2012 Request for Applications
Delta Science Program
California Sea Grant College Program
- Delta Stewardship Council
- Delta Science Program
- Delta Science Fellows Program
- Fellowship Opportunities
- 2012 Priority Topic Areas
- Guiding Documents
- Research Mentors
- Community Mentors
- Communication of Information
- Selection Criteria
- Selection Procedure
- Application (updated 4/06/2012)
- How to Submit
- Information Contact
- Appendix A: The Bay-Delta System
- Appendix B: The Delta
- Appendix C: Delta Science Fellows 2012 Priority Topics
- Appendix D: Sample Fellow Mentoring Plan
- Science Fellows Budget form (SciFellowBudg.xlsx or SciFellowBudg.xls) (updated 6/01/2012)
- Science Fellows Cover (SciFellowCvr.xlsx or SciFellowCvr.xls) (updated 6/01/2012)
- Science Fellows Project Summary (SciFellowSumm.pdf)
- Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack may be required to download XLSX files for older PCs (updated 5/25/2012)
Please read this solicitation carefully as there have been significant changes from previous years.
Delta Stewardship Council (top)
On February 3, 2010, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 took effect creating the new Delta Stewardship Council (Council) as an independent state agency tasked with developing the Delta Plan for achieving the coequal goals. As stated in the CA Water Code section 85054, “Coequal goals’ means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place.” Under the same legislation, the CALFED Science Program became the Delta Science Program, and the CALFED Independent Science Board became the Delta Independent Science Board, both reporting to the Council.
The Council, which consists of seven members who are to have diverse expertise providing a broad statewide perspective, is tasked with:
- Developing a Delta Plan to achieve the coequal goals;
- Determining consistency upon appeal of state and local agency actions with the Delta Plan;
- Incorporating the Bay Delta Conservation Plan into the Delta Plan if certain conditions specified by the Delta Reform Act are met;
- Appointing the Delta Lead Scientist who oversees the Delta Science Program;
- Appointing members of the Delta Independent Science Board, which provides oversight for all scientific efforts in the Delta; and
- Developing performance measures for the assessment and tracking of progress towards meeting the objectives of the Delta Plan including Delta ecosystem health and water supply reliability.
Delta Science Program (top)
The long-term goal of the Delta Science Program (Science Program) is to establish a body of knowledge relevant to the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay-Delta (Delta) actions and their implications. That body of knowledge must be unbiased, relevant, authoritative, integrated across program elements, and communicated to the scientific community, agency managers, stakeholders, and the public. The mission of the Science Program is to provide the best possible unbiased scientific information to inform water and environmental decision-making in the Delta. The mission shall be carried out through funding research, synthesizing and communicating scientific information to policymakers and decision-makers, promoting independent scientific peer review, and coordinating with Delta agencies to promote science-based adaptive management. As part of the Council, the Science Program shall assist with development and periodic updates of the Delta Plan’s adaptive management program.
Delta Science Fellows Program (top)
Since 2003, the Science Program and the California Sea Grant College Program have sponsored a fellows program for pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. The aim of the program is to bring together junior scientists with Delta agency scientists and senior research mentors in collaborative data analysis and research projects relevant to Delta policy and management, including analyses of the immense monitoring database collected and maintained by the implementing agencies. The Science Program is seeking applications from qualified individuals to compete for fellowship opportunities in 2012. California Sea Grant will administer and manage the fellowship program on behalf of the Science Program. Fellowships will be awarded based on the intellectual merit of the application and the expected contribution to the priority issues in implementing the Delta Plan (See Appendix C).
The goals of the Delta Science Fellows Program are to:
- bring highly qualified scientific talent to help advance the state of scientific knowledge on the Delta Plan policy areas. The Delta Plan covers the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh (Appendix B) and may include areas outside the Delta and Suisun Marsh that affect achievement of the coequal goals including the Delta watershed (Appendix A).
- provide support for the training and development of scientists able to work in multidisciplinary, field-oriented and modeling-based research intended to support resource management in the Delta; and
- promote scientific partnerships across agencies, research institutions, and non-profit organizations.
The approved research teams will ideally include a community mentor, usually an agency scientist, who has direct experience in the collection of the data to be analyzed. During the fellowships, the fellow, community mentor, and research mentor will collaborate on the approved project and together they will provide updated progress information and drafts of any published material to the Science Program. The research mentor will be in charge of the project, providing broad oversight, and first-level peer review. A mentoring plan between the fellow, the research mentor and the community mentor(s) will be required within one month after the fellowship is initiated.
Fellowship Opportunities (top)
To achieve these goals, the Science Program will sponsor up to 11 fellowships in 2012 for pre-doctoral students (approximately 4-6) and postdoctoral researchers (approximately 4-5) in disciplines of environmental science, engineering, and social and political science with natural resources focus, addressing the 2012 priority research topics from the Delta Plan policy areas as described in Appendix C.
FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM (top)
The fellowship will provide up to two years of support based on scope/type of projects and contingent upon the availability of funds, for both postdoctoral and pre-doctoral fellows in the form of a grant/award that includes funds for a stipend and for research-related expenses. Once the funds are awarded by California Sea Grant through a cooperative agreement with the Science Program, the fellow’s stipend and research related expenses will be administered by the university, college or research institution with which the fellow and/or research mentors are affiliated.
Postdoctoral fellows will receive a $45,000 per year stipend and pre-doctoral fellows will receive a $25,000 per year stipend, for a maximum duration of two years. In addition, each fellow may request funds (up to $31,750 for postdoctoral fellows and $21,150 for pre-doctoral fellows) for research supplies/equipment and travel expenses necessary for carrying out the proposed research and attending scientific meetings including the Bay-Delta Science Conference (see “Communication of Information”).
The funds for research-related costs and benefits are subject to an indirect cost rate limit of 25%, in accordance with rates determined/set by the cooperative agreement between the Science Program and California Sea Grant. The maximum amount requested for the stipend and research and/or education-related expenses (including tuition or health benefits) should not exceed $84,688/yr for postdoctoral fellows and $51,438/yr for pre- doctoral fellows, including indirect costs.
For pre-doctoral fellows, the portion of the award provided to each fellow for tuition (unless waived), health insurance, and other university fees will be determined by each university in accordance with its guidelines. The portion of the award for living expenses will be distributed as a monthly stipend, not as salaries, wages, and benefits, by the academic or research institution affiliated with the fellow.
Continued support after the first year will be contingent on satisfactory performance of the fellow and on the availability of funds.
A formal mentoring plan will be required to be submitted within one month after funds are awarded and the fellowship is initiated. The purpose of the mentoring plan is to ensure a quality experience for the Fellow that provides a springboard to a career in scientific research and/or program implementation.
A sample mentoring plan is provided in Appendix D.
2012 Priority Topic Areas (top)
For 2012, the Delta Science Fellows Program is encouraging the submission of research proposals that address one or more of the priority research topics associated with the five main policy areas outlined in the Delta Plan.
Priority Topic Areas
- A More Reliable Water Supply for California
- Protect, Restore and Enhance the Delta Ecosystem
- Improve Water Quality to Protect Human Health and Environment
- Reduce Risk to People, Property and State Interests in the Delta
- Protect and Enhance the Unique Cultural, Recreational, Natural Resources and Agricultural Values of the California Delta as an Evolving Place
Guiding Documents (top)
Research topics need to address the science needs identified in the Delta Plan, available in the most recent draft (currently the Fifth Staff Draft) on the Delta Stewardship Council website: http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/delta-plan.
Additional documents can be helpful to applicants wishing to familiarize themselves with broad and specific Science Program issues:
- Delta Science Program Science News:
- Delta Independent Science Board products:
- Operations and Criteria Plan (OCAP) Annual Review:
- National Academies Report on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management of the California Bay-Delta:
- Bay Delta Conservation Plan:
- State Water Resources Control Board Bay Delta Plan update:
- Delta Protection Commission Economic Sustainability Plan:
- CALFED Science Program’s State of Bay Delta Science, 2008 http://www.science.calwater.ca.gov/publications/sbds.html
Research Mentors (top)
Fellowship applicants must include a letter of support from the research mentor they plan to work with on this effort. Research mentors must be scientists actively engaged in environmental science, social studies, policy and economics as the primary focus of their position, with a publication record in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and, for those working at academic institutions, working at the level of Assistant Professor or higher.
Applicants for the pre-doctoral fellowship should be working with a research mentor from the academic institution in which they are enrolled. Applicants for the postdoctoral fellowship may work with mentors from any academic or research institution.
Community Mentors (top)
In addition to working with research mentors, fellows are expected to collaborate with community mentors familiar with existing data and resource issues central to the proposed research. These community mentors must be people with scientific training. Current involvement with the Delta programs or agencies is preferred. Community mentors may be agency scientists (who are interested in analyzing, interpreting and/or expanding data not currently published in peer reviewed journals), restoration program managers, engineers and scientific/technical staff in environmental organizations or stakeholder associations. In many cases, people involved in generating existing data will be the most appropriate community mentors.
Fellows will work closely with community mentors, sharing ideas and progress throughout the project. Fellows may also communicate their findings and request feedback from an appropriate scientific/technical group within the Delta Science community. Examples include, but are not limited to, Interagency Ecological Program project work teams, Ecosystem Restoration Program, California Water Plan, Central Valley Flood Management Planning Program, Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy, and California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum.
Applicants addressing one of the priority topic areas must suggest at least one community mentor and a letter of support from a community mentor(s) is encouraged to be submitted with the application.
Please contact Martina Koller (email@example.com or 916.445.5838) for additional information regarding potential community mentors.
Communication of Information (top)
BAY-DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE
Fellows will be required to present the results of their research at a Bay-Delta Science Conference or State of the Estuary Conference, either as a poster or oral presentation. The conferences are held each year in September or October in either Sacramento or the San Francisco Bay Area. Fellows should include a travel budget for both* conferences in their application. Fellows are also encouraged to present their research at other national and international professional meetings. *Applicants awarded the Delta Science Fellowship for 2012-2014 should plan to attend the 7th Bay-Delta Science Conference, scheduled for October 16-18, 2012.
In addition, fellows may be asked to give a limited number of briefings to Council technical groups or agency managers in Sacramento, California. In these cases, California Sea Grant will fund additional travel costs if needed.
All fellows must prepare annual progress reports to be submitted to the California Sea Grant Office, deliverable to the Science Program. The progress report will detail the grantee’s research activities, provide retrospective and prospective revision of the research plan, and report their expenditures. Additionally, a copy of any poster/other professional submissions to that year’s science conference or scientific journals will be required at the end of each year. Other metrics specified in the Mentoring Plan should be reported.
FINAL COMPLETION REPORT
Each fellow must produce and submit to the California Sea Grant Office a final research report, deliverable to the Delta Science Program, at the end of the respective fellowship agreement period. The final report will summarize results and accomplishments of the research project, including all publications since the fellowship’s inception. Other metrics specified in the Mentoring Plan should be reported.
FELLOWSHIP SELECTION AND APPLICATION PROCESS (top)
PRE-DOCTORAL (GRADUATE DOCTORAL) FELLOWSHIPS
Prospective Pre-doctoral Science Fellows must at the time of application be in or have recently been admitted to a PhD degree program in natural resources, environmental sciences, environmental policy and management, engineering, social studies, and coastal, aquatic or related studies at any accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Candidates must remain associated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning for the duration of the grant.
Prospective Postdoctoral Science Fellows must hold a Ph.D. or complete a Ph.D. before the starting date of the fellowship, in a Doctoral degree program in environmental sciences, engineering, social studies or in a related field appropriate for disciplines identified under “Fellowship Opportunities.” Any postdoctoral researcher may apply who is associated with an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning for the duration of the grant.
The fellowships will be awarded in a competitive process to highly qualified researchers engaged in field- or modeling-based research. Particularly appropriate are prospective fellows who are interested in a career in multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, field- or modeling-based research.
Selection Criteria (top)
The selection criteria will include:
- The research mentor’s demonstrated abilities in the general area of questions addressed by the proposal.
- The strength of academic performance and relevant academic achievement, and quality of applicant’s career goal statement and narrative summary of experience.
- The quality of the research proposal including appropriateness of approach to be used.
- The importance of the problem to science needs identified in the Delta Plan, and the proposed interaction with Delta agency scientists.
Selection Procedure (top)
Selection is competitive. Applications must be submitted to the California Sea Grant College Program Office no later than June 4, 2012. A review panel consisting of Delta agency scientists, program staff, community advisors, and California Sea Grant representatives will be convened in July to review and recommend selection of finalists, using the criteria outlined above, to the Science Program Lead Scientist. We anticipate awarding approximately 4-5 postdoctoral fellowships and 4-6 graduate fellowships for 2012. All applicants will be notified of the selection decision in August, 2012.
June 4, 2012 (5 pm) - Applications due at California Sea Grant College Program
August, 2012 (approximate) - Applicants notified of selection results
September, 2012 (approximate) - Funds awarded for selected Delta Science predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships
1) Signed Cover Page: Please provide all information and obtain the required signatures on the Fellowship Cover Page Form*.
2) Proposed Research (12-page limit, not including literature citations):
- Introduction/Question/Objectives: What is the question/problem being addressed? What are the goals and objectives of the proposed research? The objective(s) should be well defined and clearly stated.
- Approach/Plan of Work: What is the anticipated approach of the proposed research? The application should present evidence that there has been thoughtful consideration of the approach to the question under study, with a timeline for meeting objectives during the requested period of support.
- Output/Anticipated Products and/or Benefits: Upon commencement of the fellowship, what are the anticipated benefits to the fellow, the research mentor, community mentor(s), and to the Delta Science Program priorities and mission? What can be expected after year 1, or year 2. Please describe anticipated per year outcomes.
- References and Literature Citations: Should be included but will not be counted in the 12-page limit for the proposed research.
3) Budget and Budget Justification: There should be a separate budget for each year as well as a cumulative budget for the entire period of the proposed fellowship. Applicants are encouraged to use the California Sea Grant Budget Form*, available for download from the California Sea Grant Delta Science Fellowship web page. The budget justification should itemize all budget items in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the research-related funds being requested.
For any questions regarding your budget, please contact Catherine Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 858-534-4440.
4) Explanation of how research links to the Delta Science Program (1 page limit):
5) Letter of support from prospective community mentor(s) (1-2 pages): It is strongly encouraged that a community mentor is identified and contacted early in the project development phase. Letter(s) of support from the community mentor(s) should be included but is not required if a specific community mentor is not identified. For questions regarding community mentors, please contact Martina Koller, (email@example.com or by telephone 916-445-5838). A list of potential community mentors that indicate a willingness to work with a fellow is available upon request.
6) Personal Statement that describes how this research fits into career plans and summarizes experiences that specifically prepared the applicant for this research task (not to exceed two pages).
7) Curriculum vita of the applicant (graduate student or postdoctoral researcher).
8) Project Summary: The project summary presents a concise description of the proposed research in a form useful to a variety of readers not requiring detailed information. Applicants are encouraged to use the Project Summary Form*.
9) Letter of commitment from prospective research mentor, indicating a willingness to be a mentor for the applicant, and expressing support of the proposed research project (not to exceed two pages). If the fellow is selected, a mentoring plan similar to the sample in Appendix D will be required within a month of starting the fellowship.
10) Curriculum vitae of the prospective research mentor.
11) Copies of graduate and undergraduate transcripts (undergraduate transcripts are required from pre-doctoral fellowship applicants only).
12) Three signed letters of academic recommendation.
13) Special Delta Science Program Fellowship Checkbox Check the box on the Science Fellows cover page if you want to be considered for a fellowship directly with the Delta Science Program. The Delta Science Program Lead Scientist will serve as the community mentor. Checking this box does not increase chances of being selected for a fellowship nor does it decrease chances of a proposal to be funded. The selection process is based solely on the intellectual merit of the application and the expected contribution to the priority issues in implementing the Delta Plan.
* The required forms (in items 1, 3, and 8) are available for download from this web site: http://www.csgc.ucsd.edu/EDUCATION/DELTA/DeltaIndx.html- follow the link to the Request for Applications 2012 – Science Fellows Program.
The narratives in the application should be in at least a 12-point font, single-spaced, with 1 inch margins. Any tables, figures, and illustrations must be submitted in camera-ready condition on separate pages and will be counted in the 12-page proposed research limit (and saved as a tiff or PDF for the electronic copy). Do not incorporate them into the body of the proposal.
How to Submit (top)
Please upload an electronic copy of all application items, with required signatures. The electronic version of your application must be submitted in PDF format using the California Sea Grant submission link:
Please make sure to include your last name in all file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., Smith_budget.pdf or Smith_cv.pdf). Once submitted through the website, PDFs may not be edited. To change a PDF, it must be deleted and resubmitted.
IMPORTANT: Contact us at sgfellow@.ucsd.edu to obtain a password to use the website link BEFORE submitting any files.
IMPORTANT: To preserve confidentiality, letters of recommendations can be posted directly by the letter writers. If your letter writers would prefer to not share their letters with you, please share the login information you receive with your letter writers to enable them to post their letters. Letters of recommendations cannot be viewed, edited, or deleted by any applicant once posted.
Electronic files should not be larger than 6 MB,
Information Contact (top)
Information about the Delta Science predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships may be obtained from:
tel: (858) 534-4440
Additional information regarding potential community mentors
Staff Environmental Scientist (Delta Steward Council/ Delta Science Program)
General Proposal Help (assistance with forms, format, and submission)
Carol Bailey-Sumber, Grants Specialist
Phone: (858) 534-7855
Rose Madson, Business & Fiscal Officer
Phone: (858) 534-4440
Computer/Internet-related Help (including passwords)
Roberto Chavez, Programmer
Phone: (858) 534-4441