Bats for the Future Fund 2019 Request for Proposals

Proposal Due Date: Thursday, September 19, 2019 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
​Applicant Webinar [Register Here]: Friday, July 12, 2019, 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW​​

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), is soliciting proposals to slow or halt the spread of white-nose syndrome disease (WNS) in North America and promote the survival and recovery of WNS-affected bat populations and species. The Bats for the Future Fund (BFF) will award up to approximately $1.2 million in grants.  The USFWS, which leads the national response for combatting WNS, provides major funding for the BFF. Additional important funding is provided by the USFS, Southern Company and Avangrid Foundation.

The objectives of the BFF are to:

  • Advance field treatments and management tools that provide the greatest potential to prevent exposure of bats to Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungal pathogen that causes WNS, and improve survival from WNS;
  • ​​Implement field treatments, management tools and conservation strategies that help WNS-affected bat populations to recover and rebound from the impacts of WNS; and,
  • Support innovative and collaborative research leading to development and deployment of treatments and management tools for WNS that will perpetuate viable populations of bats. 

EPIDEMIOLOGICAL FOCUS

The Bats for the Future Fund will award grants preferentially for projects that focus on development and deployment of field treatments, management tools and conservation strategies within the WNS established area (i.e., where WNS is endemic) and on the leading edge of its spread across North America. Project objectives should vary depending on epidemiological focus of the proposed work as it relates to the spread of Pd and WNS. Applicants should review Defeating White-Nose Syndrome: A Vision for the Future  from the interagency White-nose Syndrome Steering Committee that outlines a strategic vision to defeat the disease and describes a regional strategy with disease management options. Applicants should reference descriptions of the different management areas in this Vision document rather than the highlighted areas shown on the map.

Leading Edge and Beyond: in the leading edge of WNS, and/or in the vicinity of where Pd fungal pathogen has been detected and bats may be affected, projects should focus on field treatments to prevent the spread of Pd, and minimize the impact of WNS.

Established Area: in the established or endemic area, where Pd and WNS have caused significant mortality and all hibernacula are assumed to be impacted, projects should focus on protecting potential survivors and recovering remaining bat populations.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

The BFF will support research and management actions that address the priorities enumerated below.  Competitive proposals will aim to develop and implement treatments and management solutions for WNS to minimize the short and long-term impacts of the disease.

Applicants are encouraged to consider cross-disciplinary and innovative approaches to solving challenges associated with deployment and management. Collaborations (e.g., across disciplines, countries, academic institutions, agencies, etc.) that leverage the best thinking may include modern design systems like makerspaces or hackathons.

1. Field treatments and management tools that prevent exposure of bats to Pd or improve survival from WNS.

BFF is inviting proposals that focus on treating or managing the host, pathogen, and/or environment to reduce spread and impacts of WNS will be considered.  Proposed treatments may involve ecological, molecular, synthetic, biochemical, mechanical, and other strategies that reduce the impacts of WNS on bats; and/or may demonstrate new disinfection products or procedures to minimize reservoirs of Pd in hibernacula. Safety and feasibility at individual through ecosystem scales will be evaluated for all proposed actions.  All applications must describe the benefits and risks of the proposed management solutions, incorporating non-target effects to organisms and the environment.

2. Field treatments, management tools and conservation strategies that help WNS-affected bat populations to recover and rebound from the impacts of WNS.

BFF is inviting proposals that seek to help bat populations and species that have been impacted by WNS to stabilize, recover and rebound.

Projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Biological or chemical controls, which include, but are not limited to antimicrobial or antifungal agents, antagonistic pathogens (mycoviruses), probiotics, bacteria or fungi that are capable of reducing, inhibiting or preventing the growth and/or establishment of Pd
  • Vaccines or other immune-modulating techniques to reduce host susceptibility to WNS.
  • Genetic/genomic manipulations, or other molecular technologies, that reduce Pd’s ability to proliferate, survive, spread, and/or infect bats.
  • Development and implementation of habitat modification and enhancement strategies that result in guidance or direct action to improve survival of WNS-affected bats.
  • Development of scalable treatment delivery systems.
  • Incorporation of non-target effects of treatments to organisms and the environment.
  • Testing field efficacy and feasibility across varying environmental and biological settings or using treatment agents and/or management strategies in combination or under varying conditions.

PROJECT METRICS 

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the BFF has a list of metrics in the Easygrants online application for applicants to choose from for reporting if successfully awarded funding. We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided below, please include it in your proposal narrative.

Project Activity ​Project Metric ​Additional Guidance

​BMP development

​​BFF – BMP development -
# BMP recommendations developed
​Enter the number of BMP recommendations developed
​Monitoring ​BFF - Monitoring -
# sites being monitored
Enter the number of bat sites being monitored related to hibernacula, maternity colonies, captive colonies, treatment efficacy, or collateral effects, etc.
​Research ​BFF - Research - # research studies completed ​Enter the number of research objectives completed
​Research ​BFF - Research - # studies used to inform management   ​Enter the number of studies completed whose findings lead to direct management recommendations. In the notes section discuss publication goals
​Survivorship ​BFF - Survivorship – Mortality rate  ​Describe the % decrease in mortality rate demonstrated by your study. In the notes please indicate the scale of the impact (e.g., site, county, etc.).
​Disease control  ​BFF - Disease control  - # individuals protected ​ Enter the number of individuals receiving treatment directly and the overall population effect (if applicable). In the notes, break out the number of individuals by species being affected/treated. Consider measurement of disease incidence and prevalence to determine success of disease control studies.
​Disease control ​ BFF – Disease control - # of species benefiting ​ Enter the number of species that directly benefit from your project. In the notes, provide a list of the species affected.
​Disease control ​BFF - Disease control  - # sites protected  ​Enter the number of sites being treated. In the notes, elaborate on the number of sites treated relative to overall population effect.
​Disease control ​BFF – Disease control - # of sites with persistent populations ​Enter the number of sites that have persistent bat populations. In the notes, indicate % of these sites out of the total number of sites that received treatment from your project.
​Disease control ​BFF – Disease control - # of sites  that remain uncontaminated ​Enter the number of sites that remain uncontaminated by Pd within your study area.
​Disease control ​BFF – Disease control – fungal load rate ​Describe the % decrease in prevalence of Pd demonstrated by your study. In the notes please indicate the scale of the impact (e.g., site, county, etc.).

 

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities
  • Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, tribal entities, research and educational institutions, and for-profit entities.
  • Ineligible applicants include unincorporated individuals.
Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds 
  • The following types of proposals are not eligible for funding under the BFF:
    • Species composition, distribution, movement and habitat-use studies, unless directly tied to development or implementation of a management strategy
    • Monitoring studies unrelated to the development of field treatments or management tools for WNS
    • Development of WNS detection methods or tools, unless directly linked to deployment of a treatment
    • Outreach and education programs
  • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.
  • Proposals requesting funds below the minimum, and above the maximum allowable award amount will be considered ineligible.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH

Grants requests must be greater than $50,000 and should be no more than $250,000; however, higher amounts will be considered for projects seeking to deploy treatments and management strategies on a widespread basis within the grant period of performance. Applicants contemplating requesting more than $250,000 should contact NFWF staff in advance for guidance.
 
Match: Applicants are encouraged to provide match valued at 50 percent of the total grant amount requested from the BFF (not the total project budget). For example, if you are requesting $100,000 from the BFF, a 50 percent match is $50,000.
 
Grant Period:  The start date for projects can be back-dated to September 19, 2019 in order to seek reimbursement for costs already incurred or to capture matching contributions. Projects must start within six months of award and be completed within two and no more than three years after notification of grant award.  Notification of award is projected to be early January 2020.
  

EVALUATION CRITERIA

All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the criteria below. During the review period, NFWF staff may contact applicants with specific questions regarding the proposed scope of work and/or budget.
 
Project Goals, Priorities and Objectives – Project contributes to the goals and objectives defined by the BFF and has specific, performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the priorities outlined in the BFF Request for Proposal. 
 
Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline to achieve performance metrics.
 
Cost-Effectiveness – Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds.  Cost-effectiveness evaluation may include, but is not limited to, an assessment of either or both direct and indirect costs in the proposed budget. The federal government has determined that a de minimis 10% indirect rate is an acceptable minimum for organizations without a NICRA, as such NFWF reserves the right to scrutinize ALL proposals with indirect rates above 10% for cost-effectiveness. 
 
Complementarity – Project builds on previous research efforts to positively affect treatment or management strategies and conservation of bats and management of WNS. 
 
Qualifications –The applicant, organization, and partner experience is relevant to delivery of the project, and/or entity has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation projects with specific measurable results.
 
Transferability – Project has potential and a plan to transfer project results to real-world bat conservation and/or to be scaled-up (including providing cost estimates associated with scaling up) and integrated into government programs and policies.  Project includes a plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.
 
Matching Contributions – Matching contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Matching contributions will be evaluated by comparing total funding request from BFF and the dollar value of the matching contributions being provided by the applicant.  The ratio of matching funds offered is one criterion considered during the review process, and projects that meet or exceed a 50 percent match ratio will be more competitive.
  

OTHER

Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget In​​​structions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable.
 
Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively.  When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations. 
 
Publicity and Acknowledgement of Support – Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications.  Recipients may also be asked by NFWF to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs depicting the project.
 
Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable.  Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.  A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds.
 
Regulatory Compliance Requirements – Projects selected for an award will likely include test materials that are subject to regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, pesticides), U.S. Health and Human Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, drugs) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Veterinary Biologics (Virus, Serum and Toxin Act, vaccines).  Proposals must demonstrate that the Principal Investigator understands the regulation of their test material and a present a plan for meeting regulatory requirements.  Some information concerning some regulatory authorities can be found in the publication A Decision Support Tool for Determining Federal Regulatory Authority over Products for Vertebrate Animals.
 
Projects selected also will be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), and National Historic Preservation Act.  Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved prior to initiating activities that disturb or alter habitat or other features of the project site(s).  Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals.  Follow the link to download the compliance evaluation templates that must be completed and submitted to FWS if your project is selected to receive a grant. These completed templates will be used by FWS to determine compliance with the above acts.
 
As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.
 
Permits – Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements and permission to work on land managed by public or private landowners or managers.  In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.   Applicants will be required to provide specific information about study sites, species used, sample sizes, and other criteria needed to comply with regulations. NFWF encourages applicants to contact relevant authority(ies) in advance of completing a proposal to ensure the support of proposed work.
 
Animal Care - Principal Investigators will be expected to maintain compliance with the Animal
Welfare Act and its regulations with satisfactory review and approval of animal activities in research protocols by a USDA-registered and/or PHS-assured Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Use of animal subjects must be appropriate for the current state of knowledge.  Applicants must provide a clear description of how study animals will be selected and what their final disposition will be. Applicants must justify the need to use terminal sampling if that is the expected outcome.
 
Federal Funding –The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information: Bats for the Future Fund.
 
Applicant Webinar  ​
​Applicant Webinar  
Full Proposal Due Date 
​September 19, 2019, 11:59pm Eastern
Review Period 
​October - December, 2019
Awards Announced
​Early January, 2020

HOW TO APPLY

All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF’s Easygrants system.
  1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org to register in our Easygrants online system.  New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login).  Enter your applicant information.
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application.  Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.

APPLICATION ASSISTANCE

A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded here.
 
A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded here​.  

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page.
 
For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
 
Michelle Katz, Program Coordinator
202-857-0166
michelle.katz@nfwf.org
 
For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
 
Easygrants Helpdesk
Email:  Easygrants@nfwf.org
Voicemail:  202-595-2497
Hours:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday–Friday.
Include:  your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to and a description of the issue.
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