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Community for Data Integration: FY16 Proposal Review Process

Each year, the Community for Data Integration (CDI) has provided funding support for projects that promote data integration and:

    • Focus on targeted efforts that yield near-term benefits to Earth and biological science
    • Leverage existing capabilities and data
    • Implement and demonstrate innovative solutions (e.g. methodologies, tools, or integration concepts) that could be used or replicated by others at scales from project to enterprise
    • Preserve, expose, and improve access to Earth and biological science data, models, and other outputs
    • Develop, organize, and share knowledge and best practices in data integration 

Based on the positive feedback from the FY14 and FY15 RFP processes, the FY16 RFP continued to implement the two phased process (Statements of Interest (SOI) and Full Proposals) for soliciting and reviewing proposals. The process asked the Community to submit a short SOI about their proposal idea thus reducing the amount of time and effort to develop a full proposal. In order to include the Community in the review process, SOIs were evaluated by the Community and a group of top-ranked SOIs were invited to submit a full proposal to a panel of reviewers. This allowed Community participation in conjunction with a more formal Review Panel process.

Phase I: Statement of Interest (SOIs)

Phase I requested applicants to submit a 2-page Statement of Interest outlining the Project Administrative Information, Project Summary, and Estimated Budget. 

The formal Request for Proposals (RFP) was announced on September 9, 2015, calling for SOIs that support the elements of the Science Support Framework (SSF). 

SOIs were due October 9, 2015.

SOI Review Process

In order to include the Community in the review process, members were invited to vote on SOIs via online.

 Voting Website: https://my.usgs.gov/CDI_SOI    (now closed and unavailable)

 The CDI held one Opening SOI Review Session to discuss the voting instructions, expectations, and evaluation criteria. The voting process was open from October 19-Nov 3, 2015. The Community was encouraged to read SOIs and leave comments/questions for the PIs to answer via the voting website. The CDI also held a Closing SOI Review Session in which the voting was closed and the Community viewed the results and rankings. The Community as a group agreed to a number of SOIs that would be recommended to move forward into the Full Proposal Review stage.

 The CDI Coordinators also reviewed the SOIs and provided feedback for final recommendations. With the Executive Sponsor's approval, a list of SOIs were selected to be invited to submit full proposals.

Phase II: Full Proposals

Full proposals were due January 22, 2016.

Reviewers

All panel reviewers were USGS Federal employees who volunteered their time to review all full proposals. The Panel consisted of seven Reviewers who came from a wide variety of expertise and represented a broad range of Mission Areas, Regions, and Program areas. 

Individual Reviewer Evaluation

Reviewers conducted individual evaluations of proposals via the online RFP manager system. Reviewers were asked to document a summary of the strengths/weaknesses of each proposal based on guidance from the RFP Guidance Document. Reviewers also scored each proposal based on a rubric also outlined in the RFP Guidance Document.

The criteria weights for proposals are as follows:

  • Scope (25%)
  • Technical Approach ( 25%)
  • Project Experience and Collaboration (25%)
  • Sustainability (15%)
  • Budget Justification (5%)
  • Timeline (5%)

For more information on full proposal review in the 2016 RFP Guidance (pdf download) Document. 

Group Evaluation

Having read and evaluated the proposals individually, the reviewers then participated in a group Review Panel meeting to discuss their scores. Each reviewer was assigned 2-3 proposals to lead and provide a more in depth discussion.

Reviewers discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal and gave their recommended scores. Scores for each proposal were averaged to obtain an initial score for the proposal via the RFP manager

Based on scoring and reviewer discussion, the panel collectively agreed on a final recommendation for each proposal. 

Recommendations

Review Panel results were submitted to CDI Executive Sponsors Kevin Gallagher and Tim Quinn for final selection. 

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