NWS Partners Proposals

Please note: Funds for National Weather Service Partners proposals are now available, and you may submit a proposal any time until the funds have been expended. See NWS Partners RFP Details for more information. Proposal instructions are given below.

Partners Project Proposal Instructions

Funding is available to American and Canadian colleges and universities. Researchers at federally funded laboratories, NCAR, and private sector are not eligible for COMET Outreach Program awards, but parties interested in NWS projects may contact the SSD Chiefs for other sources of funding.

1. Suggested Collaboration Subjects

Please note that one of the most important criteria for funding is that the work be truly collaborative, i.e., that the NWS forecast office plays a significant role in the research. Examples of projects include the following:

  • Activities that facilitate or improve the use of new observing systems
  • Activities that improve understanding of a local mesoscale forecasting problem
  • Activities to assist operational forecasters in enhancing their educational backgrounds and staying abreast of developments in research
  • Activities to increase the university research community's awareness of operational problems and needs
  • Activities that will create case studies or new data analysis techniques with wide application and usefulness in teaching, research, or operational forecasting
  • Activities that bring together students, operational forecasters, educators, and regional or local experts in forums designed to share information (workshops, conferences, etc.)

Since NWS Outreach Partners Projects are limited to one year in duration, the scope of these projects tends to be fairly limited and usually involves a single university participant teamed with one forecaster. Case studies of unusual events are common subject for Partners Project investigations.

2. Proposal Format

Partners Project proposals are typically 5 to 10 pages in length and should include sufficient detail to document the technical merit of the proposal. The proposal should be prefaced with a cover page signed by the appropriate university and NWS officials.

The body of the proposal should contain the following:

  • A one-page (or less) summary of the problem to be studied, its operational relevance, and the approach that will be taken
  • A statement of objectives, including a discussion of the relevance of the proposed project to forecasting problems at the NWS office
  • A description of specific tasks to be accomplished, with a breakdown of those that will be performed by the university and those that will be performed by the NWS forecasters involved in the project. Any educational exchanges that are expected during the project should also be described.
  • An approximate time schedule
  • A brief description of the principal investigators involved. Please limit curricula vitae, if attached separately, to no more than 2 pages
  • A summary of the contributions to be made by the university and/or forecast office involved. Institutions are encouraged to 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 request for the duration of the project (one year, maximum). The text of the budget section of the proposal should briefly describe the justification for the costs listed on the budget summary sheet.

3. Budget

The average University Partnerships Program award to universities for Partners Projects is approximately $15,000 (excluding those items funded directly by the NWS).  

The following items will not be funded in NWS Partners Projects:

  • Computers and related hardware (unless special circumstances exist and the request is approved by the UCAR Technical Representative)
  • Foreign travel (requests for exceptions should be made in writing to the UCAR Technical Representative and must include justification for the proposed trip)
  • Journal publications with an NWS co-author (costs will be paid directly by the NWS and should be listed in the NWS column of the budget page)
  • Faculty salaries

budget summary sheet should be provided for the proposed project. Please note that requests for COMET funds should be expressed in terms of the total amount requested for the one-year project, while NWS funds are to be distributed by fiscal year. It is important that the estimated NWS staff hours per fiscal year also be included on the NWS budget form. This number is used to evaluate the involvement of the NWS office in the proposed project. The following items can only be funded directly by the NWS and should be listed under the NWS column on the budget summary sheet:

  • NWS computers and related hardware
  • Travel for NWS employees
  • Journal publication charges for papers co-authored by NWS employees

In addition, the most recent copy of the university's indirect rate agreement with the cognizant auditor should be included. Invoices will not be paid unless this document is on file.

4. Submission to NWS for Preliminary Review

Prior to being submitted to the COMET Program, all proposals should first be submitted to the appropriate regional Scientific Services Division (SSD Chief) for an internal, preliminary review. Any problems with the proposal should be resolved at this time and the proposal revised. When the proposal has been finalized, the SSD Chief should fill out the checklist and include a letter from the NWS Regional Director endorsing the proposed project and summarizing the expected benefits to the NWS.

5. Submission to the COMET Outreach Program for Final Review

An electronic copy of the final proposal, including the letter from the NWS regional director, should be submitted to outreach@comet.ucar.edu. It is the responsibility of the university principal investigator to ensure that the COMET University Partnerships Program receives a complete proposal package, including the following:

6. Review Criteria

NWS Partners Projects are reviewed by the COMET staff and the NWS focal point, generally within one month of receipt. Projects are funded if they meet the University Partnerships Program guidelines, are technically and scientifically sound, and if funding is available.

7. For More Information

Please contact the COMET University Partnerships Program at outreach@comet.ucar.edu. You may also contact the SSD Chiefs or NCEP Principal Scientist (phone and e-mail list).