New Solicitation for a Navigating the New Arctic Community Office is Live


NSF invites proposals to establish a Navigating the New Arctic Community Office (NNA-CO). Launched in 2016, NNA has been building a growing portfolio of research and planning grants at the intersection of the built, social, and natural environments to improve understanding of Arctic change and its local and global effects. Each NNA-funded project is responsible for its own performance, including its core research and broader impacts. However, an NNA community office is required to coordinate the activities of funded NNA projects; engage new PIs; and promote research, education, and outreach activities. Full proposals are due on June 10, 2020.

For additional information and upcoming events about NNA, please visit the solicitation and program website, or reach out to the Program Directors on the NNA Working Group at nna@nsf.gov.

Upcoming Virtual Office Hour: RAPID/ EAGER/Conferences


Join us March 9th from 1pm-2pm EST for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will provide an introduction to Rapid Response Research (RAPID), EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), and Conference proposals, all of which are described in the PAPPG (NSF 19-1). Representatives from each of the four DEB core programs will be available for questions. Questions can be on any DEB 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. Also, follow us on the NSF Biology Twitter account (@NSF_BIO) for same day alerts about the DEB Virtual Office Hours.

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, so be sure to add them to your calendars!

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics:

March 9: RAPID/EAGER/Conferences

April 13: Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS)

May 18: CAREERs

June 8: BIO Postdoc Program

2/10/20 Virtual Office Hours Recap


The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) held its third Virtual Office Hour on February 10th , 2020. We’ll be hosting these office hours monthly on 2nd Mondays at 1-2pm EST. There will be a different theme each time, but visitors are welcome to ask about other NSF-related topics. Program Officers from each of DEB’s clusters will be present at every Virtual Office Hour.

This month’s topic was NSF BIO’s Rules of Life (NSF 20-502) track and the NSF-wide Understanding the Rules of Life ( NSF 20-513) opportunities. Rules of Life is a track within BIO’s core solicitations that encourages projects that integrate approaches across biological scales. The topic of this track is entirely up to the PI. Alternatively, Understanding the Rules of Life is one of NSF’s Ten Big Ideas that encourages projects that integrate approaches from more than one discipline. These topics are solicitation-specific. For more information on what specific topics are encouraged, please visit the link above.

The presentation and other documents are available here:

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

Q: Are there any details that should be considered when developing a CAREER grant for the BIO Rules of Life track?

A: There is no Rules of Life track in the CAREER solicitation (NSF 20-525). CAREERs are submitted under a separate solicitation independent from the other BIO divisions’ solicitations. CAREER proposals will be the topic of an upcoming office hours.

Q: Does the Rules of Life track call ask for broader interdisciplinarity? E.g., engineering, math, …

A: Rules of Life (RoL) proposals involve collaboration that integrates across biological disciplines, and specifically crosses at least two divisions within BIO (e.g., DEB and IOS). Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL) targets cross-directorate research (e.g., BIO and GEO, BIO and ENG). For more information see the slides that differentiate between the BIO Rules of Life track and Understanding the Rules of Life.

Q: Should we identify the two Divisions of interest in a BIO Rules of Life proposal or wait for feedback from the program prior to submission?

A: It’s never a bad idea to send a one-page description of your hypotheses and research plans to a program officer for feedback. The program officer can then advise you about which programs may be appropriate to target. You can always suggest that particular programs review your proposals, but program officers will ultimately decide how proposals are reviewed, with the goal of giving each proposal the greatest opportunity to be considered for funding.

Q: Would the BIO Rules of Life track support large scale interdisciplinary projects involving many PIs, and if so, are there upper funding limits?

A: BIO Rules of Life can support up to five PIs, as well as additional senior personnel. If a project calls for a large collaboration and is expensive, contact your Program Officer and discuss your idea. Budget limits apply to Understanding the Rules of Life solicitations, not BIO Rules of Life.

Q: In the Understanding the Rules of Life program, to what extent should the other discipline(s) be connected to BIO?

A: The other discipline(s) should be tightly integrated with the biological questions.

Q: Does the BIO Rules of Life track or the Understanding the Rules of Life program support funding for international collaborations with labs outside the U.S.?

A: Programs will fund projects for PIs from U.S. institutions to conduct research internationally, but international institutions are expected to cover costs for their scientists. Rare exceptions have been made in the past and you should contact a Program Officer if you have additional questions.

Q: Can you submit to the BIO Rules of Life track as well as under the special category NERC? The solicitation says the special categories are included in the core track.

A: NSFDEB-NERC proposals cannot be submitted to the BIO RoL Track.

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 March 9th, 2020 from 1-2pm EST and will address EAGERs, RAPIDs, and Conferences. Be sure to check back here or follow the BIO Twitter (@NSF_BIO) for information on how to register.

Remembering Our Friend and Colleague, George Gilchrist


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It is with great sadness that we relay news of the recent passing of our friend and long-time colleague, George Gilchrist. George joined NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology in 2009, and he was a stalwart and beloved member of the Evolutionary Processes cluster since that time. George made many valuable contributions to the NSF, the Biological Sciences Directorate, and the scientific community writ large.

George earned a B.S. at Arizona State University, an M.S. at Brown University and then followed his advisor, Joel Kingsolver, to the University of Washington, where he got his PhD in 1993 working on the evolution of thermal sensitivity. His most famous paper, which has been cited over 400 times, came from that dissertation (Gilchrist, G. W. 1995. Specialists and generalists in changing environments. I. Fitness landscapes of thermal sensitivity. The American Naturalist, 146(2), 252-270).

Following his post-doc at the University of Washington with Ray Huey, George took a faculty position at Clarkson University for 4 years, before moving on to the College of William & Mary for an additional 7 years. He then came to NSF. As a program officer in the Evolutionary Processes cluster, George played an important role in establishing the Dimensions of Biodiversity program with co-funding partners in Brazil, China and South Africa, as well as in managing the BEACON Science and Technology Center. George’s career reflected a keen interest in understanding the relationship between genetic mechanisms and ecological complexity as well as improvement of the teaching of Evolution. He became an elected AAAS Fellow in 2013.

George will be missed for his dedication to science and the scientific community, for his generosity and love of friends and family, and for his wit and charm that made him such a beloved member of DEB. He took a special interest in guiding early-career scientists through the process of writing proposals and managing awards. With his wife Katy, George was generous in welcoming and entertaining many members of the NSF community and introducing new program officers and staff to the DC region and to each other. He loved cooking outstanding meals, keeping a wonderful wine cellar, and preparing delicious cocktails. He also loved opera, and a wide variety of music, attending many concerts in the area. The Robert Burns night parties he organized with haggis, single malt scotch and poetry readings were the stuff of legend. His warmth as a host and close connections with local restaurants made for many memorable panel dinners and gatherings that extended beyond the workday.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Katy Gilchrist, son David Gilchrist and David’s fiancé, Brittany Moore, both from St. Paul, MN.

You may learn more about his life in his obituary in the Washington Post here.

We invite George’s many friends and colleagues to offer their thoughts and memories of him in response to this blog post in the comment section below. There will be a slight delay before your comment becomes visible.

 

Now Hiring: Permanent Program Directors in Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes and Population & Community Ecology!


The Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation has initiated searches for three permanent Program Directors, one each in Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes, and Population and Community Ecology, all of which close on March 5, 2020.

These are full-time positions within the Federal Government. The responsibilities of Program Directors include program planning and management; representation of the program, Division, and the Foundation within the scientific community; communication within and outside of NSF; and scientific and programmatic leadership. Additionally, these positions involve professional development, including active participation in professional activities, as well as pursuing individual research, as workload and travel funds permit.

For more details and how to apply, please visit the job announcement: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/558925200.

 

 

Upcoming Virtual Office Hour: Rules of Life Opportunities


Join us February 10th from 1pm-2pm EST for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will provide an introduction to the Rules of Life (RoL) track within our core programs solicitation (NSF 20-502) and Understanding Rules of Life (NSF 20-512 and NSF 20-513) one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas. Representatives from each of the four DEB core programs will be available for questions. Questions can be on any DEB topic.

Please use the registration link below to participate. Upcoming DEB Virtual Office Hours are listed here and below, so sign up for blog notifications for reminders. Also, follow us on the NSF Biology Twitter account (@NSF_BIO) for same day alerts about the DEB Virtual Office Hours.

REGISTER HERE

If you can’t make it to this or any future office hours, don’t worry! Come back here, as we will be posting a recap and presentation slides to our blog. 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, so be sure to add them to your calendars!

Upcoming Office Hours and Topics

February 10: Rules of Life Opportunities

March 9: RAPID/EAGER/Workshops

April 13: Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS)

May 11: CAREERs

June 8: BIO Postdoc Program

Meet DEB: Matthew Herron


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Heidi helping her human, Matthew Herron.

Name: Matthew Herron

Education: BA and MS University of Central Florida, PhD University of Arizona

Home Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

Tell us about your research: I study the so-called “major evolutionary transitions” using a combination of experimental, comparative, theoretical, and philosophical approaches. My main focus is on the evolution of multicellularity in the volvocine green algae (Volvox and its relatives). The ancestors of this group made the transition to multicellular life relatively recently, and living species span a wide range of sizes and degrees of complexity, from single-celled Chlamydomonas to multicellular organisms with tens of thousands of differentiated cells in the genus Volvox. This diversity makes them a great system for comparative studies, especially since many of the traits related to multicellular complexity appear to have evolved more than once within the group.

Why do you want to serve with NSF? I have enjoyed serving on review panels, and each time I have been impressed by the thoroughness and fairness of the NSF review process. I also love learning about research outside of my field. Proposals reflect the absolute leading edge within their disciplines, and in biology, that edge is expanding so quickly that work being proposed today often would have been impossible only a few years ago. During review panels and during my interview, it seemed that everyone I met was sincerely happy to be here, and that impression hasn’t changed since I arrived.

What are you looking forward to in your tenure here at NSF? I look forward to meeting and interacting with biologists across a wide range of subdisciplines and learning about their research. I’m excited to join a team of people dedicated to advancing the science of evolutionary biology and having some input on the direction it takes. It also happens that Alexandria is much closer to my family than anywhere I’ve lived before, so I look forward to spending more time with them.