Upcoming Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP) Webinar

Check out this post from our friends over at DBI here or below:

Please join the Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP) program for a Webinar on January 17, 2023, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST.  There will be a presentation about the program hosted by RaMP Working Group program directors followed by a Q&A session with them.

The deadline for RaMP proposal submissions is February 16, 2023, and the you can visit the RaMP website to see the current solicitation (23-514) and associated information about the program.

Please register in advance for this webinar:

https://nsf.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/

Meeting ID: 161 834 7631

Passcode: 691281

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

12/12/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap: Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on December 12, 2022. Program Officers discussed the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (NSF 22-603). 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 22-1

PAPPG 23-1 (effective for proposals submitted on or after Jan 30, 2023)

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

Are PIs from other directorates eligible to apply for the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (MCA)? If not, will there be a similar program?

Right now, MPS and CISE do not participate in the MCA solicitation, but we hope that changes in the future. Please feel free to contact your program to discuss your interest in the solicitation. You can find a list of currently participating programs here.

Can two partners be paid a one-month salary each, if the budget permits?

Yes. You need to make sure that it is clear how this partnership will advance YOU, the Principle Investigator (PI), as the MCA solicitation is meant to advance PIs who are in the mid-career stage.

Can I submit a proposal if I am a member of an NSF review panel ending in mid-February?

Yes. You are encouraged to reach out to a PO where you are going to submit. If you are planning to submit to the same program in which you are serving there may be some conflicts, however, we will work with you to ensure that you are not penalized for your panel service. It is best to reach out to a PO to determine what works best for you and the program.

For proposals submitted this coming February, when will funding decisions be made?

NSF strives to have decisions made on all proposals within a 6-month window from the date of submission.

Can a partner be a current collaborator?

While it is not prohibited to have the partner be a current collaborator, proposals tend to be stronger when the partner is not. These proposals should facilitate new partnerships that are mutually beneficial.

How novel must the MCA proposal be from current research?

You do not need to transition to a new field, however, you can if that is what you would like. Keep in mind the motivation behind submitting the MCA solicitation vs submitting to a core program. Lacking funding is not a good motivation for submitting to MCA, whereas lacking specific skills may be a good motivation.

Is there a list of MCA awards available to the general public?

Yes. You can find a list of awards here.

Who would be the best person to talk to regarding MCA questions?

For specific questions about the solicitations or its requirements, you can email MCA.info@nsf.gov. If you have specific questions about your research or programmatic fit, please contact a PO in your research area. They will be able to help you determine which program to apply to. 

More questions can be found on our previous office recap “1/10/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Mid-Career Advancement Program.” Please keep in mind that there have been a few updates to the solicitation for this year so be sure to check the Important Information and Revision Notes of the current solicitation for those changes. Additionally, there is a Frequently Asked Questions document available that includes questions associated with the updates.

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 held January 9th, 2022, from 1-2pm Eastern Time and the topic will be the Biodiversity on a Changing Planet Solicitation Update.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:                   

January 9: Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) Update

February 13: How to Write a Great Budget

March 13: PAPPG: Cracking the code – Understanding NSF policies and procedures that shape your funding opportunities

April 10: Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI)

May 8: CAREER Solicitation

Recording Available: Inclusive Wildland Fire Science Planning Proposals Webinar 2

NSF held its final webinar on the Inclusive Wildland Fire Science Planning Proposals Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on Wednesday, November 30th. The webinar provided information about NSF Dear Colleague Letter 22-122 as well as a Question-and-Answer Session. A recording of the webinar is now available here with a transcript available here. Please note that the webinar starts at the 1:25 mark and the Q&A session follows the presentation but against a black background. Questions on planning proposal preparation or this DCL may be sent to wildlandfire@nsf.gov.

Photo by Malachi Brooks via Unsplash

Upcoming Virtual Office Hours: Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation

Join us Monday, December 12th, 1 – 2pm ET for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will discuss the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (NSF 22-603). Representatives from DEB programs will be available for questions. To participate, please use the registration 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 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. 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 Hour Topics:                       

December 12: Mid – Career Advancement Solicitation    

January 9: Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) Update

February 13: How to Write a Great Budget

March 13: PAPPG: Cracking the code – Understanding NSF policies and procedures that shape your funding opportunities

April 10: Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI)

May 8: CAREER Solicitation

Upcoming Webinar: DCL: Planning Proposals to Catalyze Innovative and Inclusive Wildland Fire Science through Diverse Collaborations

NSF is hosting its final webinar on Wednesday, November 30 from 11 am- 12 pm Eastern on the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL): Planning Proposals to Catalyze Innovative and Inclusive Wildland Fire Science through Diverse Collaborations. This DCL calls for proposals that engage diverse stakeholders and rights holders in innovative and inclusive wildland fire science.

You can register at this link. A recording of the presentation will be available after the webinar concludes.

Planning proposals can be submitted at any time following the detailed instructions in the DCL, but should be submitted no later than May 31, 2023, for consideration during Fiscal Year 2023. Please note that PIs must obtain prior written approval before submitting a proposal in response to this DCL. Inquiries can be sent to wildlandfire@nsf.gov.

11/14/22 Virtual Office Hours Recap – NSF BIO Opportunities in Climate Change Research

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its latest Virtual Office Hour on November 14, 2022. Program Officers provided information on how to write a great proposal. 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 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 22-1

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

Q: How do I know which Program Officer within a program to contact with a 1-page summary or to set up an appointment to talk with? Do Program Officers ever suggest an alternative program that would better fit?

A: You can pick any name off the list of associated Program Officers for the program of interest. Program Officers carefully review submitted 1-pagers with their program and provide feedback to the PI via phone/email. They will discuss programmatic fit as well as suggest alternative programs and how to contact those programs. We suggest that if you want to contact more than one program or Program Officer then you should send one email that includes all of the Program Officers you have interest in speaking with. This makes it easier for us to coordinate one response with the most accurate information about programmatic fit.

Q: NSF proposal guidelines prohibit submitting proposals with substantial overlap at the same time.  Sometimes the timing of these special programs is such that we are prevented from submitting to them because of another proposal under consideration with substantial overlap. Can you comment on the ‘substantial overlap’ issue regarding Life on a Warming Planet research?

A: Duplicate submissions are prohibited, but proposals with some overlap are allowed. But we need to avoid the potential to fund the same research twice.  Thus, when submitting a proposal, there is a required document called Current and Pending Support where you describe how the current proposal and any pending submissions overlap. Please reach out to a Program Officer if you have concerns about ‘substantial overlap’ in your submissions.

Q: Would climate change research be a fit for the Using the Rules of Life to Address Societal Challenges program?

A: Yes, per the solicitation: “Through use-inspired research using convergent, multidisciplinary approaches, URoL:ASC seeks to apply lessons learned from studying rules of life across a broad array of living systems to tackle pressing societal concerns. These concerns include but are not limited to:  climate change and associated risks, including geohazards, extreme events, and loss of biodiversity; environmental degradation, including impacts on land and water resources; inequalities in availability of and access to essential natural assets; lack of sustainability, including for food, energy, and waste production; and threats from pandemic disease, among others.” If you have specific questions about a research idea and its appropriateness for this program, please contact URoL-ASC@nsf.gov.

Q: We would like to submit a proposal to Biodiversity on a Changing Planet to work with colleagues in a foreign country, but there are ongoing travel restrictions there. Should we propose work that assumes such travel will be possible even with ongoing restrictions and potentially challenging political landscape? Is it important to suggest that we have a ‘plan B’ in case we can’t go?

A: Ensure that you have a clear description of the partnership and how it would work, and it would be helpful to have a description of ‘plan B’ should travel restrictions impact your research.  All research faces some uncertainty and some risk of events beyond your control limiting progress.  But if those risks are too high, reviewers may not see the project as feasible or worth the investment. 

Q: For Biodiversity on a Changing Planet, do successful proposals integrate across all levels (cellular, organismal, ecological, evolutionary, geological, and/or paleontological perspectives) or is a subset of these approaches acceptable? e.g., should all proposals include a cellular approach?

A: A subset is perfectly acceptable. There are some revisions in the upcoming solicitation that will help clarify the language. Keep an eye out on the BoCP solicitation website for updated information. 

Q: Does the Organismal Response to Climate Change (ORCC) program allow for NSF-NERC collaborations? If not, to which programs can a NERC collaboration proposal be submitted?

A: At this time, NERC partnerships are not allowed but this doesn’t preclude you from working with colleagues in the UK or any other international partners. NSF-NERC collaborative proposals can be submitted to the DEB core programs (Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes, Population and Community Ecology, and Systematics and Biodiversity Science). Additionally, the Directorate of Geosciences accepts NSF-NERC collaborative proposals.

Q: I work in the agriculture sector. Will that be a limitation when submitting a proposal to NSF?

A: No, but you are encouraged to review the Who May Submit Proposals section of Eligibility Information in the solicitation of interest to you. For example, the DEB (core programs) solicitation states that proposals may only be submitted by institutions of higher education or non-profit, non-academic organizations. Other NSF solicitations have different eligibility requirements.

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 hours will be held December 12, 2022, from 1-2pm Eastern Time and the topic will be the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation.

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:                   

December 12: Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation

January 9: Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) Update

February 13: How to Write a Great Budget

March 13: PAPPG: Cracking the code – Understanding NSF policies and procedures that shape your funding opportunities

April 10: Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI)

May 8: CAREER Solicitation

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), or 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. By providing a split score, you are telling NSF that the single score, or “Overall Rating”, lies somewhere between the two categories. It’s fine but rare to provide a split score that spans more than two adjacent ratings. We most frequently see this when a reviewer loves, for example, the Intellectual Merit and is very disappointed by the Broader Impacts.  In that case, we might see a E/P.  If you decide to give such a score, it’s critically important to explain what it means; don’t make us guess!

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”.

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 this.

Finally, please strive to use the complete spectrum of scores.  A reviewer that tends to rate most proposals E or V is ultimately less helpful to everyone — NSF, panelists, and PIs.

How Overall Ratings are Used
Generally, the written content of the review matters more than the rating score since we don’t rank proposals by their average scores (unlike some funding agencies).  Nonetheless, scores aren’t ignored; they’re a concise indicator of a reviewer’s opinion, and they can be helpful for interpreting the written content.

During panel discussions, scores can be incredibly useful 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 panelist to differentiate between your many assigned proposals and remember them through hours of discussions.


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

Upcoming Virtual Office Hours: Opportunities for Research in Climate Change 

Join us Monday, November 14th, 1 – 2pm ET for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will provide insight on funding opportunities for research in climate change. Representatives from DEB programs will be available for questions. To participate, please use the registration 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 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. 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 Hour Topics:                       

November 14: Opportunities for Research in Climate Change  

December 12: Mid – Career Advancement Solicitation    

January 9: Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) Update

February 13: How to Write a Great Budget

March 13: PAPPG: Cracking the code – Understanding NSF policies and procedures that shape your funding opportunities

April 10: Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI)

May 8: CAREER Solicitation