8/9/2021 Virtual Office Hours Recap – EAGER, RAPID, Conference, & Planning Grants

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on August 9, 2021. Program Officers provided insight on insight on EAGERRAPIDConference, and the new Planning proposals described in the newest Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), which will go into effect on October 4, 2021. Representatives from the DEB core programs were available for questions.  

We host these office hours from 1-2 pm Eastern Time on the 2nd Monday of every month. Each session has a designated theme, but attendees are welcome to ask about other NSF-related topics.

The presentation and other documents are available here:

Slides (PDF)

PAPPG 22-1 (effective 10/4/21)

If you were unable to attend, here are a few of the questions asked during the Q&A section. Many of the questions we received were duplicates from past virtual office hours, so we encourage you to check out our Office Hour page, where we have recaps on a variety of topics:

Q: Should the 2-page proposals for EAGER/RAPID grants integrate the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, or focus on the IM?

A: The prospectus should include both but spend most of your two pages on the intellectual merit since that is what the purpose of the two pages is for to determine programmatic fit to receive an invite of proposal.

Q: What are the most important considerations (and/or most common pitfalls) when writing the initial EAGER 2-pager for the Program Officer?

A: It is important to clearly articulate the question you’re hoping to address with your work and then why the method you are going to use high risk-high reward.

Q: What are the budgets for Conference grants? And is the $ just for travel/facility rental?

A: There is no budget cap for conference grants. That being said, grants requesting more than $50k will have to provide more information as outlined in the PAPPG. Think about what resources are needed for the conference. You can request money for keynote speakers or trainers if you need that expertise. You can also request participant support costs for participants from US institutions.

Q: Can a Conference grant fund a part time organizer/project manager who would manage travel, logistics, etc.? Can it fund evaluators/assessment and/or facilitators?

A: Yes, the proposal needs to justify why they are needed and clearly describe what that person will do. For assessment, we need to know how you would use that information and why you would need it.

Q: What does NSF envision Conference proposals will look like in a COVID/post-COVID era? Hybrid in person/virtual, etc.?

A: We will probably see a combination in the future but is completely up to the proposer. We don’t have any specific guidance on which one you should use.

Q: Can a “hackathon” (intensive are brief and intensive community activities) or similar rapid software development event be considered a “Conference” even if done remotely?

A: If the proposal has a viable ecological/evolutionary question at the heart, it could be. We encourage you to reach out to a Program Officer to get more personalized feedback on your idea.

Q: Let’s say there is an EvolBio track within other national/international conferences, and we want to support underrepresented minorities financially to encourage their attendance and participation, would conference talks supplement these or are these meant for only stand-alone grants?

A: We are happy to provide travel for people who would not have funding to promote collaboration nationally and/or internationally. Contact a Program Officer and we can let you know if we are interested in funding those.

Q: Can you give a hypothetical example of a Planning rant? Is that more for getting people together or potentially for simulation/modeling etc. to be done by a postdoc?

A: It is brand new, so we are learning how the community wants to use them. The PAPPG indicates that these could be for larger initiatives and could be used to help start the community thinking about a new solicitation. NSF may potentially release a Dear Colleague Letter to target scientific areas. Contact a Program Officer if you have a specific idea in mind.

Q: For the planning grants, what are the typical items included in the budget, since it’s not for the research costs themselves? Can you please give some examples?

A: These are brand new but looking at PAPPG there isn’t anything specified. Request what you think is necessary for the grant to be successful and be sure to justify those funds.

Please reach out to a Program Officer if you have any questions about the proposal submission and review process in DEB programs. NSF has suggested 5 tips on working with Program Officers as part of the NSF 101 series on our Science Matters blog.

Check out the upcoming office hour topics below and be sure to check back here or on the NSF Events Page for information on how to register. Our next virtual office hours will be held September 13, 2021, from 1-2pm Eastern Time and will provide information on the BIO Postdoc Fellowship Program.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:

September 13: BIO Postdoc Fellowship Program

October 18: Intro to DEB and the DEB Core Program Solicitation

November 8: Updates on Dimensions of Biodiversity Research

December 13: How to Write a Great Annual Report and Other Post Award Actions