Application Deadlines:

Applications Open
November 23, 2020

Full Proposal Deadline
January 29, 2021 at 11:00pm PT

Program contact:
Annie Burgess

2020 Winter ESIP Lab Request for Proposals

The ESIP Lab supports the Earth science community in building innovative, applied technologies through funding and community input. Additionally, projects are encouraged to have a learning objective as part of their deliverables. Through this Request for Proposals (RFP), the ESIP Lab seeks projects that last 6 – 8 months, with a maximum budget of $10,000.

Proposals that address the following needs in the Earth science community will be given priority:

  • Modernization of Earth science workflows using community-recommended best practices — the use of open-source software and cloud computing are encouraged.
  • Cloud computing use cases for Earth science — creation of well-documented notebooks showing how to collect, distribute, or analyze Earth science data in the cloud.
  • Extension of open source software critical to collecting, distributing, fusing, or analyzing Earth science data.
  • Comparison or assessment of Machine Learning or Deep Learning techniques with controlled datasets and/or using well-defined benchmarks.
  • Develop innovative methods for communication and application of standards related to biological data- such as decision tree templates.

Although this RFP will give priority to proposals addressing the bulleted topics above, other high-quality proposals will also be given consideration.


This RFP seeks innovative project ideas that address any aspect of earth science technology, with priority given to those proposals that fall within the priority research topic areas identified above. Knowledge derived from these studies should inform further technology development or science questions. Special consideration will be given to proposals that are collaborative between institutions. 

Award Amount

A typical budget for a project supported by this mechanism is limited to $9,000. However, larger budgets will be considered with the firm limit that costs may not exceed $11,000. Multiple projects will be selected for funding with the goal of making awards to as many of the highest-rated proposals as possible. Special attention will be given to projects that demonstrate efficiency and economy of resources to pursue the research proposed. No part of this award can be attributed to indirect costs. 

Cloud Services

The ESIP Lab can provide AWS cloud services for your project up to $5k (these costs would NOT need to be included in your $10k maximum budget). Include in your proposal a plan for which cloud services are needed and how they contribute to your project. Any cloud instances can remain up for the initial project timeframe, but plans should be made to migrate or turn-off those instances within one year of project completion.

You are not required to use AWS cloud services if another provider is preferred, however, those cloud services must come out of your overall budget. 


  • You are an individual employed by an ESIP Partner organization (see a full list of partner organizations here:; or
  • You are part of a team of individuals where at least one member is affiliated with an ESIP Partner organization – the PI does not have to belong to an ESIP Partner organization.

Eligibility Restrictions

  • The Principal Investigator must not have been funded through the ESIP Lab in the past year.
  • The Principal Investigator must be authorized to work in the United States.
  • Civil servants are eligible to serve as a PI or Co-I, but are restricted from receiving ESIP funds.


  • Budgets should be outlined based on project deliverables rather than salary hours, i.e. complete data pipeline = $1000

General Selection Criteria

Proposals for projects reviewed by the ESIP Lab will be judged on several criteria based on scientific and technical merit. An application does not need to be equally strong in all categories to be judged likely to have an impact. Collaboration is highly recommended. 

  1. Overall Impact: Likelihood that the project will lead to significant follow-on funding or initiate a new research direction that will eventually have a powerful influence on the field of Earth science.
  2. Significance/Importance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge and technical capability be improved? The application MUST address clearly what the expected end-product is and how the product will be used for follow-on funding or initiate a new research direction that will benefit the broader Earth science community.
  3. Practical Application: Are project outcomes scalable?
  4. Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
  5. Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current scientific/technological paradigms by utilizing novel approaches?
  6. Collaboration: Is the project collaborative between institutions and/or agencies?
  7. Overall Research Plan: Does the proposal demonstrate an understanding of the project’s goals? Does the proposal identify appropriate research questions to be answered? Does the proposal describe a sound technical approach? Is the project design and methodology feasible?
  8. Budget: Does the budget reflect an appropriate use of resources to complete the project in a timeline consistent with what has been outlined in the proposal?
  9. Learning Objective: Does the project outline a learning objective that the PI and/or co-Is intend to make progress on through the completion of the outlined project?

Reporting Requirements

Projects chosen for an award will be expected to do the following:

  • Create a page under the ESIP GitHub organizational ( account that includes a project overview, timeline, and goals.
    • Upon project completion, the results and any code and/or a snapshot of the cloud instance should also be included in the page. This page will be your final report, so upon project completion, it should provide all pertinent information, including measures of outreach, and impact of project deliverables.
    • All project pages and associated code should include a permissive license.
  • Give a presentation or poster at an ESIP meeting (virtually or in-person) within one year of project completion. NOTE: Travel to the ESIP Meeting should be included in your budget if it is not covered elsewhere. 

How to Apply

Please use this template for your proposal. Proposal length should be fewer than 4 pages in total.

Applications should be submitted electronically as a single PDF to

Proposals may be submitted up to January 29, 2020, 11pm PT. ESIP will alert awardees by late February 2020.


For questions regarding eligibility or proposal scope, please contact Annie Burgess, ESIP Lab Director, by email at

NOTE: Proposals are open and will be published on the ESIP Lab website if your project is accepted.