SciDAC-BER Announcement Frequently Asked Questions

Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing: Earth System Science

Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) DE-FOA-0000588 and Program Announcement LAB11-588

Q0a: My preproposal email bounced when it was submitted, what should I do?

A0a: There was an error in the announcement, the address should be:

Q0b: How late may the preproposals be submitted?

A0b: Please forward your original email submission so we may verify the submission time and date.

Q1: Is it possible to submit biographical sketches longer than 2 pages so that all relevant information can be included?

A1: No, only the most relevant information should be included in biographical sketches to meet the page limit.

Q2: Regarding the submission process for collaborative proposals, is it acceptable for each participating institution to submit the same 25 page narrative to the grants or FWP process, augmented by a short work statement (2-3 pages) highlighting the particular work that would be done at that institution? Then, may the lead organization submit the full proposal with all the accompanying budget, FWP pages, and work statements from all collaborating institutions?

A2: That strategy is acceptable.

Q3: For the pre-proposal stage, are you expecting each collaborating institution to submit its own pre-proposal or do you want just one pre-proposal per collaboration?

A3: We expect only one pre-proposal per collaborative effort, which should be submitted by the lead PI. As described in the announcement, it should include information about all collaborators.

Q4: (a) Are partnerships encouraged to request funding for current Institute researchers to enable project-specific collaborations? (b) This increases the funding for the Institute participants beyond that covered by the Institute itself. Is this acceptable?

A4: (a) Yes. (b) Yes.

Q5: Are partnerships discouraged from funding non-Institute researchers who have similar expertise to that covered by an Institute?

A5: From the FOA: "Proposers should detail their plans for establishing partnerships with the SciDAC Institutes…, in order to systematically address the applied math and computer science challenges that are inherent to the scale of new architectures or common across applications." "Proposers must be explicit about the benefits that they expect to receive from Institutes or other Program Elements. Reviewers will examine… the collaborations for, among others, duplication of effort. The proposal may include coverage of non-duplicative Applied Math/Computer Science expertise to supplement topics for which resources are provided by the Institutes, as well as expertise in topics for which no resources were provided by the Institutes. The proposal may include coverage of non-duplicative Applied Math/Computer Science expertise to supplement topics for which resources are provided by the Institutes, as well as expertise in topics for which no resources were provided by the Institutes." The question should not be about the expertise but ultimately about the proposed assignments: there might be a non-Institute researcher with the same expertise as another in an Institute, but if their assignments were not duplicative, that would be acceptable. The goal is to avoid duplication of the work done by the Institutes.

Q6: To what extent should non-duplicative, non-supplemental Math & CS activities required by an application partnership be coordinated with one of the existing SciDAC Institutes?

A6: For unique Math or CS activities (i.e., not covered by any of the SciDAC Institutes), there is no need to coordinate with any of the SciDAC Institutes.

Q7: If an institution has participants on both the physics and math sides, should there be a separate institutional PI for each side, or a single overall PI for that institution?

A7: You should have only one PI from each institution, irrespective of whether they are BER or ASCR. Of course, within your institution, you can have whatever management structure makes sense to you.

Q8: When we propose a budget for ASCR activities, do we need to request additional funding for SciDAC Institute personnel?

A8: The lead proposal's budget must include the requested funding for all personnel performing work, including those in the SciDAC Institutes. As stated in the Announcement for the SciDAC Institutes ( "...the work of each proposed Institute is not science application-specific…", therefore any work that you want them to do for your proposed project must include a proposed budget for that work.

Q9: Must all personnel that will be associated with the Institutes and perform specific work for the needs of the Partnership be located at and employed by the entities currently part of the Institutes? Or can one have some scientists employed elsewhere that will work with Institute personnel?

A9: Both approaches are acceptable.

Q10: Is there a minimum acceptable dollar amount for the project?

A10: No.

Q11: Is there a target proportion of BER and ASCR funds?

A11: No, the proportions should be selected based on what is best for the research project.

Q12: Is it acceptable for the proposed work to complement existing research efforts?

A12: Yes. As stated in the proposal: "proposers should detail their plans to establish partnerships maximizing synergy and leverage with other BER supported efforts…"

Q13: Is it required for the proposed work to complement existing research efforts?

A13: No

Q14: Is it possible to include research efforts that are not highlighted in the priority items, such as land model development?

A14: It is possible. Note the text in the Announcement: "Proposals in response to this Announcement may therefore focus on improving climate system models or their components to make them more accurate and computationally efficient. This may include improved or new process representation of the model physical and biogeochemical components, or numerical formulations for high resolution modeling. Examples could include development of components or development of scale-aware parameterizations for atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial or cryospheric systems." However it would be prudent to fold topics that are not "particularly encouraged" into a proposal with topics that are; and to justify their selection based on their qualification as computationally or mathematically intensive efforts, i.e. their existence in "SciDAC space".

Q15: For budgeting purposes, what should we assume as the official start date?

A15: Please do not assume an official start date.

Q16: Should we submit 12-month budgets, or should we budget by fiscal year?

A16: Please submit 12-month budgets

Q17: For proposal purposes, does NCAR count as a DOE lab? Or does support for NCAR count toward the 20% limit for university collaborators?

A15: NCAR is a university collaborator for proposal purposes.

Q18: Can university collaborators be listed as Science Team Leads?

A18: Yes.

Q19: Is it OK if the team or budget changes a little between the pre-proposal and proposal?

A19: Yes.

Q20: The pre-proposal has to list the PI and the team members but is it ok if Science-Team leads and Lab-leads are not specified at that time (or is it ok if they change in the full proposal?

A20: Yes, but try to provide as much information on the expected management structure as possible.

Q21: Specifying a Director and Science Team leads may not fit a small proposal that is likely single-lab and only a few investigators.

A21: The management structure may be scaled appropriate to the project.

Q22: Is the pre-proposal stage used for eliminating some proposals or more for record keeping?

A22: Pre-proposals will be discouraged only if they are not responsive to the Announcement.

Q23: Is the budget table (Partnership by year by $BER/$ASCR) information part of the 26 page narrative limit?

A23: No, the budget table is not part of the page narrative limit.

Q24: Is it sufficient for each Laboratory to submit only one set of budget pages with combined BER and ASCR totals?

A24: No, the  budget pages for BER and ASCR should be distinct.

Q25: What are the B&R codes for both BER and ASCR?

A25: BER is KP170302; ASCR is KJ0403000.

Q26: May we see the abstracts from the recently funded (BER) University SciDAC projects?

A26: Yes, these and other BER climate modeling projects funded in FY11 are posted here:

Q27: Non DOE-Laboratory components must use less than 20% of the total budget, is this per year or over the lifetime of the project?

A27: Within reason the 20% may be distributed over the lifetime of the project.

Q28: Should FWP’s be uploaded to BER, ASCR or both?

A28: FWP’s should be submitted to BER only.

Q29: I am concerned about the statement in section 3.6 of the Announcement: “it is important that the 25-page technical information section provide a complete description of the proposed work, since reviewers are not obliged to read the Appendices”.  Aren’t the milestones and tasks, which are to go into the Appendix, critical material for the reviewers?

A29: The point in section 3.6 is regarding the technical material of the proposal; anything to be part of the technical material for review should appear in the 25 page section. Management plan, task lists, budget material, etc, may be included in the appendix and will be reviewed by the review panel.

Q30: The description of the Appendix in section 3.11 lists a series of optional materials. It does not reference the instructions on page 8 (mentioned above) for tasks and milestones to appear as an appendix. Should we assume the instructions on page 8 take precedence over section 3.11 unless advised otherwise?

A30: The instructions on page 8 are material to be included in addition to that in listed section 3.11.

Q31: For the main proposal from the lead institution, there appear to be other items requested for the appendices, including:

  1. Cover pages, budget pages for each collaborating institution (mentioned on page 8).
  2. Budget justifications for each collaborating institutions (page 7).
  3. Task and milestones for each collaborating institutions (page 8).

This appears to imply that for the lead-lab proposal, the budgets for the collaborators appear at the end rather than the beginning of the proposal with the exception for a multi-institutional summary budget.

A31: .Correct. Only the lead-institution proposal will be sent out to reviewers. The budget material from the collaborative institutions is therefore needed in the appendix of that proposal version.

Q32: With regards to the FAQ question 24, "Is it sufficient for each Laboratory to submit only one set of budget pages with combined BER and ASCR totals?", the answer is "No, the  budget pages for BER and ASCR should be distinct."

This suggests that each collaborating institution with both BER and ASCR funding should prepare two sets of complete budgets for the BER and ASCR-requested funds. 

A32: Correct.

Q33: With regards to the descriptions of activities requiring BER and ASCR support, the materials we should include appear to be:

  1. The tables described in "Is this a collaboration?" in section 3.6 describing the narrative, page 13.
  2. From page 4 describing the Institutes, "a table in the Statement of Work that explains the tasks to be executed by the various collaborators and the support (whether from BER or ASCR) for those tasks."

Are items 1 and 2 referring to the same material?

A33: Yes.

Q34: Does each institution requesting funding from both Offices need to supply the following?

  1. In the description of the management structure (p. 6), "Projects must identify Science Team Leads for each of their major Science tasks, along with their requested support from BER, and for each of their major Computational Science tasks, along with their requested support from ASCR."
  2. From page 7, "The Budget Justification Narrative should clearly map performers/tasks to the appropriate science program (BER or ASCR)."

A34: Yes.

Q35: Should the abstracts for the University and the Lab proposals be identical?

A35: Yes.

Q36: For the cover page of University submissions to the FOA, does "Applicant/Institution" refer to the university responding to the FOA, and does "Principal Investigator" refer to the university PI?

A36: Yes, the applicant/institution and PI refer to the University submission.

Q37: As described in the lab call, the DOE cover page does not include a list of all collaborating institutions.  Should we add this information to the DOE cover page?

A37: Yes, please include this in the Lead Proposal only.

Q38: Both calls state that the narrative should include a timetable of activities and responsibilities of key personnel.  Are these sections considered technical material to be included in the 25-page limit?

A38: Yes. The timetable of activities and key personnel responsibilities should appear in the narrative. The appendix should contain detailed lists of contributions for the particular institution submitting the proposal; this institutional-contribution information should also appear in the lead Lab’s proposal appendix.