11/9/20 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Welcome to The Division of Environmental Biology


The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on November 9, 2020. We host these office hours 1-2pm EST on the 2nd Monday of every month. There is a designated theme each time, but attendees are welcome to ask about other NSF-related topics. Program Officers from each of DEB’s clusters are present at each Virtual Office Hour, so a wide range of scientific perspectives are represented. This month’s topic was the DEB Core Solicitation (NSF 21-504).

The presentation and other documents are available here:

Slides (PDF)

PAPPG 20-1

DEB NSF webpage

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

Q: Is there a funding rate you strive for in each round of review? In other words, are proposals rated relative to one another? Or is each proposal evaluated on its own merits, regardless of what else (and how much else) may have been submitted around the same time?

A: There isn’t a specific funding rate we strive for. Each proposal is reviewed on its own merits regardless of other submissions. Funding rates are based on the number of proposals that we receive and the finite budget we receive from Congress. Funding decisions are based on a variety of factors including how the proposal does within panel as well as balancing the program’s portfolio. This is why it may feel like funding decisions take a long time to be determined based on when the proposal has been submitted. However, we do try to get decisions made within 6 months of receiving a proposal.

Q: Is there a way to let Program Officers know that we would like to volunteer for panels?

A: Yes, the first step is to sign up via our webpage. Generally, we ask potential panelists to be an ad hoc reviewer a few times to better understand the review criteria prior to asking them to participate in a panel. Ad hoc reviewers are reviewers assigned to provide feedback on a single proposal. While they do not participate in panel, those reviews are provided to the panelists and factored into the panel discussions.

Additional questions can be found here on our recap post when we previously discussed the DEB core solicitation.   

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

Our next virtual office hours will be held on December 14th, 2020 from 1-2pm EST and will provide an introduction to Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (NSF 21-516).

Be sure to check back here or on the NSF Events Page for information on how to register.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:

December 14: Mid-Career Advancement

January 11: Supplements

February 8:  How to prepare a great budget

March 8: How to write a good proposal

April 12: Beginning Investigators

May 10: CAREER Solicitation

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