RIDGE 2000


Program Announcement

NSF-02-011



DIRECTORATE FOR GEOSCIENCES
      DIVISION OF OCEAN SCIENCES



FULL PROPOSAL TARGET DATE(S):
February 15 of each year Initial target date for RIDGE 2000 Time Critical Studies is February 15, 2002. Subsequent submissions will be accepted by August 15 and February 15 in successive review cycles.
August 15 of each year Initial target date for RIDGE 2000 Integrated Studies is August 15, 2002. Subsequent submissions will be accepted by February 15 and August 15 in successive review cycles.
February 15 of each year Initial target date for RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowships is February 15, 2002. Subsequent submissions will be accepted by August 15 and February 15 in successive review cycles.



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SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS



GENERAL INFORMATION

Program Title: RIDGE 2000

Synopsis of Program: RIDGE 2000 is a community-based science initiative focused on integrated geological and biological studies of the Earth-encircling mid-ocean ridge system. Central to the RIDGE 2000 science plan is the recognition that the origin and evolution of life in deep-sea ecosystems are inextricably linked to, and perhaps an inevitable consequence of, the flow of energy and material from Earth's deep mantle, through the volcanic and hydrothermal systems of the oceanic crust, to the deep ocean. The complex linkages between life and planetary processes at the mid-ocean ridge can be understood only through tightly integrated studies that span a broad range of disciplines in geophysics, geology, geochemistry, biology and oceanography.
The National Science Foundation announces support for a new RIDGE 2000 initiative and invites proposals directed toward the program elements below.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

AWARD INFORMATION

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

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

RIDGE 2000 scientific objectives are encapsulated in the phrase "from mantle to microbes..." which expresses the inextricable linkages between the geological processes of planetary renewal that occur along the mid-oceanic plate boundary and the chemical and biological processes that sustain life, in the absence of sunlight, in the deep ocean. The hallmarks of RIDGE 2000 scientific studies will be a focus on limited, scientifically defined geographic areas; co-location of experiments in space and time; and integration across a wide range of disciplines. By emphasizing an integrated, investigative approach that can be accomplished only with high levels of coordination, RIDGE 2000 will complement ongoing ridge crest research. International activities through InterRidge will serve to increase substantially the effectiveness and the accomplishments of this coordinated strategy.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The RIDGE 2000 Program will have two elements:

(A) RIDGE 2000 Integrated Studies

A strategy for focused, whole-system studies of global mid-ocean ridge processes is presented in the Integrated Studies section and related sections of the RIDGE 2000 Science Plan, available from the RIDGE 2000 Office website at http://RIDGE2000.bio.psu.edu/. The RIDGE 2000 Office email address is R2K@email.oas.psu.edu.

RIDGE 2000 Integrated Studies will address the complex, inter-linked array of processes that supports life at and beneath the seafloor as a consequence of heat and material transfer from the Earth's deep mantle, to the crust and overlying ocean. Integrated Studies will develop focused, quantitative, whole-system models through coordinated, integrated and interdisciplinary experiments. The overarching goal is to understand the mid-ocean ridge as a complex geobiological system with interconnected parts related through diverse controls and feedback. This understanding requires integrated and often simultaneous investigations of all aspects of the system, and the linkages among them, at a small number of sites that encompass a range of external forcing functions.

Initially, proposals will be considered that focus on any of three Integrated Studies (IS) Sites. The sites have been chosen through a community evaluation followed by review by an independent RIDGE IS Site Selection Panel. (The Site Selection Panel Report is available from the RIDGE 2000 Office).

The three sites will be:
* 9 - 10 degrees N segment of the East Pacific Rise
* East or Central Lau Spreading Center
* Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge

(B) RIDGE 2000 Time Critical Studies

Strategies for capturing transient or ephemeral events along the mid-ocean ridge are described in the relevant sections of the RIDGE 2000 Science Plan.

RIDGE 2000 Time Critical Studies will focus on the immediate biological, chemical and geological consequences of transient "events" along the mid-ocean ridge system. Events may include volcanic eruptions on the seafloor, intrusion of dikes or other magma bodies at the ridge axis, deformation events related to seafloor spreading and related phenomena. Transient events are short-lived, occurring on timescales of seconds to months or, possibly, years. They can have major biological, chemical and geological impacts on the mid-ocean ridge system. RIDGE 2000 will focus on detecting and locating events as they occur, and on rapid deployment of instruments and sampling devices to events that are still in progress.

RIDGE 2000 Time Critical Studies will initially be limited to monitoring and rapid response efforts in the northeast Pacific. This restriction recognizes that this is currently the only area in which real-time monitoring is available and coincident with rapid response capabilities. If a real-time detection and rapid response capability becomes feasible in other areas, the RIDGE 2000 Steering Committee will revisit this restriction.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

In addition to these two elements, RIDGE 2000 is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is intended to foster cross-disciplinary fertilization by providing opportunities for individuals to broaden their research experience. Applicants already working on ridge crest problems should apply their expertise to problems that are distinct from those of their Ph.D. research and that lie within a distinct (but related) discipline. Applicants from disciplines outside the marine field are also encouraged to apply. Such applicants should bring their conceptual and technical expertise to a priority RIDGE 2000 objective that is distinct from their previous research experience. In both cases, the over-riding intent is to broaden the expertise of the applicant and to expand the breadth of ridge science.

Applicants should establish a relationship with a proposed advisor well in advance of proposal submission. Advisors must be committed to the success of the program and should submit a statement of support that should be included in the project description. Applicants or their proposed advisors (depending on requirements of the host institution) should submit a RIDGE 2000 proposal outlining the proposed research. Proposals should also explain their relevance to RIDGE 2000 objectives and explain how they will broaden the expertise of the applicant and the breadth of ridge science.

Applicants for a National Science Foundation RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowship must have (1) earned the doctoral degree in a relevant scientific discipline within two years of taking up the award; and (2) agreed on a research plan with, and obtained a firm commitment from, a scientific advisor/collaborator at a host institution different from that of the applicant's previous research training.

The RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded for scientific research at any appropriate non-profit United States institution. Appropriate non-profit institutions in this program include institutions of higher education as well as government laboratories, national laboratories, and privately sponsored non-profit institutions. Awards will be made to the institution in the name of the Fellow as principal investigator, or co-principal investigator in accordance with normal institutional practice.

Tenure, Stipends, Allowances and Conditions
RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded for a two-year period, and are renewable for a third year. Fellowships provide: a salary and benefits consistent with normal institutional practice for post-doctoral fellows; an institutional allowance (in lieu of indirect costs) of $300 per month of tenure for partial reimbursement of expenses incurred in support of the research (such as space, equipment, secretarial assistance, and general purpose supplies); and a special research allowance of $5,000 per year, expendable at the fellow's discretion and intended to be used for scientific equipment and supplies, travel, publication expenses, and other research-related costs.

Fellows are normally expected to devote full time to appropriate scientific research and training during the tenure of the Fellowship and to pursue the program for which the Fellowship was awarded, although teaching one semester per year is allowable. Major changes in the plan of scientific research, in tenure, or in Fellowship institution require prior Foundation approval. Institutions may supplement Fellowship stipends without prior permission from the Foundation provided that such is done in accordance with established institutional policies. Supplementation may not be conditioned on any requirement for duties in addition to normal Fellowship activities.

Evaluation and Selection of Fellows
The evaluation of applicants will be based on ability as evidenced by past research work; suitability and availability of the sponsoring senior scientist and other associated colleagues; suitability of the host institution for the proposed research; likely impact on the future scientific development of the applicant; scientific quality of the research likely to emerge; and the potential impact of the research on the RIDGE 2000 Initiative. The criteria listed above will be used by a panel of scientists convened by NSF, with representatives from appropriate disciplines, to evaluate the proposals submitted. In addition, the applications will be reviewed by a RIDGE 2000 committee that will assess the relevance and priority of the proposed research to the RIDGE 2000 Initiative.

Application Procedures and Materials for RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowship
To be eligible for consideration, applications for the Fellowship Program must be complete and submitted to the NSF at the normal RIDGE 2000 target dates. Requirements for proposal format cited in the Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 01-2) generally apply. In addition, Fellowship applications must include within the 15-page limit: (1) a personal statement (not to exceed two single-spaced pages) that describes the career goals of the applicant and what role the chosen research, sponsoring/collaborating scientist and host institution will play in enhancing the applicant's conceptual approach and technical skills; (2) a short abstract of dissertation research and planned publications; and (3) a statement from the sponsoring/collaborating scientist at the proposed host institution indicating agreement to work with the applicant if the award is made. In FastLane, use normal proposal preparation, not the link for "Postdoctoral Fellowships."

Additional information

Beginning with the February 15, 2002 target date, RIDGE 2000 proposals for Time Critical Studies and non- site-specific instrumentation or modeling will be considered. Proposals that would help refine selection of the primary Lau site will also be considered for RIDGE 2000 support from this target date forward. In exceptional cases, such as maintaining continuity of time-series data, other site-specific proposals may also be considered for RIDGE 2000 funds on this target date. All other ridge-related proposals will be considered only for core funds on this target date.

Proposals for RIDGE 2000 support of Integrated Studies at any of the three IS sites will be considered beginning with the August 15, 2002 target date. This will allow time for implementation plans to be developed in conjunction with the community data-sharing workshops scheduled for February - April 2002. All proposals submitted for work at one of the Integrated Study sites should include reference to the appropriate implementation plan. The RIDGE 2000 program will also support limited Incubation Studies and/or community workshops that are designed to supplement existing data in order to bring additional IS site proposals to maturity.

Proposals for RIDGE 2000 funding should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines provided in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide, (NSF 01-2). Each proposal should also include a statement addressing its relevance to the goals of the RIDGE 2000 Science Plan and, in the case of Integrated Studies proposals, to the relevant Site Implementation Plan. Implementation plans will be developed at community workshops early in 2002 and made available through the RIDGE 2000 Office. Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with established Foundation procedures and the general criteria described in the Grant Proposal Guide.

Proposals for RIDGE 2000 funding will also be reviewed for relevancy by the RIDGE 2000 Office using peer reviewers selected by the Office. The RIDGE 2000 Office will submit to NSF comments from the relevancy review that may be considered by the NSF review panel and the NSF Program Managers during the normal NSF merit review procedures. To enable this process, proposers must submit a copy of their FastLane generated proposal [Project Description] to the RIDGE 2000 Office (221 Mueller Lab, Pennsylvania State Univeristy, University Park, PA 16802; or RIDGE2000@psu.edu) within two weeks after the target date(s) listed in this Announcement. Budget and personal information (e.g., SSNs and individual salaries) may be removed from this copy. Proposals not sent to the RIDGE 2000 Office for relevancy review will be considered by NSF for core funding, but not for RIDGE 2000 funding.

NSF funding of RIDGE 2000 proposals is divided between the Marine Geology and Geophysics and Biological Oceanography programs within the Division of Ocean Sciences. Assuming the present funding profile is maintained, approximately $45 million may be available over the next five years for RIDGE 2000 research. This funding level is subject to change based on the annual availability of funds. Within RIDGE 2000, priorities may be assigned depending on resources available, periodic merit review, cooperative research activities with other Federal agencies or international collaborators, and the availability of necessary facilities. NSF will normally assign priorities in consultation with the RIDGE 2000 Steering Committee.

Questions regarding RIDGE 2000 and requests for RIDGE 2000 information should be directed to the RIDGE 2000 website (http://RIDGE2000.bio.psu.edu/)or the RIDGE 2000 Office (221 Mueller Lab, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802, tel: 814-865-7434). Information on RIDGE 2000 meetings, workshops and research opportunities are also available at the website. Information regarding InterRidge and requests for InterRidge documents can be obtained from the InterRidge website (http://www.intridge.org/). Questions regarding NSF procedures or the NSF review process may be directed to Dr. David Epp (phone: 703-292-8581; depp@nsf.gov), Marine Geology and Geophysics Program, or Dr. Phillip Taylor (phone: 703-292-8582; prtaylor@nsf.gov), Biological Oceanography Program, National Science Foundation.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

The categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program announcement/solicitation.

IV. AWARD INFORMATION

• Anticipated Type of Award: Standard or Continuing Grant
• Estimated Number of Awards: 10 per year
• Anticipated Funding Amount: Up to $45 million over the next five years ($6 million in FY2002)

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds. Award size is expected to range from $100,000 to $2 million.

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal:

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). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg. 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.

Each proposal should also include a statement addressing its relevance to the goals of the RIDGE 2000 Science Plan and, in the case of Integrated Studies proposals, to the relevant Site Implementation Plan. Implementation plans will be developed at community workshops early in 2002 and made available through the RIDGE 2000 Office. Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with established Foundation procedures and the general criteria described in the Grant Proposal Guide.

Proposals for RIDGE 2000 funding will also be reviewed for relevancy by the RIDGE 2000 Office using peer reviewers selected by the Office. The RIDGE 2000 Office will submit to NSF comments from the relevancy review that may be considered by the NSF review panel and the NSF Program Managers during the normal NSF merit review procedures. To enable this process, proposers must submit a copy of their FastLane generated proposal [Project Description] to the RIDGE 2000 Office (221 Mueller Lab, Pennsylvania State Univeristy, University Park, PA 16802; or RIDGE2000@psu.edu) within two weeks after the target date(s) listed in this Announcement. Budget and personal information (e.g., SSNs and individual salaries) may be removed from this copy. Proposals not sent to the RIDGE 2000 Office for relevancy review will be considered by NSF for core funding, but not for RIDGE 2000 funding.

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-011) 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.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: Postdoctoral fellowships provide an institutional allowance in lieu of indirect costs. Additional information is provided in the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program section of this announcement.

Other Budgetary Limitations: Postdoctoral fellowships must meet specific requirements outlined in the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program section of this announcement.

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):


Full Proposals:
February 15 of each year Initial target date for RIDGE 2000 Time Critical Studies is February 15, 2002. Subsequent submissions will be accepted by August 15 and February 15 in successive review cycles.
August 15 of each year Initial target date for RIDGE 2000 Integrated Studies is August 15, 2002. Subsequent submissions will be accepted by February 15 and August 15 in successive review cycles.
February 15 of each year Initial target date for RIDGE 2000 Postdoctoral Fellowships is February 15, 2002. Subsequent submissions will be accepted by August 15 and February 15 in successive review cycles.

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 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov.

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov.

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. Proposers are reminded that both the intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the work to be accomplished should be addressed. While reviewers are expected to address both merit review criteria, each reviewer will be asked to address only considerations 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 submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are sent 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.

In most cases, proposers will be contacted by the Program Officer after his or her recommendation to award or decline funding has been approved by the Division Director. This informal notification is not a guarantee of an eventual award.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months for 70 percent of proposals. The time interval begins on the date of receipt. 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 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, 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 regarding  RIDGE 2000  should be made to: 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. 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.

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.

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/solicitation for further information.

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 about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.

The National Science Foundation is committed to making all of the information we publish easy to understand. If you have a suggestion about how to improve the clarity of this document or other NSF-published materials, please contact us at plainlanguage@nsf.gov.

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.

Pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. 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: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, or to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation (3145-0058), 725 17th Street, N.W. Room 10235, Washington, D.C. 20503.

OMB control number: 3145-0058.