Wind Wildlife Research Fund Request for Proposals 2021

The Wind Wildlife Research Fund released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for new bat research projects to start in early 2021. The Fund seeks research projects designed to increase our understanding of bat behavior and ecology that influences temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation in collision risk and response to minimization strategies. Learn more about the Wind Wildlife Research Fund.

The application process will involve two phases:

  • Phase 1: Applicants submit pre-proposals.
    • Pre-proposal deadline was August 24. The Fund is no longer accepting submissions. Pre-proposals received are currently under review and investigators will receive an update on the status of their submissions later this fall.
  • Phase 2: Selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals based on a review of submitted pre-proposals.

Full proposals will undergo expert review and authors of selected proposals will be notified in early 2021.

View the full pre-proposal RFP to learn more about research questions, criteria for selection, and proposal format.

Informational Webinar

The Fund held a public informational webinar on the RFP on July 23 to share more details and help applicants prepare to submit their proposals.

Q&A

Please note that the Q&A has closed. Questions sent to individual staff will not receive responses. For more details on questions, please refer to the RFP.

Q: Is this RFP available for research based in the United State only? (Submitted July 14)

A: The Fund will only consider research proposals focused on North American bat species, but partners from other continents can participate as a part of the project team.

Q: Are there upper or lower limits on the amount of money that can be requested? (Submitted July 14)

A: There is no limit set for proposal budgets. However, there are limited funds available for projects selected under this RFP. The Fund has previously supported research projects ranging from $65,000 to $170,000 per year. Cost effective proposals are more competitive.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of proposals a single individual can submit? (Submitted July 14)

A: There is no limit on the number of proposals submitted by a single individual as lead.

Q: Is a match in funding a requirement? (Submitted July 14)

A: Matching funding is not a requirement for consideration of proposals, but if matching funding is available, this should be noted in the pre-proposal.

Q: Will offshore wind impacts be included in the purview of this RFP? (Submitted July 14)

A: The Fund applies to research at land-based wind energy facilities only.

Q: Will data and computer code submitted as deliverables be publicly available? (Submitted July 14)

A: Release of underlying data and computer code, as well as intellectual property arrangements, will be worked out on a project-by-project basis depending on the nature of the work and pre-existing IP brought into the project.

Q: Will results be published?  (Submitted July 14)

A: Project results will be published and made publicly available through an AWWI Technical Report or a peer-reviewed publication.

Q: When are the funds expected to be received by successful applicants? (Submitted July 14)

A: Selected applicants will be notified in early 2021. Work will not commence on selected projects until at least March 1, 2021.

Q: The RFP states that the Fund will not consider proposals on the experimental evaluation of curtailment strategies or deterrent technologies. Does this refer to technology that is still in early stages of development versus something commercially available, or does it refer to an experimental study design to prove the effectiveness of a deterrent system? (Submitted July 17)

A: This refers to the latter (experimental study design). The Fund will not consider proposals that evaluate the effectiveness of curtailment strategies or deterrent technologies intended to reduce bat fatalities at wind turbines regardless of their stage of commercial development or technology readiness

Q: For a proposal/project involving multiple institutions, would AWWI make separate awards to each institution?  Or, would the award be made to a single institution that would then issue subawards to the other institutions? (Submitted July 22)

A: There should be a lead investigator identified for each proposal submitted for this RFP. If a proposal is selected for funding, the lead investigators will be party to a work-for-hire contract with AWWI (secretariat of the Fund). It is up to the lead organization to establish the appropriate terms and contracts with any collaborating organizations. If this contract structure presents a significant barrier to an applicant’s ability to respond to the RFP, other arrangements may be possible and should be clearly stated in any pre-proposal submission.

Q: With respect to the budget breakdown by year, if the start date is March 2021, will the first year be to the end of Dec 2021 or until March 2022? Can the start date be later than March 1, 2021, for example, May 2021? (Submitted July 23)

A: The proposal budgets should be broken down by calendar year, with the end of the first year being December 31, 2021. Proposals may start later than March 1, 2021.

Q: Do budgets need to include taxes? (Submitted July 23)

A:  Budgets should account for all expected costs, including all relevant payroll taxes as well as taxes on any direct costs such as equipment/supplies/travel. If the submitter expects the services to be subject to other taxes, such as sales or use tax, these should also be accounted for in the budget.

Q: What is the limit on overhead? It is not clear as to whether full institutional overhead rates are permitted. (Submitted July 23)

A: Budgets should be developed based on loaded labor rates (which are designed to account for direct labor costs as well as fringe, overhead, and any profit or fee). If the budget includes direct costs other than labor, additional overhead may not be charged on these costs, so all overhead should be accounted for through the loaded labor rates.

Proposals should present budgets based on the desired overhead rate. AWWI is happy to work with an investigator’s institution to request reduced rates. If the submitter’s institution is not able to provide loaded labor rates, AWWI will accept a different budget structure if necessary.

Q: Can you clarify the IP requirements/terms? Does AWWI own the IP for WWRF? (Submitted July 23)

A: Investigators for research projects selected under this RFP will be party to a work-for-hire contract with AWWI (secretariat of the Fund). The Fund, through AWWI, will strive for full ownership of intellectual property that results from any project that it funds. If full ownership is not possible for the selected investigator, the Fund will consider, on a case-by-case basis, opportunities for shared ownership, free licensure, or other reasonable terms.

Q: Will funds be disbursed in U.S. dollars? Are Canadian applications also eligible? (Submitted July 23)

A: Non-U.S. applicants are eligible as long as the study is focused on a North American bat species. Funds will be awarded and disbursed in U.S. dollars. Proposals should present the budget estimate in U.S. dollars.

Q: How many proposals are you expecting to fund in 2021? (Submitted July 23)

A: There is no pre-determined number of proposals that will be selected for funding in 2021.

Q: Will the laboratory evaluation of deterrent technologies in a controlled setting be considered if the research focuses on understanding bat behavior in response to the deterrent? (Submitted July 23)

A: Yes – if research outcomes increase our understanding of bat behavior and ecology that influences temporal, spatial, and interspecific variation in collision risk and response to minimization strategies (including deterrents), the proposal will be considered.

Q: Do projects need to be region-specific? (Submitted July 23)

A: Proposals should focus on North American bat species. Proposals may be focused on a single region or multiple regions throughout North America.

Q: Does the 250-word limit on qualifications apply to whole organizations or per person? (Submitted July 23)

A: The word limit applies to individual persons. Multiple individuals from a single organization may describe their qualifications separately for the research proposed.

Q: Can you briefly describe the information content of AWWIC database? (Submitted July 23)

A: For more information on AWWIC please refer to the AWWIC Data Availability Summary below, the AWWIC Fact Sheet, and the latest Bat Technical Report.

Q: Does the American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) database include georeferenced turbine-level fatality data?  Is there data that is not restricted by confidentiality agreements with the wind companies that provided it?  If available, can you provide a ballpark estimate on the number of wind energy facilities for which this data exists? (Submitted July 23)

A: AWWI is unable to perform specific queries in response to questions submitted for this RFP.  The Documents Library includes publicly available PCFM reports, and anyone can query the Library to identify public PCFM studies with georeferenced, turbine-level fatality data.  Queries of the full AWWIC database (which contains both public and private data) for any selected project will likely require a confidentiality agreement. The Fund has supported studies involving detailed queries of the full AWWIC database. However, georeferenced data may not be available for all studies in AWWIC.

Q: Are AWWIC data available at a daily resolution (i.e., day each carcass was first observed)? (Submitted July 31)

A: Date that each carcass was first observed is available for many of the studies in AWWIC, but not all. Study search interval protocols vary between 1-28 days, most are 7-14-day intervals.

Q: Will the Fund consider proposals to answer bat population demographic questions if the goal is to better understand wind energy impacts at the population-level? (Submitted July 31)

A: The Fund will consider proposals for studies focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying collision risk that lead to improvements in the development or implementation of strategies to reduce that risk. This RFP will not consider studies intended to evaluate impacts of collision fatalities on bat species’ populations.

AWWIC Data Availability Summary

A description of the post-construction fatality monitoring data contained in AWWIC is available in the latest Bat Technical Report. A second edition of the technical report will be released in Q3 2020, however, to inform the current RFP, please refer to the table and figure below to get a snapshot of the current data availability in the AWWIC database.