Did you miss it? The Partnership to Advance Conservation Science and Practice (PACSP) Webinar Highlights 

Check out this repost from our friends at IOS here or below:

PACSP hosted a program Webinar on 22 Aug 2022.  The webinar featured some highlights of the program solicitation followed by Program Directors answering questions from the audience.  A recording of the slide presentation shown at the webinar is available from the PACSP Program page. Some of the questions posed via email are answered below.  

  1. Will the program/solicitation be offered in future years? 
    This solicitation is currently a one-time offering associated with the new partnership between the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (the foundation) and the NSF.  We are certainly hopeful there will be future offerings, but we simply do not know yet. 
  2. Partnerships – who can serve as a research partner [e.g., non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profit research institutions]? Who should submit the proposal to NSF (the research partner)? 
    Generally speaking, we expect the submitting organization will be the research partner. If you are an organization that regularly submits proposals to the NSF, then you are very likely eligible to apply to this solicitation. 
  3. Partnerships – who can serve as a conservation practitioner/action partner? Federal and State agencies? University extension offices? Private organizations? 
    The solicitation is very specific about this: the conservation action partner must meet the following requirement (quoted from the solicitation):  
    “Eligible entities who can serve as conservation action partners and receive an award from the foundation include: Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; Units of state or local government; State colleges or universities; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes. All supported organizations must review and agree to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Grantee Code of Conduct found here: https://pgafamilyfoundation.org/_ui/img/pgafoundation/Grantee_Code_of_Conduct.pdf. Eligible institutions do not include foreign organizations.” 
  4. Partnerships – can an organization serve as both research and conservation action partner (e.g., a museum, zoo, or botanical garden with a research department)? 
    An organization that meets both eligibility criteria and supports both research and conservation action can act in both roles in the proposal.  Please note that they should still follow the specific guidance regarding the submission of the research and conservation action budgets. 
  5. What is meant by support for “conservation science and science-informed conservation practice in the United States”? 
    The solicitation can only support research and conservation action activities that take place in the U.S. or associated Territories. 
  6. Should the research component of the project be ecology/evolution-focused research? What about research focused on the socio-economic, decision-making, marine, etc.? 
    The program seeks to support biological conservation research primarily. If the project goals are enhanced by complementary research in socio-economics or decision-making, then the proposal should make clear why those additions strengthen the project.  Studies in any biome can be supported, including marine research and conservation. 
  7. Given that much of the applied aspects of the conservation implementation and evaluation would fall under “Broader Impacts”, how extensively would you advise PIs to develop other aspects of the Broader Impacts plan? 
    These projects are unusual in that the lines between Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts are blurred.  Both sections must be present, and the solicitation is specific about what content should be included in each.  The project will be evaluated as a whole, but certainly one criterion is that the project should “describe an integrated approach in which the outcomes of basic research directly inform the design or implementation of science-focused conservation activities and that those activities are assessed or evaluated to track their success.” 
  8. How best can the project’s third component (a plan for on-going evaluation or assessment of the success of the conservation action) be implemented? Funding is for 3 years but assessing conservation action results could take much longer; what is expected? 
    While we appreciate that the longer-range effects of any conservation action may take years to manifest, we expect that some useful metrics can be identified which will inform conservation science and efficacy within the 3-year tenure of the award. 
  9. Budget and Timeline – Is there a minimum or maximum budget? What is the expected range of funding for each project? What is the expected division of funding between research and conservation action partners? What are the anticipated start dates?  
    There is no budget cap. However, the total program budget is $8 million (shared equally between the NSF and the foundation). There is no fixed division of costs between the research and conservation action partners; however, successful projects will certainly be those where an equal partnership between these two components is reflected in the proposal. 
  10. How will money be awarded for the research and conservation partners (e.g., separately to each partner? Through a subaward?)? 
    The funds will be awarded separately to each partner; the NSF will support the research budget and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will support the conservation action budget. The conservation action partner budget should be submitted as a supplementary document, as stipulated in the solicitation. 
  11. Review and evaluation process – how will proposals be reviewed? Through the normal NSF peer review/ panel review process? 
    The proposals will be reviewed according to the NSF’s Merit Review principles and criteria by a program-specific panel of experts with expertise relevant to the projects proposed. 

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