2021 Call for Proposals Great Lakes Research Consortium Small Grants Program

Offered by: Great Lakes Research Consortium, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council

General Information

2021 RFP Highlights

  • RFP Proposals are due March 1, 2021
  • Funding period will be May 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. It is unlikely that a No-cost will be available past June 30, 2022 due to limitations on the prime award. Applicants should plan on completing their projects within this time period.
  • A budget template is included for your convenience
  • A Data Assurance Plan is now required for all water quality monitoring projects
  • Outcomes and deliverables must now be presented in table format
  • Matching funds are not required and should not be included in the budget

Program Goals:

This small grants program provides seed funding for new, cooperative projects that improve our understanding of, and/or management of, New York's Great Lakes basin. The program supports collaborative projects and grant awards that can be used for basic or applied research and project planning that will lead to larger projects. Routine monitoring and one-time site-specific infrastructure projects are not appropriate topics for this RFP.

Money Available:

Pending availability of funds, the maximum amount for an individual grant is $25,000. However, projects asking for less than the maximum are encouraged. The money for this program comes from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s (NYSEPF) Ocean-Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act (OGLECA) programs. These are New York State-appropriated funds subject to all applicable state rules and regulations. No indirect costs are allowed. We expect to fund up to 5 projects through this solicitation. Award decisions will be announced in April 2021 with funds available for a May 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 award period.

Proposal Submission:

Proposal submissions should be sent electronically as a single PDF file attachment to GLRC@esf.edu. Documents should be checked for viruses or malware prior to sending and any documents that fail the campus security screening will be deleted without opening. Electronic versions of the proposals should be received no later than midnight on March 1, 2021. Prior to funding, all successful recipients will be asked to submit an original signed copy of the proposal to: Great Lakes Research Consortium, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, 253 Baker Lab, Syracuse, NY 13210. Questions may be addressed to Greg Boyer, Director of the GLRC, at GLRC@esf.edu or by phone at 315-470- 6720.

Funding Criteria:

The intent of the Great Lakes Research Consortium (GLRC) small grants program is to promote research that contributes to the protection and restoration of the health of the Great Lakes and contributes to ecosystem-based management of the basin’s natural resources and environmental quality. Projects funded by this small grant program must meet one or more of the priority goals listed in the Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA), and must satisfy the following criteria:


Project must be consistent with the goals and purposes of the New York’s Great Lakes Basin: Interim Action Agenda as described in the GLAA.


Project must foster communication and cooperative action between New York’s colleges and universities, state and local government, business and industry, and environmental or conservation organizations. Collaborative projects involving more than one institution and those providing support for internships working with local government and community organizations are strongly encouraged.


Proposals must demonstrate how the project will (a) promote ecosystembased management or science-informed decision-making, (b) lead to measurable progress in achieving the goals and priorities of the GLAA and (c) assure the likelihood of accomplishing intended outcomes.


The project must have defined qualitative or quantitative outcomes. Projects must clearly identify the potential to grow into larger projects consistent with the GLAA goals and purposes. These outcomes now need to be presented in table format (see template).


Projects should describe why their projects are relevant to New York State Great Lakes Action Agenda. This agenda describes existing environmental, social and economic goals previously identified for New York's Great Lakes region, with emphasis on using an ecosystem-based management approach. Priorities include: (a) virtually eliminate discharges of persistent toxic substances, (b) control sediment, nutrient and pathogen releases, (c) accelerate the delisting of New York's Areas of Concern, (d) combat invasive species, (e) conserve and restore fish and wildlife, (f) conserve Great Lakes water supplies, (g) enhance coastal resiliency and ecosystem integrity, (h) promote smart growth, redevelopment and adaptive reuse, (i) enhance recreation and tourism opportunities and (j) plan for future energy development. In addition, the GLAA includes four cross-cutting priorities to (k) support and promote partnerships among stakeholders, (l) coordinate monitoring and information management, (m) support environmental education and outreach, and to work towards (n) climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Projects from new faculty members at the GLRC member campuses are highly encouraged. A major goal of this program is to facilitate new and emerging technologies that can be applied in support of the New York State Great Lakes Action agenda. Applicants should look at the respective websites for the NYGLPF and the interim GLAA report for guidance on how their project can further these goals. Projects should not duplicate existing programs, nor be used for base program support of ongoing monitoring and infrastructure projects. GLRC small grant funds cannot be used for land acquisition or capital construction costs.

Proposal Review:

The Great Lakes Research Consortium will establish a review panel to evaluate proposals based on technical merit. This technical review will evaluate how well each proposal furthers the goals and objectives of the GLAA and the strength of the outreach component. Based on this review and technical ranking a list will be forwarded for funding to the Department of Environmental Conservation for final approval.

Proposal Format:

A. Cover Sheet:

  1. Project Title
  2. Principal Investigator (Name, Affiliation, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, Fax, Email)
  3. Collaborator(s) (Name, Affiliation, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, Fax, Email)
  4. Amount Requested
  5. Priority Category (Identify the primary NYGLPF and GLAA category addressed)
  6. Institutional Signatures

B. Proposal:

The text of the proposal should be no more than 5 pages, excluding Cover Sheet, Expected Objectives and Outcomes Table, Personnel and Collaboration Materials, Data Assurance Plan, Budget and Budget Justification, References, and other supporting documents. It must include the following elements:

  1. Nontechnical Abstract: Briefly (no more than one paragraph, <300 words) summarize the project’s focus and goal, scope of work, nature of collaboration, and significance to the priorities of the GLAA. This abstract will be used for distribution on the GLRC website and should be written so that the general public and understand the project importance.
  2. Statement of the Project’s Focus: State the issues, hypotheses and assumptions that are to be addressed by the project and in a clear and concise manner how the project relates to the objectives and priorities identified in the GLAA.
  3. Scope of Work: Describe the purpose and scope of work to be accomplished. Include the following: purpose of the project and specific objectives to be achieved; scientific methodology employed; public benefits and implications for ecosystem-based decisionmaking or policy development; end-products of the project including how these products will be used to further promote the project and goals of the GLAA; and an Outreach Plan to share the project’s outputs/outcomes with appropriate stakeholders or the general public.
  4. Timeframe: Provide a timeframe for completion of objectives and major milestones of the work. Please note that the timeframe must be consistent with the funding period.

C. Expected Objectives, Activities, Outputs, Outcomes, and Deliverables:

This needs to be done in Table format (see template) with column 1 being objectives, column 2 being activities and outputs for that objective, column 3 being the deliverables or tangible products for that objective, and column 4 being the outcomes (impacts) for that objective. This table is not included within the 5-page limit but you may want to identify two or three objectives that highlight what you expect to accomplish with this funding (i.e., leveraging $50,000 in additional funds) and benefits as part of your Outreach Plan that is included within your five pages.

D. Personnel and Collaboration:

Describe the nature and degree of collaboration between those involved. Describe the personnel to be assigned to this project. Include 1-2 page resumes for all lead personnel. Additionally, include a separate page that clearly identifies, and describes in detail, the role of your collaborators. If an intern is involved in the project, list their major advisor or agency and describe how the intern will be recruited. This information is not included in the 5-page proposal total.

E. Data Assurance Plan:

The intent of the Great Lakes Research Consortium small grants program is to support basic or applied research projects that meet the research needs of the Great Lakes Action Agenda. It is not intended to support projects whose end goal is for regulatory use. Starting in 2018, all Water Quality Assessment and Monitoring projects, as defined in NYS Public Health Law Section 502 and funded by NYS DEC, must have a Data Assurance Plan. Those examinations conducted in the field or laboratory for the purposes of public or personal health protection or the protection of the environment or natural resources need to be:

  1. Performed in accordance with an effective quality control system for the planning and assessing of environmental measurements, and for conducting required quality assurance and quality control procedures to promote and maintain the accuracy and reliability of environmental measurements and test results.
  2. Performed by a laboratory certified by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) under the Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) if ELAP has issued a certificate for the specific parameter.
  3. Performed in a manner that ensures all requisite quality control and calibration requirements of the method are met including field testing, sample collection, preservation, and record keeping. When the method does not detail requirements for any or all of these items, the basic quality assurance and quality control requirements defined in 40 CFR Part 136.7 shall be followed.

Projects that fall under the requirement for data assurance plan as defined above are not the intended target of this request for proposals. If your project does NOT involve the assessment or monitoring of water quality, you must include a statement that indicates that your project does not fall under these requirements and indicate why. Failure to address these concerns may result in the project being disqualified without review.

F. Budget and Budget Justification:

The detailed budget and budget justification should start on a separate page entitled ”Budget and Budget Justification” and is not included in the 5-page proposal total. A budget template is attached and all expenses must be described in detail in the justification.

  1. Total funds requested.
  2. Salary for all personnel being paid by the grant in terms of person-months.
  3. Fringe benefits. Appropriate fringe benefits must be budgeted for all personnel paid through this project.
  4. Permanent equipment. This is defined as items having a life of one or more years and/or a cost of $5,000 or more. For items fitting this description, you should explain why this equipment cannot be obtained through loan or rental and detail what will happen with this equipment after the end of the project.
  5. Supplies and non-permanent equipment. Indicate what consumable supplies will be required to complete this work.
  6. Travel. Indicate all travel required for the project. If travel to a scientific meeting is required – you must explain why that meeting is essential for the completion of the project. All travel must comply with NYS allowable per diem allocations. Travel outside of NYS must be approved by GLRC in advance.
  7. Indirect costs. Indirect costs are not allowed.

G. Notification and Reporting requirements:

Successful projects will receive written notification and a separate list of reporting requirements. These requirements include both mid-way and end-of-project reports, as well as additional details as how the successful applicant will achieve their outreach reporting requirements. Send correspondence to:

Great Lakes Research Consortium
253 Baker Lab
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, New York 13210
Email: glrc@esf.edu

Objectives, Activities, Outputs, Outcomes, and Deliverables Template

Objectives (actions taken towards your goal(s)) Activities and Outputs (what you will do) Deliverables (actual, tangible products and results) Outcomes (knowledge transferred, impacts, and importance)
Example: Objective 1. Determine the phosphorus loading by the Oswego River into Lake Ontario a. Collect weekly samples at the Port of Oswego for determination of total phosphorus and soluble reactive phosphorus

b. Obtain the weekly flow data from the USGS gauging station in Oswego NY.
Prepare a time series of phosphorus concentration with time. This information along with the USGS flow data will be used to calculate the seasonal loading of total phosphorus to Lake Ontario from the Oswego River. Loadings from the Oswego River will enable water quality managers to better estimate the impact of best management practices in the Oswego River water on primary productivity in the nearshore region of lake Ontario. These loadings are also an important driver in the near shore nutrient models currently being developed for Lake Ontario and an important consideration in the IJC reconsideration of the nutrient targets for Lake Ontario.
Objective 2..... Repeat for each objective.

Proposed Budget Submitted to Great Lakes Research Consortium Small Grants Program 2021

Proposed Budget Submitted to
Great Lakes Research Consortium Small Grants Program 2021