This is a resource page for NCST researchers and those interested in NCST's funding opportunities. Here you will find key information and resources needed to navigate your grant award or to get ready to apply for one of NCST's grants.
- General Requirements
- Engagement & Outreach Expectations
- Progress Reporting
- Requesting No-Cost Time Extensions
- Getting an ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)
- Writing and Submitting Final Reports
- Policy Brief Guidelines and Template
To apply to one of the NCST's funding opportunities, Principal Investigators (PIs) must be affiliated with our consortium, which includes the University of California, Davis; the University of California, Riverside; the University of Southern California; California State University, Long Beach; Georgia Institute of Technology; and the University of Vermont. Each consortium member issues and facilitates its own Calls for Proposals. Learn about the various grants that NCST offers.
If you are funded, NCST requires PIs to comply with all grant requirements as this ensures the integrity of the project throughout the grant cycle and allows NCST to meet all reporting requirements of its funders, in particular, the USDOT and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Successful adherence to grant obligations and past performance on budget, schedule, and project requirements will be used as review criteria for future proposals submitted by PIs.
Researchers support by the NCST are expected to actively participate in the Center's engagement and outreach activities. Each project must include a policy engagement plan that outlines how the PI will communicate the research and engage with policymaker and practitioner stakeholders to maximize the impact and understanding of the research. PIs will be called upon to participate in NCST sponsored workshops, forums, legislative briefings, webinars, and other events.
NCST strongly encourages PIs to present their research to policymakers and practitioners at non-academic conferences and events. Project budgets must include researcher time associated with engagement activities; however, discretionary travel funds are available to support PIs in presenting their research at these venues. NCST staff are available to assist PIs in identifying and creating opportunities for connecting their research to policymakers and practitioners.
NCST is performance-driven and information provided in the project progress reports are used as performance measures to document project and program progress. These measures are used to support the semi-annual reporting requirements of NCST to its federal funder, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R) at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
PIs are responsible for submitting biannual progress reports for federally-funded projects and quarterly progress reports for Caltrans-funded projects using NCST's competition and progress reporting system, InfoReady Review. To preview the progress reporting fields and questions, click here. PIs will receive email notifications when progress reports are due.
- Biannual progress reports for federally-funded projects are due on April 10 and October 10, as long as the project is active.
- Quarterly progress reports for Caltrans-funded projects are due January 10, April 10, July 10, and October 10, as long as the project is active.
A project is considered complete after the final report has been approved by NCST.
PIs are also responsible for submitting short follow-up reports for projects every six months until presentations, publications, indications of use, and evidence of impact from the research cease. PIs should send follow-up reports for as long as they are producing papers or making presentations related to the NCST-funded project, a period assumed to be two year. NCST staff will contact PIs of completed projects on a biannual basis to obtain information about relevant publications and engagement/outreach activities.
For questions about progress reports, please contact Assistant Program Manager, Anna Espitallier.
The timeline for NCST projects is generally 12 months. Select projects with approved timelines of greater than 12 months must submit a stand-alone deliverable at the end of the first year, at which time NCST will evaluate the performance on the project and the availability of funding in order to grant funding for the subsequent 12 months.
In the event that the project cannot be completed within the approved timeline, a formal request for a no-cost time extension must be submitted for approval no later than 2 months prior to the expiration of the grant term. For Caltrans-funded projects, requests must be submitted for approval no later than 3 months prior to the expiration of the task order term.
PIs must provide a strong, clear, and reasonable justification for the need for an extension. Requesting additional time solely for expending the awarded funds will not be accepted. If it has been more than 3 months since a progress report was submitted for the project, an updated progress report is required with an extension request.
All NCST researchers must have a unique ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) identification. ORCID.org provides a registry of persistent unique identifiers for researchers and scholars, and automates linkages to research objects such as publications, grants, and patents. Registration is free and takes about 5 minutes. If other researchers are added to a project after its initiation, they are also required to obtain an ORCID.
In accepting funding from the NCST, all PIs agree to produce a final deliverable based on the established project scope and deliverables, which summarizes the findings and/or technology transfer activities. PIs are also required to make the data used to produce the final deliverable publicly accessible as outline in the USDOT Public Access Plan. See more information and guidance on data management and archiving here.
For most research projects, the final deliverable will consist of a final report or comparable product. The final report should document the research in total, including a complete description of the problem, objectives, approach, methodology, findings, conclusions, recommendations, etc. It should also document all data gathered, analyses performed, and results achieved.
Please use the NCST report template when generating your report. The template is intended to provide you with guidelines in terms of content, formatting, and style. It also includes cover page specifications, data archiving documentation, and other essential information. The use of photographs, graphs, charts, and other visuals is highly encouraged to further enrich reports and other associated deliverables.
A draft final report must be submitted to NCST Senior Program Manager, Lauren Iacobucci, for review and comment 30 days prior to the official end date of the project. Once the draft final report is received, the report is processed as follows:
- Peer review. PIs will be asked to identify potential peer reviewers for their report. NCST staff will send the draft report/paper to up to three peer reviewers. Research reports are reviewed by external academics; white papers are reviewed by policymakers and/or practitioners.
- Copy-editing. Following peer review, a copy-editor reviews the report/paper to ensure standard formatting requirements are met and edits for clarity, consistency, and accuracy. If peer review feedback is minimal, copy-editing will take place immediately following. If peer review feedback is extensive, the PI will be asked to address peer reviewer feedback prior to copy-editing.
- Revisions by PI. PIs are expected to submit the finalized report within 30 days from receiving the copy-edited report/paper.
- Final formatting by NCST staff. Although we ask PIs/authors to use the NCST's report template, we have a keen eye for formatting, so we'll do a final polish of your report before publication. We also assign a DOI and other metadata to the report/paper at this time.
- Publication of report. The final report/paper will be published at https://escholarship.org/uc/itsdavis_ncst and also added to the NCST website as a Research Product. eScholarship will generate a unique permalink URL for each publication, which will not change, even if new versions of the document are uploaded. Given this, although we will provide PIs with the final Word and PDF documents, we ask that PIs use the publications eScholarship URL when sharing their report/paper, as opposed to sending PDF attachments, etc. Sharing the eScholarship URL will help the NCST to track views, downloads, and overall impact of our research. With a DOI, PIs will also have access to Altmetrics for their publications, which provides data on non-traditional citations of research, such as on social media.
- Dissemination and promotion. NCST staff will help to disseminate and promote publications through online platforms, and are also available to support engagement and outreach activities, as they arise. NCST Policy Director, Mike Sintetos, is available to help brainstorm outreach methods and activities that best suit your project. NCST will also submit the publication URL to the TRB TRID database and the USDOT's online National Transportation Library.
All NCST research projects, and many white paper grants, are required to submit a two-page Policy Brief to accompany their final deliverable. The brief should summarize key findings and any policy/practice implications from the project. The target audience for these briefs is policymakers and/or practitioners, therefore briefs should be written for an informed but not expert audience.
Draft policy briefs are to be submitted to NCST Senior Program Manager, Lauren Iacobucci. Draft briefs are reviewed by the NCST Policy Director or other policy subject matter experts at ITS-Davis for accuracy, then are copy-edited for clarity and style. Policy brief writing is an iterative process between NCST staff, our copy-editors, and the PI and project team. Authors are expected to be responsive to correspondence regarding finalizing the content of briefs for publication. Once the content of the brief is finalized, NCST staff will format the brief for publication.
All policy briefs are published to https://escholarship.org/uc/itsdavis_ncst and are also added to the NCST website as a Research Product. eScholarship will generate a unique permalink URL for each publication, which will not change, even if new versions of the document are uploaded. Given this, although we will provide PIs with the final PDF document, we ask that PIs use the policy brief eScholarship URL when sharing their brief, as opposed to sending PDF attachments, etc. Sharing the eScholarship URL will help the NCST to track views, downloads, and overall impact of our research and outreach activities. With a DOI, PIs will also have access to Altmetrics for their publications, which provides data on non-traditional citations of research, such as on social media.