applying? Check out this webinar on Applying for NW CASC’s 2021-22 Research Fellowship Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
See our list of frequently asked questions organized by the following topics. Don’t see your question listed? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Q: Does this program fund projects related to greenhouse gas emissions and/or capture?
A: No, this program does not fund research related to climate mitigation. Work must have a clear link to climate impacts and/or adaptation.
Q: Does this program fund climate modeling projects?
A: No, this program does not fund work related to climate modeling. Work must have a clear link to climate impacts and/or adaptation and explicit and specific resource management applications.
Q: Do you ever fund projects outside of your geographic footprint?
A: No, we cannot fund projects that fall outside of our geographic footprint. However, we are working on developing a NW CASC affiliates program to formalize training opportunities for non-fellows. This affiliates program, which we plan to kick off during the next academic year, will be open to students and postdocs at our consortium universities (BSU, OSU, UM, UW, WSU, WWU).
Q: For “Management Goal 1.3.2: Determine the effects of sea level rise on estuarine fish habitat,” can the definition of “fish” include shellfish?
A: Yes, shellfish count as fish.
Q: Where can I find more information – including specific components (i.e., management goals) – about the Actionable Science Agenda on Post-Fire Vegetation Transformation?
A: We will release an actionable science agenda that specifically addresses needs around post-fire transitions in coming weeks. However, fellowship proposals are due before this material will be published.
For now, please refer to the summary in Appendix A of the RFP and this sentence below “key findings”: “Research needs include better understanding of the likelihood and consequences of post-fire transitions in the Northwest, better understanding of the effectiveness of available management strategies, and better integration of Traditional Knowledge in management strategies.” Use this statement to judge whether your proposed work may be relevant to NW CASC science priorities in this area.
We do not provide management goals – those are up to natural resource decision-makers – but rather identify science needs that may support decision-makers in working toward their goals.
Q: I am currently an undeclared graduate student and will be transitioning into a full-time masters or PhD program in the fall. Am I eligible to apply during this cycle?
A: Yes, as long as you’ve been accepted into a graduate program at a NW CASC consortium school, you’re eligible to apply.
Q: Could I apply for the funding first, then enroll in graduate school by fall 2020, if offered funding by the program?
A: No, you must already be accepted into a graduate or postdoctoral program at a NW CASC consortium school by the proposal deadline in order to be eligible for this fellowship.
Q: I’m currently a graduate student at a consortium university and expect to transition into a postdoc roll by the fall term. Do I need to be an official employee of a consortium university at the time I apply?
A: At the time of your application, you’ll need to be able to show us that your employment as a postdoc at a NW CASC consortium university is confirmed. This does not have to be official paperwork from the university, but can be in the form of a signed letter from your advisor.
Q: I’m a former NW CASC Fellow. May I apply again?
A: No, students who have previously received funding through the NW CASC Fellowship Program are not eligible for additional funding.
Q: Does this fellowship program support work at a school that is not part of the current consortium?
A: No, the NW CASC Fellowship Program supports graduate students at University of Washington, Boise State University, Oregon State University, University of Montana, Washington State University and Western Washington University and postdoctoral scholars at Boise State University, Oregon State University, University of Montana, Washington State University and Western Washington University (this fellowship cannot support postdocs at UW).
However, USGS-directed research funding (such as the NW CASC FY22 Funding Opportunity released in February 2021) can be awarded from the NW CASC to other USGS science centers and used to support students or post-docs, either within USGS or at non-consortium universities. (see “Learn More about NW CASC” below for more information about the differences between University Consortium-Directed Research Funding and USGS-Directed Research Funding).
Partners & Letters of Support
Q: What types of stakeholder partners are you looking for?
A: Natural resource managers or decision-makers from any DOI bureau, tribe or tribal organization, or state natural resource management agency are appropriate partners for this project. We want fellows to work with the decision-makers who will ultimately put the science produced by their projects to work to inform natural resource management. If you need help identifying a partner, please contact us.
Q: Does this fellowship support partnerships with NGOs, such as non-profit land managers like the Nature Conservancy?
A: We certainly welcome additional partners and letters of support from NGOs and other entities, but they don’t qualify as a primary management partner. Your letter of support must come from a DOI bureau, tribe or tribal organization, or state natural resource management agency.
Q: I’m working on a project with my State Parks and Recreation Department. Is this agency an eligible stakeholder?
A: Yes, the State Parks Recreation Department qualifies as a NW CASC stakeholder. However, the work we fund through this fellowship needs to be focused on natural resources, as outlined in the NW CASC Science Agenda, so if your research is more geared towards protecting park infrastructure rather than habitat, it may not be the best fit. If your project addresses both habitat and infrastructure, we would be interested in potentially funding the aspect of your project related to habitat, as long as there’s a clear climate link.
Q: I’m working on a project with the Puget Sound Partnership. Is this agency an eligible stakeholder?
A: Yes, the Puget Sound Partnership qualifies as a NW CASC stakeholder as long as you can make a clear connection to the NW CASC Science Agenda and how your results will be used to inform decisions.
Q: Can I submit letters of support from multiple faculty advisors? What if one of my advisors is associated with a government agency rather than my university?
A: Yes, you can submit letters of support from multiple faculty advisors, including those associated with government agencies. Be sure to also include a letter of support from an appropriate external partner (DOI bureau, tribe or tribal organization, or state natural resource management agency).
Q: Is there a maximum number of letters of support applicants are allowed to submit?
A: There is no limit to the number of letters you can submit. We just ask that you focus on quality over quantity to be respectful of the reviewers’ time.
Budget & Leveraged Support
Q: What is “leveraged support”? Are you looking for matched funds or simply other forms of funding that I have already secured for my research?
A: We’re not looking for formal matching funds; we simply want to know that there are other sources of funding helping to support your work. Please provide a brief description of the support other organization(s) are putting toward your research, including work/lab space, collaborator/advisor review, materials, etc.
Q: How do I budget for summer field work?
A: Our funding period for the NW CASC is August 1 through July 31 each year. If you are awarded a fellowship with us, we can guarantee funding for the period August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2022. Beyond that, it is our intent to keep funding your project through your desired end date, subject to your continued progress and the availability of funding and continuation of the program.
Our project years don’t always line up with academic years and summer field work, so we work with fellows to flex their project dates as much as possible. To budget for summer field work that falls after July 31, 2022, be sure to:
- Clearly separate the two project periods. We want to see a budget covering August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022, and then a separate budget for the rest of your field work, for example, August 1, 2022 – September 15, 2022. On the budget template (available above), you’ll see a Period 1 section at the top for 8/1/2021-7/31/2022, and a Period 2 section at the bottom for 8/1/2022-end of summer term. Over on the right side of the sheet you will see a summary showing the funds requested for each period as well as a total.
- In your proposal, clearly explain your plan of work, again broken down by timeframe, so we can see what you will accomplish in each period.
Q: Would it be possible to use NW CASC Fellowship funds for my research activities in the summer of 2021?
A: Yes, beginning funding in the summer of 2021 could be arranged. Ideally, funding would begin after July 31, but we can discuss options if you’re awarded a fellowship.
Q: I currently have funding support for a graduate student/postdoc. If I apply for NW CASC funding, would I be able to defer using those other funds so I can use the NW CASC funding in the near term?
A: If the other funding support allows you to schedule it at another time, then yes. So for example, if you have 3 quarters of funding for the student or postdoc on another grant, and you had intended to provide those quarters fall 2021-spring 2022, but now you’re applying for NW CASC funding during that timeframe, and if that other grant is open through the end of 2023, then you could schedule the 3 quarters of CASC support first [fall 2021-spring 2022], and defer tapping into that other grant support until later [such as fall 2022-spring 2023].
Q: What is the current overhead rate for the University of Washington?
A: The current University of Washington “overhead” (Facilities and Administration) rate is 55.5%. The latest estimates for UW benefits rates (preliminary rates) starting 7/1/2021 are here: https://finance.uw.edu/fr/fringe-benefit-load-rate. For rates at other consortium universities, please contact your university’s grants office.
Proposal Format & Timeline
Q: Are there any formatting requirements for the research proposal?
A: Though we did not include this in the RFP and it isn’t a requirement, we’d appreciate it if you would use 1-inch margins and 12-point font for your cover page, letter of application and summary of proposed research. Please combine all of the elements of your proposal (including budget) into a single PDF document and, in addition, provide the budget as a separate excel spreadsheet.
Q: Are references cited considered in document length?
Q: Is there any flexibility to the deliverables timeline?
A: Yes, but please contact us to discuss your specific situation. We would still require progress reports at designated intervals and any funding extension would be contingent on continued DOI funding of the NW CASC itself and satisfactory progress by the Fellow.
Q: Will there be a solicitation for this program next year?
A: This is an annual program, so we anticipate announcing the 2022-2023 RFP in January, 2022. We typically announce our funding opportunities through our newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
Learn More About NW CASC
Q: Was the “Applying for NW CASC’s 2021-22 Research Fellowship Program” webinar recorded?
A: Yes. The recording is available on our Funding Opportunities webpage.
Q: What’s the difference between University Consortium-Directed Research Funding and USGS-Directed Research Funding?
A: University Consortium-Directed Research Funding (the NW CASC Research Fellowship Program), administered by the university side of the NW CASC, is a yearlong program for graduate students and postdocs from our university consortium. This program provides climate adaptation research funding for one year, as well as training in producing decision-relevant science. The training elements include monthly calls with the other fellows in the cohort (we fund 10-13 fellows each year) focused on different topics, a required winter seminar course on linking knowledge with action, and opportunities to participate in the Northwest Climate Conference and NW CASC’s annual Deep Dive workshop. Our current request for applications is for the 2021-2022 academic year.
USGS-Directed Research Funding (such as the NW CASC FY22 Funding Opportunity), administered by the federal side of the NW CASC, provides funding for climate adaptation research projects that will start spring/summer 2022. PhD researchers from USGS and NW CASC’s university consortium can apply for this funding. The funding may be longer than one year and does not include training.
Q: I’m not planning to apply for the fellowship, but I’d like to learn more. How can I get involved?