Wildfire & Water Request for Proposals

The ESIP Lab facilitates opportunities for the science community to increase their technical savvy
while increasing our collective knowledge of Earth system science.



Project Duration:
6 months

Full Proposal Deadline:
March 3, 2023

Proposal Submission:
Submit at this link.


The Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) is a non-profit dedicated to lowering barriers to scientific inquiry and understanding in the Earth sciences. By facilitating connections across common boundaries—organizations, sectors, disciplines, systems and data—ESIP has built a community of technical professionals able to leverage their collective expertise around Earth science data and computing challenges, resulting in more participatory, equitable and efficient approaches to science. 

ESIP’s Lab program provides small grant funding to enhance community efforts around topics broadly identified as ‘priority areas’ by the Earth science community. All ESIP Lab funding opportunities require investigators to include both technical and learning objectives in their proposals. By promoting learning within project solicitations, the ESIP Lab seeks to increase the collective technical savvy of the Earth science community and promote transparency about the skills required to understand our changing planet. 

Scope of Request

Through this Request for Proposals (RFP), the ESIP Lab seeks proposals related to the following:

  • Data assimilation, analysis or visualization tools related to wildfire or water resources — the use of open-source software and cloud computing are strongly encouraged. 

Although this RFP will give priority to proposals addressing the bulleted topic above, other high-quality proposals related to the following will also be given consideration:

  • Modernization of Earth science workflows using community-recommended best practices — the use of open-source software and cloud computing are encouraged.
  • Extension of open source software critical to collecting, distributing, fusing or analyzing Earth science data.

Projects should last six – eight months with a maximum budget of $20,000.


This solicitation seeks proposals that lower barriers to scientific inquiry and understanding around wildfire and water resources. Given the proposal budget and timeframe, this solicitation is aimed at expanding existing software or data systems related to the two priority areas, including added functionality, improved interoperability or other impactful contributions. ESIP’s three agency sponsors have activities directly in line with this RFP’s priority areas and proposals building off of any of their efforts are encouraged (e.g. NASA’s Earth Information System, NOAA and Wildfire, USGS Water Resources Mission Area). 

This RFP also challenges investigators to outline at least one project objective that they do not fully have the technical skills to accomplish. By outlining an objective that requires an expanded skillset, it empowers investigators to block out time for learning in their proposal.

Award Amount

Projects supported by this mechanism are limited to $20,000. 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 or Azure cloud services for your project up to $7,000 (these costs would NOT need to be included in your budget). In your proposal, include 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 or Azure cloud services if another provider is preferred, however, those cloud services must come out of your overall budget.


  • Funded project team members are authorized to work in the United States.
  • The individual responsible for carrying out the project should write the application and be listed as the Principal Investigator.
  • Project start dates should be a minimum of three months after the submission deadline.

Eligibility Restrictions

  • The Principal Investigator is not part of ESIP’s elected leadership. 
  • The Principal Investigator has not been funded through the ESIP in the past year.
  • Civil servants are eligible to serve as a PI or Co-I, but are restricted from receiving ESIP funds.

General Selection Criteria

Proposals for projects reviewed by the ESIP Lab will be judged on several criteria. The proposal does not need to be equally strong in all categories to be judged likely to have an impact. 

  1. Overall Impact: Likelihood that the project outcomes or learning objectives will lead to follow-on funding or initiate a new research direction.
  2. Objectives: Does the proposal include both technical and learning objectives?
  3. Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? 
  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 project shift current scientific or technological paradigms by using novel approaches?
  6. Collaboration: Is the project collaborative between institutions and/or agencies?
  7. Overall Research Plan: 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 the proposal outline?

Reporting Requirements

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

  • Create a page under the ESIP GitHub organizational (https://github.com/orgs/ESIPFed) account that includes the project overview, learning objectives, 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 the impact of project deliverables.
    • All project pages and associated code should include a permissive license.
  • Give a presentation or poster at an ESIP Meeting or Collaboration Area telecon within one year of project completion. NOTE: If travel support is needed to attend an ESIP meeting to present, please include in your budget. 

How to Apply

Please use this template to create your proposal then submit the PDF document here.

Trouble submitting? Email us at lab@esipfed.org.

Proposals may be submitted up to March 3, 2023. ESIP will alert awardees within one month of the submission deadline.


For questions regarding eligibility or proposal scope, please contact Dr. Annie B. Burgess, ESIP Lab Director, by email at annieburgess@esipfed.org.

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