12/12/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap: Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on December 12, 2022. Program Officers discussed the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (NSF 22-603). 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 (POs) from different research areas are present at each Virtual Office Hour, so a wide range of scientific perspectives are represented.

The presentation and other documents are available here:

Slides (PDF)

PAPPG 22-1

PAPPG 23-1 (effective for proposals submitted on or after Jan 30, 2023)

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

Are PIs from other directorates eligible to apply for the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (MCA)? If not, will there be a similar program?

Right now, MPS and CISE do not participate in the MCA solicitation, but we hope that changes in the future. Please feel free to contact your program to discuss your interest in the solicitation. You can find a list of currently participating programs here.

Can two partners be paid a one-month salary each, if the budget permits?

Yes. You need to make sure that it is clear how this partnership will advance YOU, the Principle Investigator (PI), as the MCA solicitation is meant to advance PIs who are in the mid-career stage.

Can I submit a proposal if I am a member of an NSF review panel ending in mid-February?

Yes. You are encouraged to reach out to a PO where you are going to submit. If you are planning to submit to the same program in which you are serving there may be some conflicts, however, we will work with you to ensure that you are not penalized for your panel service. It is best to reach out to a PO to determine what works best for you and the program.

For proposals submitted this coming February, when will funding decisions be made?

NSF strives to have decisions made on all proposals within a 6-month window from the date of submission.

Can a partner be a current collaborator?

While it is not prohibited to have the partner be a current collaborator, proposals tend to be stronger when the partner is not. These proposals should facilitate new partnerships that are mutually beneficial.

How novel must the MCA proposal be from current research?

You do not need to transition to a new field, however, you can if that is what you would like. Keep in mind the motivation behind submitting the MCA solicitation vs submitting to a core program. Lacking funding is not a good motivation for submitting to MCA, whereas lacking specific skills may be a good motivation.

Is there a list of MCA awards available to the general public?

Yes. You can find a list of awards here.

Who would be the best person to talk to regarding MCA questions?

For specific questions about the solicitations or its requirements, you can email MCA.info@nsf.gov. If you have specific questions about your research or programmatic fit, please contact a PO in your research area. They will be able to help you determine which program to apply to. 

More questions can be found on our previous office recap “1/10/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Mid-Career Advancement Program.” Please keep in mind that there have been a few updates to the solicitation for this year so be sure to check the Important Information and Revision Notes of the current solicitation for those changes. Additionally, there is a Frequently Asked Questions document available that includes questions associated with the updates.

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 will be held January 9th, 2022, from 1-2pm Eastern Time and the topic will be the Biodiversity on a Changing Planet Solicitation Update.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:                   

January 9: Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) Update

February 13: How to Write a Great Budget

March 13: PAPPG: Cracking the code – Understanding NSF policies and procedures that shape your funding opportunities

April 10: Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI)

May 8: CAREER Solicitation

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