This FAQ will be updated periodically as questions regarding this competition are received. Please make sure to read thoroughly both: the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on Grants.gov, and the Competition Information Sheet on cpo.noaa.gov

The Q&As posted here are informational. The essential documents defining the terms and conditions of this opportunity are the NOFO and Information Sheet referenced above and throughout this Q&A.

Q: Do we need an academic or evaluation research partner if the ongoing project is being led by a local nonprofit?

A: There is no requirement that the project be led by an academic. Eligibility information can be found in Section III of the NOFO.

Q: Should each proposal address one or multiple UHI campaign cities?

A: You can work with one or more campaign cities as you like. Requirements regarding scope can be found in the Competition Information Sheet.

Q: Are there restrictions on what funding can be used for?

A: Yes, federal grants can only be used for certain purposes. For more information, refer to Section VI of the NOFO, as well as the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 C.F.R. Part 200.

Q: Are proposals that include additional temperature data collection encouraged, or is the idea to depend entirely on leveraging the existing campaigns?

A: We’d like you to leverage data from the existing campaigns, but you are also encouraged to augment, enhance, and extend that data with other observing systems, data sets, etc… See the competition information sheet for more details and examples.

Q: Are there restrictions on federal indirect costs?

A: Many organizations will have negotiated direct cost rates with the Department of Commerce (NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.) already; if not, a rate can be negotiated. We encourage you to start early on this process if your organization has not sought federal funding before. In the absence of an agreement, the de minimis indirect cost rate is 10% of MTDC. Please review NOFO Section IV.B.9 on Indirect Costs as well as Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 C.F.R. Part 200.

Q: Do you have hypothetical or real-life examples for what the second funding opportunity could be used for?

A: We do not want to be prescriptive regarding examples, since circumstances, research and operational needs, opportunities, and other factors will vary from community to community. We encourage you to ground your proposal with deep engagement with decision-makers in one or more of the campaign communities referenced in the Information Sheet.

Q: Can there be multiple lead PIs (e.g., academic and civic partners) or one lead applicant?

A: There is typically one lead PI, but there can be several Co-Is on a proposal. Co-Is can be funded or unfunded as desired.

Q: When evaluating proposals how will community engagement be weighed against basic research?

A: Both aspects are important. The review and selection process is outlined in the NOFO, Section V. Technical/Scientific Merit is 52.5% of the review weighting. Importance/Relevance and Applicability of Application to the Program Goals is 25% of the review weighting. Note that the Information Sheet explicitly requires community engagement: “Applicant PIs need not be based in one of these

communities, but collaboration with decision-makers in these cities is required.”

Q: If we are applying from a city not on the list and proposing a partnership with another city on the list is that a valid partnership arrangement?

A: The intent of this competition is to further the Urban Heat Island work done in an existing or future community that has participated in UHI mapping through the NIHHIS-CAPA approach. If you are based in a community that is not listed as an in-scope community, you must collaborate with decision-makers in an in-scope community and meaningfully benefit that in-scope community by leveraging the outcomes of the NIHHIS-CAPA campaign. The degree to which you are responsive to the program goals and scope as outlined in the information sheet is the principal factor we evaluate the relevance review panel.

Q: The NOFO states "It is anticipated that $500,000 will be available for the first year of funded projects." How much funding is available in the second year---should we assume the same?

A: Funding in future fiscal years is subject to the Federal budget process and the availability of funds. In this particular competition, proposals can request up to $150,000 per year for each of two years. Should a multi-year (in this case up to 2 years) proposal be recommended for funding, the award will be broken into multiple budget periods. Because the federal budget is set annually, agencies generally cannot promise funding beyond one year. If you are awarded a multi-year award, it is our intent to fulfil that award in the other periods as agreed upon in the award, provided funds are available and provided the project is in good standing.

Q: Must applicants work with a private sector company to be eligible to apply for this opportunity?

A: No, collaboration with a private sector entity is not required, nor is any prior support of a private company. The data sets we refer to in the competition information sheet are free and publicly available, so there is no required connection to the company that produced them (aside from giving proper attribution). Our requirement that proposals be developed in collaboration with community decision-makers also does not in any way require collaboration with a private sector company. Eligibility requirements are specified in the Notice of Federal Funding (section III).

Q: How will the proposals be evaluated?

A: Details on the review process can be found in Section V.4.B of the NOFO. Applications are reviewed in a 2-stage review. The first stage focuses on technical/scientific merit, qualifications of the applicant, and project costs. A confidential expert panel of peer reviewers who are subject matter experts in areas relevant to the competition will be assembled to score applications in this round. The second stage focuses on importance/relevance and applicability of the application to the program goals. This stage primarily evaluates the responsiveness of the proposal to the program goals elaborated in the competition information sheet.

Q: Based on the LOIs you received for this competition, do you have any other reminders?


  1. This competition seeks to build on the NIHHIS-CAPA Urban Heat Island Community Science Mapping Campaigns conducted in the in-scope communities listed in the information sheet. Engagement with decision makers in one or more of these communities is required.
  2. We expect that will you leverage the openly available urban heat island data produced via the community science urban heat island field campaigns.
  3. Building your proposal with meaningful decision maker engagement from the start (co-production) is strongly encouraged for actionable science.
  4. Extreme heat is an issue on all timescales, but the Climate Program Office focuses on longer-term planning and preparedness timescales (sub-seasonal, seasonal, and beyond). Proposals can include consideration of the short-term (weather) timescale too but should primarily focus on decisions made on longer (climate) timescales.
  5. LOIs and full proposals should be clear about the expected outcomes and outputs of the research project. It should be evident that decision makers are requesting/desiring these outcomes and outputs, and that they will use them for decision-making.
  6. Technical/scientific merit and innovativeness are 52.5% of the overall weight when scoring a full proposal.

Q: Regarding the Data Sharing Plan, what kinds of data must be addressed?

A: New environmental data created or collected under this grant, such as observations collected in the field or significant final derivatives would be the subject of your data management plan. If pre-existing climate model runs, satellite imagery or other existing and accessible datasets are used, there is no need to reshare them (but they should be properly referenced). Proprietary or protected data, such as health data, can stay protected.

Essentially the goal is reproducibility. Other scientists and analysts should be able to replicate any research done by using data shared by you or that is otherwise accessible.

Q: Which communities are part of the 2021 NIHHIS-CAPA Mapping Cohort

A: A tentative, rolling list of communities, subject to budget allocations, is being assembled.

NOFO at a Glance


Links to Full NOFO and Grants.gov Listing

Important Dates/Deadlines

Letters of Intent

Letters of intent (LOIs) should be received by email by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 8, 2021.

A response to the LOI from the Competition Manager (e-mail or letter) will be sent to the investigator within two weeks after the LOI’s due date encouraging or discouraging a full application based on its relevance to the targeted competition. It is then entirely up to the investigator whether to submit a full application.

Full Applications

Full applications for this competition must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, February 15, 2021.

Applications received after these dates and times will not be considered for funding.

Applications must be submitted via grants.gov. For applications submitted through grants.gov, the basis for determining timeliness is the receipt notice issued by grants.gov, which includes the date and time received.

Applicants without internet access

Please contact the CPO Grants Manager Diane Brown by mail at NOAA Climate Program Office (R/CP1), SSMC3, Room 12734, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 to obtain an application package. Please allow two weeks after receipt for a response. Hard copy submissions will be date and time stamped when they are received in the Climate Program Office.

Emailed or faxed copies of applications will not be accepted.

For Federal Investigators

Federal lead investigators who wish to apply to this Announcement of Opportunity must prepare a proposal according to the FFO guidelines and submit the proposal to the program manager directly, instead of to http://www.grants.gov. Federal co-investigators must submit a proposal identical to the proposal lead's but with personalized budget information.

Letters of Intent should be received by Competition Manager by 5 p.m. Eastern Time, on January 8, 2021.

Full applications for this competition must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, February 15, 2021.

Where to Submit

Application packages:

Visit Grants.gov and click on Apply for Grants. You may also directly view the Grants.gov listing.

Notice of Funding Opportunity Number:


Applicants without Internet access:

Please send mail to:
Diane Brown
CPO Grants Manager
NOAA Climate Program Office (R/CP1), SSMC3, Room 12734
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Please allow two weeks after receipt for a response.

General Grants Questions


Diane Brown, CPO Grants Manager   


All Funding Opportunities


All FY23 Funding Opportunities

Applicant Resources at a Glance

About CPO Funding Opportunities

CPO manages competitive research programs through which NOAA funds high-priority climate science, assessments, decision support research, outreach, education, and capacity building activities designed to advance the understanding of Earth’s climate system and to foster the application for of this knowledge to enable effective decisions. CPO supports research that is conducted across the United States and internationally. CPO also provides strategic guidance for the agency’s climate science and services programs and supports NOAA’s contributions to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and its National Climate Assessment and similar international endeavors.



Funding Recipients



1315 East-West Highway Suite 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.