Research proposal review procedures

All proposals for new research projects at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve will be reviewed by the Site Scientist, Associate Director, other researchers who have existing projects that may be impacted by the proposed work, and, as needed, the Director. The Site Scientist will recommend that a proposal be approved, denied, or modified for reconsideration. No research may be initiated until a proposal has been reviewed and approved, and until a formal approval email is received from the Associate Director. Ideally, any grant application seeking funding for experimental/manipulative research at Cedar Creek should be submitted for approval to Cedar Creek before submission to any funding agency or organization. Such prior approval would eliminate uncertainties about the suitability of the planned research for Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

The policy articulated here is instituted to provide speed, consistency and reliability in the review process. It is our goal to complete the review process within two weeks of electronic submission of a proposal. Exceptions to this two week interval may occur if complex questions or issues arise during the review process.

Submit a proposal

Upon receipt, the Site Scientist will examine and categorize each proposal according to whether it represents (A) Minor manipulation and/or observation without lasting effect on the habitat or on other existing studies; (B) Extensive destructive sampling, experimental manipulations, the potential for lasting impacts, or the potential to impact existing studies or areas zoned for protection; or (C) Work that is obviously outside the scope of what is permissible at Cedar Creek or outside the scope of Cedar Creek’s mission.

Category A: Research proposals in Category A may be recommended for approval directly by the Site Scientist, if there will be no chance of impacts on Cedar Creek ecosystems or other projects. Alternatively, they may be moved to Category B.

Category B: Research proposals in Category B will be circulated by the Site Scientist for review to the Director and any researchers who have existing projects that may be impacted by the proposed work. If it is unclear which other researchers may be affected by a proposed project, then the proposal will be circulated to all Cedar Creek researchers. Cedar Creek researchers will have one week to submit comments to the Site Scientist. After consideration of comments received on a proposal and discussion with the Director, research proposals in Category B will be recommended for approval by the Site Scientist, returned to the submitter(s) for modification or moved to Category C. If modifications are requested, the review process may well exceed the original time goal.

Category C: Research proposals in Category C will be returned promptly with an explanation from the Site Scientist to the submitter(s), with a copy of the proposal and correspondence sent to the Director and Associate Director. Anyone whose proposal was rejected has the right to request reconsideration by the Site Scientist and the Director after providing responses to review comments and a modified proposal. 


Approved projects will receive an email from the Associate Director with a unique research project identification number, information about site access, a link to the current onboarding materials, and information about how to receive gate keys, parking permits, etc. Each project must have a Safety Plan on file before beginning work.