2018 Summer Meeting Schedule

It’s that time of year again! DEB representatives will be attending the Ecological Society of America (ESA) conference in New Orleans August 5-10 and the Evolution conference in Montpellier August 19-22. The table below tells you which Program Officers and Senior Managers will be attending the meetings.

Be sure and stop by the NSF exhibitor booth at the ESA conference to chat with staff and Program Officers. We’re ready to talk about the latest NSF news and funding opportunities. Remember to also visit our colleagues at the NEON booth.

We’ll be hosting a session at ESA on Tuesday, August 7th from 11:30am-1:15pm entitled “Navigating NSF: Opportunities for Funding Research and Training.” There will also be an outreach talk at 12:45 on Tuesday, August 21st in room B113 at the Evolution Conference. See you there!


Ecological Society of America, New Orleans

August 5-10

Program Officers and Senior Managers Cluster
Elizabeth Blood ES
Kathy Cottingham PCE
Dan Gruner PCE
Stephanie Hampton Division Director
Matt Kane ES
Doug Levey PCE
Cesar Nufio PCE
Alan Tessier Deputy Division Director
Betsy von Holle PCE

Evolution, Montpellier

August 19-22

George Gilchrist EP
Stephanie Hampton Division Director
Leslie Rissler EP
Chris Schneider SBS

BIO REU Travel Grant Opportunity: Apply TODAY!

If you’ve had a BIO REU student within the last three years, we encourage you to share this opportunity to apply for a travel grant to present their research at scientific meetings. Students are required to apply directly at this website. Please tell them to act quickly, as funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Please note grants are limited to one student per REU location per year and all additional application details can be found at the application website.


Graduate Research Fellowship Program: 2018 Deadline


The deadline for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is coming up!  Now is the time to direct students to this opportunity.  Below we highlight the specifics of this fellowship opportunity, but it is also key to remember that this program supports students on the basis of their potential for significant research achievements in STEM.  The application consists of two statements and three supporting letters.  The statements include the Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals statement (3 pages), and a Graduate Research Plan (2 pages).  Although the nature of the first essay is the same no matter the stage of the applicant, the second essay varies substantially among stages and is viewed differently by reviewers.

For undergraduates applying, this essay is intended to reflect the type of project the student would like to do as they look forward to their graduate program, whereas for current graduate students, and especially those beginning their second year of graduate school, the project is typically more specific and better grounded in their current program and broader research plans. In all cases, the application is viewed holistically and evaluated on both the research potential and broader impacts associated with the applicant.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program grants three years of financial support for pursuing a research-based master’s or PhD degree in science technology, engineering, math, or STEM education. Applicants must demonstrate significant achievements in STEM and attend any accredited college or university in the United States or its territories.


  • Applicants must be a US citizen, national, or permanent resident
  • Applicants can apply while still in their undergraduate program but must be accepted into a graduate degree program by the time they accept the Fellowship
  • Applicants can have completed no more than 12 months of full-time graduate study by August 1st but can only apply once as a graduate student, either in their first or second year (see the solicitation for details as this is a new policy in 2017).
  • Different fields of study have different deadlines within NSF. Below is the schedule for each field of study
Fields of Study 2018 Deadline
Life Sciences, Geosciences October 22
Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Materials Research October 23
Psychology, Social Sciences, STEM Education and Learning October 25
Chemistry, mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy October 26
Reference Letter Submission November 1
  5:00 PM ET


  • $34,000 annual stipend
  • Cost of Education allowance of $12,000 to the institution
  • Professional development opportunities through Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) and Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP)
  • Access to supplemental funding to sustain research while on medical deferral (e.g. maternity/paternity leave)

Read the current solicitation for the full set of guidelines, and for additional questions please reach out to the Graduate Research Fellowship Operations Center, telephone: 866-NSF-GRFP, 866-673-4737 (toll-free from the US and Canada) or 202-331-3542 (international) or email: info@nsfgrfp.org


Project Reports: Updated FAQs

Some background:

Annual and final reports have changed over the years and the purpose of this post is to answer some common questions around NSF project reporting. Reports show how our investments in research are spent. We use them to help show that taxpayer money is being spent on valuable and important work. Program Officers (POs) review each report and request additional information, if needed. In short, reports are a necessary part of the good stewardship of federal funds.

What should I put in my project report?

Follow the Research.gov template. The amount of text is not an indicator of the quality of the report, or of the research productivity. We want a concise description of what happened/was accomplished during the ANNUAL reporting period (i.e. not cumulative for the entire award duration). Remember that products can include many types of things, from books, to journals, conference presentations, websites, dissertations, techniques, software, and data that has been made publicly available. It’s important to include all types of products in the report.

What are the most common problems that cause POs to return a report for revision?

  • Not listing people in the Participants/Organizations table who are mentioned in the narrative sections.
  • Grammar: lots of typos, incomplete sentences, or paragraphs.
  • Not providing details under “Accomplishments” and “Products” (especially for projects that are beyond their first year).

Who should I list in the Participants section? The other collaborators section?

Between the three sections of “Participants/Organizations,” please list everyone who has been engaged in the project within the previous 12 months. This includes students, volunteers and those paid through other sources. If their activities were related to the objectives (Intellectual or Broader Impact) of your award, they “count”. A rule of thumb in deciding which section to report under is that individual “participants” carried out the work of the objectives, “organizational partners” are any organizations beyond your awardee institution that directly enabled the work done by the participants (e.g., the other institutions involved in a multi-institutional collaborative project), and “other collaborators or contacts” would include indirect supporters or beneficiaries of the work (e.g., schools at which your student conducted a demonstration). Please note that “other collaborators and contacts” are entered into a plain narrative text-box; which doesn’t have any specific structure or data requirements.

I have an RCN or workshop award (or any other type award that may involve dozens of participants). Do you really want them all listed as Participants?

Yes. The list of participants provides an increasingly valuable database that NSF can use to quantify the impact of its investments. We prefer Participants be entered one-by-one in the Participants/Organization table.

I have a collaborative award. How should my reports differ from those of my collaborators?

Some overlap in reports is expected. Your report should focus on the components of the project and the personnel unique to your institution. Be explicit about which participants are affiliated with your part of the project or institution and which ones will be credited to one of your collaborators.

Are Annual Reports cumulative? Is the Final Report cumulative?

No and no. Report only on the previous year of work. Except for “Major Goals” and “Impacts”, there should be little or no overlap from one report to the next. The Final Report should be written as an Annual Report – there’s nothing special about it other than it being the last report on a given project.

What is the Project Outcomes Report and why is it important?

The Project Outcomes Report is due at the same time as your final report. The Project Outcome Report summarizes the overall goal(s) and accomplishments of the project upon its completion. Your Outcome Report acts as a permanent record and justification for our investment of taxpayer dollars in your research. It can be viewed by the public and should be written for the public. NSF can’t edit your Outcome Report so please take extra care to be clear and grammatically correct. Please do not cut-and-paste text from your Annual or Final Reports because you wrote them for a very different audience.

What happens if I don’t submit my report on time?

You and any Co-PIs will not be allowed to receive any new funding (e.g., annual increments, supplements, or new grants) or process any other actions (e.g., no cost extensions, PI changes) until the report is submitted and approved. Your annual report is due starting 90 days before your award anniversary. Waiting until late in the 90-day window risks delaying timely release of annual funds and possibly going overdue before we’ve had a chance to review, receive any needed corrections, and approve the report.

Can I submit a proposal if I have an overdue report?


Why am I being asked to submit my report in May when it’s not overdue until August or September (or later)?

Because that’s how our budget cycle works. You need to submit your annual report when NSF requests it because we don’t want you to miss your annual funding increment and lose your money if you turn it in after the fiscal year it is due.

Additional Reporting Resources

A list of guides, tutorials, templates, and demonstrations related to Project Reports is available here. For any additional questions around project reports, please contact your managing Program Officer. Please be aware that if you would like to request a no-cost extension for this award, you must do so before the final report is over-due. NSF cannot grant a no-cost extension when a final report is over-due, or if a final report has been submitted. Once a no-cost extension has been approved, Research.gov will be updated with a new final report due date and you can submit your current year’s report.


Meet DEB: Kaitlin McDonald


Kaitlin McDonald


Where are you attending school?

I’m finishing up my MS in environmental science and policy at Johns Hopkins.

What’s your role here at DEB?

I’m a Science Assistant and looking forward to learning more about this role and assisting in program and proposal management.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time I really enjoy hiking (my most recent, favorite hike), reading, and complementing strangers’ dogs. I recently started rock-climbing and have a new appreciation for the Earth’s surface.

Would you rather be a fish or a bird?

Owls are the greatest but I think it would be really interesting to live as a species of deep sea fish, like the lantern fish or the cookiecutter shark.

Shutdown. Here’s What That Means.

As you probably know from the news, Congress failed to pass a budget to fund government operations. That means federal agencies must now begin the process of shutting down all operations until further notice. We have 4 hours today to conduct an “orderly shutdown” which allows us to set our email ‘away’ messages and post this information to our blog before we are required to cease all government activities.

Program Officers and administrators will be prohibited from performing any government work including reading and/or responding to any phone calls or emails. Additionally, you will not have access to government systems like Fastlane or Research.gov. The building will be closed to all visitors and we won’t be able to communicate with you again until the shutdown has ended.