Grants Management Committee Proposed Rubrics and Application

As part of RPIP-15, the Grants Management Committee (GMC) “SHALL develop one or more rubrics by which to select winning grants and bounties. The rubric(s) SHALL be publicly posted and anyone so interested in participating SHALL be solicited in their development.” To some extent this process of soliciting public input began with previous forum posts, including here and here., as well as on Discord. Based on that feedback, the GMC has come up with the following draft general Goals and three-specific Rubrics for grants, bounties, and retrospective awards. It has also come up with a draft application template for grants, with modifications for bounties and retrospective awards forthcoming. Any and all input/feedback is welcome. As a reminder, as per the RPIP, the rubric scoring is to be used to guide GMC discussions but is not used to automatically give out awards.

GMC Goals: Grants, bounties, and retrospective awards should make it easier and/or more attractive to do one or more of the following: become a node operator, operate a node, mint rETH, hold or use rETH, or improve the quality of life for the protocol and its community.

GMC Rubrics: What follows are three rubrics for scoring grants, bounties, and retrospective awards, respectively. As per RPIP-15, any applications submitted will be scored by GMC members using this rubric, but the GMC maintains discretion to award grants, bounties, and retrospective awards guided by rubric scores but not automatically beholden to them.

GMC Grants Rubric: The Grants rubric involves scoring each of the three categories from 1 to 5: If the application is successful, to what extent does it further the GMC goals? To what extent can the application be feasibly carried out by the person(s) proposed to complete it? If the application is successful, how large is the benefit to the protocol relative to the size of the proposed costs?

GMC Bounties Rubric: The Bounties rubric involves scoring each of the three categories from 1 to 5: If the bounty is completed successfully, to what extent does it further the GMC goals? To what extent is it likely that the bounty can be feasibly claimed/completed successfully? If the bounty is successfully completed, how large is the benefit to the protocol relative to the size of the proposed costs?

GMC Retrospective Award Rubric: The Retrospective Award rubric involves scoring the following question on a 1 to 15 scale (to keep it consistent with the 15 points on the other two rubrics): To what extent did the proposed and completed project further the GMC goals? (Note: if the project is ongoing, the retrospective award is given for work completed prior to the current period, with any future awards for the same project expected to compete in the Grants category and as a separate application).

Grants Application: What follows is the general application for grants. Separate (slightly modified) applications for bounties and retrospective awards will also exist.
Instructions: Applicants are asked to complete the following questions and to post their response in the appropriate thread on the forums (to be created by the GMC). Please refer to the GMC Grants Rubric to see the three factors your application will be evaluated based on.

=== Project ===

  • What is the work being proposed?
  • Is there any related work this builds off of?

=== Benefits === - enter N/A where appropriate

  • How does this help people looking to stake ETH for rETH?
  • How does this help rETH holders?
  • How does this help people looking to run a Rocket Pool node for the first time?
  • How does this help people already running a Rocket Pool node?
  • How does this help the Rocket Pool community?

=== Team ===

  • Who is doing the work?
  • What is the background of the person(s) doing the work? What experience do they have with such projects in the past?
  • What is the breakdown of the proposed work, in terms of milestones and/or deadlines?
  • How is the work being tested? Is testing included in the schedule?
  • How will the work be maintained after delivery?

=== Payment and Verification ===

  • What is the acceptance criteria?
  • What is the proposed payment schedule for the grant? How much RPL and over what period of time is the applicant requesting?
  • How will the GMC verify that the work’s deliveries match the proposed cadence?

=== Conflict of Interest ===

  • Does the person or persons proposing the grant have any conflicts of interest to disclose?
  • Will the recipient of the grant, or any protocol or project in which the recipient has a vested interest (other than Rocket Pool), benefit financially if the grant is successful?

I think this should be something like:

What experience do they have with such projects in the past?

Sure, if you want basic grammatical competence or something.

(Thanks for catching this - I’ve edited the original post to correct it as suggested).

  1. The benefits section leaves out RPL holders (beyond NOs). I’m fine with that (similar spirit to how inflation currently slowly dilutes pure holders), just wanted to make sure it was on purpose.

  2. I would propose that the benefits section should also have a section for other groups that benefit with some guess at weighting. Eg, if it helps RP 20% as much as it helps PlaceholderDAO, then I would hope we’re not the primary funding (unless PlaceholderDAO is a public good and we’re explicitly funding it as such). Similarly, if the Team making the project will have an ongoing benefit (eg, they make a tool that takes a fee), that should also be taken into account when funding.

  3. I’m wondering if there’s a good way to encourage people to think about being efficient with money. Maybe in the 2nd bullet of Payment it could ask “What cost saving or revenue generating options have been considered?” or some such – at least as much to encourage some serious thought as for the answer itself.

For retrospective awards, the risk of non-delivery is completely removed.

To be consistent, doesn’t it make more sense to just use the same categories - assigning the ‘feasibility’ category an automatic 5 points and leaving the other two up to judgement?

Especially since the scoring is not automatically used to give out rewards.

Maybe the thinking is this would shift the weight too much in favor of retroactive awards? But if that’s the case, I’d just say the ‘feasibility’ category itself carries too much weight.

I don’t think the categories have to be the same across award rubrics. They are different things for different purposes that happen to be awarded by the same committee.

One thing that I was thinking about is that all the GMC-funded works should be open-source with a copyright license that allows others to continue the work or make derivations of it should the original creator depart. For example, if a proposal was to create a website, then the code should be publicly available in the event the creator decides to move on. It would not be very sustainable if, after receiving a grant, the paid-for work disappears or is not accessible by others to continue the project.

This would mean that we can not have grants for work on the official website, where a grant recipient would be given access to the source code. I get where you are coming from, but we might want to allow that.

Fair enough - but aren’t projects in different rubrics still competing for the same funds in the end? (Unless I’m misunderstanding and each rubric will have a separate budget?)
If so, having comparable categories across rubrics would still be useful to scan and contrast projects after they all received a score.

The grants and bounties rubrics already have near identical categories. Specifically I thought consistency was desired because of this passage, just taking it further:

The Retrospective Award rubric involves scoring the following question on a 1 to 15 scale (to keep it consistent with the 15 points on the other two rubrics)

:thinking: I think it’s nuanced. Maybe this could be captured in “Benefits” like “How does this help future RP builders?”. That not only credits open source more, but credits modular building more, eg.

That’s a fair point. I think I’ve personally come around to the idea that we don’t need to have equal max points (e.g. 15 points) for each type of award. If there’s only one category needed for evaluating Retrospective Awards then we should just make that rubric a one to five scale. That does a better job of communicating that these are different categories and the scores should not be used to compare them directly across categories. I think I’d favor that over using the same categories for each if a category is not applicable to that type of award.

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Hi folks. I wanted to put a hard deadline on feedback so the GMC can finalize things and we can get everything set up for the first round of applications (slated for January) prior to the upcoming holidays. Please share any additional feedback in this thread by December 10, one week from today. Thanks!

To me this is a great rubric, and you’ve already added the :muscle: language about the rubric merely being guiding and not determinative. I’m not sure where this goes, but I suspect a lot of projects will apply with ongoing monthly costs; obviously one time costs with ongoing benefit are superior to ongoing costs with ongoing benefit. For budgeting, entities often use the 5 or 10 year cost of these projects to effectively compare to one time costs.
Also consider along the lines of Ken:

  1. Will the intellectual property be usable and upgradable by the rocket pool community in perpetuity after receipt of payment?

I might suggest 2-3 years is more realistic in crypto. Though the ability to build on it is great