19 April 2017

Call for proposals: How can the protection of nature help secure food, energy and water – and enhance the quality of life – for 10 billion people?

This news is redirected by The Secretariat for Development Cooperation at SCIENCE from National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.


Science for Nature and People Partnership

2017 Request for Proposals to Fund Science to Solutions Teams

Request for Proposals Due Date: June 7, 2017 at 5:00pm PDT


How can the protection of nature help secure food, energy and water – and enhance the quality of life – for 10 billion people? The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) takes on this key challenge and believes that successful solutions cannot be achieved by any single organization acting alone. Whether you focus on human health or ecological health, adaptation to climate change or a humanitarian crisis, SNAPP announces its 2017 Request for Proposals to convene interdisciplinary teams, and invites you to be a part of the solution!

Just as human and natural systems are bolstered by biodiversity, people tackle complex problems more readily in diverse environments. SNAPP provides funding to bring together teams of 12-18 people from diverse organizations that we refer to as working groups. SNAPP working groups meet intensively in 3-4 in-person collaborative sessions (lasting 3-5 days each) over the course of 18-24 months. Strong leaders with open minds and flexible facilitation styles guide the teams to tackle questions at the heart of sustainable economic development, human well-being, and nature conservation. Between sessions, team members collaborate remotely to publish research, develop implementation tools and products, and support decision-makers’ use of the results.

We fund science that makes things happen. SNAPP working groups include experts from any academic discipline to synthesize data relevant to their work, from indigenous knowledge to satellite imagery or anything in between. They also include key people poised to make changes in the humanitarian, development and conservation sectors and influence policy at national and international levels.

Are you interested in natural solutions to climate change? Sanitation and water security? So are we! While this year’s Request for Proposals remains open to globally important issues at the interface of conservation, development and human well-being, proposals centered around these climate and sanitation themes are especially welcome. More information on proposal preparation can be found below in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Please take note of a very important point – SNAPP funds the convening of working groups but does not cover salary of individual working group members.

Proposals will be evaluated by SNAPP’s Science Advisory Council and Board of Governors based on their inclusion of:

  • Direct path to impacting policy or practice and broad applicability of results
  • Clear and intriguing science questions
  • Diversity in sectors, disciplines and members
  • Cost-effective use of SNAPP funding and leveraging of other funds

SNAPP’s founding partners include two international nature conservation organizations and a science synthesis center – The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Including members from The Nature Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Society in your proposal is strongly encouraged but not required. The default location for meetings of working groups is NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA.

Apply for funding from now through June 7, 2017, 5pm PT and join the ranks of SNAPP leaders whose influential science to solutions include (as four examples):

Download Proposal Template document to prepare your submission here

And download the Budget Worksheet document here. Note that you must submit both a proposal and a separate budget worksheet.

Questions? See FAQ below or contact SNAPP at: proposal@snappartnership.net Tel.: (805) 893-7551

Submission Information

Proposals are due no later than 5pm PDT on June 7, 2017. Proposals and budgets should be saved and uploaded as separate PDF files at: http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/snap/rfpform. Please download the Proposal Table template for information about what is required in the cover sheet and body of the proposal. Please edit this template in Microsoft Word, and the budget worksheet in Excel. Proposals should be formatted to standard letter size (8.5” W by 11” L) with graphics embedded directly in the document. Do not submit compressed collections of files, such as .ZIP files. Receipt of proposals will be confirmed in email. Late or incomplete submissions will be returned without review.

Applicants will be notified of final decisions by 31 October 2017. Leaders of approved projects should plan to begin work on the project soon after approval, and to hold their first working group meeting by no later than the first quarter of 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does SNAPP mean by sustainable economic development, human well-being, and nature conservation??

Sustainable economic development refers to the policy and investments that create the conditions for equitable and inclusive economic growth and improved quality of life by expanding livelihood opportunities for all segments of society including individuals, business interests, and communities while advancing mutual gain for the public and the private sector.

Human well-being, in the broadest terms, is about the objective and subjective factors that make up a person's health and quality of life. It is context specific. Human well-being can be affected by material and non-material components, such as basic material needs (e.g., adequate income, housing), physical and mental health, social relations (e.g., cohesion, strong social support networks), freedom and choice, governance, and equity and equality.

Nature conservation can refer to either broad issues of conservation that are problem-oriented (e.g., climate change, land-use change, sustainable fisheries, biodiversity offsets, illegal trade in wildlife) or biodiversity conservation efforts directly (e.g., matters related to composition, structure, and function of ecosystems). Nature conservation can also include efforts focused on conserving ecological processes that form the foundation for ecosystem services (e.g., natural flow regimes, fire regimes, nutrient cycling).  

In what ways does SNAPP seek proposals on natural solutions to climate change?

Natural solutions to climate change involves developing and implementing interventions or strategies which use functions of healthy ecosystems to either mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases or help species, communities and societies adapt to a changing climate. These interventions are needed across sectors, such as industry (e.g., agriculture, fisheries) or government (e.g., public forest concessions, watershed management) and encompass the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine realms. These interventions can focus on maintenance or restoration of either specific elements of biodiversity or of ecological processes and ecosystem services. For example, approaches aimed at preventing the release of or sequestering carbon or other greenhouse gases are often the focus of mitigation interventions. Alternatively, interventions might focus on adaptation: strategies for human communities to cope with or reduce the impact of climate change on society and/or strategies to improve connectivity of species or ecosystems. SNAPP seeks proposals for interdisciplinary working groups that address issues or questions of regional, national, or global significance in the identification, elaboration, and implementation of natural solutions to climate change. These proposals must offer convincing evidence that climate change mitigation or adaptation is the central goal of the project and not secondary to other ongoing conservation initiatives.  

In what ways does SNAPP seek proposals about sanitation and water security?

The success of the Sustainable Development Goals hinges on the health, sustainable development and environment communities acting together to solve problems. To do so, these communities all develop logic models in strategic planning to identify how a given strategy or intervention is likely to lead to desired outcomes and intend to make decisions on the basis of evidence for what will succeed. However, these practices currently apply different methodologies, posing a barrier to cross-sector and trans-disciplinary action. In response, The Nature Conservancy founded the Bridge Collaborative with the global health innovator PATH, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Duke University to take on this challenge and bring these communities together around a shared evidence base. The Collaborative has produced a set of principles for creating trans-disciplinary logic models and evaluating evidence. These principles will be posted to an NCEAS website by mid-April (contact willard@nceas.ucsb.edu for website information). In the interim, applicants interested in obtaining general information on these principles should contact Heather Eves at heather.eves@tnc.org. In this open call, we invite proposals for a working group to apply and test these principles on the topic of sanitation and water security. Insufficient sanitation is a leading challenge globally for human dignity, equity, malnutrition, and freshwater and marine biodiversity. We invite SNAPP proposals to synthesize available evidence across environmental, social, medical, economic and other sciences and engineering to identify transferable logic models for any common sanitation solutions, and to evaluate the strength of existing evidence for their effectiveness in producing outcomes for the environment, equity, health and other human well-being improvements. The successful proposal will also explore unintended consequences of major sanitation solutions (both positive and negative), and include consideration of how climate change has or may affect linked outcomes. The findings of the successful group will have a direct pathway to impact through the members of the Bridge Collaborative, now representing over 125 research faculty and practitioners from across environment, development and health.  

What is the model of a good working group?

Based on 20 years of experience with NCEAS working groups and the first three rounds of SNAPP proposals, effective working groups tend to include:

  • A trans-disciplinary team of 12-18 individuals from a broad suite of sectors, institutions, and specialties who would not otherwise convene around a science and conservation challenge. Several members should be recognizable as experts in scientific fields directly related to the project. Additional working group members should come from conservation, humanitarian, sustainable development, cultural and spiritual organizations, universities, governments, multilateral institutions, and/or the private sector. It is expected that scientists, managers and practitioners, and other experts will work together from the beginning to design the project and co-produce its knowledge products.
  • A diversity of participants including a substantial proportion of women and members of communities that can be better represented such as professionals from developing nations or in the early stages of their career.
  • A willingness to abide by the open science and data principles of SNAPP
  • Principal Investigators with demonstrable experience and skills at leading diverse teams to achieve both scientific and action-oriented objectives.
  • A trained facilitator to plan and manage working group meetings can be helpful (but is not required), especially for PIs new to collaborative and trans-disciplinary working groups.
  • Working group members from TNC and/or WCS are highly recommended, see below; as well as representatives from a humanitarian or development or other organization or agency in a position to implement the findings, recommendations, and products of the working group.
  • Three to four working group meetings spread over a 2-year period. Each meeting is 4-5 days in duration and is focused on data analysis (qualitative and quantitative), synthesis of existing data and information, and the development of implementation products (e.g., policy recommendations, decision support tools, new strategic approaches). Most meetings are held at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, CA, where meeting room facilities, travel and logistical support, and IT (information technology) support are provided by SNAPP. Collaboration and analysis continues between meetings.
  • One designated technical liaison to work with NCEAS IT staff and scientific programmer on the computing needs of the working group, including collaboration capabilities (project management capabilities and email alias), data entry and organization, database development, statistical analyses, modeling, and metadata development and distribution. This could be one of the PIs, a post-doc or research assistant, or a working group member who has agreed to fulfill this role.

Who is eligible to apply for a SNAPP working group?

Researchers and practitioners of any nationality affiliated with an academic, governmental agency, multilateral, or not-for-profit institution may submit a SNAPP proposal. Individuals operating independently are also eligible to apply. Individuals from private sector institutions are fully eligible to be a participant of a SNAPP working group, but are not eligible to lead SNAPP working groups as Principal Investigators. Individuals and organizations from the humanitarian and development sectors are encouraged to submit SNAPP proposals. Proposals from low- and middle-income countries are especially welcomed.  

Am I required to include individuals from WCS and/or TNC in my working group?

No. However, most funded SNAPP proposals contain scientists or conservation practitioners from TNC or WCS because the global breadth and depth of their field teams enable them to implement results, recommendations, and other products that result from SNAPP working groups. Staff members from these organizations are well positioned to help link the working group results to action in the field or policy arenas. SNAPP staff will help to identify appropriate contacts within the partner organizations. All proposals should have some working group members whose organizations (e.g., government agencies, NGOs, corporations) are in a position to implement the findings of the working groups.  

What is a direct pathway to impacting policy or practice and how can it be demonstrated?

SNAPP aims to deliver innovative science in a practical form that is rapidly adopted by its intended audience(s) or partner(s) (e.g., field programs of WCS working on linkages of wildlife and human health, national governments in eastern Africa focused on sustainable agriculture intensification, or state governments in western US addressing drought issues). Successful proposals will clearly articulate the likely series of actions and intended outcomes that will ensue as a result of the new knowledge, methods, strategies or tools produced by the working group. To describe your pathway to implementation (see proposal template) please consider: a) proposed outputs or products, b) identified target audiences for your work and how your working group and the implementation partner(s) represented in your working group (e.g., WCS, TNC, other conservation organizations, humanitarian or development-oriented organizations, and natural resource governmental agencies) will reach the target audiences with your outputs and products, and c) the projected short and long-term outcomes (long-term will extend beyond the 2-year life of SNAPP working groups). Please note that while scientific papers are expected outputs of SNAPP working groups, these papers alone are an insufficient means to impact policy or practice. See Table 1 below for examples of products from existing SNAPP working groups.

Successful working group proposals will include a letter or email endorsement from one or more implementation organizations, agencies, or corporations (whose staff are participating in the working group) stating why the working group’s efforts are important and what they intend to do with the results.  

Are multiple sources of funding required for a successful application?

No, matching sources are not required for a SNAPP proposal but they are strongly encouraged. For this year’s SNAPP Request for Proposals, those proposals that have secured new outside funding in addition to SNAPP funding will be given preferential consideration in the proposal review process.

We welcome proposers (e.g., foundations, agencies, other non-governmental organizations) with their own funding who want to use the SNAPP intellectual infrastructure and NCEAS informatics and convening support to tackle projects at the intersection of human well-being, economic development and nature conservation. These proposals can be flexible in format and can be submitted anytime to SNAPP including outside this Request for Proposal period, and will be reviewed for approval by the SNAPP Governing Board and Executive Director.  

How do I prepare a SNAPP budget?

Proposals should include an estimated budget, which can be prepared using the provided budget worksheet template. NCEAS’ location in Santa Barbara, CA is used by default on the “Domestic” worksheet tab to calculate participant costs for meetings in the US, including standard estimates for travel, lodging, and food. For meetings to be scheduled outside of the US, please use the “International” worksheet tab and provide estimates for approximate travel, lodging, and food costs (not to exceed US$55 per day) in that location.

SNAPP funds may be used to defray costs associated with convening working groups, engaging a facilitator, acquisition and integration of existing data, and publication of results. In general, we do not fund collection of new primary data. Please remember that SNAPP funds may not be used to pay salaries of working group leads or participants, or to cover overhead expenses. In previous years, SNAPP has had provisions in the Request for Proposals for the partial or full funding of postdoctoral fellows or research assistants focused on data management and analysis. Please note that in this 2017 Request for Proposals we will not be offering to cover the funding of post-doctoral fellows or graduate or research assistants. Funding for contract or short-term, part-time assistance with specific analyses and database management tasks may be available up to an annual limit of USD25,000 for two years if clearly justified in the proposal. Postdoctoral fellow and graduate or research assistant positions can be included in the proposal application and budget worksheet if funding for these positions is entirely covered by external sources.