DEB: Business as Usual


frenchie

photo credit: Javier Brosch

DEB Program Officers and staff are as available as ever to serve our community. Like many of you, we are concerned for all our friends and family, and are working from home in an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. We are entirely accessible via email and phone, though, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us (contact us with questions about current awards, proposal preparation and submission, NSF policies and procedures, or anything else).

NSF is continuing to accept and review proposals, host virtual panels, and make awards. We are happy to discuss your research ideas and help you manage your awards during this stressful time.

For questions about how NSF is responding to the pandemic and its impact on research, please visit https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/coronavirus/.

Stay safe, be well.

 

 

Upcoming Virtual Office Hour: CAREER Proposals


Join us May 18th from 1pm-2pm EDT for DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour. Program Officers will provide an introduction to the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) (NSF 20-525). Please note that this is a different date than our normally scheduled office hour.

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.

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. In the future, 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:

May 18: CAREERs

June 8: OPUS

July: TBD

August 10: CNH2: Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems

September 14: Macrosystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science (MSB-NES)

October 12: BIO Postdoc Program

November 9: Intro to DEB

December 14: Supplements

January 11: TBD

 

 

NSF STEM Diversity and Inclusion Video Exhibition Challenge


Our friends in IOS posted about the STEM DIVE competition . You can read their post here or in full below:

Have you been the recipient of NSF funding for a project that included partnerships for increasing diversity and inclusion in the STEM workforce?

Want to win one of (4) $2,500 Expert’s Choice Awards or one of (2) $1,250 People’s Choice Awards AND be featured on various NSF platforms?

NSF invites you to submit a 1-to-3-minute video that showcases how your NSF-funded work has led to innovative, effective, and replicable approaches to building a diverse and inclusive STEM workforce through partnerships.

The deadline for submissions in June 25th, 2020.

For more information, visit the competition website; www.nsf.gov/ehr/stemdive.jsp

 

Recap: BIO-wide Office Hours


Our friends over at BIO BUZZ posted a recap of the BIO-wide COVID-19 Office Hours. You can read the entire post below;

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) held a series of four virtual office hours during the week of March 30 to provide an opportunity for researchers from across the biological sciences to ask concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NSF efforts, solicitations, and awards, and to hear ideas from the community about how NSF might respond to those impacts in the long-term. Representatives from each of the four Divisions within BIO were present during each session.

During these difficult times, the health and safety of our community remains our utmost concern. NSF is working to provide researchers with the highest level of flexibility to support your health and safety as well as your work.

Slides from the sessions are linked here. For information on how NSF is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the answers to frequently asked questions about the impact on awards and panels, please visit https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/coronavirus/. If you have questions specific to an award or solicitation, please contact the Program Officer; all contact information for BIO Program Officers is available at https://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=BIO

CANCELLED: Virtual Office Hours April 13th


The Division for Environmental Biology has decided to cancel the scheduled April 13th virtual office hours and postpone the discussion of the Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (OPUS) solicitation (NSF 20-564). We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause potential attendees. However, if you have any questions related to the OPUS solicitation, we encourage you to reach out to a Program Officer or submit questions to debquestions@nsf.gov.

Recently, the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) held virtual office hours to discuss concerns from the research community regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will post notes from these discussions here and on the BIO BUZZ blog soon. We also encourage you to read the letter sent by the Directorate of Biological Sciences’ Assistant Director Joanne Tornow regarding NSF’s response to COVID-19 and to visit NSF’s coronavirus information page, which is updated regularly. As always, if you have specific questions, please reach out to your Program Officer.

Please join us at our next DEB Virtual Office Hour on May 18 from 1-2pm EST at which we will focus on questions regarding the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) solicitation (NSF 20-525). Instructions on how to register will be posted on DEBrief.

Preparing for the New PAPPG: Biosketches and Current and Pending Support


The new version of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, or PAPPG (NSF 20-1), goes into effect on June 1st, 2020, and there are some things you can do now to help prepare for your next proposal submission.

Specifically, we wanted to highlight some changes to the preparation and submission of the Biographical Sketch (Biosketch) and Current and Pending Support documents.

Biosketches

Your Biosketch must be submitted using one of two pre-approved formats, either 1) using SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae or 2) NSF’s Fillable PDF. Be sure and read the available FAQs and information about the two pre-approved formats and see our breakdown below.

  • NSF is partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae. It will provide an NSF-approved format for both the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of an NSF proposal.
  • SciENcv allows proposers to integrate their ORCiD profile enabling automatic filling of the Biographical Sketch. Additional information is available on the ORCiD website.
  • SciENcv will produce NSF-compliant PDF versions of these documents. Proposers must save these documents and submit them as part of their proposals via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.
  • Additional resources including video tutorials are available on the SciENcv website.
  • You also have the option to use the NSF Fillable PDF if you do not want to use SciENcv. You must download the fillable PDF form from the NSF biographical sketch and then submit the completed forms as part of their proposals via FastLane, Research.gov or Grants.gov.

Current and Pending Support

Just like the Biosketch, you now must use the new NSF-approved formats for submitting your current and pending support. These include SciENcv or the NSF Fillable PDF.

To listen to even more information, NSF recently recorded a webinar about the requirement to use an NSF-approved format for both the biographical sketch and current & pending support documents as part of proposals submitted to NSF.

If you try and submit a Biosketch or your Current and Pending Support after June 1st, 2020 and do not use these NSF-approved formats, you will receive an error message and will be unable to submit your proposal. DEB Program Officers tried out SciENcv and found it was very easy to use and minimized some of the repetitive work of updating these documents, but if you don’t want to bother with setting up an account, the fillable PDFs are great options.

 

BIO-wide Virtual Office Hours


As you may have seen, Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) Assistant Director Joanne Tornow, PhD, wrote to the biological sciences community to share information about NSF’s current operations in light of COVID-19 and provide guidance to current awardees.

In that letter, Dr. Tornow noted that BIO staff are interested in hearing how BIO and NSF can mitigate the longer-term harm of COVID-19 on U.S. research and training. We will be holding a series of four BIO-wide virtual office hours next week during which the biological science community can share concerns, ask questions, or offer suggestions on how we can do more to address this national emergency.

Sessions dates and times are as follows and registration and log-in information will be available here shortly. Please feel free to attend the session that best fits your schedule; representatives from across BIO will be in attendance during each session.

  • Monday, March 30, 4-5 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, March 31, 3-4 pm EDT
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2-3 pm EDT
  • Thursday, April 2, 1-2 pm EDT

For more information on NSF’s activities and response to COVID-19, please visit our coronavirus information page; this site is updated regularly.

Managing Your Awards During a Pandemic


The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) is keenly aware of the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on institutions and PIs. As such, we wanted to take a moment to remind PIs about no-cost extensions, with a brief note on annual reporting.

No-cost extensions are both common and easy to request. Knowing how they work may help relieve some of the tension PIs are now feeling.

Key points:

  1. Grantees (your institution!) are pre-authorized by NSF to provide a one-time extension of the end date of the grant of up to 12 months if additional time beyond the established end date is required to assure completion of the original scope of work with existing funds. All “grantee-approved” extension requests must be signed and submitted by your institutional representative via NSF’s electronic systems. If you are going to request a no-cost extension, always first request the “grantee-approved” type.
  2. If additional time beyond the first extension is required, and exceptional circumstances warrant, a formal request to NSF must be signed and submitted by the institutional grants officer via NSF’s electronic systems. The request should be submitted to NSF at least 45 days prior to the end date of the grant. This is called an “NSF-approved” no-cost extension and is a bigger deal than the “grantee-approved” type. You will need to provide the current balance (funds remaining) of the award and your plans for spending it.
  3. Regardless of which type of no-cost extension you may request, it’s critically important to understand that remaining funds can only be spent on work described in your funded proposal (i.e., within the original scope of your award). If you have questions about this, it’s best to call the NSF Program Officer who is managing your award.

If you plan on submitting a request for a no-cost extension, you need to do so BEFORE the final annual report is due; DO NOT submit a final report unless the request is denied.

A note on annual reports:

DEB is also aware than many PIs might struggle to accomplish much research during university closures and in turn might worry about their outputs for annual reports. Please submit brief but accurate reports, making note of expected slowdowns. Again, DEB is sympathetic to the exceptional circumstances taking place.

Dear Colleague Letter: Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS): Micro- and Nanoplastics (MNP)


NSF has released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) asking for proposals that tackle the fundamental scientific questions underlying micro- and nanoplastic characterization, behavior, and reactivity in the environment (including animal and human health), as well as their elimination from land and water systems.

This is an effort spanning several Directorates and Divisions across NSF but we’ve highlighted DEB’s specific call below:

The Division of Environmental Biology (BIO/DEB) welcomes inquiries that explore basic questions in the ecological and evolutionary sciences. Microplastics represent a relatively new and poorly understood component of ecosystems that may alter fundamental biological processes from cells to ecosystems. In this context, projects that seek to improve understanding of the role of microplastics in fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes will be prioritized. Projects with a primary focus on toxicology will not be considered. PIs interested in submitting an EAGER or RAPID proposal should send a 1-2 page research concept outline to the BIO representative listed below. This prospectus will be used to determine if an invitation to invite a full EAGER or RAPID proposal is warranted. A prospectus is not necessary for submission of a regular core proposal. Please consult the current DEB core solicitation (https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503634&org=DEB&from=home) for a detailed description of programs within the division.”

Please send your research concept outline and any questions you may have to John Schade at jschade@nsf.gov.