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Federal Agencies

Federal agencies may become partners in the CESU Network by first joining the CESU Network Council, then joining one or more individual CESUs. Please contact the CESU Network National Coordinator for additional information.

Nonfederal partners

Tribes and tribal organizations, institutions of higher education, state and local government units, nongovernmental organizations, and other nonfederal entities may join one or more CESUs. There is no cost for a nonfederal entity to become a partner institution in a CESU; there is no limit on the number of partners allowed in each CESU. Each partner assigns a technical and administrative representative to serve on behalf of its institution in the affairs of the CESU. The technical representative is responsible for communicating research, technical assistance, and education funding opportunities to other experts at the institution. Individuals at the institution may collaborate on CESU projects in accordance with their institution’s specific administrative guidelines.

All CESU partners agree to actively participate in planning activities and administrative responsibilities of the unit. This includes following the roles and responsibilities and provisions as outlined in the CESU five-year agreement, sharing announcements and responding to requests for information, reviewing and processing cooperative and joint venture agreements and their associated amendments, and executing actions in accordance with programmatic administrative guidance.

The CESU Network Council sets a single programmatic indirect cost rate that is consistently applied to all CESU project awards. The current rate is 17.5%. Some federal agencies have statutory requirements that further limit the applicable project award indirect cost rate for certain award recipients. For example, the U.S. Forest Service cannot reimburse "state cooperative institutions" for indirect costs, pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 3103 (18) and 7 U.S.C. § 3319; the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service indirect rate is limited to 10% for colleges, universities, and other nonprofit organizations pursuant to Section 705 of Public Law 111-8.

Each project is executed using an individual project award, issued as a modification (sometimes called "task agreement") against the CESU five-year cooperative and joint venture agreement. Individual project awards include all details particular to the project's principal investigators, federal representatives, statement of work, project outputs, project budget, and project timeline. Each award is executed between the sponsoring federal agency and the partner institution (award recipient). Standard federal government financial assistance forms and procedures are used when initiating and conducting CESU projects.

When considering becoming a partner institution in the CESU Network, interested parties should first decide which unit is the best match. This might be the closest unit geographically, or one that aligns in terms of perticular physiographic features, cultural or natural resources, or specific topical issues. The interested party should next contact the CESU Director at the host university to express interest in enrollment as a new partner institution and discuss details related to the application process and timing. An application package includes a letter of interest, description of the institution, outline of relevant programs or divisions likely to engage in CESU activities, examples of experience with federal awards, confirmation of review and acceptance of the provisions of the CESU five-year agreement, designation of technical and administrative representatives, and a letter of support from one or more CESU federal agency partners. Existing partners review and vote on the application. Once approved, the CESU Network National Office prepares an amendment to the CESU agreement to officially enroll the new partner. Additional details are available here. Contact the CESU Network National Office staff for additional assistance.

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