12/9/19 Virtual Office Hours Recap

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its first Virtual Office Hour on December 9th, 2019. We’ll be hosting these office hours monthly on 2nd Mondays at 1-2pm EST. There will be a different theme each time, but visitors are welcome to ask about other NSF-related topics. Program Officers from each of DEB’s clusters will be present at every Virtual Office Hour.

We were pleased that 95 participants joined us last week. This month’s topic was introducing DEB and outlining the submission and review process under our current solicitation (NSF 20-502). We provided information on each cluster’s thematic focus, and explained which programs still have deadlines, given the NSF BIO Directorate’s transition to no-deadline solicitations.

The presentation is available here:
Presentation Slides (PDF)

If you were unable to attend, here are a some of the questions that arose during the Q & A section:

Q: How many panels are being held per year with core programs now that there isn’t a deadline? When should I submit my proposal?
A: We are holding panels year-round. There is no “best” time of year to submit a proposal, so our advice is to submit when you feel your proposal is ready.

Q: How many proposals can an investigator submit as a PI and/or Co-PI? Can an investigator submit a proposal to one cluster and another proposal to a different cluster/program?
A: There are no limits to the number of proposals a PI and/or Co-PI can submit. However, the aims of the different proposed projects must not substantially overlap.

Q: What is the timeline for the review process of proposals under the no deadline solicitation?
A: We strive to notify PIs of our decisions within 6 months of receiving a proposal. For many years we’ve been successful in doing so for the vast majority of proposals.

Q: Do I need to include prior support from a project that ended more than 5 years ago?
A: No, the PAPPG requires that only prior support from any current funding or an award with an end date in the last 5 years should be included. If there was more than one award for a PI/co-PI, reporting should be on the one most closely related to the proposal. However, if you have an older project that was very productive, you are not penalized for including that information.

Q: What are the similarities and differences between Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) and Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) proposals?
A: EAGER is a type of proposal used to support exploratory work on potentially transformative ideas or approaches. This work is typically “high risk-high payoff” in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.

RAISE is a type of proposal that supports bold, interdisciplinary projects whose: 1. scientific advances lie in great part outside the scope of a single program or discipline, such that substantial funding support from more than one program or discipline is necessary; 2. lines of research promise transformational advances; and 3. prospective discoveries reside at the interfaces of disciplinary boundaries that may not be recognized through traditional review or co-review. All three criteria must be met to be considered a RAISE.

Both types of proposals are reviewed internally rather than by a panel and require Program Officer approval for submission. If you are thinking of submitting an EAGER or RAISE, please contact a Program Officer for more guidance, and review the PAPPG II.E for more information.

Q: Is there a list of programs that DEB co-reviews with? What does co-review mean and how does it work?
A: There is no list of programs with which DEB co-reviews proposals. Depending on the aims and proposed activities, we could co-review with any program in NSF. Because of synergies, however, most of our co-reviews are between clusters in DEB, with other divisions in the Biological Sciences (BIO) directorate, and with divisions in the Geosciences (GEO) Directorate. Check out our blog post for information on how co-reviews work, and attend our Jan. 13, 2020 office hours for more information.

Q: For the Bridging Ecology and Evolution (BEE) category, is it necessary for the proposal to be split equally between ecology and evolution? If not, what fraction would you expect to see?
A: There is no set fraction of ecology and evolution required in a BEE proposal. Tune in for the BEE office hours on January 13, 2020 for more information or contact a Program Officer with specific questions.

Please reach out to a Program Officer if you have any questions about the proposal submission and review process in DEB.

Our next virtual office hours will be held on January 13, 2020 from 1-2pm EST and will discuss the BEE category and co-review. Please bring any questions on the topic or NSF/DEB at large. All questions are welcome. Be sure to check back here or follow the BIO Twitter (@NSF_BIO) for information on how to register.