National Water Center Cooperative Proposal Submission Guidelines

Review Criteria

NWC Cooperative Projects are awarded on the basis of a competitive review process that rates each proposal using the following categories:

  • Extent to which the project meets the OWP mission and objectives (20 points)
  • Extent to which the project meets Outreach Program objectives of forming collaborative partnerships in applied research (20 points)
  • Technical and scientific merit (25 points)
  • University commitment as indicated by resource contributions (10 points)
  • Commitment of OWP as indicated by staff contributions (10 points)
  • Cost effectiveness (10 points)
  • Education/training and outreach activities that disseminate the project results (5 points)
  • Bonus Points for submitting a 1-year proposal (5 points)

Project Synopsis

A preliminary Project Synopsis must be submitted to the OWP Program Manager no later than October 22, 2018 via MS Word format with the University Principal Investigator(s), proposed or preliminary NWC Collaborator(s) and Summary of the proposed project to The summary of the proposed project should be brief, a few paragraphs at the most. The OWP Program Manager will review the synopsis to ensure that it meets the program’s scientific and collaborative goals and will work with investigators to resolve any problems. Once the synopsis has been approved, investigators can prepare the final proposal

Final Proposal

An electronic copy of the Final Proposal must be received by the COMET Program no later than January 18, 2019 and must contain the following components:

  1. Cover Page: Signed by the appropriate university and NWC officials.

  2. Main Proposal: This portion of the proposal should be no more than 15 pages in length.

    • Statement of Work: Describe the proposed project, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes.
    • Task Description: Summarize the tasks to be conducted and describe the work that each of the participants (NWC and university) will perform. NOTE: Proposals are usually rejected when the participation of the NWC is minimal. Merely providing data is not considered a significant NWC role.
    • Expected Benefits: Discuss the benefits to both science and water prediction activities. Describe any products or tools that may be developed as part of the project and any training that will be conducted to ensure they are used effectively by scientists and forecasters.
    • Project Schedule or Timeline
  3. Budget: In addition to the budget form, provide a short explanation of the budget. Describe extra contributions to the project (e.g., university off-campus indirect rate, computing resources, investigator or student time, etc.). Provide justification for any unusual budget requests.

  4. Summary of Current and Pending Funding: Provide source of funds, amount, project duration, and % time of PI.

  5. Curricula Vitae: Please limit to two pages for each person.

  6. University's Indirect Rate Agreement: Include the most recent copy from the cognizant auditor.

Cooperative Proposal Budget

The project budget cannot exceed $45,000. Cost effectiveness is an important consideration in the review process, so proposals that cost less may be reviewed more favorably. Also, contributions by the university are considered during the review, so you should document any cost-sharing or cost reductions, such as the use of off-campus overhead rates, waiving of overhead, donations of faculty time or facilities, etc.

A budget form must be provided for the proposed project. The first column lists expenses for the university, beginning at the start of the project. Assume a budget start date of May 2019.

The following items cannot be funded in NWC Cooperative Projects:

  • Faculty salaries in excess of two months per budget year

  • Computers and related hardware (requests for exceptions must include justification and must be approved by the COMET Director)

  • Foreign travel (requests for exceptions must include justification and must be approved by the COMET Director)

  • Journal publication charges are not allowed because the Cooperative subawards will have a fixed end date, which will likely be before any journal charges can be billed. However, papers submitted with an NWC lead co-author MAY be paid for by OWP. Contact the OWP Program Manager ( for more information.

The second column itemizes NWC participation (not part of the funding to the university) to support the project. This column should be completed by the NWC partner(s). The following items will be funded by the NWC and should be listed under the NWC column:

  • Staff hours for participation in the proposed project (this estimated number is used mainly to evaluate the extent of the collaboration with the university)

  • NWC computers and related hardware

  • Travel for NWC or other federal employees

A copy of the contracting language is available here. We recommend that your contracts office review this page during the proposal process and identify any major discrepancies your institution and UCAR may have (attach separately to proposal). This will help shorten the contracting process if your project is selected.


Submission Procedures for Final Cooperative Proposals

Final proposals, including all signatures must be submitted to the COMET Outreach Program no later than January 18, 2019. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator(s) to ensure that complete and properly assembled proposals are received by the Outreach Program by the due date.

The complete proposal package should be submitted as an electronic copy with the following pieces:

  • Signed cover page

  • Main proposal

  • Budget form

  • Current and pending funding

  • CVs

  • University's indirect rate agreement

The electronic proposal should be emailed to the COMET Outreach at

For More Information

Please contact Sam Contorno, OWP Program Manager (, Lorrie Alberta, COMET NWC Outreach Administrator (