Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Proposal Submission Instructions

Powell Center proposals are due each year on January 31st.
Working Group meetings for successful proposals can begin after October 1st.

Critical Zone proposals are due January 15th.

Proposal Overview

The Powell Center seeks projects that address development and testing of important Earth system science ideas and theories using existing data, cutting-edge analysis of Earth system information, and use of sound science in policy and management decisions. Proposals are evaluated for scientific merit, novel approaches, and rationale for conducting investigative activities at the Powell Center. The Powell Center Science Advisory Board (SAB) reviews proposals and makes recommendations to the Directors who make the final decisions about which proposals to support. SAB members may not be subject matter experts; write proposals that are understandable and compelling to non-specialists.

A context statement and reviews are returned to principal investigators. Reviews do not reflect SAB meeting discussions, which focus less on specific content than the nature, scope, and innovation of the proposed project.

Proposals that are clearly inappropriate for the Powell Center (e.g., those requesting overhead, funds to be spent at the investigator's home institution, new data collection, exploratory workshops, etc.) will be returned without review.

Who Should Apply

We welcome scientists at any stage of their career, from all disciplines, and from academic or government organizations anywhere in the world.  There can be up to four Principal Investigators.  At least one of the Principal Investigators must be a USGS employee. 

Powell Center does not support:

◦ Collection of new data or field research.

◦ Projects that should be funded by another entity or can be conducted elsewhere.

◦ Proposals requesting overhead or funds to be spent by the investigator at the investigator's home institution.

◦ Supplies, field research travel, or travel to professional society meetings.

Cover Sheet

  • Date of Submission
  • Descriptive Title
  • Short Title – Two to three words for use as a unique project name (25 characters max)
  • Principal Investigator Name(s) and Complete Contact Information (4 PIs max). At least one PI must be a USGS employee.
  • Project Summary – A brief scientific abstract of your project
  • Proposed Start and End Dates - Proposed start and end date of two-year project (month, year)
  • Number and duration (4 day minimum) of Working Group meetings at the Powell Center over two years
  • Proposed Data Release Date - Date you expect to make your data sets publicly available
  • Is this a resubmission? - Yes/No (If yes, provide date(s) of original submission and last name of original PI)
  • Conflicts of Interest with Reviewers - Check the list of Science Advisoary Board members and note any potential conflicts of interest based on Powell Center Code of Ethics in the proposal
  • Keyword(s) – Please choose 1 or more keywords from the following to describe your project: 1) climate and land use change, 2) ecosystems, 3) energy and minerals, 4) environmental health, 5) natural hazards, 6) water.

Body of Proposal

  • Problem Statement – Clear and concise statement of what is to be done, why it is important, and how it will be accomplished.
  • Proposed Activities – Brief description of methodology and why it is appropriate.
  • Names of Participants: Please make a table using this template for information regarding participants. 
Name Institutional Affiliation Expertise Role in Working Group Career Stage Confirmed?
Emma Dean Smithsonian Ornithology Interpretation of migratory patterns Post-doc Confirmed
John Wesley USGS Geography Statistical evaluation of mineral deposits Professor Equivalent Invited
  • indicate whether participants are confirmed with asterisks; define expertise and role of each participant; identify a technical liaison to work with Powell Center computing staff (this participant should have considerable analytical expertise); identify the USGS participant responsible for ensuring the requirements of the Powell Center Data and Information Policy are met. If you are requesting support for a Powell Center fellow, identify that person and describe their expertise. The Powell Center will support up to, but no more than, 15 total participants. 
  • Important! We ask for two responses here: 1) Describe how your Working Group contributes to strengthening the participation of less well-represented groups in the Earth and environmental sciences (women, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, early career). We are looking for a team that reflects depth and breadth in expertise, career stage, gender, and ethnicity, not simply a count of under-represented populations; 2) How will your group achieve the broader impacts of increasing diversity over time in STEM fields?
  • Data Management Plan describing datasets you plan to use and produce - Download data management plan template [doc]
  • Timetable of Activities
  • Anticipated Results and Benefits – In addition to manuscripts, proposals, and other written products, include description of data and software products and their proposed public release date. Also include expected outcome of broader impacts activities.
  • Literature Cited
  • Two-page Curriculum Vitae for Each Principal Investigator (4 max) and Powell Center Fellow (if identified) ONLY 

Submission Instructions

Proposals are accepted in digital format only as a single document in either Microsoft Word or PDF. The body of the proposal should be no more than 4000 words (excluding cover sheet, references, figures, tables, data management plan, and curricula vitae)

Format proposals to standard letter size (8.5” W by 11” L), with graphics embedded directly in the document. The body of the proposal should follow the cover sheet. Do not send compressed collections of files, such as .zip files. Proposals including the requested information (cover sheet, body, data management plan, CVs) must be provided as one document; do not send separate files.

The submission of your proposal indicates you are in agreement with and will abide by the Powell Center Code of Ethics.

Send the proposal document as an email attachment to You will receive an email confirming proposal receipt within 1 business day of submission. If you do not receive a confirmation email, have difficulty submitting your proposal, or have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from submitting a digital version of your proposal by the deadline please contact us.

For answers to questions not addressed in these instructions, or elsewhere in the website, please email or or call 970-217-8949.

Visit the Tips and Examples page to ensure successful proposal submission.


CZNet Synthesis Opportunities

The CZNet Hub invites researchers to submit proposals for two-year synthesis projects in Critical Zone science. This call for proposals will support two to three new teams of up to 15 scientists to convene for a week over two years at the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis in Fort Collins, Colorado. Successful proposals will address CZ questions that cross disciplinary and site boundaries. We are especially interested in proposals that include collaborations with multiple current Critical Zone Network clusters or cluster-affiliated projects. Proposals are due January 15th. Funded projects will begin in 2024.

With this new call for proposals, we encourage participation of early career scientists and efforts to include diverse perspectives in synthesis working groups. An in-house data manager/data scientist will be provided (at no cost to working groups) to boost data practices on funded synthesis projects. Additionally, we will be offering a limited number of need-based stipends (up to $10,000) to facilitate the inclusion of scientists who may be at institutions where they do not have financial support to participate in synthesis working group. For each stipend request, include the proposed budget amount and a brief explanation of (1) why there is the financial need for a particular individual and (2) what special contributions that individual can bring to the working group. 

Proposals must include a plan and appropriate personnel to address data curation and data publishing needs. Data management/data scientist expertise will be available to working groups and must be included in proposals, if needed, at a maximum level of 20% full-time equivalent. It is not necessary to include CZHub-provided personnel for working groups that have their own solutions for data efforts. Unlike proposals submitted in response to the Powell Center call for proposals, CZNet proposals do not require a USGS Principal Investigator. Investigators are encouraged to contact Jill Baron or Jordan Read prior to submission to discuss ideas. 

For more information email,, or