Proposal Assistance

CPS Support Estimate Lead Time is Four Weeks

Researchers planning to include a support letter and estimate for logistics support from CH2MHILL Polar Services (CPS) in their proposals under the current National Science Foundation (NSF) Arctic Research Opportunities (ARO) announcement are asked to provide CPS with a detailed support request four weeks prior to the date the estimate is required. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.

As described in the section entitled ‘Proposals Involving Arctic Field Work’ (under ‘Proposal preparation Instructions’), NSF will consider the full cost of supporting a project, including logistics, prior to making recommendations. To access the ARO solicitation, search for document number ‘16-595’ at 

Please note the NSF now accepts full proposals any time for the ARO 16-595 announcement.

Researchers should submit field plans and support requirements to CPS Science Planning Manager Naomi Whitty at

Download the Proposal Checklist (updated 8/18/2015).

Allison Lake, southern Alaska. Photo: Darrell Kaufman

Allison Lake, southern Alaska. Photo: Darrell Kaufman

The Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program (RSL) pays for the Arctic field support (logistics) costs of National Science Foundation/Division of Polar Programs (PLR)-funded researchers. On occasion, RSL also pays for the Arctic logistics costs of NSF proposals funded outside OPP. RSL provides this support either directly to the researcher’s grant or via a third-party provider such as CH2M HILL Polar Services (CPS), the Ice Drilling Design and Operations group (IDDO), or UNAVCO. RSL engages these third-party providers through NSF subcontracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. In many cases using one of the third-party providers reduces the overall logistics costs to a proposal due to resource sharing and economies of scale.

When you submit a proposal to the NSF that includes field work, you must include a logistics description in the timeline/work plan section. If you plan to pay for field logistics through your grant you must also include the year-by-year costs in your budget and detail the costs in your budget justification.

If you would like assistance from a third-party provider, do not include these costs as a budget line item. Instead, identify your plans clearly and realistically in the logistics description, include statements in your budget justification signaling your intent to request third-party logistics provider support, and obtain a support letter and budget estimate from the provider to include as a supplementary document to your proposal. If your proposal is awarded, this rough order of magnitude estimate will form the basis of the approved logistics support scope. Researchers who request logistics support/funds beyond the scope of that identified in their funded proposal will be required to justify changes to their Program Officer before any additional support or funding is approved. For this reason it’s important to clearly identify all anticipated support requirements at the proposal stage.

To assist researchers in planning their field work and developing an accurate logistics description, CPS offers a checklist. Please consider the support elements included in the checklist when preparing your logistics plan.

If you plan to use CPS as your logistics provider, we will work with you to develop a support letter and budget estimate for inclusion in your proposal. Depending on the complexity of the proposed field work and the volume of requests CPS receives, it may take four to six weeks to develop an estimate. Please provide a complete description of your proposed field work (including any appropriate elements identified in the checklist) to the CPS Science Planning Manager at least four weeks before the proposal deadline. We reserve the right to turn down proposal assistance requests received after the four-week cutoff due to work-load constraints.

For more information about proposal assistance, or regarding the services offered in the checklist, please email the CPS Science Planning Manager. For an overview and starting point for developing a logistics plan, visit the Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program (RSL) website.