Freshwater Collaborative: Announcement of Opportunity

The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin (FCW) was launched in 2019 to leverage Wisconsin’s competitive advantage to be a global leader in freshwater science, technology, entrepreneurship and economic growth by fully utilizing UW System’s broad expertise, world class faculty, research acumen and commitment to undergraduate and graduate student training.

A key component to the FCW is fostering collaborative research and initiatives across the 13 campuses, private sector and state institutions to address the water challenges of the 21st century. In so doing, it will grow Wisconsin’s next generation of water expertise to fuel the water-based economy and meet the need for a knowledgeable and multi-talented workforce in wide ranging water related disciplines.

In July of 2019 the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) awarded a Targeted Industry Project grant to the University of Wisconsin System to lay the groundwork for a successful, long-term Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. The initial programming goals included in this project are designed to both build the initiative’s brand and to provide initial research, student and workforce development support. FCW will lay the foundation for a new era of inter-campus, state agency, and private sector collaboration and partnership, trigger Wisconsin’s lead in water sector innovation, and advance a unique platform for linking economic and workforce development with higher education.

Tackling ‘wicked’ water challenges requires a wide variety of solutions. The FCW will address the 10 Grand Water Challenges listed below through five interdisciplinary themes; 1) Fundamental Research on Water Systems; 2) Driving Technology Innovation; 3) Workforce Development; 4) Resource for Science Driven Water Policy and law; and 5) Informing Sustainable Management of Water Resources. This initiative will encompass both research and education with educational offerings spanning undergraduate and graduate degree programs, continuing professional education, specialized training opportunities, and general public awareness.

$1.1 million in funding will be available through these five tracks, with the actual number of awards varying by track. A PI at any institution within the University of Wisconsin System are eligible for an award. There are no restrictions on number of proposals per organization or PI. Proposals should clearly identify at the beginning of the title which Track is being proposed, e.g.”Track 2 Strategic Research:…”

Grand Water Challenges:

  1. Agricultural water Management
  2. Industrial Water Engineering and Technology
  3. Water Quality, safety, and Emerging Contaminants
  4. Great Lakes Management, Protection, and Restoration
  5. Water Infrastructure, Collection, Distribution, and Treatment
  6. Water Business, Law, and Finance
  7. Watershed Management and Restoration
  8. Water Security, Protection, and Resilience
  9. Healthy Recreational and Transportation Water Use
  10. Aquaculture/Aquaponics/Water Food Systems

Below are the five announcement tracks with submission details. Additional information can be found on the official announcement of opportunity.

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Track 1: Research Collaboration Summits/Working Groups

Research Collaboration Summits & Working Groups are designed to foster communication and promote new collaboration among UWS faculty and scientists and relevant stakeholders with diverse expertise and who share a common interest in a new or developing area freshwater science, engineering or policy. It is anticipated that these activities will contribute to furthering the goals of the FCW by encouraging the formation of cross campus collaborations, groups and networks. RCS awards are intended to foster networking activities and thus will not directly support costs related to primary research.
Summits may take the form of 1-2-day workshops bringing investigators (~20) together from across UWS, as well as other stakeholders and private and public sector experts addressing long term issues of water resource conservation, policy and management. Working groups bring together smaller groups (8-12) to make detailed progress on focused water issues with solutions on the time scale of months to years.

Proposals should identify:

  • Aclear theme as the focus of its activities.
  • How the proposed activity relates to the Grand Water Challenges and the goals of the FCW, and should specify the following:
    • Questions that will be addressed o activities that will be undertaken
    • New groups of investigators that will be brought together o products that will be generated by network activities (including a written summary)
    • Plan to disseminate information about the network and opportunities to participate
    • Expected benefits of the network’s activities in moving a field forward and the implications for the broader community of researchers and educators.

Budgets are limited to $10,000 for travel, support costs, etc. No more than $1,500 in salary (including fringe) for workshop support and reporting. Approximately 4-8 awards anticipated. Total funding available ~$60,000.

Target dates for submission: Open call – May be submitted at any time.

Proposal format:

  1. Cover page (see above)
  2. One-page Executive Summary
  3. Maximum 6-page single spaced Narrative, describing topic and including proposed dates/timeline, membership of the leadership (steering committee) and responsibilities (facilitation, report writing, logistics support, etc)
  4. List of Potential Participants and stakeholder groups (non-binding)
  5. Budget and Budget Justification – maximum 2 pages
  6. CVs of steering committee members (max 2 pages each, NSF format).

Track 2: Strategic Research

Projects under Track 2 Strategic Research are designed to support interdisciplinary research across two or more UW System campuses that address one or more of the Grand Water Challenges identified in the FCW. Proposals may be submitted that address any of the 10 Grand Challenges, however, Grand Challenges 1 and 3 (Agricultural Water Management and Water Quality Safety and Emerging Contaminants) are considered high priority for this Track and for the state in keeping with the Governor’s Year of Safe Drinking Water. Proposals should clearly identify which of the challenges it falls under and how they incorporate the five cross-cutting themes.

Undergraduate research awards are a required component of the research plan.

Budgets are limited to $30,000 per PI in research costs + up to $4,000 per student for supplemental undergraduate fellowships. No more than $10,000 (including fringe) of the PI portion of research costs may be in salary for the PI. Cost share of 20% is required and may be in any form, including in-kind support. Total funding available ~ $600,000 for research costs (~20 PIs), $80,000 (~20 students) for undergraduate awards. Awards may be for up to 24 months.

Proposal format:

  1. Cover page (see above)
  2. One-page Executive Summary
  3. Maximum 15-page single spaced Narrative describing: proposed research, its intellectual merit, relevance to the Grand Challenges, relationship to Cross-cutting themes, and potential for promoting the Freshwater Collaborative across UW System.
  4. List of references
  5. Timeline and Milestones
  6. Budget and Budget Justification – maximum 2 pages. Cost sharing commitments should be clearly identified.
  7. CVs of Principal Investigators (max 2 pages each, e.g. NSF format).

Target dates for submission: 15 April 2020 and 15 August 2020.

Review Criteria:

  • Scientific merit
  • Relevance to Grand Challenges and Wisconsin’s water resources
  • Relationship to cross-cutting themes
  • Potential for promoting Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin and cross-campus collaborations and team building
  • Significance of potential outcomes and impact
  • Potential for enhanced educational experience for undergraduate students

Track 3: Undergraduate FCW Interdisciplinary curriculum, training & course development and design

The goal of Track 3 is:

  1. To advance the development of learning and workforce development training tools and offerings within FCW
  2. To stimulate interdisciplinary instruction and training opportunities across UWS campuses
  3. To develop innovative, new courses and curricular components, including on-line, that will benefit students from all disciplines, as well as students whose principal focus is freshwater
  4. To help develop the common curricular components that will be the basis for introduction to freshwater for all UW System students

Proposal narrative should include:

  1. Course and program description
  2. Learning outcomes
  3. When the course/training opportunity would be typically offered and by whom
  4. Mode of instruction/training proposed: online, blended, hand on, internship, etc.
  5. Designation of Development team – should include multiple campuses
  6. Anticipated student demand, class size, etc.
  7. Collaborators or groups with whom you expect to work to develop and implement the program (e.g. academic departments, Libraries, academic support services, etc.)
  8. Description of how the activity will be assessed – student success, feedback, etc.

Target date for submission: 1 April 2020 or anytime thereafter.

Proposals should not exceed 10 pages single spaced + a budget of $12,000 maximum. Total funds available ~ $60,000.

Proposal format:

  1. Cover page (see above)
  2. One-page Executive Summary
  3. Maximum 10-page single spaced Narrative (see above for content) describing potential for promoting the Freshwater Collaborative across UW System.
  4. List of references
  5. Budget and Budget Justification – maximum 2 pages. Cost sharing commitments (encouraged but not required) should be clearly identified.
  6. CVs of Principal Investigators (max 2 pages each).

Track 4: Freshwater Research Experience for Undergraduate Awards (FREU) (ongoing program)

Objectives: This award program seeks to initiate collaborative undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity, while simultaneously promoting faculty research collaborations in Water Resources across UW System universities.

Principles: Successful, new research and scholarly collaborations develop most readily when collaborators share strong professional relationships, when centered around students, and when working in an environment of reasonable expectations surrounding deliverables. These factors promote trust and provide an environment promoting creative intellectual risk-taking.

Call: This program seeks proposals to support undergraduate students engaged in freshwater research, scholarship, or creative activities for the, summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 if funding is available.

Proposals should clearly relate to Wisconsin’s freshwater resource, should be of significant magnitude to engage an undergraduate water fellow for the duration of the award, and should be collaborative in nature.

This call is limited to UW System institutions, based upon the following qualifying standards:

  • Research, Scholarship, or Creative Activity Proposals: Proposals are sought from each UW System campus seeking to host UW System undergraduate students with water research awards.
  • Collaborative Project Selection: Each campus is free to determine their own internal review process, provided that selected proposals: 1) clearly relate to Wisconsin’s freshwater resource, 2) are of significant magnitude to engage an undergraduate fellow in a meaningful high impact experience for the duration of the award, and 3) are collaborative in nature, ideally to include at least one faculty member from a different UW System university.
  • Undergraduate Water Research Student Selection: Eligible students must be enrolled as a degree-seeking student for the fall 2020 or the semester in which the fellowship applies at a UW System institution and hold a minimum of Sophomore standing. Undergraduate students should have credentials predictive of their successful completion of the research. Stipends and related expenses for students during the academic year are limited to $5000 per semester. Summer awards, including stipend, housing, and research expenses are limited to $10,000. A minimum of 50% of the funds should be allocated for the student stipend. Stipend requirements vary by campus and could take the form of hourly pay, salary, or scholarship. Undergraduate summer water awardees are expected to fully engage in summer experiences and notify host and sponsor PI’s of any planned summer absences in advance of the start of the summer experience. Undergraduate awardees participating during the academic year are permitted to receive independent study credit at their home institution while holding this award.
  • Presentation of Research: Undergraduate award recipients are required to produce a coauthored poster, visual, or audio media product describing their research and contributions made by collaborating campuses. The proposal should clearly identify a proposed venue(s) for the presentation(s) . Funds should be budgeted for student presentation of research either as direct costs or as matching support.
  • Requirements of Host and Recipient Institutions: Each host and recipient institution must provide a sponsor and supervising PI to monitor student progress. Host and sponsor PI’s are required to complete a pre-experience meeting to reviews project goals and student attributes, a mid-summer / mid-semester check-in, and complete a co-drafted one-page end of experience report. Host institution PI-s are expected to oversee the daily activities of REU, and collaborate with fellows on their final poster, visual, or audio media product. Host institutions assume fiscal responsibilities for funds associated with water fellows.

Target dates for submission: 15th of December for spring semester, 1 March for summer session and 1 June 2020 for fall semester.

Proposals should not exceed 10 pages single spaced + budget. Total funds available ~ $150,000

Proposal format:

  1. Cover page (see above)
  2. One-page Executive Summary
  3. Maximum 10-page single spaced Narrative addressing: proposed UG research project, relationship to Grand Challenges and Cross-cutting themes, potential for enhancing student success and experience gained, Presentation of research – proposed format and venue
  4. List of references
  5. Budget and Budget Justification – maximum 2 pages. PI salary (including fringe) support is limited to $1,000 for academic year awards, and $2,000 for summer awards.
  6. CVs of Principal Investigators (max 2 pages each), CV of student (if known

Track 5: Inter-Institutional Undergraduate Training Programs:

The goal of this Track 5 is the implementation of unique cross campus training programs, e.g. student exchanges, summer institutes and courses, internships, etc. with a focus on hands-on training in the field or workforce environments.

Proposals are open to any innovative mechanisms, and there is no preconception of what constitutes a “Training Program”. Unlike Track 3 which is for the development/design, Track 5 is for implementation of programs that are more “ready to go”. Opportunities to participate should be open to any student within the UW System and thought should be given to facilitating such participation. Campuses should take advantage of their unique facilities and centers when designing these hands-on offerings. Funds may be used for supplies and equipment, travel, student support, marketing, etc. Anticipated tuition revenue (if applicable) should be estimated and a description of how it will be proportioned among collaborating institutions should be included. Cost share is encouraged.

Target date for submission: Proposals may be submitted at any time up to 15 Oct. 2020.

Up to 4 awards anticipated @ up to $25,000. Total funding available ~$100,000

Proposal format: 1.

  1. Cover page (see above)
  2. One-page Executive Summary
  3. Maximum 6-page single spaced Narrative describing the Inter-institutional Undergraduate Training program and the potential for enhancing and furthering the Freshwater Collaborative.
  4. Budget and Budget Justification – maximum 2 pages.
  5. CVs of Principal Investigators (max 2 pages each).