Partnerships for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy (PEET)

Special Competition in Systematic Biology


Program Announcement

NSF 00-140



DIRECTORATE FOR BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
      DIVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY




DEADLINE(S) :
March 1, 2001and continuing in odd-numbered years

 




  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION






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SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS



GENERAL INFORMATION

Program Title: Partnerships for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy (PEET)

Synopsis of Program: In partnership with academic institutions, botanical gardens, freshwater and marine institutes, and natural history museums, the National Science Foundation seeks to enhance taxonomic research and help prepare future generations of experts. Through its Special Competition in Systematic Biology, NSF will support competitively reviewed projects that target groups of poorly known organisms for modern monographic research. Projects must train new taxonomists (two per project minimally) and must translate current expertise into electronic databases and other products with broad accessibility to the scientific community.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

AWARD INFORMATION

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Guidelines

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements

PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION












TABLE OF CONTENTS



SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
  3. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
  4. AWARD INFORMATION
  5. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
  6. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
  7. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements
  8. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  9. OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST






I. INTRODUCTION

The accelerating loss of biological diversity in the world, through habitat destruction, pollution, and ecosystem fragmentation, has been accompanied by a loss of taxonomic experts who are trained to discover, identify, describe, and classify the world's organismal diversity. Retirement of taxonomic specialists, shifts in academic recruitment and staffing, and reductions in graduate training have conjoined to impede biodiversity research and conservation, particularly on large but poorly known groups such as bacteria, fungi, protists, and numerous marine and terrestrial invertebrates. Vast numbers of species in understudied "invisible" groups constitute critical elements of food chains and ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial, but the high proportion of unrecognized species in these groups limits research and progress in many areas of biology and conservation. The problem of diminishing taxonomic expertise was highlighted by the National Science Board in their 1989 report on the "Loss of Biological Diversity: A Global Crisis Requiring International Solutions" (NSB 89-171) which inspired NSF in 1994 to initiate the first PEET Special Competition, to support research on the taxonomy of poorly known groups of organisms, to train new taxonomic experts, and to encourage development and use of web-accessible taxonomic resources and products. The Special Competition continues NSF support for this activity.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The NSF, in partnership with academic institutions, botanical gardens, freshwater and marine institutes, and natural history museums, seeks to stimulate and enhance taxonomic research on poorly known groups of organisms and help prepare future generations of taxonomic experts. Three major components are required in a project submitted in the PEET Special Competition: 1. Monographic Research; 2. Training; and 3. Computer Infrastructure.

Monographic Research. Applicants must present a plan of research for taxonomic revision or monograph, with emphasis to be given to organisms that are little studied or to groups for which taxonomic expertise is limited or vanishing (for example, microbes, protists, fungi, and invertebrates). Specialists on such groups are encouraged to apply. Also encouraged are investigators currently studying better known groups or other scientists with taxonomic interests who wish to extend analyses to neglected taxa, directly or by mentoring students. Choice of organisms for study must be justified in the proposal and will be evaluated by the merit review process. General guidance is provided in several reports: a 1980 National Academy of Sciences report (Committee on Research Priorities in Tropical Biology, 1980, "Research Priorities in Tropical Biology," National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC); the 1989 National Science Board report cited above (NSB 89-171); a 1992 National Academy report (Panel on Biodiversity Research Priorities, 1992, "Conserving Biodiversity: A Research Agenda for Development Agencies," National Academy Press, Washington, DC); and the 1994 report "Systematics Agenda 2000: Charting the Biosphere, Technical Report," Systematics Agenda 2000 Consortium, New York, NY). The 1980 National Academy report indicated "that a high priority ought to be set on training and support for much larger numbers of systematists oriented toward tropical organisms." Organisms mentioned in that report include fungi, nematodes, mollusks, insects, fishes, and flowering plants. The subsequent reports cited do not specify taxonomic groups but in general emphasize organisms that are poorly known or little studied; these would include bacteria and archaea, protists, fungi, and invertebrates. Potential investigators with questions about which organisms are eligible for study in the PEET special competition should contact the office identified in the Contacts section.

Training. An internship or traineeship is a required element of PEET projects, in which minimally two student taxonomists are trained as experts on the organisms under study. Whatever the training traditions for that particular group of organisms, emphasis should be given to acquiring new skills and tools in the context of a broadly interdisciplinary training program. The anticipated five-year duration of projects is designed to ensure continuous support of project personnel and to enable completion of major taxonomic revisions and monographs. Increased participation of members of groups underrepresented in science is encouraged. Foreign students enrolled at a U.S. institution are also eligible for support. PEET awards are eligible for supplementation through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF 00-107; http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf00107) and Research Opportunity Awards programs.

Computer Infrastructure. All PEET projects are expected to incorporate computerization of various taxonomic tasks and products; specimen or culture databases, GIS mapping of ranges, artificial intelligence systems for taxon identification, computer-aided image analysis, or interactive identification keys are some examples. Specific activities or products will depend upon the state of the science for that particular taxonomic group; the suitability of proposed computerization activities will be evaluated through the merit review process. Valuable guidance and resources are available from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS, available at http://plants.usda.gov/itis/), a development of the multi-agency National Biological Information Infrastructure program managed by the U.S. Geological Survey. Training in computer activities for principal investigators and students, through workshops or other means, would constitute an eligible expense under PEET awards. Examples of web-accessible taxonomic products from prior PEET awards are available from the PEET website at http://www.nhm.ukans.edu/~peet.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

The categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program announcement. Proposals under the PEET Special Competition will be accepted from U.S. academic institutions and non-academic not-for-profit institutions including botanical gardens, freshwater and marine institutes, and natural history museums that are eligible for awards from the National Science Foundation. Non-academic institutions with university-affiliated training programs are especially encouraged to apply. Where appropriate, collaborating scientists in foreign countries can be accommodated through consultant or subaward mechanisms administered by the submitting U.S. institution. If groups of investigators from multiple institutions with complementary strengths in taxonomy wish to collaborate, a lead institution must be designated to submit the proposal, with off-campus colleagues integrated through consultant or subaward mechanisms where appropriate. Collaborative proposals will not be accepted.

IV. AWARD INFORMATION

Projects designed for five years (60 months) of effort are encouraged, with yearly budgets not to exceed $150,000 (direct plus indirect costs), or $750,000 total. NSF anticipates making 10-20 awards, mostly as continuing grants, in Fiscal Year 2001 in this PEET Special Competition; future competitions will likely adhere to similar outcomes. One-time renewals (submitted in the fourth or fifth year of the initial PEET award and for five additional years) may be considered but will compete with new proposals, and again are contingent upon availability of funds. Funding decisions will be made within six months of the relevant deadline date for submission.

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 00-2). The complete text of the GPG (including electronic forms) is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf002/start.htm. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

Proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207): Select NSF 00-140 as the Program Announcement; the Division of Environmental Biology and the Systematic Biology Program will automatically be selected as the NSF units to consider your proposal. Print and sign the Cover Sheet that has the NSF generated proposal number following FastLane submission. Mail signed Cover Sheet (Form 1207), including certification, to the NSF - DIS unit as instructed in the FastLane Requirements section below.

Project Description (maximum 15 pages, including Results from Prior NSF Support if required): The proposal should address the following five themes in the Project Description or where otherwise indicated.

1. Taxonomic Focus. All groups of organisms whether aquatic or terrestrial are eligible for study, but preference will be given to those designated as understudied or critical. If the target group of organisms is delimited geographically and not taxonomically, the Principal Investigator(s) should justify why the particular regional focus has been adopted; otherwise, faunistic or floristic projects (and their microbial and fungal counterparts) should be directed to the Biotic Surveys and Inventories Program. Projects may address large, natural genera or groups of phylogenetically related genera or families, and through collaboration with foreign colleagues may involve field work in any part of the world as well as laboratory and museum study. Standard components of taxonomic monography -- species description and diagnosis, geographic or host distribution, scientific nomenclature, identification keys, illustrations -- are expected in all projects. The proposal must include a digest of currently recognized taxonomic entities, a summary of known museum specimens or culture collections (number, quality, accessibility), and a review of pertinent literature. Proposals to study organisms that have a minimal museum (or collections) tradition should indicate this fact, discuss the form that useful collections or cultures would take as well as their impact on future taxonomic practice in the group, and present plans for implementation and curation of such collections, stocks, or cultures.

2. Methods of Study. Practices will vary according to the organisms proposed for study, but attention should focus on collection and sampling strategies, specimen preparation with computerization of collection data, acquisition of character data in formats retrievable by computer, and explicit protocols for evaluating and synthesizing data. Field collecting may be necessary for some groups; others may be well represented in existing collections. The care of vouchers and other critical collections should be described; specimen cases and other curatorial supplies constitute eligible expenses. Where taxon ranges extend beyond the borders of the U.S.A., attention should be given to collaboration with foreign scientists and students. Prospective investigators wishing to establish collaborations with foreign scientists should review the guidance and opportunities provided through the NSF Division of International Programs (http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/int/).

3. Training. A minimum of two collaborating experts-in-training is required for each project, whether undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate in status. As students graduate or otherwise complete their traineeship during the five-year project, new trainees should be recruited to maintain a minimum of two for each project. Trainees should be full partners in the research, conceptually and operationally. If known at the time of application, a trainee's role and qualifications should be described in a Biographical Sketch, following GPG guidelines; if not known, then recruitment procedures should be described in the Project Description. The submitting institution's rules govern whether trainees (or other participants on the PEET project) can be designated as co-principal investigators on the Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207).

4. Conceptual Issues. In the context of a highly competitive merit review, proposals must make a case for substantial impact on progress in taxonomy. The proposal should discuss how improvement in the taxonomy of the targeted organisms relates to issues fundamental to systematics. Phylogeny, character evolution, biogeography, coevolution, or ecological interactions are examples of conceptual domains relevant to taxonomic revisionary and monographic work. For additional ideas, see the report "Systematics Agenda 2000: Charting the Biosphere" cited above; the 1991 report "The Sustainable Biosphere Initiative" from the Ecological Society of America; and the 1997 report "The Microbial World: Foundation of the Biosphere" from the American Academy of Microbiology.

5. Dissemination of Results. Publication of results in peer-reviewed outlets is expected for all projects. In addition, enhanced or supplemented media such as computer databases accessible on the web, image-based identification aids, or GIS-compatible specimen records are expected. As products come available, linkages are encouraged with the PEET website maintained currently at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum at http://www.nhm.ukans.edu/~peet.

Other considerations:

All information necessary for the review of a proposal should be contained in Sections A through I of the proposal as implemented in the FastLane submission system. Appendices may not be included (but see above for Special Information and Supplementary Documentation).

Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement/solicitation number (NSF 00-140) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207). Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Announcement .

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation must be submitted by 5:00 PM, local time on the following date(s):
March 1, 2001and continuing in odd-numbered years

D. FastLane Requirements

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Announcement through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call 1-800-673-6188.

Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. The signed copy of the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207) must be postmarked (or contain a legible proof of mailing date assigned by the carrier) within five working days following proposal submission and be forwarded to the following address:

National Science Foundation
DIS FastLane Cover Sheet
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230

VI. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

A. NSF Proposal Review Process

Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

Proposals will be reviewed against the following general review criteria established by the National Science Board. Following each criterion are potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the evaluation. These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Each reviewer will be asked to address only those that are relevant to the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

Principal Investigators should address the following elements in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both of the above-described NSF merit review criteria. NSF staff will give these elements careful consideration in making funding decisions.

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and signed by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are mailed to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Mail Review followed by Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

NSF will be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months for 95 percent of proposals. The time interval begins on the proposal deadline or target date or from the date of receipt, if deadlines or target dates are not used by the program. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at its own risk.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See section VI. A, for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions * and (5) any NSF brochure, program guide, announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/grants/grants_gac.htm. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, (NSF 95-26) available electronically on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpm. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO web site at http://www.gpo.gov.

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on: project participants (individual and organizational); activities and findings; publications; and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.

VIII. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

General inquiries should be made to the Partnerships for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy  Program: Dr. James E. Rodman, Program Director, Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Environmental Biology, Room 635, telephone: 703-292-8481, e-mail: jrodman@nsf.gov.
For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact,

IX. OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST

The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gp. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.

Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices listed in Appendix A of the GPG. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service (http://www.nsf.gov/home/cns/start.htm) to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.

Projects under the PEET Special Competition are intended to augment revisionary and monographic projects currently supported by the Systematic Biology program at NSF. PEET proposals require training and computerization components beyond those representative of current awards in Systematic Biology. PEET proposals will be reviewed in response to the March 1 deadline; regular proposals in Systematic Biology compete following the June 15 and December 15 target dates or, for Biotic Surveys and Inventories, following the first-Friday-in-November deadline.

The PEET Special Competition is designed to complement the Biotic Surveys and Inventories Program (NSF 98-158; available at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf98158) which focuses on the collection, description, and classification of broad taxonomic resources (for example, all vascular plants, all arthropods, all vertebrates) in a particular geographic area, with a commensurate reduction in detail accorded each species. Duplicate proposals to the two programs are not allowed. PEET, the Biotic Surveys and Inventories competition, and the regular programs in Systematic Biology and in Biological Research Collections (NSF 98-126; available at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf98126) address in a coordinated manner the three major missions described in the "Systematics Agenda 2000" report cited above, in order to discover, understand, and manage systematic knowledge of biological diversity throughout the world.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Awardees 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.

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PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

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 proposal 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.

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