5/8/23 Virtual Office Hours Recap: CAREER Solicitation

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on May 8, 2023. Program Officers discussed the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER). 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 23-1

DEB Core Programs Solicitation

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Solicitation

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

Does the CAREER solicitation require the inclusion of the Safe and Inclusive Work Environments (SAIF) Plan upon submission?

No. The current requirements for including SAIF plans are solicitation specific. DEB’s core solicitation does require the submission of a SAIF Plan, but the Agency-wide CAREER solicitation does not. More information on the SAIF Plans and which solicitations do require its inclusion can be found here.

Can you clarify who is eligible to apply for a CAREER Award in terms of any requirements for teaching load/responsibilities? If a researcher is employed by a non-profit research organization that does not require teaching, are they eligible?

Tenure-Track Equivalency – For a position to be considered a tenure-track-equivalent position, it must meet all of the following requirements: (1) the employee has a continuing appointment that is expected to last the five years of a CAREER grant; (2) the appointment has substantial research and educational responsibilities; and (3) the proposed project relates to the employee’s career goals and job responsibilities as well as to the mission of the department or organization. As stated in the Proposal Preparation Instructions, for non-tenure-track faculty, the Departmental Letter must affirm that the investigator’s appointment is at an early-career level equivalent to pre-tenure status, and the Departmental Letter must clearly and convincingly demonstrate how the faculty member’s appointment satisfies all the above requirements of tenure-track equivalency.

Faculty members who are Associate Professors or in equivalent appointments, with or without tenure, are not eligible for the CAREER program. Faculty members who hold Adjunct Faculty or equivalent appointments are not eligible for the CAREER program.

When is it recommended that we contact POs? Should we always check with POs about the topics we are planning on submitting or only if we have an unusual circumstance/specific question?

Try to find answers to your questions in the PAPPG, solicitation, and/or on the website and if you don’t understand what you’ve found, or have a specific question about your project, please reach out to a Program Officer. It’s also natural to reach out after the review process if you have questions about your feedback. It’s good practice to send one email to multiple program officers if you want to speak with more than one PO or program. This way we can coordinate to set up a meeting or conversation.

Are there current funding priorities for the CAREER? Are urgent issues/crisis issues given priority? e.g., climate change, conservation etc.

We’re looking for you to fill key gaps in knowledge but there is no specific priority. There are many solicitations that call for specific priorities, but the CAREER solicitation and our core solicitation do not.

What is the best practice for differentiating “Integrating Teaching” and “Broader Impacts”? Should the Broader Impacts be directed to the community outside the university?

The bar for integration is higher in CAREERs as the primary research goals should be connected to the teaching. Very often there is an overlap with integration of teaching and broader impacts, but often there are additional broader impacts outside of the university such as taking advantage of local opportunities and what is going on in your university. Consider reviewing previous awards using the awards search on NSF.gov to look at abstracts for awards that may be able to help you see what has been successful in the past.

Are DEB CAREER proposals reviewed in a panel format, or do the Program Officers also use hoc reviewers?

In DEB, all CAREER proposals go to panel and the majority will also have ad hoc reviews.

Additional questions can be found here on our previous recap post.   

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 hosted by our colleagues in MCB and held June 7, 2023, from 2-3pm Eastern Time where they will be discussing Broader Impacts. Please note that this is a different time and date from our normal schedule and will require separate registration to attend. Click here to register for that event.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:                  

June 7* 2-3pm: Let’s Talk Broader Impacts hosted by MCB

July: No Virtual Office Hour

August 14: Partnership to Advance Conservation Science and Practice (PACSP) Update

September 11: Macrosystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science (MSB-NES)

October 16*: Welcome to DEB

November 13: TBD

December 11: Introduction to the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP)

*indicates change of date from regular schedule

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