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How To Apply

Application Process
How do I apply via the Grants On Line System?
Application Package
Application Checklist
Submission Dates and Times
Frequently Asked Questions
For Further Information
About NOAA
About the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

PLEASE NOTE: As of December 2012, applicants using the newest version of Adobe Reader XI may encounter an error that could prevent them from submitting their application through Grants.gov. Click here to check whether you have a compatible version of Adobe Reader installed. To download a version of Adobe Reader that is compatible with Grants.gov, click here.



Application Process

Applicants must apply on-line at http://grants.gov. The Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for FY'14 has been published and is now searchable under the FFO #NOAA-NOS-NMS-2014-2003873. The application process has several steps and takes time to complete, so read the instructions early in order to accomplish all steps. The deadline date of December 12, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time including time of day is firm for all application submissions. All application paperwork must be uploaded to http://grants.gov after establishing an account unless otherwise noted in the FFO. Click here for a pdf version of the FFO for your reference. Please be advised that the FFO is the official document for the scholarship opportunity and it is highly recommended that you download it as your guide for applying for the scholarship.

Paper applications will be accepted only from those individuals who do not have access to the Internet. Paper applications must be postmarked by the due date as outlined in the Full Funding Opportunity. In such cases, paper applications should be sent to:

    Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
    NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
    1305 East West Highway
    SSMC4 11th Floor, Room 11423
    Silver Spring, MD 20910

How do I apply via the Grants.gov System?

The FFO for FY'14 has been published as of November 8, 2013. The announcement has been posted on the website http://fosterscholars.noaa.gov with a link to Grants.gov. The announcement will contain the Funding Opportunity Number which is needed to register in Grants.gov and apply on-line. For detailed information about registering as an individual and applying in the Grants.gov system, please review the following document: http://www.grants.gov/assets/IndvUserGuide.pdf.

Application and Submission Information

A. Address to Request Application Package
The Full Funding Opportunity can be found on http://grants.gov. Applications must be received through http://grants.gov. Instructions, information to be included in the application submission, and a checklist can be found below. Further information about the scholarship and NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries research priorities can be found at the web sites: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/assessment, http://fosterscholars.noaa.gov, respectively. Information in hard copy may be requested from:

    Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
    Attention: Seaberry Nachbar
    299 Foam Street
    Monterey, CA 93940.

Information contact(s): Send requests for information to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at the address shown above, by telephone (831) 647- 4204, or via e-mail to fosterscholars@noaa.gov.

B. Content and Form of Application
Each application package must include the items listed below unless otherwise indicated. Failure to submit any items as described in this section will disqualify the application from consideration.

  1. STANDARD FORM 424 (SF-424)

    Application for Federal Assistance is located on the Grants.gov portal and must be completed with information pertinent to the applicant. Detailed instructions on how to complete the SF-424 form can be found on the Nancy Foster Scholarship Program website: http://fosterscholars.noaa.gov. Item number 21 on the SF-424 cannot be used as a replacement for the declaration statement required in Item 9 below.

  2. All blocks in yellow must be completed.

    • Organizational Duns Number - use 000000000INDV
    • Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number - use your social security number
    • Organizational Unit: Department and Division - Leave blank
    • Type of Applicant: select P. Individual
    • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number - 11.429 Title: National Marine Sanctuaries
    • Description and Title of Project - Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
    • Areas Affected by the Project - Enter area where the university is located
    • Proposed start date - 07-01-2014 - End date July 31 - 2 years later for masters or 4 years later for doctorate or sooner if you are well into your degree at the beginning of the award
    • Congressional District of applicant - location of university attending or applying to - if you are applying to multiple graduate programs at the time of application, please use your permanent address.
    • Congressional District of Program Project - location of proposed research project.
    • Estimated funding - for Master's Degree Applicants: Federal $94,000, Total $94,000; For Doctoral Degree Applicants: Federal $188,000, Total $188,000
    • Program is not covered by E.O. 12372
    • Authorized representative - you are your authorized representative; your title is either Master's Degree Student, or Doctoral Student

    Numbers 2-9: The following items of the application listed below shall be uploaded into Grants.gov in a single Adobe PDF file, in the order outlined below. Failure to provide a single Adobe PDF file with all of the components in the order listed below will result in the application being disqualified.

  3. GENERAL INFORMATION SHEET

    Provide the information outlined below, but do not exceed 2 typewritten single-spaced pages, font size 12 in Times New Roman, with a 1" margin. General Information Sheets that are longer than 2 pages in length will not be accepted and will result in the application being disqualified. The General Information Sheet must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in Section B of the Application and Submission Information.

    1. Personal Data: Provide your full name (including all aliases and maiden/married names), country of citizenship, current address, permanent address, and home, work, fax, and cellular telephone numbers, and email address.

    2. Optional Personal Data: For statistical collection purposes only you may indicate your gender, and race or ethnicity (this information is voluntary).

    3. Degree Sought: State your proposed field of study (oceanography, marine biology or maritime archaeology (including all science, engineering, and resource management of ocean and coastal areas) and the degree being sought (e.g. M.S., M.A., Ph.D.). Include the month and year the degree will be awarded. State the name and location of your institution and your academic department for your graduate study.

    4. Education: List the academic degrees received, or expect to receive by the start of your proposed graduate studies for this program, including the date of receipt and institution and your current GPA which should be 3.3 or higher. Provide your graduate advisor's name, address, telephone, fax number, and e-mail address.

    5. Academic Honors: List any academic honors received.

    6. Relevant Work Experience: List work experience related to your field of study. You may include research and teaching assistantships and any other paid or unpaid work.

    Failure to include the General Information Sheet, as outlined above, will result in the application being disqualified.

  4. STATEMENT OF INTENT

    Provide the following components outlined below in two separate sections. The Statement of Intent should be typewritten, single-spaced, font size 12 Times New Roman, with a 1" margin and should not exceed one page in length including sections (a) and (b). Both sections (a) and (b) will be weighted equally; therefore your descriptions must provide enough detail to review accordingly. Statements longer than one page will not be accepted and will result in the application being disqualified. The Statement of Intent must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in Section B of the Application and Submission Information.

    This statement should not be a research proposal or scientific abstract. This statement will be used to evaluate you as an individual, not necessarily as a scientist, your motivation for applying for this scholarship, and your reflection on how to communicate and educate the public about your research. This statement should demonstrate your organizational and written communication skills.

    1. A self-description of your academic, research, career goals, and how your proposed course of study or research will help you achieve these goals. This is your opportunity to present yourself, your aspirations, and your career goals. Include any background information that is pertinent, and provide insight into why you choose to pursue these goals.

    2. A description of how you envision sharing your research and your results to the broader community and how the benefits of your research will impact society. As a Nancy Foster Scholar, you are asked to become a "Sanctuary Ambassador" which emphasizes the opportunity to conduct education and outreach to the public (i.e. your college or university, community groups/organizations, or schools) about current research issues in our sanctuary system. In this section please outline your ideas on a focused and effective education and outreach strategy regarding your research as it relates to the sanctuary system and the ocean.

    Failure to submit a Statement of Intent as indicated above will result in the application being disqualified.

  5. RESEARCH PROPOSAL

    The Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is designed to support students interested in NOAA mission related sciences of oceanography, marine biology or maritime archaeology (including all science, engineering, and resource management of ocean and coastal areas).

    Nancy Foster Scholars fulfill the data sharing information plan requirement of section VI.C. by including the completed, signed declaration required in section IV.B.9. of this FFO.

    In your proposal, please include the following information:

    Discuss the research area you plan to pursue in graduate school and its relationship to sciences in the aforementioned research priorities, and how your research activities support NOAA's mission, particularly the mission of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Information about NOAA is available at www.noaa.gov and in particular, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov, and the ONMS Science Needs Assessment at http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/assessment.

    Please make sure that your research goals and path are clearly defined and can be completed within the period of the scholarship and that the proposal is constructed well and you clearly demonstrate your technical knowledge of the research area. Failure to submit a Research Proposal as indicated above will result in the application being disqualified.

    The research proposal should be typewritten, single-spaced, font size 12 Times New Roman, with a 1" margin and should not exceed 3 pages in length. Page limits are inclusive of figures, and other visual materials, but are exclusive of references. Proposals longer than three pages will not be accepted and will result in the application being disqualified. Failure to submit a research proposal as indicated above will result in the application being disqualified. The Research Proposal must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in Section B of the Application and Submission Information.

  6. STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL NEED

    To evaluate financial need, NOAA will use the Department of Education's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) determination. To receive an EFC determination, applicants must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Department of Education. See http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. In response to the FAFSA, the Department of Education will provide the applicant with a Student Aid Report (SAR), which will contain the EFC determination. The previous year's SAR is acceptable for this requirement. A copy of the first page of the SAR which includes the EFC and the applicants name must be submitted. In addition a 1 page, single spaced essay describing your financial need must be submitted with the application.

    In your essay describing your financial need, discuss how you plan to fund your graduate level education and what the impact will be if you do not receive this scholarship. Also, list the following in the order stated:

    • Estimated amount needed for tuition and fees

    • All resources currently available to you to cover your graduate studies (e.g., grants, student loans, scholarships, research or teaching assistant positions, personal funds)

    • The length of time these resources will be available and if they include work requirements

    • Other resources for which you have applied and have received, as well as those for which you have not received a response.

    Statements longer than one page, font size 12 Times New Roman, with 1" margins, will not be accepted and will result in the application being disqualified. The Statement of Financial Need must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in Section B of the Application and Submission Information.

  7. ENROLLMENT VERIFICATION OR LIST OF GRADUATE SCHOOLS APPLIED

    For current graduate students, transcripts showing courses in which you are currently enrolled can be used as enrollment verification. If an applicant is not currently enrolled but are applying to graduate schools they must submit a "List of Graduate Schools applied to" including the month and year graduate studies will begin, and any acceptance letters received at the time of application, with their application. Individuals selected to receive the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship award must provide proof of acceptance into a graduate program at a U.S. accredited institution at the time of notification or the individual will be ineligible to receive the award. The Enrollment Verification or "List of Graduate Schools applied to" must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in Section B of the Application and Submission Information. Failure to include the Enrollment Verification or "List of Graduate Schools applied to" as applicable, specifically as indicated above will result in the application being disqualified. Applicants selected to receive the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship will be required to submit a certification of enrollment at the start of each academic term.

  1. TRANSCRIPTS

    Unofficial transcripts submitted by the applicant are acceptable and must be included within the single Adobe PDF document in the correct order as outlined in Section B of the Application and Submission Information. Applicants must submit transcripts for all complete years of academic training (both undergraduate and graduate), including courses in which you are currently enrolled in. Transcripts from an institution or university that are only for one semester are not required (excluding work in progress) but may be included in the single Adobe PDF document if needed to support evidence of research experience. Failure to submit the transcripts as indicated above will result in the application being disqualified. Official transcripts will be required prior to making an award.

  2. TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

    Each application must include only two letters of recommendation with written signatures on the actual letter (additional letters will not be considered) from individuals who have knowledge of your academic record, research effort, work and/or life experience. One of these letters must be from someone in your current academic career. If you are currently not enrolled, one letter should be from a professor who can provide knowledge of your academic career. Relevant paid work, such as internships and volunteer efforts, are applicable. Letters of recommendation should include:

    • Statements of the applicant's ability to succeed in the program proposal;

    • Familiarity with the applicants work;

    • Statement that the individual writing the letter has a clear understanding of the goals and aspirations of the applicant on a personal and professional level; and

    • Clear support for the applicant

    See the FFO for information relating to letters of recommendation from NOAA employees. If an applicant plans to have a NOAA employee submit a letter of reference as one of the letters or recommendation required in this section, please note that the letter is limited to factual information and the NOAA employee's knowledge of the applicant's ability or character based on the employee's Government interactions with the applicant. The letter may not endorse one applicant over other applicants. Subject to restrictions and management approval, a NOAA employee may submit a letter of reference to NOAA for the agency's use in evaluating the application. The supervisor must make a decision regarding whether it is in the agency's interest to write such a letter. If the supervisor approves the letter, it should be written on agency letterhead and the employee should use his or her NOAA title. The employee may not send the letter in his or her personal capacity.

    Letters of recommendation must be scanned PDFs with a handwritten signature on official letterhead of the person recommending the candidate included in the single Adobe PDF document. Applications without two, signed letters on official letterhead of recommendation will result in the application being disqualified.

  3. DECLARATION

Applicants must certify that all statements and information in their application are true and correct by copying the following statement on a separate sheet of paper, providing a handwritten signature on the same paper, and including it in the single Adobe PDF document:

I, the undersigned, declare, under penalty of perjury, that:

I understand and agree to the limitations of the allowable costs for the scholarship funds as defined in this FFO and that I am aware of the data sharing stipulation policy applicable to all NOAA Federal Funding Opportunities. This statement serves as my "Data/Information Sharing Plan" insofar as it expressly states that no funds associated with this award will be used for the collection or creation of any environmental information or data.

All statements and information in my application are true and correct at the time of this application.

Executed on [insert date].______________________

Print or Type Name_____________________________

Signature_____________________________________

Failure to include the exact statement above, signed by the applicant, will result in the application being disqualified.

Each application package must include the items listed in the Application and Submission Information section. Failure to submit all items, excluding the SF 424 which can be uploaded individually, in a single Adobe PDF document as described in the Application and Submission Information section and in the above outlined order or if any item is omitted will disqualify the application from consideration. Individual documents uploaded to Grants.gov will not be accepted and the applicant will be disqualified.

While this website provides assistance on the application and submission process the FFO contains the official instructions for applying to the scholarship.

Questions from the NOAA NEPA questionnaire are not required to be answered since the program has been determined to be exempt from NEPA review.

Application Checklist

Access the application checklist by clicking here.

Submission Dates and Times

Completed applications must be received by Grants.gov or the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries by December 12, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or postmarked by December 12, 2013 and sent to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Applications received after the due date will not be reviewed or considered and will be disqualified. Applicants may submit applications via Grants.gov or in paper hard copies. Date and time of receipt of each application sent via Grants.gov is electronically recorded. For hard copy submission, each envelope is time and date stamped when received. In order for an application to be considered "Complete" all items required in subsection IV.B. "Content and Form of Application" must be received by Grants.gov or postmarked by the submission date. If you choose to mail your full application we suggest using a service that can guarantee confirmation of delivery.

PLEASE NOTE: For detailed information about registering as an individual and applying in the Grants.gov system, please review the following document: http://www/grants.gov/assets/IndvUserGuide.pdf. All applicants, both those using electronic and paper, should be aware that adequate time must be factored into applicant submission timelines for delivery of the application. It may take Grants.gov up to two (2) business days to validate or reject the application. You will receive an official notice from Grants.gov if you have uploaded your application correctly. It is not the responsibility of the Program Office to verify receipt of any application.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I submit my application?

  1. All applications MUST be submitted on http://grants.gov. If you do not have Internet access, please contact Seaberry Nachbar at (831) 647-4202 to make alternate arrangements to mail your application in. Applications mailed in must be received by the due date as outlined in the Full Funding Opportunity.

  1. Should all of the application items be uploaded to grants.gov?

  1. All material outlined in the Application Packet should be uploaded in order to grants.gov in a single Adobe PDF in the correct order, except for the Standard Form 424 which should be uploaded to Grants.gov separately. All material mailed in must be postmarked by the due date as outlined in the Full Funding Opportunity.

  1. When does my application need to be received?

  1. Your application must be received by the due date as outlined in the Full Funding Opportunity through grants.gov or postmarked by the due date. Adequate time must be factored into applicant schedules for delivery of the application. In may take grants.gov up to two business days to validate or reject the application.

  1. May I upload more than two letters of recommendation?

  1. Only two signed letters of recommendation should be included with your application materials. Any others will not be considered.

  1. Can a non-U.S. citizen apply for the scholarship?

  1. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

  1. I am U.S. citizen pursuing a degree in one of the three eligible degree fields at a foreign institution, am I eligible to apply?

  1. You must be enrolled in or have accepted an offer at the time the award is made from an accredited U.S. graduate institution.

  1. May only new students apply?

  1. Students in all stages of their MS or Ph.D studies are eligible to apply.

  1. May I apply if I am currently applying to graduate programs?
  1. Students who are applying to graduate school at the time of application are eligible to apply. In lieu of the institute certification from the graduate program, applicants should submit a list of schools where the applicant has applied. Applicants must have an accepted offer to a U.S. institution at the time the award is made.

  1. I was able to send my application to grants.gov after 5:00 P.M. Eastern Time on the due date, will it be accepted?
  1. Applications received after 5:00 P.M. on the due date will be disqualified.

For Further Information

Contact the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program via e-mail: fosterscholars@noaa.gov. Please realize that questions received to this email in the days before the due date may not be answered promptly due to the large volume of emails received.

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About NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) mission is to describe and predict changes in the Earth's environment, and conserve and manage wisely the Nation's coastal and marine resources to ensure sustainable economic opportunities. As the largest agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA manages the U.S. operational weather and environmental satellites, a fleet of ships and aircraft for oceanographic, surveying, fisheries, coastal, and atmospheric studies, 12 environmental research laboratories, and several large supercomputers. NOAA is responsible for all U.S. weather and climate forecasting, monitoring and archiving of oceanic and atmospheric data, management of marine fisheries and mammals, mapping and charting of all U.S. waters, coastal zone management, and research and development in all of these areas. Essentially, NOAA is divided into six Line Offices: National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Weather Service, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, and Program Planning and Integration. NOAA also has multiple corporate and staff offices. With employees in every U.S. state, at sea, and at many overseas locations, NOAA employs more than 12,500 people.

About the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries conducts, sponsors, and facilitates research to better understand ecosystems and cultural resources in marine sanctuaries, their changing condition, and the significance of threats. ONMS uses conservation science to support policy decisions, develop effective response capabilities, evaluate management practices, and support broader, NOAA-wide responsibilities for marine conservation and management. Science priorities are identified within national sanctuary management plans and are necessary to protect and conserve sanctuary resources, manage risks, reduce threats, and respond to unexpected events. Strong partnerships, expert scientific content and judgment, and peer review enhance the accuracy and credibility of monitoring and research. In addition, science, education, outreach, and policy development work together to raise awareness and prompt effective action that will address ocean problems. More information on the ONMS can be found at http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov.



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