The National Park Service (NPS) solicits research proposals from CESU non-federal partners in one of two ways: i) the NPS contact distributes a Request for Letters of Research Interest (LOIs) to obtain a list of prospective principal investigators (PIs) to choose from or ii) the NPS contact requests a research proposal/budget (see below) from a PI who he/she knows has the requisite experience and expertise to successfully complete the proposed project. LOIs are posted on the Chesapeake Watershed (CW) CESU’s website as well as distributed by the CESU Director to the CESU Technical Representative(s) for each of the non-federal partners.
Important Note: The CESU non-federal partner must have a CESU $0 Master Cooperative Agreement in place with the NPS if the project will be funded through the Chesapeake Watershed Region. This requirement differs by NPS region so check with the relevant NPS CESU Research Coordinator if funding is from another region.
Request for Letters of Research Interest (LOIs) (When Applicable)
The content of the Request may vary somewhat based on the NPS contact, but typically contains:
The LOI varies in length, depending on the specifications of the NPS contact, but is usually 2-6 pages. The LOI typically contains:
The NPS contact often creates a panel to review, rank and select the LOI. The PI with the top-ranked LOI then coordinates with the NPS contact to create a research proposal and detailed budget.
The NPS cannot require a specific template for research proposals, but successful proposals usually contain these elements:
The research proposal and detailed budget will be attached to the Task Agreement that awards the funds to the recipient. In addition, the PI provides the following to the NPS contact (or designated NPS Agreements Technical Representative) to include in the Task Agreement package so that it can be processed and awarded.
 A CESU $0 Master Cooperative Agreement is created in response to a Notice of Funding Opportunity posted on grants.gov, which satisfies the competition criterion and allows NPS staff to work with specific CESU non-federal partners with these agreements without further competition.
A pdf with these instructions is available here.
This NPS CESU Proposal Procedures Document can also be helpful in understanding the process.
This document explains the important relationship between CESU agreements and public purpose in the NPS.
PR Package Due Dates (Cutoff Dates)
Upcoming logistics and other milestones over the coming weeks and months:
12/17/23 NPS Financial Assistance consolidation effective
01/15/24 Financial Assistance Submission Tracker (FAST) live and available for use
02/15/24 Financial Assistance Submission Tracker (FAST) is required
02/15/24 Financial Assistance reorganization into programmatic branches begins
FY24 FA Submission Tracker (FAST) Request Packages* Due Dates
03/01/24 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Competitive Cooperative Agreements & All Property Use as FA
05/24/24 Single Source Cooperative Agreements & Task Agreements
06/28/24 Modifications/Amendments to Existing FA Agreements
*A purchase request (PR) is not required to be submitted with the FA Submission Tracker (FAST) Request Package by these dates.
Please use the Financial Assistance Submission Tracker (FAST) for all project submissions.
*You must submit all new agreements and modifications to old agreements on this form. Be sure to select the appropriate type of action as you complete the form. When submitting no cost modifications, please describe the justification/reason for the modification, the date to which you would like to extend the agreement to, and any other relevant details for award processing.
NPS personnel should initiate projects or modifications in in this SharePoint form first, rather than the recipients in GrantSolutions. WASO FA is having trouble locating/tracking projects initiated by recipients in GrantSolutions.
Once your project has been submitted visit the FA Submissions Tracker to find your project ID number (scroll to the bottom as your project will be the most recently entered). You will track your project using the ID number.
Once you complete the submission form and have your ID number, you can upload your documents on the SharePoint Documents Tab–> 1 ATR Document Upload–>Upload your documents to the folder that matches your project submission ID number from the excel sheet.
If you need additional support for your project, you can visit the NPS Financial Assistance Operations Hub.
You can view the status of your existing agreement by accessing the ASAP Draw Down Report here.
You can also check the history of an award by visiting this website and searching by the awards “P” number.
The process described below is written for the use of National Park Service employees who plan to complete a project using the Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Network (CW CESU). If you are a university, Principal Investigator, or NGO, please contact the CW CESU Research coordinator.
****If the partner is working through a master cooperative agreement, there may be additional paperwork requirements related to risk assessment, especially if awards are cumulative for a fiscal year and exceeded $750,000 of federal funding.
*****Other Resources from across the CESU Network can be found on the Financial Assistance Documents Portal.