Antarctic Artists and Writers Program

Program Solicitation
NSF 13-540

Replaces Document(s):
NSF 11-549

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Geosciences
     Division of Polar Programs

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

     May 31, 2013

     May 01, 2014

     May 1, Annually Thereafter

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

Revision Summary

Beginning with this solicitation, a competition will be held each year.

Applicants selected to participate in the Artists & Writers Program in 2013 would deploy to the Antarctic in the 2014-2015 research season (October to January), with deployment dates depending upon such factors as which research project or location the successful applicants wish to observe and when, logistically, it is possible to accommodate a given project.

Artists & Writers Program field teams should consist of no more than one or two people. Larger projects-such as television or documentary film crews or other large-scale film proposals-should apply to other NSF programs - as should representatives of the news media. See Section IX (Other NSF Programs).

International collaboration is encouraged. See Section IV (International Collaboration).

Important Information about Automated Proposal Compliance Checking

FastLane will check for required sections of the proposal, in accordance with Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) instructions described in Chapter II.C.2. The GPG requires submission of: Project Summary; Project Description; References Cited; Biographical Sketch(es); Budget; Budget Justification; Current and Pending Support; Facilities, Equipment & Other Resources; Data Management Plan; and Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan, if applicable. If a required section is missing, FastLane will not accept the proposal. Although these sections should not be left blank in proposals to the Artists & Writers Program, some do not need to be completed at the same level of detail as in proposals to NSF's science solicitations. Additional information and guidance is contained in Section V.A. (Proposal Preparation).

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title:

Antarctic Artists and Writers Program

Synopsis of Program:

The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program furnishes U.S. Antarctic Program operational support, and round-trip economy air tickets between the United States and the Southern Hemisphere, to artists and writers whose work requires them to be in the Antarctic to complete their proposed project. The Program does not provide any funding to participants, including for such items as salaries, materials, completion of the envisioned works, or any other purpose.

U.S. Antarctic Program infrastructure consists of three year-round stations and numerous austral-summer research camps in Antarctica, research ships in the Southern Ocean, and surface and air transportation. These assets support the artist and writer projects. The main purpose of the U.S. Antarctic Program is scientific research and education.

The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program supports writing and artistic projects specifically designed to increase understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic and of human activities on the southernmost continent.

The program does not support short-term projects that are essentially journalistic in nature. See Section IX (Other NSF Programs).

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

  • Peter West, telephone: (703) 292-7530, fax: (703) 292-9079, email: pwest@nsf.gov

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

  • 47.050 --- Geosciences

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 2 to 4

Anticipated Funding Amount: $0 (travel and field support only; refer to the text for additional information).

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter I, Section E.

Who May Serve as PI:

None specified. However, see Section IV, Additional Eligibility Information.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 1

per annual deadline.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required
  • Full Proposals:
    • Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Guidelines apply. The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
    • Full Proposals submitted via Grants.gov: NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide).

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.
  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: Not Applicable
  • Other Budgetary Limitations: Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

         May 31, 2013

         May 01, 2014

         May 1, Annually Thereafter

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria: National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions: Standard NSF award conditions apply.

Reporting Requirements: Standard NSF reporting requirements apply.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Summary of Program Requirements

  1. Introduction

  2. Program Description

  3. Award Information

  4. Eligibility Information

  5. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Due Dates
    4. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. Merit Review Principles and Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process

  7. Award Administration Information
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements

  8. Agency Contacts

  9. Other Information

I. INTRODUCTION

Through the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, NSF enables the production of professional-quality literature and art that complement the U.S. Antarctic Program's (USAP) science, engineering, and education programs to increase public understanding of the Antarctic continent, the surrounding oceans, and human activities there, as well as the region's unique geopolitical and other characteristics.

The program provides opportunities for artists and writers-whether promising early career practitioners or those of longstanding professional reputation and accomplishment-to make the observations at USAP research stations and field camps or aboard ships necessary to completing their projects as envisioned and as described in their proposals.

Scientific research and education projects, and their operational support, are Antarctica's principal human activities and are at the core of the Foundation's U.S. Antarctic Program, of which the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program is part.

Before starting a proposal, please consult the following NSF documents and resources: The Grant Proposal Guide and NSF Grants.gov Application Guide explain how to write and submit a proposal to NSF. The Antarctic Research Program Solicitation (13-532) describes research and infrastructure in the U.S. Antarctic Program and has instructions for proposals that are specific to the Antarctic. Science Planning Summaries describe recent U.S. Antarctic Program research projects. Additional information about the U.S. Antarctic program is available on the program's web portal at www.usap.gov.

NSF and the research community transact business electronically and the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program is part of this process. Proposals to NSF must be submitted electronically via either the NSF FastLane System or Grants.gov.

Because prospective applicants to the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program are, in general, unfamiliar with the process of submitting a proposal to NSF, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the cognizant program officer (see contact information above) in advance of submitting, or even drafting, a proposal to discuss the unique requirements and restrictions of the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and Antarctic logistics in general. These discussions are designed to help prospective grantees craft the best possible proposal in a very competitive field and to decide whether the proposal is, in fact, appropriate in theme and scope for the Artists & Writers Program or might instead be more suitably submitted to another NSF program.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

This solicitation is one mechanism used by NSF's Division of Polar Programs to achieve the goal of increasing public understanding of the science conducted by the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) and the uniqueness of the Antarctic continent and surrounding oceans. Specifically, this solicitation provides the opportunity for artists and writers to propose visits to Antarctica through the USAP in order to make first-hand observations that will inform their efforts to interpret and represent the scientific activities being conducted in and/or about the unique Antarctic region.

Integral to achieving the goals of the Artists & Writers program is a requirement to broadly disseminate the works that are produced by program participants as a public benefit; therefore the Foundation expects that successful proposals will contain well-developed plans for bringing the artistic or literary works before the widest possible cross-section of the public. Discussions with the cognizant program officer are encouraged to help prospective applicants, many of whom are unfamiliar with NSF grants process and requirements, draft the most competitive proposal possible. (See "Introduction" above)

Antarctic Artists and Writers Program applicants have found it helpful to learn about the other kinds of projects that have been supported in the past. The program has previously supported a broad range of work in areas as diverse as children's writing, digital media, film, graphic art, history, history of science, humanities scholarship, illustration, literature, musical composition, painting, photography, poetry, science fiction, science writing, sculpture, toponymy, underwater photography, and Web exhibition. Visit the "What has been funded" page to review descriptions of the most recent participants. Awards since 2004 can also be viewed in the Awards Database (search element code 5130; the $0 and $1 awards are Antarctic Artists and Writers). Paper applications were submitted before 2004, and are not in the NSF awards database. Instead, they are contained on another list.

Projects across the range of the humanities are eligible for the program, though some projects, such as magazine journalism or films, for example, would be more appropriate for submission to another NSF program. The majority of supported projects in the Artists & Writers Program has been in photography, painting, and writing.

What NSF Provides

For approved projects, the Foundation provides

  • polar clothing for use in the field
  • round-trip economy air travel between a U.S. airport and a port of embarkation for the Antarctic (typically in New Zealand or Chile)
  • travel between the embarkation point and the Antarctic
  • room, board, and travel and other logistical assistance while in the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean.

Award recipients may be asked to attend a meeting in the United States for detailed field planning before the Antarctic travel begins. The U.S. Antarctic Program will cover expenses incurred (within the U.S. only) while attending this meeting.

Unlike other NSF merit-reviewed programs, the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program does not award funds; but rather provides in-kind support to participants. Successful applicants are free to seek funds elsewhere, including from other Federal agencies. See Section IX for proposals to other parts of NSF for both funding and field support of Antarctic education and outreach projects.

What the Selected Artist or Writer Provides

The selected artists and writers are responsible for

  • meals and lodging during travel to embarkation points, which includes their stay in New Zealand or Chile before and after deployment to the Antarctic
  • incidental expenses in Antarctica (toiletries, etc.)
  • all aspects and costs of completing and distributing the proposed work.

Award recipients are required to cover the costs of mandatory pre-travel medical and dental examinations (using instructions provided by the U.S. Antarctic Program) and for any remediation these examinations show to be necessary. Failure to meet U.S. Antarctic Program medical and dental standards prior to deployment results in disqualification from the program and inability to deploy to the Antarctic, regardless of any previous decision by NSF that a proposal itself merits support.

The selected artist or writer is entirely responsible for completing the project described in the proposal that is awarded. NSF does not fund, review, or participate in finishing any project once the artist or the writer returns from the Antarctic.

III. AWARD INFORMATION

Public record. If you are selected, the NSF award will become a public record. The searchable awards database will contain the award number, name and contact information, and a description of the project.

Award content. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program does not provide funds; the financial amount of the NSF award is zero. Instead of money, the award consists of provision, without charge, of U.S. Antarctic Program field resources in areas of Antarctica and/or the Southern Ocean.

Recent activity. A competition was held in 2012 and received 49 proposals, which resulted in selection of a total of five projects for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Antarctic seasons. No competition was held in 2009. Evaluation of the 78 proposals received in 2008 resulted in selection of projects for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Antarctic seasons. The program received 81 proposals in 2007; 42 in 2005. Typically, two to three are selected each competition for a working trip to the Antarctic. The number varies depending on availability of resources.

IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Who May Submit Proposals:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter I, Section E.

Who May Serve as PI:

None specified. However, see Section IV, Additional Eligibility Information.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 1

per annual deadline.

Additional Eligibility Info:

U.S. residents. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program is primarily for citizens of the United States who have a substantial record of achievement in the arts and letters or who are in early career and demonstrate exceptional promise.

Individuals may apply directly or through their employing organizations.

Non-U.S. residents. Proposals are accepted from citizens of other Antarctic Treaty nations if a significant audience will be reached in the United States or the project is otherwise in the U.S. interest as, for example, helping to inform broad audiences of the role of the U.S. program in Antarctica in international partnerships, particularly when the proposed activity would also be supported by the partner nation. The program welcomes such proposals and has supported non-U.S. participants in the past.

Non-U.S. residents who are selected are not provided airline tickets from their country to the Antarctic. NSF may require attendance at a pre-Antarctic planning meeting in the United States (see Section II, What NSF Provides) and will not cover air travel from outside the United States to that meeting. Lodging while attending the meeting will be provided.

Physical and dental condition. Medical and dental care in the Antarctic is limited. Field participants must pass screenings in the six months before the planned travel. Failure to meet medical and dental criteria results in disqualification for Antarctic travel, regardless of the merits of a particular proposal. NSF does not pay for examinations, follow-up visits, or remediation needed to pass the screenings.

Ineligibility. Members of the news media, television, and film or other team projects that require extensive operational support are not eligible for the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. See Section IX, "Other NSF Programs."

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov or via the NSF FastLane system.

  • Full proposals submitted via FastLane: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and the additional solicitation specific instructions provided below. The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
  • Full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via Grants.gov should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov and the additional solicitation specific instructions provided below. The complete text of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide).

Important Proposal Preparation Information: FastLane will check for required sections of the proposal, in accordance with Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) instructions described in Chapter II.C.2. The GPG requires submission of: Project Summary; Project Description; References Cited; Biographical Sketch(es); Budget; Budget Justification; Current and Pending Support; Facilities, Equipment & Other Resources; Data Management Plan; and Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan, if applicable. If a required section is missing, FastLane will not accept the proposal.

Please note that the proposal preparation instructions provided in this program solicitation deviate from and/or supplement the GPG instructions.

The required sections of the proposal are listed below. If the section of the proposal is not required, the requirements for completion may be met by using the language specified in parentheses. Doing so will enable FastLane to accept your proposal.

  • Cover Sheet (REQUIRED)
  • Project Summary (REQUIRED)
  • Project Description (REQUIRED)
  • References Cited (Not required. Insert text or upload a document that states "This information is not required by the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program.")
  • Biographical Sketch(es) (REQUIRED)
  • Budget (Not required, as this program makes no monetary awards. In accordance with the Budget Preparation Instructions in Section V.B of this solicitation, populate the Proposal Budget Summary page with zeros).
  • Budget Justification (Not required, as this program makes no monetary awards. Insert text or upload a document that states "This information is not required by the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program.")
  • Current and Pending Support (Not required. Insert text or upload a document that states "This information is not required by the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program.")
  • Facilities, Equipment & Other Resources (Not required. Insert text or upload a document that states "This information is not required by the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program.")
  • Supplementary Documentation
    • Data Management Plan (Not required. Insert text or upload a document that states "Because participants will not gather data as part of their projects and are not engaged in scientific research, the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program does not require them to submit a data management plan.")

Additional Guidance for Preparing Your Proposal

A fundamental requirement of the proposal is to describe how your plan meets NSF's Merit Review Principles and Criteria and the solicitation specific review criteria specified in Section VI.A of this solicitation. This can be difficult for artists and writers, both because the program is highly competitive and because being able, for example, to make beautiful and original photographs and find significant audiences for them may not be sufficient to meet the criteria. A theme is required: you need to convince the Foundation that your work will provide new understanding of Antarctic science or the region itself. While your own vision will inform the proposal's explanation of how the project will advance understanding, examining the work of prior participants may stimulate ideas about how to structure the proposal.

In developing the proposal, knowing the character, scope, and mission of the U.S. Antarctic Program will be indispensable. Check the Polar Programs home page at NSF, particularly science summaries and the Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics page.

The organization, clarity, and content of the proposal will reveal much about your abilities and the likelihood that the proposed project will be completed. Successful proposals tend to present topics clearly and succinctly, coming immediately to the point while following NSF's proposal preparation instructions, which impose a 15-page limit on the Project Description section of the proposal.

Supporting materials. Include in the electronic proposal samples of your work, published reviews of it, and/or letters of support (e.g. publishers or exhibit venues) to help reviewers appreciate your abilities and achievements. These materials should be regarded as an electronic portfolio demonstrating the scope and quality of previous work that puts your proposal into context, whether or not that work is specifically related to your proposed Antarctic project.

Format for supporting materials. Make portfolio and supporting images part of the electronic proposal. Embed them in the Project Description.

Put letters of recommendation or support in the Supplementary Documentation section. Do not mail or e-mail them to the Program Officer. Do not allow authors of these letters to send them directly to NSF.

If large audio or visual files are important components of your work, put the files on a storage device (CD, DVD, flash drive), and mail them to the Program Officer. Put your name on every single item you mail to NSF. The review panel will view media on a computer or projected on a screen. The review room will have a television, a DVD player, and an audio CD player. If photographs are necessary to demonstrate the quality of your work, also send digital copies on a storage device (CD, DVD, flash drive) to the Program Officer. Insure that each image is appropriately captioned or described and digitally watermarked with any copyright information.

Because the panelists will have a very limited time to examine materials, it is best to include only a short segment that best illustrates your work and what you propose to accomplish in Antarctica.

NSF's strong preference is to have panelists review only electronic work samples, rather than large items such as actual photographic or other portfolios, and preferably online. NSF will return mailed items only if you send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Mail supplemental materials to:

National Science Foundation
Antarctic Artists and Writers Program
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 755
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Phone: 703.292.8033

Fieldwork

Planning the approach. There are generally three ways to plan the needed work in the Antarctic.

If you are focused on a single research project, you can propose to be made an integral (embedded) member of that project. This approach requires that you have a preliminary agreement with the leader of the project. Explain this agreement in the project description, and include a letter from the leader of the project (submitted as a supplementary document to the proposal). Since the research team would increase in size if you were to be selected for the program, NSF has to consider that increase as it allocates resources (tents, food, helicopter time and payload, and so forth) across the suite of projects being fielded that season.

A second method is to operate independently. A painter, say, may need time at one or more field sites and be focused on the landscape or activities at a given site more than a specific project. The complication is that, for safety, NSF will not allow you to work alone outside of established stations or field camps. On occasion, and only for a brief time, NSF may be able to furnish someone who is already in Antarctica as a field safety escort. One approach is to identify in the project description an assistant or, better yet, find another artist or writer who is compatible with your project and write a joint proposal. Several such teams have worked this way in the past. And, more than once, NSF has received two separate proposals from individuals who did not know one another and has suggested that they discuss working together — with good results.

Another method: If you wish to visit several research teams or sites over the course of your stay in the Antarctic, then contact leaders of those teams and discuss with them how your project will interact with theirs. Describe the planned interactions in the project description, ask the research leaders to give you letters indicating their support and submit them as supplementary documents to the proposal.

Team size. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program is intended for a field team of one or two people requiring visits to the research stations and ships or to existing research camps. The program does not support projects that require significant amounts of dedicated resources, such as film or video crews. See Section IX for NSF programs that do.

Field locations and timing. Aboard ships and on the continent, resources for support of both science and the arts are limited and time-constrained, especially during the brief austral summer when sunlight is plentiful and outdoor work is practical. Even if you enjoy a well-established reputation and can almost guarantee an audience, you need to articulate a specific need to carry out your proposed project "on the ground" in Antarctica or its surrounding waters in your project description, explaining specifically why and where you need to be in the field and for how long.

In the project description, summarize the sites to be visited and the time needed at each. Antarctic Research describes U.S. Antarctic Program infrastructure. Science Planning Summaries describe recent research projects. There is no set minimum or maximum amount of time in the field for your project; the NSF goal is to match field support to what the proposed project needs.

Any U.S. Antarctic Program facility can be considered for austral summer or winter seasons. The three year-round stations are Amundsen-Scott South Pole, McMurdo on Ross Island, and Palmer along the Antarctic Peninsula. Palmer is accessible year-round, as are the two ice-capable research ships. McMurdo and South Pole stations and temporary field camps are accessible only during the austral summer. Early season (mid-August through September) is an option.

Access to McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Stations is through Christchurch, New Zealand, while access to Palmer Station is through Punta Arenas, Chile. It would be expensive and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to support a project that attempts to span these two gateway cities in the same season.

Working at both McMurdo and South Pole is operationally feasible in the same season. Access to most field camps is through McMurdo. Amundsen-Scott South Pole is always crowded in summer, and only short visits are feasible. Check transportation assets on the USAP website.

The proposal must contain sufficient information for reviewers to understand the scope of the fieldwork and to determine if fieldwork is justified under the constraints previously described. If the proposal is ranked highly (see Section VI.B., Review and Selection Process), then additional detailed information about fieldwork will be solicited before a final decision by NSF.

For additional information on fieldwork, see the USAP web portal page "Information for Proposers" and "USAP Proposal Preparation Information" on the NSF web site.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Budget Preparation Instructions:

Populate the Proposal Budget Summary page with zeros. Field support and airline tickets are issued directly; do not budget for these items. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program does not directly award funds.

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

         May 31, 2013

         May 01, 2014

         May 1, Annually Thereafter

Proposals will be considered for field support in Antarctica beginning no sooner than a year after the May proposal deadline. Proposals will be considered for work aboard ship in the Southern Ocean beginning no sooner than seven months after the May proposal deadline.

D. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:

To prepare and submit a proposal via FastLane, see detailed technical instructions available at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

For Proposals Submitted Via Grants.gov:

    Before using Grants.gov for the first time, each organization must register to create an institutional profile. Once registered, the applicant's organization can then apply for any federal grant on the Grants.gov website. Comprehensive information about using Grants.gov is available on the Grants.gov Applicant Resources webpage: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants.html. In addition, the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide (see link in Section V.A) provides instructions regarding the technical preparation of proposals via Grants.gov. For Grants.gov user support, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email: support@grants.gov. The Grants.gov Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Grants.gov. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this solicitation.

    Submitting the Proposal: Once all documents have been completed, the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must submit the application to Grants.gov and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to Grants.gov. The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.

Proposers that submitted via FastLane are strongly encouraged to use FastLane to verify the status of their submission to NSF. For proposers that submitted via Grants.gov, until an application has been received and validated by NSF, the Authorized Organizational Representative may check the status of an application on Grants.gov. After proposers have received an e-mail notification from NSF, Research.gov should be used to check the status of an application.

VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES

Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program for acknowledgement and, if they meet NSF requirements, for review. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF either as ad hoc reviewers, panelists, or both, who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposal. In addition, Program Officers may obtain comments from site visits before recommending final action on proposals. Senior NSF staff further review recommendations for awards. A flowchart that depicts the entire NSF proposal and award process (and associated timeline) is included in the GPG as Exhibit III-1.

A comprehensive description of the Foundation's merit review process is available on the NSF website at: http://nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/merit_review/.

Proposers should also be aware of core strategies that are essential to the fulfillment of NSF's mission, as articulated in Empowering the Nation Through Discovery and Innovation: NSF Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2011-2016. These strategies are integrated in the program planning and implementation process, of which proposal review is one part. NSF's mission is particularly well-implemented through the integration of research and education and broadening participation in NSF programs, projects, and activities.

One of the core strategies in support of NSF's mission 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 variety of learning perspectives.

Another core strategy in support of NSF's mission is broadening opportunities and expanding participation of groups, institutions, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, which 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.

A. Merit Review Principles and Criteria

The National Science Foundation strives to invest in a robust and diverse portfolio of projects that creates new knowledge and enables breakthroughs in understanding across all areas of science and engineering research and education. To identify which projects to support, NSF relies on a merit review process that incorporates consideration of both the technical aspects of a proposed project and its potential to contribute more broadly to advancing NSF's mission "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes." NSF makes every effort to conduct a fair, competitive, transparent merit review process for the selection of projects.

1. Merit Review Principles

These principles are to be given due diligence by PIs and organizations when preparing proposals and managing projects, by reviewers when reading and evaluating proposals, and by NSF program staff when determining whether or not to recommend proposals for funding and while overseeing awards. Given that NSF is the primary federal agency charged with nurturing and supporting excellence in basic research and education, the following three principles apply:

  • All NSF projects should be of the highest quality and have the potential to advance, if not transform, the frontiers of knowledge.
  • NSF projects, in the aggregate, should contribute more broadly to achieving societal goals. These "Broader Impacts" may be accomplished through the research itself, through activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified.
  • Meaningful assessment and evaluation of NSF funded projects should be based on appropriate metrics, keeping in mind the likely correlation between the effect of broader impacts and the resources provided to implement projects. If the size of the activity is limited, evaluation of that activity in isolation is not likely to be meaningful. Thus, assessing the effectiveness of these activities may best be done at a higher, more aggregated, level than the individual project.

With respect to the third principle, even if assessment of Broader Impacts outcomes for particular projects is done at an aggregated level, PIs are expected to be accountable for carrying out the activities described in the funded project. Thus, individual projects should include clearly stated goals, specific descriptions of the activities that the PI intends to do, and a plan in place to document the outputs of those activities.

These three merit review principles provide the basis for the merit review criteria, as well as a context within which the users of the criteria can better understand their intent.

2. Merit Review Criteria

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board approved merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. Both criteria are to be given full consideration during the review and decision-making processes; each criterion is necessary but neither, by itself, is sufficient. Therefore, proposers must fully address both criteria. (GPG Chapter II.C.2.d.i. contains additional information for use by proposers in development of the Project Description section of the proposal.) Reviewers are strongly encouraged to review the criteria, including GPG Chapter II.C.2.d.i., prior to the review of a proposal.

When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. To that end, reviewers will be asked to evaluate all proposals against two criteria:

  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

Proposers are reminded that reviewers will also be asked to review the Data Management Plan and the Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan, as appropriate.

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

Reviewers and NSF will look for how the proposed project would satisfy the above criteria and those below.

1. Intellectual Merit

In addition to the above:

  • Does the proposal demonstrate the likelihood of significantly advancing public knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of Antarctica or the U.S. Antarctic Program?
  • Will the project result in works that are representative of Antarctica or of U.S. Antarctic Program activities in Antarctica?
  • Is the required presence in Antarctica, as a practical matter, available only from the U.S. Antarctic Program?
  • Is the requested travel essential to the completion of the proposed work?
  • If underwater diving is to be a part of the field program, is the need for it defended in the proposal (read Antarctic Research, Proposal Preparation and Submission, Underwater Diving)?
  • Is the artist or writer prominent in her or his field, with a substantial record of achievement and critical recognition as indicated by prior works, reviews of prior works, appointments to academic or professional positions, honors, and awards? Evidence of this accomplishment should be included in the proposal
  • If in early career, does the artist or writer demonstrate promise in his or her field?

2. Broader Impacts

In addition to the above:

  • Does the proposal provide a concrete plan showing that, as a result of being in Antarctica, a significant body of work will reach a significant audience, as that term is generally understood in a specific discipline?

    • Even an accomplished artist or writer may find it difficult to convince the Foundation on this point. Normally she or he needs to collaborate with producers, publishers, art galleries, or other organizations appropriate to the genre and provide evidence of it in the proposal. It is strongly suggested that the applicant discuss prospective plans with the cognizant program officer prior to submitting a proposal or, if possible, prior to drafting a proposal.
    • "Significant audience" has no firm definition. Large and/or diverse audiences can be significant. Public lectures, shows at galleries, traveling exhibitions, articles in magazines, displays in museums, sculptures in an accessible place, films, or published books can be significant. A scholarly humanities assessment or a published collection of poems can be significant. It is incumbent on the artist to make the case in the proposal that the proposed audience is "significant" enough to merit USAP support.

3. Operational feasibility

The proposal must convince reviewers that it is necessary, not simply desirable, to visit Antarctica to produce the work described in the proposal. A project that is otherwise outstanding may not be selected if reviewers judge working in Antarctica to be unnecessary or if the U.S. Antarctic Program is incapable of supporting it. Operational feasibility includes resource availability, environmental protection and waste management provisions, and safety and health measures.

If the proposal is ranked highly (see Section VI.B., Review and Selection Process), additional information about fieldwork will be solicited. Often during this operational review process, specialists will suggest changes that can convert an infeasible proposed plan to a feasible and supportable one.

B. Review and Selection Process

Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to evaluate proposals using two National Science Board approved merit review criteria and, if applicable, additional program specific criteria. A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

Ad hoc reviewers, who also may serve as panelists, are comprised of distinguished artists, writers, scientists, and educators; some have worked in Antarctica. At least three review each proposal individually.

The NSF Program Officer uses this advice to select the competitive proposals. The competitive proposals proceed to the panel, and the noncompetitive ones are declined.

The review panelists discuss the competitive proposals and view all portfolio materials. Near the end of their meeting, the panelists recommend either support or decline for each proposal.

These recommendations are advisory to NSF. The Program Officer carefully considers this advice in determining the top ranked proposals that will undergo operational review.

After the top proposers complete Operational Requirements Worksheets (ORW) using an online system, POLAR ICE, U.S. Antarctic Program specialists review them for operational feasibility.

After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

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 Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

Declined applicants who want to propose again the next cycle may do so. Digesting and using, as appropriate, reviewers' comments is usually helpful. Only significantly revised proposals will be accepted as resubmissions.

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 their own risk.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization or individual applicant by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations and individuals whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program 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.B. for additional information on the review process).

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award notice, 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 notice; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1)*; or Research Terms and Conditions* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award notice. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/award_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require submission of more frequent project reports). Within 90 days following expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report, and a project outcomes report for the general public.

Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports, or the project outcomes report, will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for all identified PIs and co-PIs on a given award. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through Research.gov, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on accomplishments, project participants (individual and organizational), publications, and other specific products and impacts of the project. Submission of the report via Research.gov constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete. The project outcomes report also must be prepared and submitted using Research.gov. This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project. This report will be posted on the NSF website exactly as it is submitted by the PI.

More comprehensive information on NSF Reporting Requirements and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Please note that the program contact information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

  • Peter West, telephone: (703) 292-7530, fax: (703) 292-9079, email: pwest@nsf.gov

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:

  • Grants.gov Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from Grants.gov within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail: support@grants.gov.

IX. OTHER INFORMATION

The NSF website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, "NSF Update" is an information-delivery system designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail or the user's Web browser each time new publications are issued that match their identified interests. "NSF Update" also is available on NSF's website at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USNSF/subscriber/new?topic_id=USNSF_179.

Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.

Antarctic Proposals to Other NSF Programs

If your project requires NSF financial support and/or it requires fieldwork in the Antarctic, and if you determine that another NSF program is appropriate for the project -

  1. Discuss your ideas with the cognizant program officer for the other program and ask that the program officer to contact Jessie Crain, Antarctic Research Support Manager in the Division of Polar Programs.
  2. Prepare a proposal using that program's instructions.
  3. Review the Division of Polar Programs web site for U.S. Antarctic Program field capabilities. Feel free to discuss your intended Antarctic fieldwork with a program officer in the Division of Polar Programs.
  4. Define Antarctic fieldwork following guidance for research proposals to the U.S. Antarctic Program; see Section V.A. of NSF's Antarctic Research program solicitation.
  5. Submit the proposal.
  6. E-mail Jessie L. Crain, Research Support Manager, Division of Polar Programs (jlcrain@nsf.gov), giving proposal number and title. State in the e-mail that the proposal involves fieldwork in the U.S. Antarctic Program. Ensure that the cognizant program officer for the program receiving the proposal is copied on the message.

Even if another NSF program finds your proposal meritorious, the project may not be supportable operationally in the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Other Related NSF Programs

  • The Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) NSF 12-560 (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12560/nsf12560.pdf ) program invests in research and development of innovative and field-advancing, out-of-school STEM learning and emerging STEM learning environments. Projects are expected to demonstrate strategic impact, innovation, broadening participation, and collaboration. Proposals from large-scale filmmakers or other informal science educators that require significant Antarctic resources may be appropriate for this program
  • Informal Science Education Program. NSF's Informal Science Education program funds projects that increase engagement in and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Proposals from large-scale filmmakers that require significant Antarctic resources may be appropriate for this program. Projects are expected to demonstrate strategic impact, innovation, and collaboration.
  • Polar Media Program. The Foundation's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs conducts an annual competition to select television, radio, newspaper, and magazine reporters to visit and report on U.S. facilities in the Antarctic and the Arctic. Contact Peter West (pwest@nsf.gov) in the Division of Polar Programs to find out the specific requirements for and limitations on media visitors. Media visits, in general are much shorter, for example, than deployments under the Artists & Writers program.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

NSF receives approximately 55,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Arctic and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.

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 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov

  • Location:

4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230

  • For General Information
    (NSF Information Center):

(703) 292-5111

  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):

(703) 292-5090

  • To Order Publications or Forms:

Send an e-mail to:

nsfpubs@nsf.gov

or telephone:

(703) 292-7827

  • To Locate NSF Employees:

(703) 292-5111


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; and 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 proposer 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 or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; 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," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (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 the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Suzanne H. Plimpton
Reports Clearance Officer
Office of the General Counsel
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230



Policies and Important Links

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