Call for Proposals: 2008 Unidata Community Equipment Awards

Under sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, the Unidata Program Center (UPC) announces the 2008 Unidata Community Equipment Awards solicitation, described below, along with the proposal submission requirements. A total of $100,000, including UCAR overhead, is available for awards this year. Proposals for amounts up to $20,000 will be considered. The deadline date for submitting proposals is March 14, 2008. Notification of award status will be made by mid May, 2008.

Description of Program

The primary purpose of the Unidata Community Equipment Awards is to encourage new members from diverse disciplinary backgrounds in the geosciences to join the Unidata community, and for existing members to continue their active participation so as to enhance the community process. We will accept equipment proposals for the deployment of Unidata-supported systems from academic institutions engaged in teaching and research in the geosciences. Applicants are encouraged to get assistance with hardware requirements for their proposed activity by contacting the UPC at

It is the intent of this award program to assist institutions wishing to participate actively in the Unidata community; to assist those who have participated actively in the past but need system upgrades to meet the standards currently recommended for deploying Unidata systems; and to assist organizations from disciplines outside of the atmospheric community who can provide important and relevant datasets and tools to the Unidata community at no cost.

Small institutions, academic departments that have not previously submitted proposals to this program, and programs outside Unidata's traditional atmospheric sciences community are particularly encouraged to apply. Proposals from academic institutions outside the United States will be considered. However, preference will be given to academic institutions within the U.S.

Proposal Review Criteria

It is important to emphasize that the overall quality of the proposal, including professional presentation of the narrative detailing how the proposal addresses the following criteria, will be an important factor in the evaluation by the review panel.

  1. Intellectual or technical merit of the proposed work. Using Unidata technologies, the proposed effort makes an important contribution to advancing knowledge and understanding within the geosciences.
  2. Contribution to Unidata community capabilities. Equipment will be used to develop concepts and software that contribute to the enhancement of the community capability.
  3. Broadens the Unidata community scope and capabilities. The effort makes available tools and/or datasets which would be meaningful to the current Unidata community as well as disciplines outside of atmospheric sciences
  4. Enhanced participation in the Internet Data Distribution (IDD). Proposed equipment will enhance the group’s ability to participate in the IDD and thus serve a broader community purpose.
  5. Contributes to the advancement of technology. The proposal shows emphasis toward a particular technological advancement that it is working to deploy and share with the broader community.
  6. Contribution to education. The activity contributes to local and/or community education efforts in the geosciences by providing new approaches to classroom and individual instruction.
  7. Contribution to research. The equipment request encompasses an activity that shows potential for supporting and enhancing innovative research.

Special Consideration for 2008 Awards: This year, special consideration will be given to proposals that further the use of Unidata tools and systems (e.g., THREDDS, NetCDF, IDV, GIS connections) to support education and research on various aspects of climate (e.g., diagnostics, change and impacts), including upgrades to existing classroom and laboratory equipment or procurement of new computers to support climate studies.  Additionally, to enhance participation and advancement of underrepresented populations, proposals submitted by investigators in Community and Baccalaureate colleges and minority serving institutions are encouraged. The primary purpose of this focus is to give the broader community access to Unidata tools and datasets that could be relevant to their teaching and research. Proposals submitted in both these areas of special consideration must show evidence of meeting criteria 2 and 3.  As always, these special emphases do not preclude proposals from the traditional Unidata community.

Unidata will accept proposals that include funds for hardware, software, and associated indirect costs. This program does not provide funds for staff time, travel, or other costs not outlined here. Proposals must demonstrate that the equipment request is technically sound with respect to hardware and software selection and integration with existing local systems. Faculty and staff involved in managing the hardware and Unidata systems must be committed to obtaining, managing, and maintaining the proposed equipment and Unidata-supported tools as described in the proposal.

Proposal Format

Including all of the sections below, Community Equipment Award proposals are typically 5-10 pages. Proposals must contain all components listed below and be assembled in the order listed:

A. Cover Page: Signed by the appropriate university official, for example, the Dean or the contracts officer.

B. Project Summary: A brief summary of the project and how the proposer intends to use equipment funded through this award program.

C. Project Description:

D. Budget:

E. Project Milestones:

Provide information about how soon equipment will be purchased after receipt of the award, and when it will be deployed as part of the broader project objective.

Submission, Notification and Accountability

Please submit ten paper copies and one electronic copy on CD in either PDF or Microsoft Word format along with the signed cover sheet. Please note that we do business in English only. All proposals and contractual activities must take place in English. Proposals must be received at the UPC no later than March 14, 2008. To ensure fairness, proposals arriving after the deadline will be returned without review. Please ensure that proposals are mailed on time to be received by this date. Also, please ensure that all materials are included in your submission.

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel consisting of community members and Unidata staff. Once decisions are made, the Unidata Director will notify the outcome of the review to all applicants. Reviewers' comments will be distributed to successful and unsuccessful proposals alike. Funds will be distributed to successful applicants by a sub-contract award process to their institution, and recipients will be responsible for purchasing the equipment.

Within a year of receiving equipment funds, recipients will be required to submit a brief report in the form of a short article to the UPC. The intent of the article is to encourage others to participate in the Unidata community and the Equipment Awards program by showing the benefits of participation, as well as ensuring compliance with the original intent of the awards. Recipients should address how the funding was used to strengthen their program and/or the Unidata community. The article should also describe how the equipment has been used, the impact on education and research, lessons learned, etc. Articles will be used for publication either in the Unidata newsletter or on the Unidata web site (at our discretion). Failure to submit the requested article will result in ineligibility for future funding.

Please send ten (10) paper copies and an electronic copy on CD (as described above) of your proposal to:

Unidata Program Center
ATTN: Community Equipment Awards
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307

Overnight Mail Address:

Unidata Program Center
c/o: Terry Mitchell
1850 Table Mesa Drive
Boulder, CO 80305


Please see our FAQ section to find answers to specific questions you might have about the Unidata Community Equipment Awards. If you have still have questions, email us:

Link to an example of a previously successful proposal: