MacroSystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science (MSB-NES)


Here’s some news as we enter the home stretch for 2018: the MacroSystems Biology (MSB) program has released a new solicitation for proposals under the revised program title “MacroSystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science (MSB-NES)”. The solicitation recognizes the completion of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) as a major instrument for studying regional- to continental-scale ecological research questions. You can find the program summary here.

The solicitation (NSF 19-538) invites innovative proposals to detect, quantify, and forecast the consequences of changing climate, land-use, and invasive species for the biosphere at regional to continental scales. The program targets the massive knowledge gap between processes that occur at local ecological scales and the global processes that drive the distribution of ecosystems and biomes. Additionally, it recognizes that drivers of ecological change occur at multiple scales of time and space, and that processes may interact across scales in nonlinear fashion. As ever, the program encourages planning, training, and development activities that enable groups to conduct research at macrosystem scales.

The current solicitation includes two tracks. The first track, named Macrosystems Research Awards (‘MRA’), will continue to support ambitious, quantitative, team projects that have shaped the emerging field of macrosystems ecology over the past decade.

The second track (Macrosystems Small Awards, ‘MSA’) provides opportunities for small teams of researchers tackling more narrowly targeted questions and approaches to advance understanding of regional to continental-scale processes. Such a project may, for example, address a single theoretical challenge, such as scaling, or focus on development of NEON-enabled tools that shed light on multi-scale drivers of an ecosystem process.

Both tracks will prioritize proposals that use the massive data streams flowing from 81 NEON aquatic and terrestrial sites situated within 20 climatically defined domains across the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. NEON data products are already streaming and openly available to all.

In addition to research proposals, the MSB program encourages proposals for the Research Coordination Network (RCN) program to support groups of investigators to coalesce around new ways to engage with NEON.

The due date for proposals is February 25, 2019.

To view examples of past awards and for any additional questions regarding MSB-NES, please visit the program page and contact Program Officers Michael Binford or Dan Gruner, directly.

 

Integration Institutes Request for Information Due March 1


From our friends at the Office of the Assistant Director, “The NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences has published a Dear Colleague Letter seeking ideas from the community on Integration Institutes for cross-cutting biology. These institutes would support collaborative teams of researchers to address questions that span multiple levels of organization in living systems and require expertise from diverse biological subdisciplines.

This is not a call for research proposals, but rather for high-level ideas about the types of questions and resources that would benefit from NSF investment in a truly integrated research environment.

The deadline for submissions is March 1. Please see the Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 19-027) for details on how to submit your ideas.”

DEB at the American Geophysical Union (AGU)


Several DEB Program Officers including, Elizabeth Blood, Dan Gruner, Kendra McLauchlan, and John Schade, will be attending the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC December 10-14. Representatives from the Ecosystem Science cluster and the Population and Community Ecology cluster will be on site and available for conversations. We are ready to talk about the latest NSF news and funding opportunities.

Our colleagues in the Directorate for Geosciences will have a booth, so feel free to stop by there, pick up DEB-relevant materials, and chat at any time.

We will be joining an outreach event called “Navigating NSF” from 9 am to noon on Wednesday, December 12 in the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, in the Georgetown Room. The event is organized by the Earth Science Women’s Network and all are welcome to attend. There will be a short presentation, a discussion among Program Officers, and dedicated time for small group discussion. See you there!

New Dimensions of Biodiversity (19-535) Solicitation Released


The new solicitation for Dimensions of Biodiversity (19-535) has just been released, with a deadline of February 28, 2019. The Dimensions of Biodiversity program has transformed how we describe and understand the scope and role of life on Earth. Successful proposals to this program fully integrate the genetic, phylogenetic, and functional dimensions of biodiversity. 

The main change this year is an exclusive focus on international scientific partnerships. Over the years, NSF has developed partnerships with funding agencies in China, Brazil, and South Africa to support international biodiversity projects that involve scientists in those countries. To further promote these types of projects, the 2019 Dimensions of Biodiversity program is restricted to applications involving U.S.-China, U.S.-São Paulo, and U.S.-South Africa Collaborative Research Projects. Projects that involve only U.S. participants will not be considered in 2019.

The U.S. PIs submit to NSF and the collaborating Chinese, Brazilian, or South African PIs submit to their appropriate national funding agencies. In developing your proposal, please be aware that your team will need to submit joint proposals to different agencies, so be aware of deadlines for the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) of Brazil, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa.

Same as last year, due to lack of participation by the Directorate for Geosciences in this solicitation, proposals that investigate marine biodiversity or marine environments are not eligible, and if submitted will be returned without review.

Any proposal submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1), which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 28, 2019.

If you have questions about a potential project involving China, Brazil, or South Africa for Dimensions of Biodiversity, please send an inquiry to Dimensions@nsf.gov.

 

 

Navigating the New Arctic Solicitation (19-511)


Back in the Spring, we released a Dear Colleague Letter requesting proposals centered around Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) as one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas.

Now, a new solicitation is available and ready to receive proposals. Please visit the program page for the synopsis and the FAQs for common questions associated with the NNA solicitation. For any additional questions, please email NNA@nsf.gov.

Statement from the Acting Assistant Director for Biological Sciences on Proposal Submission Limits


In August, the BIO directorate released new solicitations to its proposal submission process to eliminate deadlines and limit the number of proposals that could be submitted to a given division annually by a PI or co-PI. As BIO was receiving far more worthy proposals than it has money to support, this submission cap was established with a view to ensuring that BIO’s merit review process would not be overwhelmed with the move to no deadlines.

In the ensuing three months, the community expressed serious concern that this new policy would hinder collaboration as well as limit funding prospects for new investigators. BIO places a high value on collaboration and on fostering careers of new investigators; thus, we held internal discussions to consider ways to address these concerns. In addition, relatively few proposals have been submitted to BIO since the release of the solicitations.

Having listened to community concern and tracked the current low rate of submission, and following extensive internal consultation, BIO is lifting all PI or co-PI restrictions on proposal submission for FY 2019, effective immediately.

BIO recognizes that it is important to track the effects of the no-deadline policy on proposal submission patterns, to ensure that a high-quality review process is sustained. Therefore, we are seeking approval from the Biological Sciences Advisory Committee to establish a subcommittee to assist in developing the evidence base for any future policy changes that may be needed.

Solicitations for proposals will be amended and released over the next few weeks to reflect these changes.