Proposal submission guidelines


OTIC Phase 2
Observatory Technical and Innovation Center (OTIC) is supported by the endowment income yielded by the generous gifts of PGI and Jerome M. Paros, which together constitute the Jerome M. Paros-Palisades Geophysical Institute Fund for Engineering Innovation in Geoscience Research. OTIC's goal is to 'strengthen observation-based research at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory by increasing the Institutional capacity to design and develop innovative field and laboratory instrumentation'. The OTIC strategy is to increase the number and extent of field and instrumentation development projects at the Observatory through a) enhanced and coordinated engineering and technical support of instrument development and field activities b) provision of seed money to stimulate new projects for instrumentation development that are likely to generate new external funding.
 OTIC's first call for proposals from the Lamont staff was issued in the fall 2006, stating: "The Paros-PGI Observatory Technical & Innovation Center [OTIC] Steering Committee is requesting proposals for the development of innovative instruments to be used in making laboratory and/or field observations. Awards will be in the $10-20k range, and up to two proposals may be selected for funding". We issued such a call for proposals twice/year. We have now funded nine such proposals, and I'm pleased to report that they have led to promising results in terms of external funding and building in-house technical capability.
The OTIC Steering Committee met in mid-December 2009, and agreed to enter into what may be called Phase 2 of OTIC, representing a more flexible mode of operation, so as to be more responsive to 'opportunity' and to the nature of high-risk 'seed-money' projects.
Notable Changes in Phase 2:
            1. OTIC's call for proposals will no longer be linked to specific deadlines; proposals can be submitted at any time. Our criteria remain the same as stated above. We will send out reminders at quarterly intervals. The OTIC Steering Committee funding decision will be made within 1 month of receipt of the proposal.
            2. The budget bottom line can be up to $30K. However, as always we operate within the financial constraints of the OTIC endowment, so if the proposed budgets hover close to the $30K mark, fewer projects can be funded.
            3. In view of unforeseen issues involved in high-risk endeavors the OTIC Steering Committee will consider requests for supplementary funds (of up to $10K) to help bring a particularly promising OTIC funded project to fruition.
            4. OTIC will consider requests for the acquisition of items (of up to $5K) for OTIC pooled equipment of general benefit to a wide range of Lamont researchers.
Proposal Guidelines:
1)    Projects should be innovative (e.g., while purchase of off-the-shelf equipment is not considered innovative, innovation may be brought out through significant modification or integration of such equipment). Use of these OTIC funds as leverage to acquire external funds will be considered positively.
2)    The total budget should be in the $10-20k range, and should be used for dedicated equipment, materials, software and engineering/technical salaries. We will not provide funding for purchase of non-specific equipment (e.g. general-purpose computers), scientist/administrative salaries or travel.  

If your project would require an item of general use to the Lamont community, identify it as such on a separate line in your budget for consideration for separate funding (see above).

The budget should not include ICR, but must include a 3% administrative fee applied to non-equipment items.

3)    Proposals can be submitted by anyone on the LDEO scientific and engineering staff (including graduate students and post docs).  A proposal from a graduate student should include either a faculty or research advisor as co-PI.
4)    Proposals are recommended to be less than 4 pages and must not eceed 5 pages in length (with 1" margins, 1.5 line spacing, 12 pt fonts), including tet, itemized budget, figures, tables, and must be submitted by email as a PDF to the OTIC Director, Arnold L. Gordon <>.
5)    The OTIC Steering Committee, plus additional appointees will compose the Selection Committee. Members of the steering committee who are associated with any of the proposals will be ecluded from the Selection Committee.
6)    The OTIC funds for selected projects will be transferred to a new non-government account. Cost overruns are the responsibility of the PI.
7)    Project duration is not to eceed 12 months. Requests for a one-time no-cost extension for a second 12 months will be considered. A brief progress report will be requested approimately 9 months from the start date of the project.   A brief final report (2 pages) describing the outcome of the project is due within three months of the termination of the project.  This report should include references to any publications or externally supported grants that have resulted (or been proposed) from this work.
If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the OTIC Manager, Bruce Huber (, 845-365-8329)
Arnold L. Gordon, OTIC Director, January 12, 2010...