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General FAQs

We expect to award four grants in 2023 and an additional four grants in a second round of funding in 2024. However, the final number of awards will depend on the number of qualified proposals and their budgets.

Yes, state policymakers routinely face science and technology policy challenges as they work to make informed decisions on important and complex issues. Nonpartisan science and technology policy fellowship programs provide policymakers with direct access to researchers and their networks. These programs also offer scientists and engineers the opportunity to learn from and contribute to science and technology policy discussions.

No. Separate funding entities will need to be identified as part of the planning and development process. 

No. While some recipients may be prepared to launch at the conclusion of the planning year, others may not. There is no expectation that grantees will launch a program at the end of the grant year.

Costs vary by state depending on the cost of living and the program’s compensation plan, program goals and structure, number of fellows in each cohort, fellowship duration, administrative costs associated with the host institution, and other variables. More details on program costs are available in Elements of a Successful Science and Technology Policy Fellows Program for State Government.

Indirect costs are not allowed. NCSL will subcontract with awardees using a fixed cost agreement.

Please email crdg-info@ncsl.org.

Eligibility

Eligibility criteria are listed below and in the call for proposals. To request a copy of the grant materials, including the call for proposals and grant application, register here.

  • Applicants will pursue planning, development or implementation efforts aimed at the creation of a full-time, doctorate- or terminal-degree-level science policy fellowship program serving the state legislature. Applicants wishing to also serve the executive branch are eligible.
  • Applicants from part-time and/or earlier career programs who wish to explore development of a full-time terminal degree model serving the state legislature are eligible.
  • Grants will be awarded to organizations. Individuals are eligible if partnered with a host organization or fiscal host to receive and manage grant funds.
  • Applicants, host organizations and fiscal hosts must be based in the U.S. or its territories.

No, applicants will pursue planning, development or implementation efforts aimed at the creation of a full-time, conferred doctorate- or terminal-degree-level science policy fellowship program serving the state legislature. Applicants will plan to serve fellows who have already earned terminal degrees.

Applicants will pursue planning, development or implementation efforts aimed at the creation of a full-time, conferred doctorate- or terminal-degree-level science policy fellowship program serving the state legislature. In cases where applicants plan to recruit terminal-degree-level fellows who do not have doctorate degrees, include in the proposal the areas of study in which a master’s would be accepted as a terminal degree and an explanation for the decision.

For part-time legislatures, we are looking for fellowship programs that envision what fellows will do both during and outside of the legislative session. Examples of such programs are available in Elements of a Successful Science and Technology Policy Fellows Program for State Government. We look forward to your creative ideas for how a full-time program could strengthen the work of your state’s legislature.

Yes, applicants from active part-time and/or earlier career programs who wish to explore development of a full-time terminal degree model serving the state legislature are eligible.

Funding may not be used to explore plans for a fellowship program only serving the state executive branch. The purpose of this grant opportunity is to support state efforts to plan, develop or implement programs that serve the state legislature. Applicants wishing to also serve the executive branch are eligible.

Yes. In this case, designate a lead applicant and provide the information requested in the executive summary for that organization. Use the narrative prompts to explain your collaborative approach.

Definitions

  • Applicant: An applicant prepares the grant application and completes the work outlined in the proposal—the work plan, deliverables, goals and objectives. The applicant may also be the host organization and fiscal manager of the grant funds.
  • Host Organization: A host organization is responsible for raising funds for, launching and managing the fellowship program (e.g., identifying program champions, negotiating agreements with placement offices, managing the fellow application and selection process, organizing fellow placements, planning orientation and professional development). The host organization may also be the applicant or work closely with the applicant on the exploration and planning efforts as part of this grant. In other cases, the applicant will use the planning process to research and select a host organization.
  • Fiscal Host: A fiscal host provides fiscal management of grant funds to applicants who may not have capacity to do so. For example, a coalition of university students may form an informal organization to explore a science policy fellowship program and apply for the grant, but the coalition may not have fiscal structures in place to receive or manage funds. In this case, the coalition may partner with a fiscal host (e.g., university, local nonprofit organization), an entity that will receive and disburse the grant funds and provide fiscal management.

Program champions are people interested in promoting the use of science in state policymaking. They may support, promote and market the development and operation of your science policy fellowship program. Potential champions could include legislators, the governor, other elected officials, state government agencies, universities, science or science policy organizations, community leaders, philanthropists, and business or technology leaders.

SMART objectives are milestones that describe steps the applicant will take to meet project goals. SMART objectives are written to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. More information and tips for writing SMART objectives are available here.

Application and Proposal

Registration is a required step for parties interested in applying. To receive the application and call for proposals when released in June 2023, please register as an applicant.

  • June 5: Registration opens.
  • June 19: NCSL releases RFP and will email the call for proposals and grant application to the address provided at registration.
  • August 4: Applications due by 7 p.m. ET. Submit all grant application materials including the executive summary, narrative, budget narrative and summary table, and letters of support as PDFs to crdg-info@ncsl.org.
  • August 11-31: NCSL science policy fellowship advisory group reviews applications and convenes to select grantees.
  • September 5-8: NCSL announce grant awards.
  • September 1-29: NCSL finalizes subcontracts with awardees.
  • October 2023-September 2024: Planning grant awardee period of performance.

Successful proposals will include responses to all questions or narrative prompts.

Yes, Elements of a Successful Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program for State Legislatures (2022), is available online. The report is a guide for planning, launching and managing state science policy fellowship programs.

In this case, designate a lead applicant and provide the information requested in the executive summary for that organization or partner. Use the narrative prompts to explain your collaborative approach.

NCSL provided an optional Word document template for documenting goals and objectives with the grant application. If you have registered as an applicant and did not receive the template, contact crdg-info@ncsl.org to request a copy.

NCSL provided a required Word document template to summarize the proposed budget items with the grant application. If you have registered as an applicant and did not receive the template, contact crdg-info@ncsl.org to request a copy.

Proposals should also include a brief narrative for each budget category in which funds are requested, including a justification for expenses and if needed, further explanation of how costs were calculated. More details are available in the grant application.

Proposals must include one letter of support from a legislator, host organization, or funder as part of the application submission. Two additional letters of support may be submitted but are not required. Letters of support can be provided as a PDF or Word document.

Submit all grant application materials including the executive summary, narrative, budget narrative and summary table, and letters of support as PDFs to crdg-info@ncsl.org by 7 p.m. ET on Aug. 4, 2023.

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