Spring 2017: DEB Preliminary Proposal Results


This past week, DEB completed processing all preliminary proposals submitted to the January 23rd 2017 deadline. Below is a summary of the outcomes for this year.

Panel Recommendations

The “Invite” column in the chart above reflects the panels’ recommendations while the “Total Invited” column reflects the programs’ recommendations. Each program’s final invite decision was based not only on the panel recommendation but also the availability of funds and portfolio balance.

The four DEB clusters convened 10 preliminary-proposal panels. Panelists reviewed 1,384 preliminary proposals and recommended 346 be invited for full proposal submission. We are very thankful to panelists who traveled from all over the country to participate in our merit review process. DEB program officers subsequently made adjustments for portfolio balance and invited 373 (27%) for full proposal submission.

By this time, all PIs who submitted a 2017 preliminary proposal should have heard back from DEB about the program’s recommendation (“Invite” or “Do Not Invite”). If you have not, please visit Fastlane.nsf.gov and select the “proposal functions” option then click on “proposal status.” If you were a Co-PI, please follow-up with your lead PI.

The chart below shows long-term trends in the numbers of preliminary proposals DEB has received since 2012, as well as the total invite numbers and percentages. As you can see, the numbers submitted have been decreasing and the overall invite rate has been increasing.

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Meet DEB: Caroline Robertson, Program Assistant


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Caroline and her pup, Gracie

 

What’s your role here at DEB? I am a Program Assistant with the Ecosystem Science and Population and Community Ecology Clusters. One of my favorite tasks is coordinating travel arrangements (no, really!) because it breaks up my day and gets my brain going.

What did you study in school? I have a degree in anthropology from SIU Carbondale where I focused on cultural transmission of historical violence (see here for my senior thesis for a better understanding of what I enjoy studying). Currently, I am in school at American University studying Public Anthropology for a master’s degree and continuing to focus on the cultural transmission of historical violence (stay tuned for the online archive I am creating). I am scheduled to receive my degree in August after I finish my thesis, so wish me luck!

What do you love to do in your spare time? Spare time? What is that!? When I’m not doing school work, I spend any spare time playing with/training my Australian Shepherd puppy, Gracie! She takes up most of my fiancé’s and my time, but we love her for it!

Hamburgers or hotdogs? Depends who is cooking it, but if it’s a restaurant, then hamburgers!

Why do you enjoy working with DEB? DEB is full of kind people who are a joy to work with! There are many different personalities here that all have their own charm. I am happiest when working with people and so love to work with the diverse crowd that is DEB (I am an anthropologist after all).

 

2017 Summer Meeting Schedule


Our DEB Program Officers will be attending various conferences and professional meetings this summer and would be happy to chat with you.  Below are the dates and locations of where to find Program Officers ready to talk about the latest NSF news and funding opportunities.  Be sure and say, “Hi!”

Who? Where? When?
Sam Scheiner (EP) Evolution June 23-27
Leslie Rissler (EP) Evolution June 23-27
  European Society for Evolutionary Biology (Netherlands) Aug 20-25
George Gilchrist (EP) Evolution June 23-27
Paco Moore (EP) The Astrobiology Science Conference April 24-28
  Evolution June 23-27
  The Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology July 9-14
  European Society for Evolutionary Biology (Netherlands) Aug 20-15
Colette St. Mary (EP) Evolution and Animal Behavior June 12-16
  American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists July 12-16
Janice Bossart (EP) Evolution June 23-27
Prosanta Chakrabarty (SBS) American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists July 12-16
Katharina Dittmar (SBS) Evolution June 23-27
Matt Kane (ES) ASM Microbe Meeting June 1-5
  Ecological Society of America Aug 5-11
Karina Schafer (ES) Ecological Society of America Aug 5-11
Liz Blood (ES) Ecological Society of America Aug 6-11
  Society of Freshwater Scientists June 5-9
John Shade (ES) Society of Freshwater Science June 8
  LTER Science Council Meeting May 16-19
Susanna Remold (PCE) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (EEID) June 24-27
  The Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology July 9-14
Doug Levey (PCE) Ecological Society of America Aug 6-11
Betsy von Holle (PCE) Ecological Society of America Aug 5-11
Maria Gonzalez (PCE) Ecological Society of America Aug 5-11
Alan Tessier (Deputy Division Director) Ecological Society of America Aug 5-11
Paula Mabee (Division Director) Evolution June 23-27

Meet DEB: Olivia (Kirby) Dzurny, Admin. Support Assistant


Name: Ms. (for now- I’m newly engaged!) Olivia (Kirby) Dzurny

Tell Us About Yourself. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri and a student at George Washington University.o2

What do you do here at DEB? I’m a Program Assistant with the responsibilities of an Administrative Support Assistant.  This means I help organize and set-up panels and help coordinate travel for visiting panelists.

What are you studying in school? Creative writing and international affairs – however, most of what I have learned while in college has come from experiences outside the classroom, such as my positions with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo.

How did you find out about NSF? I looked for science-based organizations that needed management help!

Cake or pie? Pie – unless it is cheesecake…or unless the cake is actually ice cream.

What do you like about working here? I truly love being surrounded by people who are experts in their field. I love to learn! Having the ability to sit in on panel discussions or lectures is a huge benefit to my position. The people are nice, too.

Where do you want to travel one day? I want to live in New Zealand – partly because of the Lord of the Rings, but mostly because it is gorgeous.

Anything else??? I am interested in studying animals and hope to find a career in helping support museums, zoos, and aquariums around the country. More than anything, I’m an explorer at heart. Traveling and writing are my two biggest passions in life.

 

Thanks for Your Feedback!


Thanks to everyone who participated in our poll! We tallied the results and wanted to share the feedback we received as of March 10th. Thanks for giving us a clearer understanding of the types of content you enjoy and what roles you hold within the DEB community.  We look forward to continuing to serve the DEB community and posting content that is informative and helpful.

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What do you want to see in 2017?


We want to make sure this blog is serving the needs of the DEB community so please take a minute and tell us what you’d like to see more of in the coming year.

A Reorganization in the Systematics and Biodiversity Sciences Cluster


Systematics is a rapidly changing field and DEB strives to serve our community while incorporating an ever-changing understanding of the natural world. As the amount of information and data the systematics and biodiversity community gathers grows in quantity and breadth, researchers are looking for ways to incorporate new and existing data layers into the framework of the Tree of Life. Even with advances in next-generation sequencing, MRI/CT imaging, and other methods, there is still a tremendous amount of undiscovered, overlooked, or understudied biodiversity. In response to progress in the field of systematics and biodiversity and based on the number of recent submissions to different DEB solicitations, the Systematics and Biodiversity Sciences (SBS) cluster has decided to reorganize its program structure and offerings. These changes will not affect the kind of grants you can submit in terms of funds, scope, or topic.

A visual representation of the changes described in the text.
Starting in the next fiscal year (October 2017), the SBS cluster will manage a single core program called Systematics and Biodiversity Sciences. The simplification reflects the consolidation of the former Genealogy of Life (GoLife), Phylogenetic Systematics (PS), and Biodiversity: Discovery and Analysis (BDA) programs into a single core program. The major changes are:

  • the initiatives of the former GoLife program will now be part of the core rather than supported through a separate solicitation for proposals; and
  • a new category of proposals aimed at advancing biodiversity discovery and description in poorly known areas of the Tree of Life has been added and is called ‘PurSUiT (Poorly Sampled and Unknown Taxa).’

As in the past, ‘ARTS: Advancing Revisionary Taxonomy and Systematics’ proposals, for taxonomic revisionary and monographic research, will continue to be accepted in SBS.

What does this mean for you? If you have a taxonomic revision or monographic research project, you can submit to the core program using the prefix “ARTS” in your title (e.g., “ARTS: a monograph of unicorns”). If you are studying very poorly known parts of the Tree of Life you can submit to the core program and use the prefix PurSUiT (e.g., “PurSUiT: Discovery and description of new lineages of poorly studied laser cats”). You will still be able to submit grants with the other more widely used prefixes (e.g. SG, RUI, CAREER, and OPUS).

These new programmatic changes won’t be in effect until the start of the next fiscal year (October 2017).

SBS is always looking for the best research in systematics and biodiversity and our capacity to fund exceptional work in our field has not changed. These programmatic changes are in response to progress in the field and submissions to different solicitations; it does not reflect any decreased interest in systematics and biodiversity research within NSF. We hope this simplification and refocusing will help further improve our understanding of life on Earth, the training of future systematists and field biologists and our ability to review and fund the best phylogenetic, taxonomic, and biodiversity research.

Details about the programmatic changes in SBS can be found in a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 17-052) and FAQ document (NSF 17-054). If you have additional questions, please reach out to a DEB Program Officer.