Project Scope Management

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CH2MHill Polar Services (CPS) is working with UIC Science and other local organizations to provide Barrow infrastructure support, including lodging, meals, laboratory space, equipment, vehicles, and safety gear. CPS primarily conducts planning activities while UIC Science provides on the ground support in Barrow. This partnership  is intended to  improve resource management, cost control, and accountability for NSF-funded research projects working in Barrow. The CPS/UIC Science team will strive to deliver a consistent level of service to the customers – the researchers – and will continue to integrate local resources and equipment to the greatest extent possible.

Fundamental to this process is defining the research project’s NSF-approved support scope and coordinating it with the fieldwork goals in the award. The approved level of effort in the awarded proposal provides the guidelines for determining an NSF-approved support scope. The scope will include a description cost estimate for all major UIC Science- or CPS- supplied resources required by the project for their Barrow area work, including lodging, meals, vehicles, laboratory space, temporary labor, etc..

The NSF-approved support scope will be determined by reviewing the proposal’s logistics request (if included) against the NSF award. If the awarded proposal will be reduced in budget/scope from the original request, CPS planners will work with the researchers and NSF to adjust the NSF-approved scope appropriately. If the PI did not include a specific logistics request, CPS planners will work with the PI to develop an estimate that must be approved by NSF before detailed logistics planning can begin. CPS planners will then provide this approved scope level of support to UIC Science as the NSF-approved scope.

At the beginning of each award and prior to each year of fieldwork, CPS planners will work with the PI to review the NSF-approved scope against the PI’s project requirements. If during the planning process the PI identifies requirements that do not fall within the approved scope, NSF approval will be required. CPS planners will work with the PI to develop the appropriate documentation for requesting a scope change from NSF, including, but not limited to, a budget estimate that indicates the financial impact of the requested change. UIC Science planners will provide input to the budget estimate or other logistical support as needed. The project team may also be asked to provide a justification for the increased support level.

Once in the field, if the PI or group project has needs or desires to change their plans that and require additional resources and/or incur a significant cost (in excess of $1000), this will be considered a scope change. All scope changes require NSF approval before additional resources can be provided for the project . The same process described in the prior paragraph above will be employed to obtain approval for these scope changes. Neither UIC Science nor CPS can authorize these changes directly. If NSF approves the scope change any additional support may require the researchers to use alternative space or inventory depending on prior commitments to other research teams.

Part of scoping an individual project will be integrating the needs of multiple projects and dealing with resource allocation and sharing of resources such as vehicles and radios so that everyone’s research can be completed safely and effectively. This will require the cooperation and planning of researchers, planners and logistical staff. Researchers can also choose to pay for additional resources from their grant if they would like to continue in the field without NSF approval. In this situation the PI must make arrangements for food, lodging, space and other resources directly, and have the funds and means available to pay for the support.

Scope Change Examples:

Researcher X is awarded a proposal for three years of fieldwork that includes two annual two week trips to Barrow for ten  people – one in the spring and one in the fall.

Shortly after award, Researcher X decides that 10 people will not suffice to complete the measurements and wishes to add 3 people to each trip. This is a scope change because it will costs more to support 13 people in the field than to support 10.

Weather delays the field team’s departure from Barrow for a day during one of the spring visits. This may or may not be a scope change cost exceeds $1000.

After arrival in Barrow for the summer spring fieldwork, Researcher X wishes to extend the summer season by a week. This is a scope change because of the additional cost to support 10 people for a week.

Before the second year of fieldwork, Researcher X realizes that companion measurements at Atqasuk would greatly enhance the data set of the proposal and wishes to include a week-long trip there in the summer spring instead of the summer spring trip to Barrow. This is a scope change because of the additional cost to fly people to and from Atqasuk.

Before the third year of fieldwork Researcher X decides to combine the spring and summer fall seasons and complete a month-long fall campaign for 20 people. This is only a scope change if the new fall campaign involves significant additional resources costing in excess of $1000 that would not have been required for the spring or summer and fall campaigns combined.

After the last year of fieldwork Researcher X submits requests a grantee-approved no-cost extension and decides that a team of 3 must return to Barrow for one final 2-week sampling trip. This is a scope change because a no-cost definition should be, by definition no-cost to NSF and additional fieldwork will incurs a cost to the logistics program.

Scope Change NSF Approval Process:

As your the project firms up its plans for Barrow, CPS planners will monitor whether your the reservations and requests during the planning process exceed the NSF-approved scope. Once your the field plan is finalized and your the project arrives in Barrow, UIC Science will have the responsibility to monitor your allocations and requests against the approved scope and notify CPS of requests that exceed allocations.

If the need for a scope change is identified, CPS will work with the PI and UIC Science as needed to develop a cost and explanation for the change. This request is sent to NSF Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program Officers for approval. CPS has found that NSF typically acts on these requests quickly, particularly if they are small and easily identified to fall within the framework of the funded fieldwork.