Program Announcement: IMPORTANT CHANGE to BIO DDIG Submission Date

New Submission Deadline: October 10, 2013

And: Second Thursday in October, Annually Thereafter

What do I as an advisor or student need to know about this change?

There have been no substantial  changes to the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (DDIG) program except for the deadline. DDIG proposals must be submitted under the solicitation in FastLane before this new deadline for consideration. The student will still need to obtain the statement of advancement to Ph.D. candidacy before the new deadline and include it with the proposal.

Why the change?

In years past, BIO DDIG proposals were  submitted in November and reviewed in late winter with funding decisions going out in the early spring.  This timing originally afforded us enough time to organize panel reviews, work around the weather, and (when we have a budget) get many of the awards out in time for the summer field season. The November deadline also provided a valuable buffer for DEB (at both the submission deadline and during panel season) that allowed processing of the DDIG proposals and decisions before the larger task of managing spring core program reviews (pre-proposals), thus preventing administrative bottlenecks.

However, DEB is affiliated with several special programs that also have submission deadlines in the November-December time frame. The number of opportunities and submissions have increased in recent years and effectively turned an already busy time of year into a 3-month-plus continuous slate of panels. Of all of these pieces which are running together each spring, DDIGs have a fairly high ratio of administrative staff effort/scientific staff effort for DEB and involve a much smaller group of stakeholders outside DEB than cross-cutting special programs; it was the easiest piece to move for the expected benefit to program management.

Why October?

By moving the deadline a month earlier to October, we can get back some of that buffer for focused efforts on DDIG review and processing.  There was a narrow window available where we would not be so early as to be running into the fall core program panel season but still allow spacing between panels in the spring.

Later in the spring was also considered but that would have required pushing the deadline back several months (after pre-proposal panels).  Such a schedule would have required the students to move their advancement to candidacy forward or back by ~6 months; plus, it would start running into field season, other special programs, the end of the fiscal year, and then fall panels again. That seemed a less-than-optimal solution.

3 thoughts on “Program Announcement: IMPORTANT CHANGE to BIO DDIG Submission Date

  1. Pingback: Program Announcement: Reminder, DEB DDIGs Due 10/10/2013 | DEBrief

  2. This post is informative, but constantly invokes the needs of the applicants, which are in fact not considered. Pushing a deadline and notification date further back would never harm a PhD student’s candidacy date. It may make them take longer to finish their degree, but that is a separate question. It is only if the deadline is pushed forward that there is a problem, which is exactly what they did, with little warning. Further, with the government shutdown underway, there has been no announcement as to whether deadlines will NOW be pushed back, with less than a week left.

    • Unfortunately, federal employees are not allowed to work while they are furloughed, so no posting about the deadline could be made by NSF staff. We will have a posting about the revised DDIG deadline as soon as we have approval to do so.

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