Water resources research national competitive grants program

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources requests proposals for matching grants to support research on the topic of improving and enhancing the nation’s water supply, including evaluation of innovative approaches to water treatment, infrastructure design, retrofitting, maintenance, management, and replacement; exploration and advancement of our understanding of changes in the quantity and quality of water resources in response to a changing climate, population shifts, and land use changes; development of methods for better estimation of water supply, both surface and groundwater, including estimation of the physical supply and of the economic supply of water; development and evaluation of processes and governance mechanisms for integrated surface/ground water management; and the evaluation and assessment of conservation practices.

Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, as amended ( Proposals involving substantial collaboration between the USGS and university scientists are encouraged. Proposals may be for projects of one to three years in duration and may request up to $250,000 in federal funds. Successful applicants must match each dollar of the federal grant with one dollar from nonfederal sources. Approximately $1 million is available under this program in FY 2016. The Government’s obligation under this program is contingent upon the availability of funds.

Proposals must be filed on the Internet at by 4 p.m., Central Standard Time, Thursday, February 25, 2016. For Wisconsin applicants, a submission on the NIWR website is NOT considered complete unless the application has been approved by the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute. Approval requires an applicant to provide a matching commitment letter and proof of administrative approval by the applicant’s department and dean’s office for UW-Madison, or campus approval for applicants from Wisconsin higher education institutions other than UW-Madison.

For UW-Madison applicants this means a WISPER record needs to be created and a matching commitment letter attached to the WISPER record. A copy of the budget that is submitted at the NIWR website also needs to be attached to the WISPER record. The proposal narrative does not have to be attached to the WISPER record. The record then needs to be routed through the associated dean/director office and then to Jean Touchett (WISPER user TOUCHETT, JEAN M, WISPER records should NOT be routed to the SPO (Office of Research and Sponsored Programs). After the Water Resources Institute approves the proposal and matching commitment, Water Resources Director James Hurley’s name will be added as the administrative principal investigator. A file containing the SF-424 will be prepared by Water Resources and associated with the WISPER record that will then be routed to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. In summary, a WISPER record with matching commitment letter and budget attached will be created by the applicant’s department and routed through the applicant’s dean’s office. The dean’s office should then route the record to Jean Touchett (not Research and Sponsored Programs). This must occur prior to 4 p.m., CST, Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Applicants from campuses other than UW-Madison must provide a document showing that administrative approval has been received from someone authorized to sign-off for that institution. This authorization must include a separate matching commitment letter indicating how the matching requirement will be met and a copy of the budget that is submitted at the NIWR website. An email from the authorized representative for the applicant’s campus with the matching commitment letter and budget as an attachment is acceptable. The matching commitment letter and budget must be separate documents (not incorporated into the body of the email). Also acceptable would be any transmittal form or sponsored research offices’ forms that show approval has been obtained along with the matching commitment letter and budget as attachments. Any non-Madison campus applicants using the WISPER proposal routing application should route the WISPER record through their channels, including their sponsored research office (SPO) and then generate an electronic copy of the WISPER record to send as an attachment along with the matching commitment letter and budget. The WISPER record should NOT be transmitted to NIWR. Materials should be emailed to: Jean Touchett, Water Resources Institute at The approval email and any attachments must arrive by 4 p.m., CST, Thursday, February 25, 2016. The proposal narrative does not need to be included since it is submitted by the applicant on the NIWR website and not necessary to demonstrate administrative approval.

All applicants should note that there is language on the NIWR website and in the RFP on submitting a Federal Form SF-424 via Applicants do NOT need to be concerned with this step. The Water Resources Institute will prepare the SF-424 and submit it on behalf of applicants to

To obtain a copy of the 2015 RFP, please go to On the blue menu on the left side of the page select “rfps”. You will be taken to the page “Current and Recent Requests for Proposals.” Under the NIWR heading on the main content part of that page click on the link “This RFP for the 104(g) Competitive Grant applies for FY2016.