FAQ's for INSTITUTIONAL TRANSFORMATION PROPOSALS
Q. I am a little unsure of the difference between the Leadership
and the Institutional Transformation awards. Could you give me some
A. To a certain extent, it's a matter of scale. The Institutional Transformation awards require cost sharing, evaluation mechanisms, and negotiation with NSF. The expectation is that institutions receiving these awards will initiate and sustain organizational change. These are likely to be large, complex efforts. The Leadership awards are probably most appropriate for smaller-scale efforts, or for use by an individual or organization that has developed some "home grown" programs that need funding to scale-up and institutionalize.
Q. Can the application include more than one school of the University
and, if so, do all the schools included in the application need to
award degrees in a NSF-supported field?
A. Yes, the application can include more than one school of
the University; all of the schools included in the application do
not need to award degrees in a NSF-supported field. It is important
to remember in preparing your application that the goal of ADVANCE
is specific to advancing women in academic science and engineering
careers, and proposals will be evaluated with that in mind.
Q. If an application includes more than one school, do they
all need to be within the same NSF Directorate (e.g. Biological Sciences)?
Q. Are schools that award professional degrees, MD, DMD and/or
MS degrees, eligible to apply?
A. NSF, in general, does not support work in the biomedical
fields. For clarification, check the Grant Proposal Guide (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2001/nsf012/nsf0102_1.html),
which specifies that research with disease-related goals, including
work on the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental
disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals, is
normally not supported. Animal models of such conditions or the development
or testing of drugs or other procedures for their treatment also are
not eligible for support. However, research in bioengineering, with
diagnosis or treatment-related goals that applies engineering principles
to problems in biology and medicine while advancing engineering knowledge
is eligible for support. Bioengineering research to aid persons with
disabilities also is eligible.
Given this context, schools that award only professional degrees
(MD, DMD) would generally not be eligible; schools awarding PhDs or
MS degrees in science and engineering fields supported by NSF in the
biomedical sciences would be eligible.
Q. Should the PI be a research scientist or an administrator (Provost,
Director of Research, Dean)?
A. The PI should be the person most likely to effect change. There
is no expectation or requirement that the PI is in a senior administrative
position. There is an expectation that the institution will support the PI in
his/her efforts, and that commitment might well come from a provost or
Q. Is the ADVANCE Program designed specifically to support women
faculty members, or will the Foundation also consider programs aimed
at promising young scholars earlier in the pipeline (graduate students
A. ADVANCE is targeted at moving women up in the ranks of science and
engineering faculty. Activities that include approaches to supporting
graduate or undergraduate students could be proposed provided there
is a clear connection to how that can be expected to increase the
number of women in the professoriate.
Q. I am working with a group to develop a proposal for the NSF
ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Awards. One of the items listed
as a potential supportable activity is the establishment of chaired
professorships that support the goal of ADVANCE. Can you provide additional
details on the guidelines and restrictions regarding the establishment
of such chaired professorships? Typically at our institution, chaired
professorships are established via an endowment and I was wondering
how NSF might award money for such chairs.
A. NSF has no guidelines on precise mechanisms for establishing
chaired professorships; that item is listed to encourage institutions
to put together partnerships that would, together with the NSF funds,
allow for creative and substantive approaches to increasing the number
of women in S&E at the senior ranks. NSF, as a government agency,
does not have the flexibility that private foundations might to create
such positions, and NSF funds have many restrictions on how they can
be used. For example, while NSF funds may not be used to create an
endowment, they may be used to support the salary of a faculty member
in a chaired professorship. It is our hope that at the end of the
award period, the chaired position would be fully supported by funds
raised by the institution from other sources.
Q. We would like to submit an ADVANCE proposal for both the Leadership
and Institutional Transformation grants. What are the likely start
dates for these proposals?
A. NSF expects start dates of September-October 2001 for these proposals.
Q. We plan to submit a proposal for institutional transformation
with a total budget requested from NSF of $750,000 annually, as allowed
in the guidelines. Do we count the 20% required cost-sharing as part
of that amount, or would the 20% be in addition to the NSF funds,
for a total annual budget of $900,000?
A. Cost sharing of 20% of the requested total amount of NSF funds is required for Institutional Transformation Award proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation. If you are requesting $750,000 annually from NSF, the institutional cost sharing would be $150,000 annually, for a total annual project budget of $900,000.
- Institutional Transformation Awards