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State Review Process

Electronic copies of all acceptable proposals are provided to the NGGDP Grants Program Manager/Associate Program Coordinator. The Associate Program Coordinator provides the proposals to the panel members and assigns reviewers to lead discussions of individual proposals. The review panel consists of seven individuals whose combined areas of expertise cover the breadth of subject matter addressed by the proposals to be reviewed. The panel comprises experts drawn from relevant DOI and other federal bureaus and state geological surveys. Approximately three members represent state geological surveys, three members represent the USGS (one of whom is the NGGDPP Grants Program Manager), and one member represents a federal, academic, or museum institution. Panel members generally serve for no more than three years. The NGGDPP Grants Program Manager/Associate Program Coordinator serves as chair of the panel. Panel members serve with the understanding that their participation in the proposal review process is held in confidence by the USGS. This confidentiality is essential for a fair review process.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

The following evaluation criteria, as described in the Program Announcement, are used by the peer panel to review proposals, with each criterion having equal weight:

  • Technical merit. This factor considers the merit and technical viability of the proposed approach and the probability of achieving positive results within the designated period.
  • Societal Benefits. This factor considers the contribution of the preservation activities to maximizing efficiencies, and conserving and disseminating knowledge to enhance scientific investigations.
  • Knowledge, performance, and experience. This factor considers knowledge, performance, and experience of the principal investigator and coworkers, including demonstrating the ability to successfully complete data preservation tasks, and satisfying NGGDPP reporting requirements from previously funded projects (if applicable). This factor includes the capability to provide necessary facilities and support to ensure satisfactory completion of the proposed work.
  • Appropriateness and reasonableness of the budget. This factor considers whether the proposed budget: 1) describes how federal funds will be matched by state funds and not exceed 50 percent of total cost of proposed activities; 2) is commensurate with the level of effort needed to accomplish the project; 3) is reasonable relative to the value of the anticipated results; and 4) is within the Program’s goals of maximizing the distribution of available funds to state preservation projects.

Proposal Review

Proposals that do not conform to requirements listed in the Program Announcement as determined by The USGS Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAG) in consultation with the NGGDPP management will be rejected. OAG will notify applicants promptly if their proposal has been rejected.

The methodology for review and approval or disapproval of proposals is based on a critical review of all information provided in each proposal and on the panel members’ open discussion.

Following discussion of each proposal by the peer review panel, scores are given by each panel member. Scores are recorded for each proposal; the average score is determined. Scores are used to determine relative ranking of each proposal. The written panel consensus  summary, prepared by the lead reviewer, provides the applicant with important feedback for the submitted proposal and suggestions for future proposal submissions.

Funding Recommendations

Although the majority of recommendations from NGGDPP follow recommended rankings of the peer review panels, the NGGDPP management reserves the right to deviate from panel ranking to accommodate program priorities, special conditions, and available funds. 

U.S. Geological Survey Review Process

The USGS review process is similar using the same proposal evaluation criteria but includes only U.S. Geological survey panelists.