All project proposals originate from IJC boards. Official calls for proposals and proposal deadlines are sent to the boards twice a year, in the spring and the fall. These dates correspond to the beginning of the fiscal years for Canada (April 1) and the U.S. (October 1). All projects submitted by the boards undergo a rigorous evaluation from the IWI Review Committee. The Committee is comprised of IJC staff that includes the Canadian and U.S. secretaries and legal, engineering, scientific and communications personnel from the Ottawa and Washington offices. Under IJC funding criteria, IWI project proposals are required to address one or more of three overarching themes:
- Building a shared scientific understanding of the watershed issues by harmonizing data and information, developing shared tools, knowledge and expertise, and expanding outreach to and cooperation among stakeholders.
- Communicating transboundary water issues at the local, regional, and national levels, including First Nations, Métis and American Tribes, to increase awareness and understanding of these important issues.
- Contributing to the resolution of watershed issues by facilitating discussions, participating in development of shared solutions, creating decision-making tools, fostering common ground, brokering resolutions, and bringing unresolved issues to the attention of the IJC.