Vacancy: Science Education Administrator in the Division of Human Resource Development 

Our friends over in the Division of Human Resource Development (part of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)) are looking to hire a Temporary/Rotator Science Education Administrator (Program Director) for several of their programs. These programs include:

  • ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions (ADVANCE)
  • Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP)
  • Centers for Research in Science and Technology (CREST) Program
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP)
  • Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program
  • Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program

More information can be found here.

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 

New Opportunity: Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE)

NSF has funded myriad research projects that resulted in publicly accessible, modifiable, and distributable open-source software, hardware, or data platforms. Now we are looking to support the development of these and other widely used open-source products into open-source “ecosystems” (OSEs), each comprising a distributed community of developers and a broad base of users in industry and government. Doing so will support thedevelopment of new technology solutions to problems of national, societal, and economic importance.

A new program, Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE), seeks to harness the power of open-source development to build these new technologies. The goal of the POSE program is to fund organizations to manage OSEs – the self-sustaining community of developers and users of open-source technologies. OSEs based on hardware-, software- or data-based open-source products related to any NSF-supported field are encouraged.

Each OSE managing organization will be responsible for the creation and maintenance of infrastructure needed for efficient and secure operation of an OSE based around a specific open-source product or class of products. The early and intentional formation of such managing organizations is expected to ensure more secure open-source products, increased coordination of developer contributions, and a more focused route to impactful technologies.

Importantly, POSE is not intended to fund the development of open-source research products, including tools and artifacts or existing well-resourced OSEs or communities.

Program Phases
There are two phases of the POSE Program:

  • Phase I: OSE Scoping Proposals, budget to $300,000 for 1 year, 7-page max
    • Enables scoping activities to inform the development of the OSE. Should describe the long-term vision and impact of the proposed OSE, along with specific scoping activities that will lead to a well-developed and sustainable plan.
    • Proposal deadline: May 12, 2022
  • Phase II: OSE Development Grants, budget to $1,500,000 for 2 years, 15-page max
    • Supports transition of an open-source research product into a sustainable OSE. Should include a detailed project plan to support deployment of later-stage successful open-source products into operational environments; describe the current context; and articulate the long-term vision and impact of the proposed OSE.
    • Proposal deadline: October 21, 2022

For full details and submission information, please refer to the program solicitation, NSF 22-572.

Opportunities to Learn More
NSF Program Directors representing the POSE program will hold an informational webinar on March 23, 2022, from 3:30 PM ET to 4:30 PM ET.

Please register for the webinar here: https://nsf.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_GDUveT2ZTBG4c-tNxaODoA.

Upcoming Virtual Office Hours: Crossing Divisions in Biology

Join us Monday, March 14th, 1 – 2pm ET for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will discuss funding opportunities in other BIO Divisions (IOS, MCB, and DBI) and answer your questions on any NSF-related topic. Representatives from the other BIO Divisions will be present. Upcoming DEB Virtual Office Hours are announced ahead of time on DEBrief, so we suggest you also sign up for blog notifications.   

REGISTER HERE TO PARTICIPATE

If you can’t make it to this or any future office hours, don’t worry! Come back to the blog afterwards, as we post recaps and the presentation slides of all office hour sessions. Alternatively, visit our Office Hours homepage for slideshows and recaps of past topics.   

Virtual Office Hours are on the second Monday of every month from 1 – 2pm ET. Below is a list of upcoming dates and topics (subject to change). Be sure to add them to your calendars and register ahead of time.      

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:     

March 14: Crossing Divisions in Biology – Opportunities in other NSF/BIO Programs (IOS, MCB, DBI)    

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   

New solicitation release for Signals in the Soil (NSF 22-550)

A revised solicitation for Signals in Soil (NSF 22-550) was recently released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and USDA to fund innovative interdisciplinary teams focused on transforming our understanding of the dynamics of soil processes through the development of new technologies and approaches. The Signals in the Soil (SitS) program fosters collaboration among the two partner agencies and the researchers they support by combining resources and funding for the most innovative and high-impact projects that address their respective missions.

The two major changes to the solicitation include:

1: The Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences is now participating in the SitS solicitation. A new 6th priority is added: “Socializing Soil”. This priority emphasizes the need to better understand complex people-soil dynamics through partnerships between soil scientists and social scientists. See the Program Description section of the solicitation for more detail.

2: There is a new limitation on how many proposals an individual can submit or serve on in any capacity: Any individual who is currently leading a SitS proposal awarded from NSF 19-556 and/or NSF 20-548 cannot be a lead PI on a submission to this current solicitation. They can, however, be listed as a co-PI or Senior Personnel on up to 2 submissions for this current solicitation.

Submission Deadline is April 14, 2022.

If you have questions about the program, please contact SitSquestions@nsf.gov.

2/14/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap – How to Write a Great Review

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on February 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 discussed how to write a great review. 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: If I submit a proposal (much) earlier than the deadline, would it be reviewed earlier and get the decision earlier, or just as normal?

A: For solicitations with deadlines – submitting before the deadline will not result in having the decision made sooner. For those without deadlines – we try to get decisions to the PI within 6 months of submission.

Q: How is the review process different between ad hoc reviewers and panelists? Further, do panelists consider ad-hoc and other reviewers when preparing the panel summary?

A: Panelists and ad hoc reviewers use the same review template. When panelists are in panel for discussion, they discuss reviews from all who have reviewed that proposal. The panel summary is meant to reflect the discussion among the panelists and will incorporate information from ad hoc reviewers.

Q: You don’t need to write reviews if you are assigned as Tertiary and Quaternary panelists, correct? Did I hear it correctly earlier that you submit reviews only as a primary and scribe panelist?

A: This is entirely dependent on the program. In DEB, ALL panelists write reviews of the proposals they’re assigned to. It’s important to follow the specific guidance provided by the program hosting the panel.

Q: Does NSF have a preference to not fund proposals that seem to be more suitable for other funding agencies (e.g., NIH, NASA, USDA etc.)?

A: If you’re submitting a reworked proposal from another agency, please make sure that it is responsive to our NSF solicitation. If proposals are not responsive to a solicitation, we may return them with without review. We do have several solicitations or programs that are collaborative between NSF and other agencies.

Q: Do you have any recommendations about assembling several reviews for a panel? Submit them one by one so that they are available for program officers or other reviewers as you do them? Or hold on to them in case later proposals make you think of something you want to say about something you already reviewed? Once they are submitted, is it possible to add other notes later or is that saved for the panel discussion?

A: We suggest that you read all your assigned proposals, write up all your reviews, and then submit them at the same time, rather than one by one. In DEB, you are not allowed to change your review once it is submitted, but other divisions or programs across the agency have different rules about editing reviews.

Q: Could you please explain/speculate *why* reviewers seem to desire the broader impacts to “synergize” with the research?

A: Reviewers are really looking to see if researchers can accomplish the broader impact activities and they are more likely to do so if those activities directly relate to the project’s focus.

Q: Does the PI get the reviews, or do they only get the panel summary?

A: The PI gets both the reviews and the summary.

Q: If we are unfamiliar with the quantitative analyses in a project, do we just stay quiet on that issue and hope that other panelists/ad hoc do, or should we try to read up on it and gain some level of expertise?

A: We encourage you to review and evaluate what you know about, using your knowledge base. However, it is advisable to avoid drawing specific attention to areas of the proposal where you do not have expertise, such as by writing, “I don’t know anything about this.” We are likely getting reviews from experts in that area. You are welcome to read up on new topics presented in a proposal if you are interested, but we do not expect you to make comments on components of the proposal that you don’t have expertise in.

Please reach out to a Program Officer 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 March 14, 2022, from 1-2pm Eastern Time and will discuss funding opportunities in other divisions in Biology.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:   

March 14: Crossing Divisions in Biology – Opportunities in other NSF/BIO Programs (IOS, MCB, DBI)  

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 

Using the Rules of Life to Address Societal Challenges

We need your help to ‘hack’ the Rules of Life – to deepen our understanding and consider how those Rules might be used to tackle pressing societal challenges.

In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of ‘Big Ideas,’ 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identified unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering by bringing together diverse disciplinary perspectives to support convergence research. One of those, Understanding the Rules of Life, is based on developing a predictive understanding of how key properties of living systems emerge from interactions among factors such as genomes, phenotypes, and dynamic environments. Funded projects over the past five years have investigated these interactions at multiple levels, in various organisms, and at different scales to produce generalizable ‘rules’ capable of predicting change in living systems.

Now, we are ready to take a next step and consider how to use those ‘rules’ to advance solutions to society’s toughest challenges. And we need your participation and help.

We invite you to participate in a series of free Virtual Events centered on Using the Rules of Life to Address Societal Challenges. The goal is to bring together researchers with diverse perspectives – including those from all scientific disciplines, with various levels of experience (from senior scientists to postdocs), from different types of institutions or organizations, and from groups historically underrepresented in STEM – to share ideas about how Rules of Life approaches and data might be harnessed by multidisciplinary teams to tackle pressing societal challenges.

How you can get engaged:

Virtual Town Hall (open to all)

March 15, 2022

To discuss Rules of Life concepts and to identify challenges that are best addressed by applying Rules of Life approaches


Workshops 1-4 (by invitation)

April 14, 19, 21, and 26, 2022

Each focused on a specific challenge identified in the Town Hall

To explore ideas on how multidisciplinary research inspired by using Rules of Life can help provide solutions to societal challenges


Postdoc ‘incubators’ (by invitation, specifically for postdoctoral researchers)

April 12, April 22, May 2, May 17, 2022

To help maximize the workshop experience through professional networking and writing

Register Here

Registration open through February 28, 2022.

Meet DEB: Welcome Back Matt Carling

Matt Carling hiking Medicine Bow peak, the highest peak in the Snowy Range of SW Wyoming.

Name: Matt Carling

Education: Louisiana State University, PhD; University of Idaho, MS; University of Michigan, BS

Home Institution: University of Wyoming

Tell us about your research: Broadly, my work focuses on questions related to speciation and adaptation in birds. Much of this work uses hybrid zones to understand the processes leading to the formation and maintenance of reproductive isolation between closely related species.  

Tell us about your NSF Experience/History: My earliest NSF experience was applying for a DDIG as a PhD student. Fun fact, my first ever NSF grant application was returned without review! Since that experience, I’ve been fortunate to have received NSF funding a couple of times. I also previously served as a rotating program officer in Evolutionary Processes from 2017-2018.

What made you want to come back to NSF? It’s such a wonderful place to work! I really enjoy working with all the incredibly smart, dedicated people in DEB and the rest of BIO to serve the research community.

Upcoming Virtual Office Hours: How to Write a Great Review 

Join us Monday, February 14th, 1pm-2pm ET for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will discuss how to write a great review and answer your questions on any NSF-related topic. To participate, please register, using the link below. Upcoming DEB Virtual Office Hours are announced ahead of time on DEBrief, so we suggest you also sign up for blog notifications.   

REGISTER HERE 

If you can’t make it to this or any future office hours, don’t worry! Come back to the blog afterwards, as we post recaps and the presentation slides of all office hour sessions. Alternatively, visit our Office Hours homepage for slideshows and recaps of past topics.   

Virtual Office Hours are on the second Monday of every month from 1pm-2pm ET. Below is a list of upcoming dates and topics (subject to change), so be sure to add them to your calendars and register ahead of time!      

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:     

February 14: How to Write a Great Review                             

March 14: Crossing Divisions in Biology – Opportunities in other NSF/BIO Programs (IOS, MCB, DBI)    

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