1/11/2021 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Integrative Research in Biology Solicitation

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on January 11, 2021. We host these office hours from 1-2 pm EST on the 2nd Monday of every month. Each session has a designated theme, but attendees are welcome to ask about other NSF-related topics. Program Officers provided an introduction to the new Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO) solicitation (NSF 21-543).

The presentation and other documents are available here:

Slides (PDF)

PAPPG 20-1

IntBIO solicitation page

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

Q: What do you mean by subdisciplines in biology?

A: The solicitation purposefully does not define subdiscipline, because we think that the definition depends on the discipline that you are already in. We do not want to put artificial constraints on the research. We want to receive creative questions from the community and therefore want you to define what your subdiscipline is and how other subdisciplines will help answer the question you pose.

Q: Is the solicitation limited to collaboration between BIO subdisciplines only or could the project also involve collaboration between BIO and another field?

A: The IntBIO solicitation requires at least two subdisciplines in biology but there can also be collaboration with any other field outside biology as well.

Q: If we’ve already submitted a standard collaborative proposal that we think might be appropriate for IntBIO, is there a mechanism to flag or route the proposal to be reviewed for it?

A: You should contact the Program Officer of the program to which you have already submitted. IntBIO has some special solicitation-specific criteria that you may not have addressed in an already-submitted proposal. So, a first step would be to determine whether your current idea is a fit for IntBIO and then whether there are other elements that you need to incorporate into your current proposal. This might require you to withdraw and resubmit to IntBIO.

Q: Can I apply for this grant if I am not a US citizen?

A: The solicitation states the eligibility requirements. In brief, institutions of higher education having a campus located in the US and non-profit, non-academic organizations in the US are eligible to apply. If you have an appointment at such an institution and your institution deems you eligible to apply on its behalf, then you may apply to IntBIO.

Q: Can collaborators be located in other countries?

A: According to the NSF PAPPG 20-1, NSF will consider support for foreign organizations in certain circumstances, e.g., as long as the foreign organization makes a unique contribution or offers significant education, training or research opportunities to the US. See this link for details. It is highly recommended that you contact a Program Officer about your specific situation as during the review process, reviewers will be asked if the collaboration with a foreign lab is well-justified.

Q: Will IntBIO be replacing other integrative research programs within BIO?

A: No, IntBIO does not replace any program. It specifically replaces the Rules of Life Track previously contained in the core solicitations of BIO’s four divisions. IntBIO offers an additional opportunity for engaging in integrative research across subdisciplines.

Q: Aside from the integrative nature of the work, what other differences should we be aware of in these IntBIO proposals?

A: The research should address an overarching question that crosses scales of biological organization to make new discoveries about how biological systems function and interact. In addition, IntBIO proposals are expected to include a training and education plan aimed at producing a new generation of diverse scientists who are trained in integrative approaches to biological research.

Q: What share of the workload would be expected for two or three PIs? If two, it is 50/50 or can it be 75/25?

A: This is entirely dependent on the goals of the project and should be consistent with the contributions (intellectual and budgetary) that are needed to answer the questions posed.

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 February 10, 2021, from 2-3 pm EST and will provide instructions on how to prepare a proposal budget. We will be joined by representatives from the Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA).

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

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:

February 10: How to prepare a great budget (note special time 2-3 pm Wednesday Feb. 10)

March 8: Beginning Investigators

April 12: How to write a great proposal

May 10: CAREER Solicitation

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