Request for Proposal Process

Selection Steps for Georgia Sea Grant-Funded Research

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Request for Proposals

Georgia Sea Grant’s funded research is guided by stakeholder input and extensive strategic planning.

Before each funding cycle, the program gathers feedback on relevant coastal issues from major business, governmental and public stakeholders, as well as from the Georgia Sea Grant Advisory Board. With this information, the Georgia Sea Grant management team crafts a Request for Proposals (RFP) designed to accomplish the goals and performance measures set forth in the strategic and implementation plans. The RFP is sent to all institutions of higher education in the state with a research capacity.

The RFP requires that pre-proposals be submitted and sets forth not only research goals but also mandates an ambitious outreach focus and agenda for the research results.

Pre-Proposal Selection

A panel filters the pre-proposals for relevance to the goals set forth in the RFP and ranks them on the basis of community need and potential for outreach and impact. The pre-proposal panel members are a cross-section of important in-state stakeholders, clients, partners and Advisory Board members. For example, a recent pre-proposal panel had six members representing NGOs, government agencies, marine scientists and outreach professionals.

The panel then selects a limited number of projects to submit full proposals. In order to effectively integrate research with extension, the Principal Investigator (PI) collaborates with UGA Marine Extension professionals to create a detailed outreach plan for their project, which is included in the full proposal.

Full Proposal Review

Review of full proposals takes place in two stages:

  • Independent Review Panel – Three or four reviewers from outside the state are selected for each proposal and are asked to write a review. Reviewers are selected on the basis of knowledge of the subject area and lack of a conflict of interest. Reviewers may be referenced in the proposal or are currently publishing in the field. Others are selected through consultation with experts in the field.
  • Peer Review Panel – This ad hoc panel is selected on the basis of the research and education content of the proposals. Each proposal is assigned a panel member as its lead reviewer. Each panel member writes reviews of the projects for which he or she is the lead reviewer. The panel discusses the projects and prioritizes each as very high, high, moderate or do not fund. The panel may also recommend projects for Program Development funds.

The rate of success for full proposals in the Georgia Sea Grant competitive review process historically is 20 to 25 percent.

Program Development (PD) Projects

Outside the competitive process described above, Program Development (PD) projects are an element of program management and typically are funded at less than $10,000. These are usually either rapid response projects that meet an immediate need in the coastal community or small projects that are used to obtain preliminary data for larger projects.

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