Environmental policy in collaboration with the University of FloridaEmerging Challenges in Tropical Science Program

ECTS Workshops (ECTS-W)

  • Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach
  • Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach
  • Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach
  • Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach
  • Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach

Program Details

  • Funds experts┬┤ workshops to generate competitive research proposals that will catalyze research at OTS stations.
  • 8-10 participants per workshop.
  • 5-7 day workshops are held at one of OTS research stations.
  • 1-2 grants per year.

Deadline: Monday Feb 15th, 2016; first Monday of February in subsequent years.


General Description and Scope

The ECTS-W provides a venue for expert working groups to develop an innovative and competitive research idea and to prepare at least one grant proposal (or preproposal) to support research on an ECTS related topic.

The research proposals generated in the workshops must include field work to be conducted in at least one of OTS research stations. The working groups can be comprised of scientists and educators, along with key nationally and internationally recognized experts.


Researchers of all nationalities working on tropical issues may apply for an ECTS-W grant. However, the lead investigator must be affiliated with an OTS member institution. Also, at least two OTS member institutions must be represented in the group. Post-docs are encouraged to submit as co-PIs.

What the grant covers

ECTS-W typically supports 8-10 scientists or educators to work collaboratively for 5-7 days on their proposed challenging issues. OTS funds support international airfares to Costa Rica and Costa Rica in-country travel, plus lodging and meal expenses at one of the OTS stations.

In addition, conference rooms and Internet access are provided. OTS does not provide transportation costs or travel expenses outside of Costa Rica.

ECTS-W grants are not intended to fund the collection of new data or field research.

Guidelines for Proposals

Formatting and Submission

Proposals should be submitted in digital format in MS Word, Open Document Format (ODF), or as a PDF file.  They should be submitted as a single complete document with graphics embedded in the document. Please submit the proposal document by email to:

Rebecca Cole, Las Cruces Station Director, rebecca.cole@tropicalstudies.org

If you have questions regarding infrastructure available at the Stations for holding the proposals, please visit our web page or contact directly the Director of the station where you plan to hold the workshop.

For general questions regarding the proposal or the program, please write to: Rebecca Cole, Las Cruces Station Director, rebecca.cole@tropicalstudies.org

Proposal Preparation

ECTS-W proposals are short (maximum 7 pages) and must all of the information requested below.

I. Proposal Title Page 1 p.

  • Proposal Title.
  • Lead Investigator, Co-Investigator(s) with affiliation and contact information.
  • Date of Submission.
  • Name of person designated to collect participant demographics and evaluation and assessment questionnaires.
  • Table with the names of all confirmed individual participants, institutional affiliation indicating which represent an OTS-affiliated institution, and career status (e.g., faculty or researcher level, postdoctoral fellow, graduate student).

II. Project Summary Page 1 p.

Half-page summary statement.

III. Project Description Pages 3 - 4 p.

  • Problem statement.
  • Scientific questions/hypotheses addressed.
  • Proposed ECTS-W topic and activities.
  • Timetable of activities including pre-session coordination, tentative working group agenda, and post-session deliverables.
  • Description of pre-workshop coordination and preparation activities and post-workshop activities and follow up.
  • Statement of anticipated outcomes and benefits, including details related to prospective future proposal, research or curricular development.

IV. Budgetary information Page 1 p.

  • ECTS-W convening dates and OTS station.
  • List of proposed participants and city and country where they will be travelling from. Due to budgetary restrictions, the program limits the number of travelers from Europe and Asia to one per group.
  • ECTS-W grants do not provide overhead or funds to be spent by the lead investigator or participants.

Proposal Review

Members of the OTS Science Committee and additional external reviewers will review proposals. Proposals are reviewed for merit, innovative concepts and novel approaches, and relevance to OTS station research and education goals. Review criteria include:

  • Intellectual merit and transformative nature of the project.
  • Likelihood the ECTS-W will result in new research to be conducted in one of the OTS field stations or in a new field course.
  • Likelihood that the ECTS-W will result in peer-reviewed publications.
  • Topic aligned with OTS station research and education.
  • Degree to which the ECTS-W is question-driven, innovative and multidisciplinary.
  • Product and outcome orientation, and clarity of outcomes.
  • Presence of a sound plan for achieving desired outcomes.
  • Affiliation of project leaders with OTS consortium member institutions.
  • Diversity of institutions including new collaborations. A minimum of two consortium institutions must be represented.
  • Significant participation by members of underrepresented groups and balanced gender participation.
  • Participation of postdoctoral scholars and graduate students.
Stations Web Page

Once a year, OTS will award 1-2 grants, on a competitive basis.

Click here for application guidelines