NSF 98-151


Program Announcement



The National Science Foundation awards Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in selected areas of the biological sciences. These grants provide partial support of doctoral dissertation research in order to improve the overall quality of the research, to allow doctoral candidates to conduct research in specialized facilities or field settings away from the home campus, and to provide opportunities for greater diversity in collecting and creativity in analyzing data than would otherwise be possible using only locally available resources. Approximately $750,000 per year is currently spent on doctoral dissertation improvement awards and this is expected to remain constant.

Proposals whose focus falls within the scope of the Ecology, Ecosystems, Systematics, or Population Biology programs in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB), or the Animal Behavior or Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology programs in the Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience (IBN) are eligible. Please note that DEB programs generally do not support research in marine ecology. The duration and grant amount are flexible but must be justified by the scope of work and documented in the proposal. Grants are typically awarded for 24 months and for amounts that range from $3,000 to $10,000.

These awards are intended to provide supplemental funds for items not normally available from the student's university or other sources. They are not intended to provide the total costs of a student's dissertation research. Allowable items include travel to specialized facilities or field research locations, use of specialized research equipment, purchase of supplies and services not otherwise available, fees for computerized or other forms of data, and rental of environmental chambers or other research facilities. Funds may be requested for research assistants only in special circumstances and with special justification. Funds may not be used for stipends, tuition, textbooks, journals, allowances for dependents, travel to scientific meetings, publication costs, dissertation preparation or reproduction, or indirect costs.

While the Foundation provides support for doctoral dissertation research, the awardee is wholly responsible for the conduct of such research and preparation of the results for publication. The Foundation, therefore, does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation. This program does not support research with disease-related goals, including research on the etiology, diagnosis, or treatment of disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings, animals, or plants.



A STUDENT MUST HAVE ADVANCED TO CANDIDACY FOR A Ph.D. DEGREE TO BE ELIGIBLE TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL. A proposal must be submitted through regular university channels by the dissertation advisor(s) on behalf of a graduate student who is at the point of initiating or is already conducting dissertation research. The student must be enrolled at a U.S. institution, but need not be a U.S. citizen. Institutions should limit applications to outstanding dissertation proposals with unusual financial requirements that cannot be met otherwise. Preference may be given to projects that are underway and for which feasibility is demonstrated.


Proposal Content and Format

It is expected that preparation of a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement proposal be primarily the student's responsibility. . To be eligible for consideration, the proposal must use the format and forms found in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG , NSF 98-2 or current issuance), unless otherwise specified below. Appendix B of the GPG is helpful in assuring that the proposal complies with NSF requirements. Special instructions for Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants follow.

1. Information about Principal Investigators/Project Directors (NSF Form 1225).

    1. Information about the primary dissertation advisor should be entered in the first column, titled Principal Investigator/Project Director.
    2. Information about the student should be entered in the second column, First Additional PI/PD.
    3. If there is an additional thesis advisor, the third column should be used to record information.

2. Cover Page (NSF Form 1207)

    1. The Project Title on the Cover Page should be prefaced DISSERTATION RESEARCH: followed by a brief title of the dissertation research project.
    2. The Division to which the proposal is directed should be named in the upper left-hand corner of the Cover Page in the box marked "For Consideration by NSF Organization Unit(s)." Appropriate Divisions are Environmental Biology (DEB) or Integrative Biology & Neuroscience (IBN).
    3. The primary dissertation advisor should be listed in the box marked "PI/PD Name" and the student and other advisors listed below in the boxes "CO-PI/PD."

3. The Project Summary should be no more than 200 words.

4. Project Description

    1. This section is limited to 8 single-spaced pages including figures and tables. Character size may not be smaller than 10 points but 12 points is preferred.
    2. In addition to describing the scientific significance of the work and the design of the project in sufficient detail to permit evaluation, the main body of the proposal should present and interpret progress to date if the research is already underway.
    3. The "Results from Prior NSF Support" section is not required.

5. The budget (NSF Form 1030) must be accompanied by a Budget Justification explaining the need for each budget item requested in the context of the proposed research project and why the institution cannot provide it. A request for per diem allowance for time away from a home base to conduct research should be carefully justified in terms of only those living costs in excess of those in the vicinity of the home campus or institution.

6. Biographical Sketches are required for the dissertation advisor(s) and the student.

7. Current and Pending support pages for the dissertation advisor(s) and the student, using NSF Form 1239.


9. Required are ONE original signed by the dissertation advisor(s), the student, and the institutional representative and FIVE additional copies of the proposal.


Application Procedure and Grant Administration

Proposals should be sent to:

National Science Foundation - PPU
Announcement No. 98-151
4201 Wilson Boulevard Room P60
Arlington VA 22230

The grant will be made to the institution with the student's primary dissertation advisor designated as Project Director. Awards made as a result of this document are administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of NSF GC-1, "Grant General Conditions." FDP-III "Federal Demonstration Partnership General Terms and Conditions," depending on the grantee organization. Copies of these documents are available at no cost from the Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 218, Jessup, MD 20794-0218, phone (301) 947-2722, or via e-mail to pubs@nsf.gov. More comprehensive information is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual, GPM (NSF 95-26), for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO is (202) 783-3238 for subscription information. The GPM is also be available on the NSF OnLine Document System located at the http://www.nsf.gov/. A copy of the dissertation abstract or other publications derived from the research is required either with the final project report or upon publication.


Evaluation Procedure and Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by an advisory panel of scientists representing the disciplines found in the proposals, ad hoc reviews, or a combination of the two modes of review. Proposals will be judged on the basis of scientific content, importance, and originality. Awards will be made only when it is clear that the dissertation to be produced will be of the highest scientific merit and with due consideration of the effect of the awards on the infrastructure of biology in the United States and NSF's education and human resource goals.


General Information

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation regarding NSF programs, employment, or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 306-0090 or through FIRS on 1-800-877-8339.



The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Reports Clearance Officer; Information Dissemination Branch, DAS; National Science Foundation; Arlington, VA 22230.



In accordance with Important Notice No. 120 dated June 27, 1997, Subject: Year 2000 Computer Problem, NSF awardees are reminded of their responsibility to take appropriate actions to ensure that the NSF activity being supported is not adversely affected by the Year 2000 problem. Potentially affected items include: computer systems, databases, and equipment. The National Science Foundation should be notified if an awardee concludes that the Year 2000 will have a significant impact on its ability to carry out an NSF funded activity. Information concerning Year 2000 activities can be found on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/oirm/y2k/start.htm.

The program described in this announcement is in the category 47.074 (BIO) of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

OMB No.: 3145-0058
PT: 34, 40
KW: 0201009,0201065,1002000,1002006,1002007,1002011,

NSF 98-151 (Electronic Dissemination Only)
(Replaces NSF 96-132)