DEB Numbers: CAREER Submission Data

This is a quick numbers post while we in DEB pivot from summer research and meeting outreach to fiscal closeout and autumn (full proposal) panel mode.

CAREER proposals in BIO were due on July 21, 2014. These proposals will be reviewed this fall and become part of the FY 2015 decision-making process. In this post, we take a look at the trends in submission of CAREER proposals through the current competition. We aren’t looking at funding rates or outcomes – those are beyond the scope of today’s post.

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Discussion: Deadlines and Due Dates

This post intends to start a conversation about a single aspect of the merit review practices in DEB (itself just a narrow slice of NSF), the due date. Why the due date?  Well, for one, the implementation of a single deadline per year was one of the more prominent changes when DEB and IOS both released major revisions to their solicitations for FY 2012.  Plus, while the due date change was a major concern in initial reactions to DEB and IOS, and is something we continue to hear about, other programs at NSF are facing similar issues and have also looked at changes to the submission schedule (in BIO[1], and beyond).

None of the discussions we have seen online actually look at due dates across NSF which is a little bit disappointing because the variety of practices successfully employed across the foundation is awesome[2]. So, we took it on ourselves to remedy that. Continue reading

DEB Numbers: Award Size and Duration

This installment of DEB Numbers looks at the DEB Core Programs’ regular research project portfolio through the lens of award size and duration.


This post was inspired by some of the reaction we heard to our earlier DEB Numbers posts on collaboration. (We also will take the serendipitous bounce off these recent findings about award size from north of the border and subsequent discussion here.) Continue reading

Preliminary Proposal Survey: Respond by May 1, 2013

Dear Readers,

As alluded to in previous posts, we are continuing to collect a variety of data and reactions to the preliminary proposal system. We have now received approval to directly solicit your views via a survey. Program Directors in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation (NSF) are asking Principal Investigators (PIs)  (current, past, or future) to take this survey ( to provide feedback on our new proposal review process.

Please spread the word about this survey.  We will be sending emails to PIs asking that they participate in the survey, but we need our readers to share this information as well. We need your help to reach those whose current email addresses may not be in our records and to encourage everyone who receives the invite to click the link and complete the survey.  We are requesting potential respondents to complete the survey by Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

This survey is an important mechanism that NSF is using to obtain quantitative feedback about the new review process. Our target audience is investigators who have had funding from DEB or IOS or who are likely to submit a proposal to DEB and/or IOS in the next 1-2 years. We will use the results of the survey, which is anonymous, to assess the level of satisfaction with various aspects of the new review process. All answers are confidential, and will have no bearing on your future interactions with the NSF. The survey should require 10-20 minutes to complete.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to the survey and encouraging your colleagues to do so too.

DEB Numbers: Preproposals and Collaboration, Part 2

This DEB Numbers post is a continuation of our previous post, here, where we laid out some of the measures of collaboration that are available to us in DEB. If you are new to DEB Numbers posts, we suggest you read our introductory message to familiarize yourself with some of the conventions we use here to describe what can be confusing information.

How many collaborators?

Beyond the presence/absence of PAPPG-defined collaborative proposals or presence/absence of Co-PIs on a project, we have some additional information that may shine a light on other facets of the collaboration question. Continue reading

DEB Numbers: Preproposals and Collaboration, Part 1

A topic we have been interested in since long before the launch of the two-stage review process is how collaboration plays into the review process in DEB.  In this post, we explore the various definitions of collaborative proposals and look at measures of the extent of collaboration in DEB project submissions and awards.  If this is your first DEB Numbers post, we suggest you read our introductory message to familiarize yourself with some of the conventions we use here to describe what can be confusing information.

What does collaboration mean in DEB? Continue reading

DEB Numbers: Revisiting performance of PI demographic groups, Part 2

This post is a continuation of a discussion of the early data on the performance of Beginning Investigators and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions.  Please read Part 1 before continuing for background and explanation of the terms used. If you are new to DEB Numbers posts, I suggest you read our introductory message to familiarize yourself with some of the conventions we use here to describe what can be confusing information.

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