SURA Response Plan for FY13 IOOS Community Modeling to Support the Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT)
Please send questions and responses to Liz Smith at: email@example.com
For the past two and a half years, the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) has led a broad-based group of coastal modelers and IT specialists from the academic, government and private sectors, to successfully establish the current IOOS Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed. SURA intends to respond to the recently released Federal Funding Opportunity to continue to lead the COMT for the next 5 years.
COMT Federal Funding Opportunity
FY13 IOOS Community Modeling to Support the Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) - Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-NOS-IOOS-2013-2003511.)
Anticipated Funding and Duration
Five years of total funding @ $1 - $1.5 million / year, funded year to year.
SURA Response Strategy
SURA intends to submit a proposal to manage the COMT for 5 years. As part of the proposal, we anticipate including several modeling / cyber-infrastructure projects of approximately 2-year duration. Between now and January 11, 2013, SURA is openly recruiting individuals from the modeling and cyber-infrastructure community to propose and lead projects to be included in SURA's COMT proposal. We are particularly interested in doing this in a way that leverages / compliments modeling objectives and activities in the IOOS Regional Associations and builds on the current COMT infrastructure. All projects included in SURA's COMT proposal must:
- address priorities identified in the COMT priority document and FFO document listed above, and
- be consistent with the COMT intent laid out in the FFO: "The COMT is not intended to fund research into the development of new data assimilation scheme, numerical algorithms, parameterizations, but rather it is about evaluating already developed schemes for potential inclusion in operational use. It is expected that proposals will demonstrated coordination with operational centers that will include planning thru development and testing stages ..."
Project Selection Process
1.) SURA has broadly solicited anyone interested in leading a COMT project in the SURA proposal to provide the following by January 11, 2013:
- one to two paragraphs describing the COMT project you would like to lead (typical duration 2 years);
- collaborators who would be included on the project;
- a short statement outlining your willingness to contribute to the COMT and work as a member of a multidisciplinary team to prepare this proposal; and,
- an NSF-style CV.
- All responses should be sent to Liz Smith.
2.) SURA will organize an external, Science and Requirements Advisory Committee (SRAC) to provide advice on project selection for its COMT proposal.
3.) Individuals who have expressed interest in leading COMT projects will be asked to prepare a short proposal for review by the SRAC and SURA. These are due to SURA by January 28, 2013 and must specifically contain the following information (extracted from the FFO):
Project description (limited to 5 pages):
- Science Plan: Identify the topical priority that your project will address; the rationale for the approach, models, data, partnerships you will use; the methodology you will use; and the expected outcomes you will achieve (including annual milestones). Identify project deliverables (e.g., tools/toolkits, libraries, software, best practices, skill assessment regiment, evaluation criteria, data standards) that will be developed.
- Engagement and Transition: Identify initial engagement with customers such as Federal Operational Centers, who will help define the modeling requirements and provide feedback and evaluation from the beginning to end of the project. Identify strategies, steps and customers for transitioning project deliverables.
- Use and Extension of Current COMT Cyber-Infrastructure: Discuss how you will use and build upon existing COMT cyber-infrastructure to (i) enable data infrastructure, standards and metrics for conducting comparisons and evaluations, (ii) maximize the benefits to the modeling community and (iii) leverage existing COMT data archives, software, capacities and capabilities.
Project Personnel and Management Plan:
- Discuss how you will keep project activities progressing in a timely way.
- Provide 2-page, NSF-style CVs for all key personnel.
Project Budget and Budget Justification
- Provide a budget and budget justification for your project. Official signatures are not required by SURA at this time.
- All responses should be sent to Liz Smith.
4.) The SRAC will be asked to review and score all brief proposals by February 8, 2013.
5.) Based on the SRAC review and SURA's internal review, a set of projects will be selected for inclusion in SURA's COMT proposal. Selected PIs may be required to revise their short proposals based on SRAC comments and to submit a revised document together with final, signed budget documents to SURA by February 20, 2013.
Question: If the FFO requests a proposal for a 5 year COMT, why is SURA asking for projects having durations of 2 years?
Answer: SURA is targeting projects that can be completed in approximately a 2 year time frame and expects turnover to occur in the projects supported by the COMT. As the initial projects near completion (e.g., in 2015), SURA will release a request for proposals for new projects in conjunction with updated COMT priorities from the IOOS Office.
Question: What is the geographic extent of the expected modeling projects, only the Southeastern US?
Answer: No. Projects are encouraged from any geographic domains which meet the priorities stated in the FFO and supplemental information.
Question: How will the 5-page proposals that are due January 30 be evaluated?
Answer: Proposals will be evaluated based on scientific merit, relevance to national operational needs, and the likelihood they can be successfully accomplished.
Question: What is SURA's policy for Indirect Cost?
Answer: SURA has an established policy of limiting overhead rates (IDC) for all contracts it issues to 25% of direct costs. The type of collaboration that is being enabled through this program is unique and powerful, and our expectation is that a mutual agreement to a fixed IDC at 25% gives us a significant competitive edge. If your organization requires further documentation of this policy, Dr. Jerry Draayer, SURA President, will be happy to provide a letter to this effect. You are strongly encouraged to use the 25% IDC rate in your proposal unless other arrangements have been worked out ahead of time with SURA.
Question: What are the requirements for source code and data files sharing used or generated as part of the COMT?
Answer: All participants in the SURA COMT proposal must agree to post to the SURA COMT server and make available to all other COMT participants, all source code, model input and output data files, observational data files, metadata and any other type of digital information used or generated as part of the COMT. Source code will not be made available outside of the COMT participants, however at the end of each project, the PIs will be responsible for posting final data sets (including model input and output files, observational data files and metadata) that adhere to COMT data standards and will be made available to the broader community via the COMT portal to enable others to utilize this information for future modeling studies.
Question: Are there any specific travel requirements for individuals participating in the COMT?
Answer: All lead-PIs and significant co-PIs should budget sufficient travel to attend one, 1.5 day long all hands meeting per year either in Washington, DC, or at a national conference (e.g., AMS, AGU, Ocean Sciences). This is in additional to any travel required to accomplish specific project objectives.
Question: Will there be subcontracts?
Answer: SURA will contract directly with the institutions of all COMT participants. Thus, there will be no subcontracts from one institution to another. All are expected to use the 25% IDC rate.
Question: What start date should we use on our proposals?
Answer: June 1, 2013.
Question: How should proposals be transmitted to SURA?
Answer: Electronically, as a single PDF file, containing a cover page (title, lead PI, co-PIs, collaborators), project summary (1 pg.), project description (5 pgs.), project personnel and management plan, budget/budget justification, 2 pg. CVs of lead PI and significant collaborators (anyone receiving funding should provide a CV), letters of collaborators (if solicited). These should be sent to Liz Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Question: Should we provide a Project Summary and if so, is it to be within the 5-pages?
Answer: Yes, please provide a Project Summary (one page max). This is not part of the 5-page limit.
Question: Are references part of the 5-page limit?
Answer: No. References are not part of the 5-page limit.
Question: "Use and Build Upon Current Cyberinfratrustion (CI)" What do modeling proposals need to consider to ensure they leverage or use the existing CI?
Answer: As part of COMT, we are trying to build an archive of significant model and observational data sets (i.e., to enable future model evaluative studies) and to work toward community-wide data standards and enabling tools. These capabilities should benefit both the academic and the operational communities and help facilitate exchange between the groups. In the modeling project proposals, it is not required that you go into detail to explain how you will leverage these. Rather, we are looking for a commitment to work with us on this as indicated below.
The existing COMT CI is made up of a number of components designed to:
- Catalog model results for discoverability
- Visualize model results from standard model formats
- Access model data via DAP (TDS)
- Access observation via DAP and SOS
- Tools for access of results from Matlab (ncToolBox)
- Tools for model/obs comparisons (IMEDS)
- Preliminary libraries for accessing unstructured grids
Many of these tools are available at http://testbed.sura.org/node/530
To ensure that modeling efforts leverage the existing COMT infrastructure and tools:
- Modelers should familiarize themselves with the tools and libraries that have been / are being developed within the COMT and be willing to engage with the CI team to provide guidance for future tool development
- Model results should be accessible via DAP. Any data uploaded to the Testbed server will have a DAP server available for use. In the previous testbed project, some modeling teams provided their results from their own servers via DAP. If choosing to provide results on a DAP server outside the Testbed server, someone must be available to work with the CI team to ensure data is compliant and provide metadata changes as needed by the CI group.
- Even though modeling teams may perform their work on distributed servers, in order to preserve observational and model results from the testbed, critical runs must be uploaded and made available via the COMT server. During the project these will only be available to other COMT members. After the project is completed, these will be made publicly available.
- Observation data for skill assessment and comparisons should be stored in NetCDF (using the CF Discrete Sampling Geometry specifications)
- Model results should be stored in common formats (including NetCDF3/4, GRIB1/2, and HDF4/5) and use CF conventions when possible.
- Unstructured grids should comply with the evolving UGRID conventions
- Metadata for model runs (and observations) should be created using the ISO 19115-2 standard. We encourage use of the ncISO extension for TDS to autogenerate ISO metadata records (this is configured on the testbed server and available for uploaded model data). This process requires metadata to be included in the model results using NCML or the global attributes in the model output files.