New Funding Opportunity for Navigating the New Arctic

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) is pleased to announce the new solicitation (NSF 20-514) for the Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) program. NNA is one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas and represents a unique opportunity to position our nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership.

It is challenging to predict the future of the Arctic for three reasons: (1) it is changing very rapidly, (2) there are large gaps in scientific observations, and (3) natural, built, and social systems are highly interdependent. Understanding and adapting to a changing Arctic will require creative new directions for Arctic-related research, education, workforce development, and leveraging of science, engineering, and technology advances from outside the Arctic. Consequently, NNA is an initiative that seeks to address the challenges and opportunities of a changing Arctic by supporting new, diverse, integrative research communities.

Proposals must address a question on the interactions between at least two of the following:

  1. The natural environment,
  2. The built environment, and
  3. Social systems.

Proposals may be submitted in one of two tracks.

  • Track 1 Research Grants target far-reaching, creative proposals for fundamental research that tackle convergent science challenges related to the rapidly changing Arctic. Research Grants will have a budget of no more than $3,000,000 and a maximum duration of 5 years.
  • Track 2 Planning Grants target proposals to support planning activities leading to research team formation and capacity-building. Planning Grants will have a budget of no more than $250,000 and a maximum duration of 24 months.

An important goal of NNA is to bring in new researchers who have not previously worked in the Arctic. Research taking place north of the Arctic Circle is not required to be eligible for NNA. Previous awards made during Fiscal Year 2019 can be found here.

For additional information and upcoming events about NNA, please visit the solicitation and program website, or reach out to the Program Directors on the NNA Working Group at, or Kendra McLauchlan, the NNA BIO representative, at

Full proposals are due on February 11, 2020.

Image shows three intersecting circles each labled social systems, build environment, and natural environment surrounded by the words arctic residents, forecasting, resilient infrastructure, data and observation, education, and global impact.

The most competitive proposals will include expertise from multiple traditionally distinct and independent science and engineering disciplines. Figure from solicitation NSF 20-514.

Upcoming Biology Integration Institutes Webinar

Please join us for the upcoming webinar about the Biology Integration Institutes (BII) on November 18th, 2019 at 2pm EST!

During this webinar, program directors from the BIO BII Team will address questions about the recently released solicitation (NSF 20-508).

Use the registration link below to register for our November 18th webinar.

Click here to register

The BII is a new funding opportunity to strengthen the connections between biological subdisciplines and encourage a reintegration of biology. This funding opportunity is a part of BIO’s larger efforts to stimulate integrative thinking in the biological research community.

To learn more about the Biology Integration Institutes, visit the solicitation and program website.

Letters of Intent for Implementation Proposals are due December 20, 2019. The deadline for full proposals, in both the Design and Implementation tracks, is February 6, 2020.

Who’s Afraid of Co-reviews?

Co-review is a common practice in DEB (and across NSF), but questions from the community suggest that having a proposal co-reviewed makes some of you apprehensive. In fact, you may ask yourself whether co-review will decrease the likelihood of getting funded. Not to worry – here are the basics:

Which proposals are co-reviewed? Projects that stand to advance the science funded by multiple programs are most commonly co-reviewed. Almost always, these are integrative or interdisciplinary studies.

How does co-review work? Typically, the program to which the proposal was submitted (i.e., the primary program) determines that there is significant overlap with other program(s) and invites the relevant program(s) to participate in the review process. This participation may range from simply suggesting ad hoc reviewers to taking the proposal to their own panel.

Can I decide where my proposal gets co-reviewed? At submission, you are welcome (but not required) to suggest other programs you believe to be relevant for co-review; you do so in the Cover Sheet portion of the proposal. We encourage you to discuss your research idea prior to submission with a Program Officer from each program that you regard as relevant for a potential co-review. Often, they can provide explicit guidance as to whether co-review is warranted, and with which programs. After submission, the (primary) program then decides whether to request a co-review from the programs that you’ve suggested.

The only exception to this process is the Rules of Life track, which requires that you specify a co-reviewing program in a BIO Division other than DEB and that you explain how your proposed work bridges the two programs.

What happens after co-review? If the proposal is favorably reviewed by one or both programs, either or both programs may choose to fund the project. Thus, one of the advantages of co-review is that multiple programs might be willing to help fund the proposal. Funding contributions can vary, but co-funding often allows DEB to support more principal investigators and more individual projects.

But, isn’t it risky to expose my proposal to scrutiny by so many reviewers? As we all know, an important aspect of promoting the progress of science is getting fair, constructive feedback. For a subset of the proposals we receive this can really only be achieved by expert input and discussion reflecting the breadth of topics covered in the proposal (hence the co-review).

But, what about the funding rates of co-reviewed proposals? As part of our award recommendation process, we regularly monitor funding rates of co-reviews, and we have no indication that co-reviewed proposals fare less well than non-co-reviewed proposals.

If the science truly does straddle multiple programs, projects may be more likely to be completely and fairly evaluated if experts from multiple disciplines can offer feedback. Even if the proposal is not funded, the advice from a diverse array of reviewers should help you strengthen any resubmissions.

More questions about co-review? Contact a Program Officer! We’re happy to talk about your proposal.


New DCL: NSF RFI on Data Cyberinfrastructure for Future Data-Intensive S&E Research

The following is re-post from our colleagues in IOS.

“On the behalf of our colleagues over at the CISE Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure: NSF 20-015 Request for Information (RFI) on Data-focused Infrastructure needed for future S&E research has been released! Details on this new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) can be found below:

Dear Colleagues,

We strongly encourage you to respond to NSF 20-015 Dear Colleague Letter, Request for Information (RFI) on Data-Focused Cyberinfrastructure Needed to Support Future Data-Intensive Science and Engineering Research .

The challenges of growing volumes of scientific data – their availability, transmission, accessibility, management, and utilization – have become urgent and ubiquitous across NSF-supported science, engineering, and education disciplines. To inform the formulation of a strategic NSF response to these imperatives, the RFI asks the research community to update NSF on their data-intensive scientific questions and challenges and associated needs specifically related to data-focused cyberinfrastructure.

We would like to receive an ample and broadly representative response from across the NSF research domains and disciplines. This was the case with successful 2017 NSF RFI on Future Needs for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (NSF CI 2030)[1], which informed subsequent CI investments and a new Vision for, Transforming Science Through Cyberinfrastructure. As with NSF CI 2030, we intend to post the NSF 20-015 RFI responses publicly in the spring/summer 2020 timeframe for useful reference by NSF colleagues and the community.

To respond to this RFI please follow the guidelines outlined in the, NSF 20-015 Dear Colleague Letter.

For questions concerning this RFI please contact us via”

New BIO Funding Opportunity for the Reintegration of Biology

Supporting fundamental biological research that takes an integrative approach to understanding life’s key innovations is a priority for the BIO Directorate. Despite biology’s unifying goal of understanding the processes that generate and sustain life, the actual practice of modern biology has become increasingly fragmented into subdisciplines due, in part, to specialized approaches required for deep study of narrowly defined problems.

BIO now aims to strengthen the connections between biological subdisciplines and encourage a reintegration of biology through a new funding opportunity: Biology Integration Institutes. Letters of Intent are due on December 20, 2019 and full proposals are due on February 6, 2020.

The Biology Integration Institutes will support collaborative teams of researchers at a level not feasible in most existing core programs and over a more extended timeframe than is typical of standard NSF awards. Our goal is to stimulate creative integration of diverse biological disciplines using innovative experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to discover underlying principles operating across all levels of life, from biomolecules to organisms, species, ecosystems, and biomes. While this solicitation focuses on the integration of biological disciplines, any field beyond biology may be included as needed to address the overarching biological theme.

We also intend for the Institutes to enable research and training in a truly integrated environment, preparing the next generation of biological scientists to pursue discipline-spanning research throughout their careers. In these ways, the Biology Integration Institutes will enable the workforce and innovations that will inspire new applications to drive our bioeconomy and provide solutions to pressing societal challenges.

Proposals may be submitted in one of two tracks. Implementation proposals are for teams that have already developed an Integrative Research Plan around a theme of significance, designed an educational approach that employs effective methods for depth and breadth of training, and prepared a cohesive and sustainable Management Plan that is ready for deployment. Design proposals are for teams to develop communities and groundbreaking ideas to be submitted to later competitions as Implementation proposals through diverse and sustained activities, including workshops and follow-up meetings.

This funding opportunity is a part of BIO’s larger efforts to stimulate integrative thinking in the biological research community. To learn more about the Biology Integration Institutes, visit the solicitation and program website, or reach out to the cognizant program directors:

Core Programs Revisions

A new Division of Environmental Biology (Core Programs) solicitation (20-502) has been released with a few important updates. As always, please read the entire solicitation and pay close attention to the revisions outlined in the “Important Information and Revision Notes” section of the solicitation. We’ve highlighted a few particularly important changes below.

Bridging Ecology and Evolution (BEE)
The description of the Bridging Ecology and Evolution (BEE) special category has been revised. The Project Description of all BEE proposals must clearly describe how and in what ways the research will advance understanding of the dynamic interactions between ecological and evolutionary processes.

NSFDEB-NERC Submissions
The instructions for submitting NSFDEB-NERC proposals have been revised. Applicants submitting NSF-lead proposals are still required to submit an email to ahead of the planned proposal submission. However, instead of factoring in a “3-month” waiting period, PIs can submit their full proposals as soon as they get approval from an NSF representative.

Reporting Results of Prior NSF Support
The description of how to report the public release of data from previously funded projects in the “Results from Prior NSF Support” section has been updated. From the new solicitation: “In addition to the reporting requirement format described by the PAPPG (see Results from Prior NSF Support, II.C.2.d.iii), the Results from Prior NSF Support section must include evidence of deposition of samples, data and/or data products in recognized, accessible, community-accepted repositories by listing such repositories and, if practical, metadata. All publications, data, data products, programs and/or scripts that are specifically mentioned in the Results from Prior NSF Support section must be referenced in the References Cited section and must provide unique, resolvable and persistent identifiers (such as Digital Object Identifiers [DOIs]; Uniform Resource Locators [URLs], or similar).”

Any questions can be directed to or you can contact a Program Officer directly.

Share Your #NSFstories

NSF is active on social media platforms and is ready to engage with you and your exciting science. But the internet is loud and simply bursting with cat videos, so what’s the quickest way to get in touch with NSF?

Tag us!

As scientists, you can appreciate the value of proper labeling and classification, and that’s what those fun hashtags are for! Use #NSFstories and/or #NSFfunded when posting online so we can see and share your discoveries or events.

Email us!

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