New LTREB Solicitation Released


The new solicitation for the Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) Program has been released. The LTREB program supports the generation of extended time series of data to address important questions in evolutionary biology, ecology, and ecosystem science. LTREB was designed to support decadal projects. Funding for an initial, 5-year period requires a decadal research plan and a description of core data. Renewal proposals are submitted for the second five years of support. Proposals can be submitted to three Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) clusters—Ecosystem Science, Population and Community Ecology, and Evolutionary Processes.

The main new feature of the LTREB solicitation is an increase of the maximum budget, to $600,000 for a 5-year duration in total costs (direct plus indirect).

Important requirements for all NSF proposals are open data, and data-sharing. LTREB projects have been ahead of the curve regarding sharing data with other investigators in order to stimulate data reuse, synthesis, and the generation of novel ideas. If you have been collecting long-term data, and want to test hypotheses related to those data, the LTREB Program may be of interest to you.

NSF Announces New Measures to Protect Research Community from Harassment


From the BIO Blog, “The National Science Foundation (NSF) has taken the next steps in its agency-wide effort to protect the research community from harassment, publishing a term and condition that requires awardee organizations to report findings and determinations of sexual harassment, as well as establishing a secure online portal for submitting harassment notifications.

To access these resources, please see the press release, the NSF Fact Sheet, and visit nsf.gov/harassment.”

 

A Letter from the Acting Assistant Director


Dr. Joanne Tornow, BIO Acting Assistant Director, has written a letter to the community addressing the recently released no-deadline solicitations and answering some commonly asked questions.

Remember that we also released our own in-depth explainer around our Core Programs’ switch to no-deadline and produced a handy chart for understanding which programs still have a deadline and whether or not they are subject to a submissions cap.

Lastly, if you still have questions about our recent changes or anything DEB-related, please email us at debquestions@nsf.gov.

FAQs for BIO Directorate Core Programs Solicitations- (Archived)


This post is no longer accurate as of November 15, 2018. Please visit this post for current information.

Are you still searching for answers to questions about our new Core Programs Solicitation? Check out the new FAQ and remember to review our blog’s own solicitation explainer and submission caps explainer. And if you still have questions, please feel free to email your Program Officer or debquestions@nsf.gov.

Meet DEB: Andrea Porras-Alfaro and Lynn Christenson


andrea pa

Andrea Porras-Alfaro

Name: Andrea Porras-Alfaro, Population and Community Ecology Program Officer

Education: Ph.D. University of New Mexico, M.S. University of Puerto Rico, B.A. Biotech Eng. Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica.

Home Institution: Western Illinois University

Tell us about your research: I am a mycologist (study fungi) serving as a visiting Program Officer. I am interested in fungal ecology in general and the interconnections of this field with other areas of ecology. My research has been mainly focused on the diversity and function of mycobiomes and their symbiotic interactions with plant communities in agricultural and natural ecosystems. I am interested in the emergent properties that result from complex microbial interactions and novel fungal consortia with potential to ameliorate the effects of climate change. For example, we are currently studying fungi that can facilitate plant adaptation to extreme conditions including extended periods of drought and high temperatures. In my lab, we use a variety of techniques to study fungi including cultures, bioassays, sequencing, and field experiments. I study root-associated microbial communities in different systems taking advantage of long-term field manipulations in arid systems and grasslands across the US. I am also working on soybean and corn plantations in Illinois, and the symbionts in tropical orchids. I am also very excited about strategies to improve student mentoring and success and increase participation and interactions of students from very different backgrounds.

Why do you want to serve with NSF? The opportunity to serve the broader scientific community, specially, a diverse and talented generation of scientists. I think it is a privilege to be at the forefront of science, innovation, and creativity. I was fortunate early in my career to have mentors who served at NSF and I have always admired their dedication to serve the scientific community in general. Here at NSF, I will be able to see the review process from a different perspective and benefit from training that is already impacting my professional development and career. I am excited to help facilitate the support of high quality science, its impact in society, and a diverse community of researchers and institutions.

What are you looking forward to in your tenure here at NSF? As a Program Officer, I am excited about the opportunity to support new initiatives and facilitate the review process focusing on the primary mission of NSF. I hope to continue my mentoring role by opening new doors for researchers in the different stages of their careers, establish new professional relations, and be of service to the community.

lynn.jpg

Lynn Christenson with her dogs Rane and Ki

Name: Lynn M. Christenson, Ecosystem Science Program Officer

Education: University of Winnipeg, State University of New York of Environmental Science and Forestry, M.S. and PhD

Home Institution: Vassar College

Tell us about your research:  I am an ecosystem ecologist with a focus on biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial systems. My research includes how climate change and other human activities (forest fragmentation and urbanization) interact with herbivores, plants, and soils to impact nutrient dynamics.

Why do you want to serve with NSF? I wanted to serve science from the ‘other side’ and to gain a better understanding of how basic science gets funded. Or in other words, I wanted to participate in the potential new directions that science can go by encouraging and developing programs for investigators!

What are you looking forward to in your tenure here at NSF? I’m looking forward to meeting other people from other directorates and divisions from across NSF. I like to hear how other scientists/programs think about their questions and approaches. This will help me to think differently about how I ask my own questions and the approaches that I use in my own research.

New OPUS Solicitation


The OPUS (Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis) program enables PIs to create new understanding of their research systems and questions by supporting synthesis activities based on published, peer-reviewed research. The traditional OPUS is now called OPUS: CRS (Core Research Synthesis). This presents an opportunity for a researcher at any career stage to synthesize a significant body of their research to create a new and enhanced understanding of an important topic in DEB science.

The new OPUS: MCS (Mid-Career Synthesis) track targets a specific academic rank (associate professor or equivalent) at a critical career stage. An OPUS: MCS requires the PI to collaborate with a mentor at another institution to acquire needed knowledge or skills to enable a new synthesis of their research interests. Projects should present a compelling case that the planned activities and products will provide new insights to existing problems or identify new, but related, problems that were previously inaccessible without the new methodology or approach. Hopefully, the result will enhance the PI’s productivity, improve their retention as scientists, and promote a diverse scientific workforce, including more minorities and women at high academic ranks.

The two tracks are outlined in detail on the OPUS web site and in the solicitation (NSF 18-582). If you are considering an OPUS submission, we suggest that you email one of the OPUS contacts listed on that web page as well as a program officer in the appropriate DEB cluster for your research area.