Grant Programs FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

A major portion (20%) of our annual budget goes towards C-DEBI community grants and fellowships. Since C-DEBI’s inception in 2010, we have supported calls for proposals for our Research Grants, Education Grants, and Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships. Our current annual call for Research Grants and Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships only is due December 1, 2017.

What is the Source of C-DEBI Funding? Am I Eligible?

C-DEBI is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center administratively based at the University of Southern California (USC). Our Center is funded by NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE award 0939564) Geosciences program (CFDA 47.050). The applicant’s home institution must be a US institution able to receive NSF funding as a subaward from USC. The home institution’s Sponsored Research Office must submit an institutional letter of intent stating the contact at the institution who will be receiving the award on behalf of the institution.

C-DEBI Leadership (Co-PIs and Senior Scientists) are not eligible to apply for Research and Education Grants.  Existing graduate students and postdocs in C-DEBI Leadership labs and previous fellowship recipients are not eligible to apply for Fellowships.

C-DEBI welcomes proposals from applicants who would enhance diversity in C-DEBI and STEM fields.

What is the Frequency of the Proposal Calls?

Our current annual call is due December 1, 2017.

Who Develops the Proposal Calls?

The research calls are developed by the C-DEBI Executive Committee (ExCom).

What are the Review Criteria?

Successful proposals will be thoughtfully conceived, carefully organized, clearly written, relevant to C-DEBI themes, highly impactful, and tractable given the budget and schedule.

Small Grants and Fellowships Proposal Review Criteria

  1. Will this project greatly advance our understanding of the deep sub-seafloor biosphere?
    Is the project impactful or exciting and should it be supported at this time? How relevant is the project to C-DEBI goals and research themes?
  2. Is this a strong proposal?
    • Is the relevance to C-DEBI goals and research themes well articulated and connected to proposed activities?
    • Are there important and relevant topics/issues not mentioned in the proposal?
    • How qualified is the applicant to do this research?
    • To what extent does the project entrain researchers who are in an early stage of their career and/or new to the C-DEBI community?
    • Does the project rely on samples or data that are not yet in hand?
    • Does the proposal contain a clear statement that the samples/data are available and not in conflict with other planned or active research? (i.e. Are samples/data under moratorium? If so, has explicit permission been given to access the samples and/or data?)
    • Is the budget reasonable and will the proponents be able to accomplish the proposed goals with the given budget?
    • Can this project be completed in the time proposed?
    • Does the proposal contain a plan for making data public and accessible in accordance with the C-DEBI Data Management Plan?
    • Is the proposal well written (clarity, grammar, appropriate figures/tables, etc.)?

      NB: Although clarity, usage, grammar, and appropriate use of figures/tables are not individually assessed, these characteristics often play a critical role in separating funded and not-funded proposals.

  3. In the case of a proposal that is requesting more than $80K, will the additional funding make a substantial difference to the proposed work?
    How will the additional funding contribute to the outcome (e.g., more samples analyzed, additional analyses completed, etc.) or will it follow a fundamentally different but related path?
  4. For Fellowships: How well do the proposal’s Broader Impacts activities emphasize the integration of research and education focusing on early career professional development? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Broader Impacts activities?

Who is on My Review Panel?

Conflict of interest is considered at every step of the review process. See our Ethics Policy.

Proposals for the next research call will be reviewed by the C-DEBI Executive Committee & Senior Scientists who may request input from members of the community to address technical aspects of a particular proposal.

Review summaries will be returned to every applicant.

Will My Proposal be Funded?

C-DEBI intends to fund 7-8 research and fellowship proposals and 1-2 education proposals in response to the next call. Our grants programs continue to be competitive with the funding rate for the last call at 28% for new graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships, 38% for research grants and 40% for education grants. ExCom makes final decisions for funding based on the Review Chair recommendations, evaluations, and funding available to support outstanding research and education projects.

What is the Timeline for Funding?

For the 2017 call, we anticipate making decisions on funding by February 1, 2018, with successful proposals starting April 1, 2018, however a delayed start date for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships is possible and will be a consideration in the review process.

Contact Rosalynn Sylvan, Managing Director, with your additional questions!

See also:

Funded Projects