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TABLE OF CONTENTS
About the National Science Foundation
I. INTRODUCTION The Directorate for Biological Sciences announces plans to support research coordination networks designed to foster communication and promote collaboration among scientists with common interests from a broad background across disciplinary, geographical, and organizational boundaries. The ultimate objective is to move a field forward or to create new research directions through increased research coordination and networking. It is anticipated that this program will contribute to further advances in all areas of biological sciences supported by the National Science Foundation.
II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION Support will be provided for groups of investigators to communicate and coordinate their research efforts across disciplinary, organizational, institutional and geographical boundaries. The objectives are to facilitate open communication and exchange of information and resources, to integrate research activities of scientists working independently on topics of common interest, to nurture a sense of community among young scientists, and to minimize isolation and maximize cooperation so as to eliminate unnecessary duplication of efforts. Specific features of the program include:
III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION Proposals are invited from U.S. academic institutions and U.S. non-profit research institutions as described in the Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 00-2 or later editions). For some activities, professional scientific societies may serve as an appropriate submitting institution. Although the research coordination networks are expected to be multi-institutional, a single institution must serve as the submitting institution
IV. AWARD INFORMATION Under this announcement, it is expected that the average award size will range from $50,000 to $100,000 per year, including indirect costs, for up to 5 years. Size and duration of an award will depend on the scope of the coordinating activity proposed. The Foundation intends to continue this program for at least five years contingent upon the effectiveness of the program and the availability of funds. Approximately 15 new awards are anticipated each year, depending on the quality of submissions and the availability of funds. Funding decisions will be made within 6 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 should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 00-2 or later editions). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The following exceptions and additions apply to proposals submitted to this Program: Proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207): Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement (NSF 00-56) 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. Identify the Division of Biological Infrastructure and the Research Coordination Networks program as the NSF units to consider your proposal. Print and sign the Cover Sheet that has the NSF generated proposal number. Send signed Cover Sheet (Form 1207), including certification, to the BIO Research Coordination Networks Program as instructed in the FastLane Requirements section below. Project Summary: The project summary should consist of two parts: (1) a list of core network participants along with their home institutions; and (2) a succinct summary of the proposed project in 250 words or less including the goal of the proposed network, major planned networking activities, and the anticipated impact of the proposed network beyond the network participants themselves. Project Description (maximum 15 pages): The following exceptions and additional items should be noted. 1. "Results from Prior Support" need not be included unless the proposed activity is clearly a logical extension of an activity supported by NSF. In the case of an extension, describe (up to 5 pages to be counted within the 15-page limit) the prior activity and how it relates to the proposed activity (see the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section below). 2. In addition to objectives, rationale, justification and research coordination activities, all special features outlined in "Program Description" above should be addressed including: Management plan . Describe plans and procedures for the development and assessment of the proposed activity. Include formal mechanisms to ensure fair and equitable allocation of group resources. Clearly define the responsibilities for leadership and the role of the PI and clearly state the roles for all core participating scientists. Delineate the procedures used for the selection of initial core group members, and the plans for maintaining an appropriate degree of openness and for encouraging the involvement of additional interested parties. Means for self-evaluation of progress toward the network goals should be presented as an important part of the management plan. Coordination plan . If the proposed network will work with an established network or group, or if there is a similar activity being planned or ongoing in other countries, describe the plans for coordination and cooperation among the relevant networks. Information and material sharing . Give careful consideration to issues related to intellectual property rights and materials sharing in the management plan. For example, if the proposed activity is expected to result in community resources (such as databases or collections of biological materials), present a clear plan for sharing of these resources not only among the network participants but with the scientific community at large. Address in the proposal plans for determining authorship or proper attribution of credit for peer-reviewed or other publications, Internet resources, etc. that may be expected to result from the activity. Increasing diversity . A research coordination network is an important opportunity for encouraging the involvement of under-represented minority investigators and investigators located in a diverse range of institutions. Describe (1) a well designed plan to increase participation of members of under-represented groups that is specific to the proposed project; (2) a plan to involve investigators at a variety of institutional settings; (3) if applicable, a plan to include new researchers, post-docs, graduate students and undergraduates; and (4) how the plans are integrated with the proposed project plan. Budget (NSF Form 1030): Provide yearly budgets for the duration of the proposed project. When subawards are involved yearly budgets are required for each subaward. FastLane will generate cumulative budgets for the primary and subaward institutions. Succinct budget justification is required. Funds may be requested to promote collaborative activities, such as short visits among member laboratories, exchange visits of students, sharing of unique facilities, establishment of a public web site, network retreats, partial support of workshops uniquely tied to the network activities, etc. Any well-justified activity that fulfills the goals of the Program will be considered. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies to promote research collaborations and enable new research directions or advancement of a field are especially encouraged. The PI's of the RCN awards will be asked to attend a meeting of the network coordinators to be held at the National Science Foundation every two years beginning in FY2003. Include the necessary travel costs for attendance at the meeting in the proposed budget. Full negotiated indirect cost rates will apply for awards under this Program. Funds requested to support activities of the network participants, such as participants travel, materials and supplies for the network projects, and network retreats should be listed under Box-F "participant support" on Form 1030, and managed by the submitting institution. Funds from this program may not support independent, individual research projects of the participants; nor are they to be used as a mechanism for a mini-grant awarding program. BIO Proposal Classification Form (PCF): Complete the BIO PCF, available on the NSF FastLane system. The PCF is an on-line coding system that allows the Principal Investigator to characterize his/her project when submitting proposals to the Directorate for Biological Sciences. Once a PI begins preparation of his/her proposal in the NSF FastLane system and selects a division, cluster, or program within the Directorate for Biological Sciences as the first or only organizational unit to review the proposal, the PCF will be generated and available through the Form Preparation screen. Additional information about the BIO PCF is available in FastLane at https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/BioInstr.htm. Special Information and Supplementary Documentation: In addition to the applicable items described in GPG (NSF 00-2, Chapter II, Section D, Item 10 "Special Information and Supplementary Documentation", or later editions), include the following appendix information, clearly labeled, in the Supplementary Docs section of the FastLane Form Preparation system. Current Activities: PI and the core participants listed in the project summary must provide a single-page (per investigator) description of the relationship between the proposed project and current research activities in his/her laboratory. This page replaces the "Results of Prior Support" section normally found in NSF proposals. No other appendix material will be allowed. Additionally, send a conflict of interest document directly to the BIO Research Coordination Networks Program within a week after submitting the proposal via FastLane. This will assist the program in reviewer selections. Do not include the conflict of interest document as part of the FastLane submission. The conflicts of interest document should be prepared for all the core members listed in the Project Summary. Conflicts to be identified are (1) Ph.D. thesis advisor or advisee, (2) postdoctoral advisor or advisee, (3) collaborators or co-authors for the past 48 months, and (4) any other individual or institution with which the investigator has financial ties. Organize the information as shown in the table below. List full names in alphabetical order.
Include letters of collaboration from an entity that is an integral part of the proposed project (i.e., the international collaborator) in this section. However, general letters of endorsement will not be accepted. B. Cost Sharing Requirements Cost Sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation. C. Proposal Due Date Proposals submitted in response to this announcement must be submitted by 5:00 PM, local time, on the last Friday in June annually 2000 through 2004 via the NSF FastLane system. Mail the following materials directly to the BIO Research Coordination Networks Program (see FastLane Requirements section below):
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 the 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. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources? What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society? 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. Integration of Research and Education One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives. Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens - women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities - is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports. The standard review criteria will be interpreted by the reviewing panels within the context of the program goals and scope described in this program announcement. 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 Standards 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 will be reviewed by Panel Review. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement will be initially received by the BIO Research Coordination Networks Working Group (RCNWG). The RCNWG, in consultation with other BIO program officers, will assign proposals to appropriate, existing BIO panels for review. These assignments will be made so as to match, to the degree practicable, the goals and scope of the proposed network activities with the research areas supported by the existing panels. Some proposals may be reviewed by more than one panel. Awards will reside in an appropriate BIO cluster and be administered by the program officer responsible for the initial review panel. 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 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 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. Grant Award Conditions An NSF grant consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the grant 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 grant 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 grants 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 email@example.com. 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 a grant, 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. In addition to the standard reporting requirements described above, the PI. s will be asked to attend a meeting of the network coordinators that will take place at the National Science Foundation every two years beginning in FY2003.
VIII. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION General inquiries should be made to the BIO Research Coordination Networks Working Group via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chair of the RCNWG can be contacted by mail to Room 615, Division of Biological Infrastructure, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, or by telephone at (703) 292-8470. For technical assistance with FastLane, please send an e-mail message to email@example.com.
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 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 Bulletin, available monthly (except July and August), and in individual program announcements. The Bulletin is available electronically via the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin. 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.
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) 292-8470.
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