- Importance and/or relevance and applicability of proposal to the program goals (40 points)
This criterion ascertains whether there is intrinsic value in the proposed work and/or relevance to NOAA, federal, regional, state, or local activities. Specifically for the CA B-WET Program:
- Does the applicant integrate all of the components of a MWEE? If the project is student focused, will the project result in student experiences that meet the full definition of the MWEE (issue identification and background research, at least three outdoor field experiences, stewardship action projects, synthesis and conclusions)? Does the project include a stewardship action that positively affects the marine/estuarine environment and the sanctuary? Does the project include adequate teacher involvement? If the project is teacher professional development, does the proposal clearly document how it will ultimately result in student MWEEs? Is the proposed professional development multi-day and meet the criteria set forth in the MWEE definition of this announcement? If the project is focused on climate change, does the applicant focus on one of the climate change areas and integrate the key messages and themes of climate change? (25 points)
- Does the applicant make a clear connection to the marine/estuarine environment and the sanctuary/sanctuary system? Does the applicant explain the concept of a watershed? (5 points)
- Are NOAA resources an essential element of the proposed project? (5 points)
- Does the applicant target the priority audience outlined in the funding announcement and provide specific demographics? (5 points)
This criterion assesses whether the approach is technically sound and/or innovative, if the methods are appropriate, and whether there are clear project goals and objectives. Specifically for the CA B-WET Program:
- Does the applicant follow the technical requirements? (5 points)
- Does the project include partners and include letters from each of the partners? (5 points)
- Does the applicant demonstrate that the objectives are realistic and can be reached within the proposed project period? (5 points)
- Is the project well integrated into the K-12 formal instruction? (5 points)
- Does the logic model show good understanding of desired outputs and outcomes for the project? (5 points)
- Does the applicant provide an effective evaluation strategy to determine if project objectives and outcomes are being met? (5 points)
This criterion ascertains whether the applicant possesses the necessary education, experience, training, facilities, and administrative resources to accomplish the project. Specifically for the CA B-WET Program:
- Does the applicant demonstrate an understanding of the target community, including in depth understanding of schools and school systems? (5 points)
- Does the applicant demonstrate the capability and experience to successfully complete similar projects? (5 points)
This criterion evaluates the budget to determine if it is realistic and commensurate with the project needs and time frame. Specifically for the CA B-WET Program:
- Is there sufficient detail to verify that the budget request is reasonable for the number of participants and/or target audience to be reached? (10 points)
- Does the proposal adequately address project sustainability after NOAA funding? (3 points)
- Are the requested funds for salaries and fringe benefits only for those personnel who are directly involved in the implementation of the proposed project? (2 points)
This criterion assesses whether the project provides a focused and effective education and outreach strategy regarding NOAA’s mission to protect the Nation’s natural resources. Specially, for the CA B-WET Program:
- Does the project involve mechanisms for significant external sharing and communication about the project by students, teachers, or project staff? (2 points)
- Does the project propose community events that engage parents, other community members, etc. (1 point)
- Does the project propose peer to peer sharing for teacher and/or student (in-service days, school assemblies, etc.) (1 point)
- Will the project be publicized at Conferences and to the media/social media, etc? (1 point)
Review and Selection Process
- Initial Evaluation of the Application
- Merit Review
Once a full application has been received by the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, an initial administrative review is conducted to determine compliance with requirements and priorities of the application. If applications do not comply, they will be returned without further review.
Applications meeting the requirements of this solicitation will be evaluated and scored by independent reviewers in three review panels. Reviewers serving on these panels may be Federal or non-Federal experts in areas relevant to the priorities under consideration. Each proposal will be reviewed by a minimum of three reviewers. The B-WET Program Manager will neither vote nor score applications as part of the review panels. Before the panels convene, each reviewer will individually evaluate and score proposals using the evaluation criteria provided in Section V.A. above. Scores and comments will be submitted to the Federal Program Officer and the individual reviewers' rating will be averaged for each application to establish a preliminary rank order for each panel. New proposals and proposals considered for continuation will be scored using the same criteria as outlined above, but continuation proposals will not be ranked with the new proposals and given priority over new proposals.
The panel will convene to review the ranking and comments and discuss the proposals as a group. Continuation proposals will be considered for continuation based on the comments and feedback from the panel meeting and will independently recommended with either a yes- continue/fund, or a no- do not continue/fund.
During the panel meeting, reviewers can revise their scores and comments. Reviewers must individually submit final ranking to the B-WET Program Manager by the end of the panel meeting. No consensus advice will be given by the review panel members. The reviewers' final ranking will be averaged for each application to produce a rank order of the proposals for each of the panels.
The B-WET Program Manager will make the recommendations for funding to the Selecting Official based on rank order of each panel and the selection factors listed below.
The B-WET Program Manager will review the ranking of the proposals and recommendations of the review panel. The average numerical ranking from the review panel will be the primary consideration in deciding which of the proposals will be recommended for funding to the Selecting Official.
The Selecting Official shall award in rank order unless the proposal is justified to be selected out of rank order based upon one or more of the following factors:
- Availability of funding;
- Balance/distribution of funds;
- By type of institutions
- By type of partners
- By research areas
- By project types
- Whether this project duplicates other projects funded or considered for funding by NOAA or other federal agencies;
- Program priorities and policy factors as set out in Section I.B.1-5 and Section III.B. of the Full Funding Opportunity;
- Applicant’s prior award performance;
- Partnerships and/or participation of targeted groups;
- Adequacy of information necessary for NOAA staff to make a NEPA determination and draft necessary documentation before recommendation for funding are made to the Grants Officer.
Selected applicants may be asked to modify objectives, project plans or budgets, and provide supplemental information required by the agency prior to the award. When a decision has been made (whether an award or declination), verbatim anonymous copies of reviews and summaries of review panel deliberations, if any, will be made available to the applicant.