Full Proposal

The final Full Proposal must be completed by September 30, 2020, and organized as follows:

  • Proposal Body – Contains the following:
  1. Application for Funding Cover Page (Appendix A)
  2. Project Summary (Appendix B)
  3. Project Description (Appendix C)
  4. Facilities and Equipment (include in Appendix C)
  5. Collaborative Arrangements (include in Appendix C)
  6. References to Project Description
  7. Letters of Intent from Collaborators and Co-Investigators
  8. Proposal Budget Summary and Budget Justification Form (Appendix D)
  • Proposal Support Documents #1 – Curriculum Vitae and Publication List (CV/Pubs): The PI (Principal Investigator) and each Co-PI is responsible for including his/her own supporting documents. CV/Pubs for secondary project personnel should be included in the PI’s submission.
  • Proposal Support Documents #2 – Current and Pending Support (CPS) Form (see Appendix E): The PI and each Co-PI is responsible for uploading his/her own CPS form.

Body of Proposal (Deadline: September 30, 2020)


Application for Funding Cover Page (Appendix A)

The proposal must contain a completed “Application for Funding Cover Page,” which will be the first page of the application. In completing this form, please note the following:

  • Title of Proposal (Block 6). The title of the project proposal must be brief (85-character maximum) yet represent the major thrust of the project.  Because this title will be used to provide information to those who may not be familiar with the proposed project, highly technical words or phraseology should be avoided where possible.  In addition, phrases such as “investigation of” or “research on” should not be used.
  • Principal Investigator/Co-Investigators (Block 10). List the name of the proposing principal investigator in block 10a.  All other participating scientists should be listed as co-investigators in b-f.  The co-investigators should be limited to those required for major scientific collaboration.
  • Research Area (Block 13). Designate with an “X” one Research Area whose description and priorities your project is designed to address.  Research Areas can be accessed in the 5-Year Action Plan on the NPMTI Website at AgPMT.org. New Research Areas should be specified in “other”.

Research Area Specific Research Priorities (Block 14).  Your Project Proposal should be constructed to address one or more research priority of the Research Area designated in Block 13.  List the relevant Research Priority(s) in this block.

Project Summary Form (Appendix B)

Each proposed research project must contain a completed Project Summary Page, which will be the second page of the project proposal. The text for the project summary should not exceed 400 words. The project summary should include a description of the activity to be undertaken and focus on the following (all four bullets below must be addressed):

  • Overall project goal(s)
  • Project Objectives (list in numbered format) and Expected Outcomes;
  • Plans to accomplish project goal(s) within period of proposed work; and
  • Statement of Mutual Interest (i.e., how will stakeholders/end-users benefit from this research).

The Project Summary should be concise and focused; specific details of the experimental design, materials, and methods, etc., should be elaborated on in the Project Description.

Project Description (Appendix C)

The Project Description should provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken and must include:  research objectives for the period of the proposed work and expected significance; relation to longer-term goals of the PI’s project; and relation to the present state of knowledge in the field, and to work in progress by the PI elsewhere.

The Project Description should outline the general plan of work, including the broad design of activities to be undertaken, and, where appropriate, provide a clear description of experimental methods and procedures, and plans for preservation, documentation, and sharing of data, samples, physical collections, curriculum materials, and other related research and education products. 

  1. Format: Brevity will assist reviewers and NPMTI Networking & Facilitation Office (NFO) staff in dealing effectively with proposals. Therefore, the written text of the Project Description must be five pages or less (single spaced or equivalent); ten pages or less in total including figures and tables.

The Project Description should be formatted using Times New Roman, 12 point or higher, black colored font with one-inch margins.  Bold formatting should only be used for section headings or used minimally to emphasize importance or significance.  Digital images inserted into the Project Description must only be included within the page limits (10 pages total).  The maximum size of images to be included should be approximately 1200 x 1500 pixels using 256 colors. Figures must be readable as printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ page at normal (100%) scale.  Conformance to the format requirements will be strictly enforced.

  1. Content:
    • Title.  Same as what was included on the “Application for Funding Cover Page” (85-Character Maximum including spaces and punctuation).
    • Introduction.  A clear statement of the goal(s) and supporting objectives or research questions of the proposed project should be included.  The most significant published work in the field under consideration, including the work of key project personnel on the current application, should be reviewed.  The current status of research in this field of science should also be described including, but not limited to, any ongoing NPMTI-recommended work currently underway.  Preliminary data pertinent to the proposed research may be included in this section.  Present and discuss published literature that is directly related to and supports the proposed research (research objectives, materials and methods).
    • Rationale and Significance.  Concisely present the rationale behind the proposed research; identify the gaps in the knowledge base that your proposal is trying to fill.  Relevance of the project to the goals of the NPMTI with specific reference to the priorities listed in the FY20-21   5-Year Action Plan should be clearly stated, as should a description of the expected collaboration with other NPMTI research. If applicable, please indicate if the research proposed here could lead to successful acquisition of grant funds from other agencies.
    • Research Materials and Methods. Specifically, this section must include:
      • The hypotheses or questions being asked;
      • A description of the investigations and/or experiments proposed in the sequence in which the investigation or experiments are to be performed;
      • Techniques and methodologies to be used in carrying out the proposed project, including the feasibility of the techniques. (Describe in step by step fashion exactly what techniques, materials, and methods will be used.);
      • Results expected;
      • Means by which experimental data will be analyzed or interpreted;
      • Means of applying results or accomplishing technology transfer, where appropriate;
      • Pitfalls that may be encountered;
      • Limitations to proposed procedures; and
      • A tentative schedule for conducting major steps involved in these investigations and/or experiments.

NOTE:  Failure to address each of the issues in the bullet list will diminish the likelihood of the success of your proposal being recommended for funding.

Facilities and Equipment (include in Appendix C)

All facilities and major items of equipment available for use or assignment to the proposed project during the requested period of support should be described.  In addition, items of nonexpendable equipment necessary to conduct and successfully conclude the proposed project should be listed (including dollar amounts), and, if funds are requested for their acquisition, justification should be included in the Budget Justification.

Collaborative or Subcontractual Arrangements (include in Appendix C)

If the nature of the proposed project requires collaboration or contractual arrangements with other research scientists, corporations, organizations, agencies, etc., the applicant must identify the collaborator(s) and provide a detailed explanation of the nature of the collaboration.  Evidence in the form of a letter of intent (may be in the form of an e-mail) from all collaborators must be provided to assure reviewers that collaborators or sub-contractors involved have agreed to render the indicated services.  The letter of intent must include specific details describing the services the collaborator will provide. 

References to Project Description

All references cited in the Project Description should be included in bibliographic format.  Although there is no established page limitation for the references, this section must include bibliographic citations only and must not be used to provide parenthetical information outside of the project description.

Budget Requests (Appendix D)

Please complete the “FY21-22 Proposal Budget Summary and Proposal Budget Justification Form” (Appendix D) by following the instructions on the form. In some cases, the proposal might include a “Year 1” and “Year 2” budget request.  NOTE:  In the majority of cases, the total for direct and indirect costs for Year 1 and Year 2 should be the same amount. Finally, for all line item categories and subcategories where funds are being requested, descriptive details must be provided that justify the amount requested.

Tuition Remission: Tuition remission is permitted under USDA-ARS grant agreements with any type of recipient organization (i.e., universities).  For PI’s currently funded under a Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement (NACA), tuition remission is NOT allowed.


Indirect Cost (IDC) Rate Policy:  The NPMTI review process focuses on the competitiveness of total projects costs (i.e., direct and indirect) to maximize total funding used for research.

NPMTI is funded through a Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement (NACA), which does not provide indirect costs to ARS scientists and PI’s at State Cooperative Institutions as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3103(18). Based on the terms of a NACA, the official negotiated Indirect Cost is not to exceed 10% of the total Direct Cost if the Cooperator is a Non-profit Organization. Based upon the terms of a NACA, the Cooperator must contribute 20% by way of in-kind/cost sharing.

The 10% Indirect Cost (IDC) rate should be calculated on the Modified Total Direct Costs of your proposal, which is described as follows: Modified total direct costs, consisting of all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel, and subgrants and subcontracts up to the first $25,000 of each subgrant or subcontract (regardless of the period covered by the subgrant or subcontract).  Modified total direct costs shall exclude equipment, capital expenditures, participant support costs, student tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract in excess of $25,000.

NOTE:  Indirect Costs are not applicable to ARS Scientists and PI’s currently funded under a Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement (NACA).

Small Business Innovated Research (SBIR) Fee:  In the event your proposed research is recommended for funding, the SBIR Fee will be assessed prior to the award made by USDA-ARS.  The SBIR fee is mandated by Congress under Public Law 112-81, Subtitle A, SEC. 5102 (a) (1) (I) in support of the Small Business Act.  The current rate for the SBIR fee is 3.2%.

This fee is charged only to projects that are funded through a grant agreement or a NACA with USDA-ARS (i.e., not applicable to ARS PIs).  When applicable, PIs are advised to incorporate the SBIR fee into their budget request, per the formula below:

Step 1:  Total of Direct and Indirect Costs X SBIR Fee % [e.g., 0.032] = SBIR Fee Amount.

Step 2:  Add the SBIR Fee Amount to the Total Amount for Direct and Indirect Costs to get the ”Total Amount of Request.”

Proposal Support Document #1:  Curriculum Vitae and Publication List (CV/Pubs)

Maximum 2 pages for CV/Pubs per Scientist.

To assist peer reviewers in assessing the competence and experience of the proposed project staff, all personnel who will be involved in the proposed project must be identified clearly.  The items listed below should be included for all personnel (PI, Co-Investigators, and secondary scientists [i.e., post docs, etc.]) who are expected to work on the project in a significant fashion (e.g., expectation of co-authorship on ensuing publications), whether or not funds are sought for this support:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV). The CV should be limited to a presentation of academic and research credentials, e.g., educational, employment and professional history, and honors and awards.  Unless pertinent to the project, do not include meetings attended, seminars given, or personal data such as birth date, marital status, or community activities.
  • Publication List (Pubs). A chronological list of all publications in refereed journals during the past five years, including those in press, should be provided for each professional project member for whom a Curriculum Vitae is provided.  Non-refereed technical publications that have relevance to the proposed project may be included.

The CV/Pubs combined must not exceed two pages per scientist.  CV/Pubs List for collaborators or sub-contractors is not required.

Submission InstructionsPIs and Co-PIs are responsible for submitting their own CV/Pubs to the NFO.  CV/Pubs for all secondary scientists should be included in the PI’s file.  The CV/Pubs will only need to be emailed to administrator@agpmt.org one time whether or not the investigator is connected to multiple proposals.  File must be submitted to the NFO by October 8, 2020.

Proposal Support Document #2: Current and Pending Support (CPS) Form

See Appendix E or download the current CPS form from the FY20-21 RFP web page at: See Appendix E at the bottom of this page for the current CPS form.  Other versions of CPS forms will NOT be accepted.

All project proposals must contain completed Current and Pending Support Forms for PI and all Co-PIs listing other current public or private support to which key personnel identified in the proposal have committed portions of their time, whether or not salary support for person(s) involved is included in the budget.  Analogous information must be provided for any pending proposals that are being considered by or that will be submitted in the near future, to other possible sponsors, including other USDA Programs or agencies and the NPMTI.  Concurrent submission of identical or similar proposals to the other possible sponsors will not prejudice proposal review or evaluation by NPMTI for this purpose.  However, a project proposal that duplicates or overlaps substantially with a proposal already reviewed and funded (or to be funded) by another organization or agency will not be recommended under this program.  The third column (“Requested/Award Amount”) on the “Current and Pending Support Page” has been divided into two sub-columns: Total $ Amount and PI $ Allocation.  For each grant/proposal listed, include both the total (“Total $ Amount”) and the amount you have or may receive (“PI $ Allocation”).

Submission InstructionsPIs and Co-PIs are responsible for uploading their own Current and Pending Support Form to the NFO.  The CPS Form will only need to be emailed to administrator@agpmt.org one time whether or not the investigator is connected to multiple proposals.  The CPS form must be converted to PDF format before uploading to the EPS System by October 8, 2020.



Pre-Proposal Process Begins: August 24,2020

Registration Process Begins (for those not submitting a Pre-Proposal): August 28, 2020

Pre-Proposal Deadline: September 9, 2020

Registration Ends: September 16, 2020


Submission Deadlines:

Body of Proposal – September 30, 2020

Support Documents – October 8, 2020

Checklist of Required Items for Full Individual Project Proposals

Body of Proposal

  • Application for Funding Cover Page
  • Project Summary (should not exceed 400 words)
  • Project Description (five pages or less written text; ten pages or less in total including figures and tables)
  • References to Project Description
  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Description of Collaborative Arrangements
  • Letters of Intent from each collaborator and/or Co-PI
  • Budget Justification Forms (details required for all sections and subsections where funds are being requested)
  • Budget Page (e-signature required)

Proposal Support Document #1:  Curriculum Vitae and Publication List (PI and Co-PIs)

Proposal Support Document #2:  Current and Pending Support Form (PI and Co-PIs)