3/14/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Crossing Divisions in Biology

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on March 14, 2022. We host these office hours 1-2pm ET 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. This month, Program Officers (POs) discussed funding opportunities in other Divisions in the Directorate for Biological Sciences. The presentation and other documents are available here:

Slides (PDF)

PAPPG 22-1

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

Q: In the past, REU students could apply for conference funding to present their results. Are there opportunities like this currently?

A: Funding for REU students occurs through two mechanisms – REU supplements for individual awards and REU site awards. Support for conference funding for REU students is variable. Check the REU sites website for up-to-date information on current opportunities.

Q: Could you talk about general funding rates for core solicitations from the last 1-2 years, and if those are anticipated to change as we continue to return to normal after the pandemic?

A: Funding rates have been steady for the BIO in the last 1-2 years. We cannot make predictions on how things will change in the future, but we anticipate an increase in submission rates as pandemic conditions diminish. You can find information on BIO’s funding rates for 2021 here. You can also use NSF by the Numbers to find and filter funding information for each directorate. 

Q: It was mentioned to not worry about whether a submitted proposal will be co-reviewed. However, is it a good idea to talk with a PO about the proposal and potential for co-review so that the aims of the multiple solicitations can be met? Or is it more appropriate to create aims for the main solicitation and then see what happens after submission?

A: If you are submitting to the core program, it is a good idea to reach out to your PO to discuss your ideas and what a co-review would look like. As the PI, you can suggest reviewers as you submit the proposal in research.gov and you can indicate programs of interest on the cover sheet of your proposal, which will alert POs to the possibility of co-review.

Q: Are POs at NSF available over the phone/Zoom/etc. to talk about specific project ideas, and if so, what would be a good way and timeframe to arrange that?

A: Email the cognizant PO from the core program to which you plan to apply. Send them a one pager that includes the intellectual merit and broader impacts of your proposed project, and the PO will reply with ideas about the best fit for your proposal. This may lead to a phone call or Zoom meeting.

Please reach out to a PO 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 hour is scheduled for April 11, 2022, from 1-2pm Eastern Time and will discuss research at primarily undergraduate institutions.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:   

April 11: Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions                       

May 9: CAREER Solicitation                 

June 13: You’ve Been Awarded an NSF Grant, Now What?                 

July: No Virtual Office Hour 

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