Announcement of update on CSBR Program
In March, 2016, it was announced that the Collections in Support of Biological Research Program (CSBR) within the Directorate for Biological Sciences’ (BIO) Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) will not be accepting new project proposals in 2016. Proposals submitted by the September, 2015, CSBR solicitation deadline and recommended for funding will be funded and supported for the duration of the award along with continuing increments for prior awards. The CSBR program has been placed on a biennial competition schedule as of 2017 and new project proposals will be considered in the next cycle. Additional guidance regarding potential opportunities for support for emergency circumstances and priorities for support will be provided by October 1, 2016 in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter and an update on the CSBR web page.
In BIO’s fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget request, plans were included regarding the evaluation of smaller DBI programs, such as CSBR, with the goal of informing the FY18 budget request. The BIO Directorate is currently performing an internal evaluation of DBI research resource programs, including CSBR, which will be completed in November, 2016. This internal evaluation is an opportunity to assess the important role of CSBR in the context of the Postdoctoral Collections Fellowship program and the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program, which includes iDigBio. Additionally, the biological collections and research communities have provided very helpful feedback on the CSBR program, and this input will be analyzed and used to assess program needs. The evaluation will be performed by an internal working group, comprising representatives from each of BIO’s divisions and NSF’s Office of Evaluation and Assessment.
The results from the internal evaluation will be used to inform commissioning of a more in-depth evaluation of DBI’s research resource programs, including CSBR. The BIO Directorate recognizes the changes occurring in the biological sciences community regarding infrastructure, specifically data storage, access and analysis. DBI’s programs have overlapping and synergistic goals as well as important connections with the research programs they serve within BIO, so it makes sense to look at all of DBI’s programs in the context of program roles and community needs. An update on the status of the external evaluation will be provided by September 30, 2017.
Dr. James L. Olds
Directorate for Biological Sciences
NEW A Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) was released announcing NSF's participation in the National Microbiome Initiative. The DCL highlights NSF BIO’s vision and approach to support and encourage microbiome research across the phylogenetic spectrum and biological scales; from host – microbe interactions to ecosystems. NSF BIO also fosters the development of a national research infrastructure to support collaborative science on microbiomes. See the DCL for more information (May 2016).
A Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) was released announcing the intention to foster the development of a national research infrastructure for neuroscience (National Brain Observatory) to support collaborative and team science for achieving a comprehensive understanding of the brain in action and context. See the DCL for more information. (February 2016)
A revised IOS Core Programs solicitation, NSF 16-505, replaces NSF 13-600 (October 2015). The revised solicitation includes two significant programmatic changes:
- Proposals in the area of plant-biotic interactions should no longer be submitted through the IOS Core Programs solicitation to the Symbiosis, Defense and Self-recognition (SDS) program. These proposals will now be accepted for review by a new program, Plant Biotic Interactions (PBI), jointly supported and managed by NSF IOS and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
- The revised IOS Core Programs solicitation includes two tracks for proposal submission. The Core track remains essentially unchanged from the description in the previous IOS solicitation (NSF 13-600), except for the changes described above related to the SDS Program. Proposals submitted to the EDGE (Enabling Discovery through Genomic Tools) track should focus on development of functional genomic tools, approaches and associated infrastructure to enable genome manipulation in diverse, emerging model organisms and must include training and rapid dissemination plans.
See the IOS home page for more details.