How to Ensure That Your Broader Impact and Broadening Participation Plans Have IMPACT.


NSF-BIO held a Virtual Office Hour on November 18th on the topic of “How to Ensure That Your Broader Impact and Broadening Participation Plans Have IMPACT” that was very well attended. We had a special guest speaker for this Office Hour, Dr. Susan Renoe from the NSF-supported Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS).   

ARIS works with scientists to help them engage in activities that have meaningful and long-term impact in their communities and society. The center offers strategies for building capacity, growing partnerships, and leveraging existing resources to enhance the impact of individual and institutional efforts to benefit society.

Broader Impacts is a merit review criterion of every proposal to the National Science Foundation. There is a diversity of ways to achieve effective Broader Impacts. A few of the resources offered by ARIS include how to create a public engagement plan, Broader Impacts webinars held by ARIS, and a Broader Impact Wizard.

The slides and recordings from the Office Hour are available on the Office Hours part of the MCB Blog.

Upcoming Virtual Office Hours: Mid-CAREER Advancement Solicitation


Join us Monday, December 14th from 1pm-2pm EST for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will provide an introduction to the new cross-directorate Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program (NSF 21-516). The MCA offers an opportunity for scientists and engineers at the Associate Professor rank (or equivalent) to substantively enhance and advance their research program through synergistic and mutually beneficial partnerships, typically at an institution other than their home institution. Projects that envision new insights on existing problems or identify new but related problems previously inaccessible without new methodology or expertise from other fields are encouraged. Representatives from each of the participating directorates will be available for questions.

Please use the registration link below to participate. Upcoming DEB Virtual Office Hours are announced ahead of time on DEBrief, so sign up for blog notifications for reminders.

REGISTER HERE

If you can’t make it to this or any future office hours, don’t worry! Come back to the blog, as we will be posting a recap and the presentation slides.  As always, our Virtual Office Hours will happen on the second Monday of every month from 1pm-2pm EST. Below is a list of upcoming dates and topics (subject to change), so be sure to add them to your calendars!

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:

December 14: Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation

January 11:  Update on Rules of Life

February 10: How to prepare a great budget (note special time 2-3 pm Wednesday Feb. 10)

March 8: Beginning Investigators

April 12: How to write a great proposal

May 10: CAREER Solicitation

Join BIO Program Officers for a Webinar on the Biology Integration Institutes Solicitation


On Tuesday, December 8, 2020 the Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO) will host a webinar with information regarding the Biology Integration Institutes (BII) funding opportunity (NSF 20-601). We will begin at 1:00 PM EST with a presentation followed by a Q&A session.

To participate, Save the Date on your calendar, and please click the link below to join the webinar: https://nsf.zoomgov.com/j/1603208549?pwd=S0lDSlpkd2hpZVVJdnVGYVFNdUhYUT09

FastLane Review Score Options


With so many new proposal reviewers joining us, we thought now would be a good time to re-share an explanation of rating options on proposals you review.

Selecting an Overall Rating
When you review an NSF proposal, you don’t need to give it a single letter score of E (excellent), V (very good), G (good), F (fair), P (poor). In the reviewer system (through FastLane) you can check more than one box for “Overall Rating” to give a score between two of the ranks, like V/G or G/F when the 5 point system feels too coarse. Whether you check one box or two, however, the purpose is to capture a single “Overall Rating”. In other words, we ask reviewers to synthesize their evaluations of intellectual and broader impact merits into a single score. Therefore, if a reviewer provides a split score, we (and the PI) view it as indicating a score that is in between the two categories. A split score that spans more than two adjacent ratings or is meant to reflect different scores for different aspects of the proposal, is not especially useful since we don’t know how the reviewer rated the overall proposal on balance.

On rare occasions, a reviewer may opt not to provide an overall rating at all and just provide the written comments. While acceptable, we discourage doing this on a regular basis and expect to see only a handful each year out of 10,000+ reviews.

On the flip side, be careful if you’re trying to select a score and check the wrong box: FastLane doesn’t automatically clear the first choice when you make another selection, creating the potential for unintended scores like “V/G/F/P”.

How Overall Ratings are Used
Generally, the written content of the review matters more than the rating score: we don’t have an average-score-based “funding line.” Nonetheless, scores aren’t ignored; they’re a concise indicator of a reviewer’s opinion, and they can be really helpful for interpreting the written content.

Scores are incredibly useful in managing panel discussion because they allow us to compare general opinions and quickly see if the reviewers are all starting from a similar place or whether there may be divergent views to work through. Being judicious in your assignment of scores can also be useful to you as a reviewer/panelist to differentiate between your many assignments and remember them through hours of discussions.

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re reviewing for us.


If you’re having issues viewing scores there is a dedicated helpdesk for FastLane issues at 1-800-673-6188 and an extensive online help resource.

11/9/20 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Welcome to The Division of Environmental Biology


The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on November 9, 2020. 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 from each of DEB’s clusters are present at each Virtual Office Hour, so a wide range of scientific perspectives are represented. This month’s topic was the DEB Core Solicitation (NSF 21-504).

The presentation and other documents are available here:

Slides (PDF)

PAPPG 20-1

DEB NSF webpage

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

Q: Is there a funding rate you strive for in each round of review? In other words, are proposals rated relative to one another? Or is each proposal evaluated on its own merits, regardless of what else (and how much else) may have been submitted around the same time?

A: There isn’t a specific funding rate we strive for. Each proposal is reviewed on its own merits regardless of other submissions. Funding rates are based on the number of proposals that we receive and the finite budget we receive from Congress. Funding decisions are based on a variety of factors including how the proposal does within panel as well as balancing the program’s portfolio. This is why it may feel like funding decisions take a long time to be determined based on when the proposal has been submitted. However, we do try to get decisions made within 6 months of receiving a proposal.

Q: Is there a way to let Program Officers know that we would like to volunteer for panels?

A: Yes, the first step is to sign up via our webpage. Generally, we ask potential panelists to be an ad hoc reviewer a few times to better understand the review criteria prior to asking them to participate in a panel. Ad hoc reviewers are reviewers assigned to provide feedback on a single proposal. While they do not participate in panel, those reviews are provided to the panelists and factored into the panel discussions.

Additional questions can be found here on our recap post when we previously discussed the DEB core solicitation.   

Please reach out to a Program Officer if you have any questions about the proposal submission and review process in DEB programs.

Our next virtual office hours will be held on December 14th, 2020 from 1-2pm EST and will provide an introduction to Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (NSF 21-516).

Be sure to check back here or on the NSF Events Page for information on how to register.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:

December 14: Mid-Career Advancement

January 11: Supplements

February 8:  How to prepare a great budget

March 8: How to write a good proposal

April 12: Beginning Investigators

May 10: CAREER Solicitation

Meet DEB: Carla D’Antonio and Gary Lamberti


Name:  Carla M. D’Antonio

Education:  M.S. in Marine Ecology, Oregon State University; Ph.D. in Plant Ecology, University of California, Santa Barbara; Postdoc, Stanford University

Home Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara

Tell us about your research: I study many different aspects of invasive plant species and how they alter community and ecosystems processes over the short and long terms, including their interaction with fire. I have a couple of research projects in Hawaii that involve interactions of invasive grasses with native woody plants, birds, soil N cycling and successional change (or lack thereof) in altered ‘novel’ forest ecosystems.  In California, I have ongoing research evaluating the potential importance of woody species traits in successful restoration of degraded shrublands in the face of increased fire and highly altered soil and competition environments.

Why do you want to serve with NSF? This is an exciting opportunity to see what is at the cutting edge of population and community ecology, and to help promote exciting research in an era of dramatically changing biophysical conditions. I also felt the need to do something different after six years as chair of one of my two departments at UCSB.

What are you looking forward to in your tenure here at NSF? I am looking forward to the wonderful team environment of NSF especially within DEB! In addition, I’m already enjoying the diverse education I am getting on panels. I am also excited to be in the DC area for the richness of the cultural environment here and to experience strong seasonality again!

Name: Gary A. Lamberti

Education: B.S., University of California, Davis; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Postdoc, Oregon State University

Home Institution: University of Notre Dame

Tell us about your research: I’m an aquatic ecologist with a deep love for streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The overall goal of my research program has been to better understand the structure and function of these freshwater ecosystems on a changing planet. Along with being biodiversity hotspots, freshwater ecosystems harbor some of the most essential elements for human existence, including water for consumption and irrigation, food in fisheries, nutrient and contaminant filtration, avenues for transportation, and recreational opportunities. I and my students study many aspects of these ecosystems to contribute to our basic understanding of ecological processes. I am particularly interested in how migrations of fish connect these ecosystems, thereby transferring energy and nutrients to other ecosystems. These elements then cycle through food webs to provide vital linkages between otherwise disconnected ecosystems. However, fish can also transport contaminants in their bodies that impact recipient ecosystems. We study these processes in the face of strong global drivers, such as climate change and invasive species, that threaten the integrity of freshwater ecosystems.

Why do you want to serve with NSF? The National Science Foundation has been instrumental in my own development as a scientist and academic. NSF has supported my own research program and educational initiatives with awards at crucial times during my career. In fact, every pivotal time during my career seems to be associated with a grant from NSF. Even our two children were born in years that I received an NSF award! In reflecting on this, I realized that it was my responsibility to return something to NSF and the research community at large by helping other scientists build successful research careers and maximize their scientific potential for the benefit of society and the planet.

What are you looking forward to in your tenure here at NSF? The National Science Foundation is the most respected supporter of scientific inquiry in the world, and therefore it’s an honor to serve NSF and the scientific community. This is also an extremely exciting and crucial time for environmental biology as we deal with the effects of rapid global change in the Anthropocene. I particularly look forward to assisting the next generation of diverse scientific leaders to develop outstanding research careers, and to make lasting contributions to our fundamental knowledge of the earth system and its extraordinary biota.

ADDING IMPACT TO YOUR BROADER IMPACTS: OFFICE HOURS WITH ARIS


From our friends over at the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences:

Join program officers from the Directorate for Biological Sciences in a discussion of Broader Impacts with guest speaker Susan Renoe from the NSF-supported Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS).

ARIS works with scientists to help them engage in activities that have meaningful and long-term impact in their communities and society. The center offers strategies for building capacity, growing partnerships, and leveraging existing resources to enhance the impact of individual and institutional efforts to benefit society.

Topic: How to Ensure That Your Broader Impact and Broadening Participation Plans Have IMPACT

Guest Speaker: Dr. Susan Renoe, Executive Director, ARIS (NSF award 1810732).

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2 pm – 3pm EST.

Registration is required: Click here and select the November 18, 2020 option from the drop-down selection for “Time.”

2021 AccelNet Competition


The Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program calls for proposals to the 2021 competition. AccelNet supports linkages among U.S. research networks and complementary networks abroad focused on grand research challenges that require significant international coordination.  Awards support coordination activities to promote synergy of efforts across networks and professional development activities to prepare the next generation of U.S. researchers, rather than fundamental research activities.  Proposals for the creation of international networks of networks are accepted under two tracks: Design and Implementation. 

Full proposals are due January 4, 2021. To help submitters prepare, NSF will offer two webinars.

Webinar Dates and Times:  November 16, 2020 at 3-4 pm Eastern Time;

November 17, 2020 at 4-5 pm Eastern.

How to access the Webinar:  Use the link below.

November 16, 2020 at 3 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:

    Please click this URL to join. https://nsf.zoomgov.com/s/1614019813?pwd=QUpxSzlrbHFKVDl1T0diL01IWGdhQT09

    Passcode: y24dR5

Or join by phone:

    Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 or 833 568 8864 (Toll Free)

    Webinar ID: 161 401 9813

    International numbers available: https://nsf.zoomgov.com/u/adJWnwd8U7

November 17, 2020 at 4 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:

    Please click this URL to join. https://nsf.zoomgov.com/s/1602327094?pwd=U2I0cDVKaktBWUxCSnYxbjB4dVF3UT09

    Passcode: 8vh6tr

Or join by phone:

    Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 or 833 568 8864 (Toll Free)

    Webinar ID: 160 232 7094

    International numbers available: https://nsf.zoomgov.com/u/adWinZP2iP

Please submit questions that you would addressed to:  oise-accelnet@nsf.org.  Submit your questions by November 12.

Upcoming Virtual Office Hours: Welcome to the Division of Environmental Biology


Join us Monday, November 9th from 1pm-2pm EST for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will provide an introduction to the DEB Core Solicitation (NSF 21-504) and the review process. The core programs include Evolutionary Processes, Ecosystem Science, Population & Community Ecology, and Systematics & Biodiversity Science. Representatives from each of these programs will be available for questions, which can be on any DEB or NSF topic. 

Please use the registration link below to participate. Upcoming DEB Virtual Office Hours are announced ahead of time on DEBrief, so sign up for blog notifications for reminders. 

REGISTER HERE 

If you can’t make it to this or any future office hours, don’t worry! Come back to the blog, as we will be posting a recap and the presentation slides.  As always, our Virtual Office Hours will happen on the second Monday of every month from 1pm-2pm EST. Below is a list of upcoming dates and topics (subject to change), so be sure to add them to your calendars! 

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:  

November 9: Welcome to DEB 

December 14: Mid-Career Opportunities 

January 11: TBD 

February 8: TBD

March 8: Beginning Investigators

April 12: TBD

May 10: TBD