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NSF EAR Express Update - Winter 2023

January 27, 2023

Dr. Dena Smith-Nufio appointed as Division Director for the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) 

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Dena Smith-Nufio as Division Director for the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) in the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) effective January 15, 2023. This is a career Senior Executive Service position. 

 Dr. Smith-Nufio came to NSF in 2016 as Lead Program Director in the Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology Program in EAR. Dr. Smith-Nufio was Acting Section Head for the Disciplinary Programs from June 2019 to March 2020 and from June 2020 to November 2020 she served as Acting Division Director in EAR. Dr. Smith-Nufio is dedicated to advancing early career geoscience researchers and developing innovative approaches to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the geosciences. She has the experience and vision that will enable her to provide effective leadership and direction to EAR in the future and she will be a valued member of the GEO senior leadership team.  

 Dr. Smith-Nufio is a respected and established researcher with over 20 years of experience. Prior to her appointment at NSF, she served as Executive Director of Sedimentary Geology, Time, Paleontology, Paleoclimatology, Energy at the Geological Society of America. She also was also a museum curator and faculty member in the geosciences department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and served as the Executive Director of a U.S.-based Earth Sciences Consortium. She holds a PhD in Geosciences with a minor in Entomology from the University of Arizona. 

 I also want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Dr. Jessica Robin for her service as Acting EAR Division Director over the past eight months. She is an exceptional leader and during her tenure she made significant contributions both to EAR and the Geosciences Directorate. 

 Alexandra R. Isern

Assistant Director 

NSF mourns the loss of Dr. Sarah Crump 

NSF joins the Earth Science community in mourning the untimely loss of Dr. Sarah Crump, a promising early career scholar and mentor. Dr. Crump was a 2019 NSF EAR Postdoctoral Fellow, a co-PI on a recently funded Geomorphology and Land-Use Dynamics award, and only recently started a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Utah. An emerging leader in Arctic and alpine paleoclimate studies, Dr. Crump was a thoughtful reviewer and panelist. Although Dr. Crump was early in her career, her leadership and intellectual impact touched many in the Earth Sciences community. We extend our sincerest condolences to Sarah’s family, friends, colleagues, and the entire geosciences community. 

The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTARR) at UC Boulder has worked with Sarah’s family and friends to establish a fellowship in her name just a few days before she passed. The fellowship will give a boost to their study of Earth or environmental science in Arctic or alpine regions and also be a lever for equity and underserved communities. 

Find out more HERE

EAR Staffing Updates


Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) thanks Dr. Jessica Robin for her service as Acting Division Director. Jessica will resume her position as Integrated Activities Section Head. EAR would also like to thank Dr. Maggie Benoit for serving as Acting Integrated Activities Section Head, she will now resume her position as Program Director. 

EAR also thanks Dr. Elizabeth Boyer as her term as a program officer in Hydrologic Sciences ends.   

Navigating NSF and GEO


EAR Program Director Dr. Jennifer Wade created a video on Navigating NSF and the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) for scientists thinking about applying for NSF funding for the first time. In this video Dr. Wade discusses proposal preparation, the merit review process, opportunities in NSF and GEO, and resources to learn more information.

Approaching Deadlines

Frontier Research in Earth Sciences (FRES) 

NSF 20-509 

Supports research on Earth systems, from the core to the critical zone, with a focus on surface, continental lithospheric and deeper Earth systems over the entire range of temporal and spatial scales. 

Deadline is February 06, 2023 


Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) 

Supports opportunities for scientists and engineers at the associate professor rank (or equivalent) to substantively enhance and advance their research program through synergistic partnerships. 

Deadline is March 01, 2023 


Civic Innovation Challenge

NSF 22-565 

 A research and action competition driven by community priorities Supports planning and implementation of community-university partnerships with the potential for significant near-term community impact in one of two focus areas: communities and mobility, or resilience to natural disasters. 

Deadline is March 01, 2023


Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) 

NSF 23-542 

The BoCP program is a cross directorate and international program led by NSF that invites submission of interdisciplinary proposals addressing grand challenges in biodiversity science within the context of unprecedented environmental change, including climate change.  

Deadline is March 29, 2023 


Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD-EN) 

PD 21-178Y 

Supports creating a network of professionals to implement evidence-based best practices and resources that improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the geosciences. 

Target deadline is April 28, 2023  

Dear Colleague Letters

Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students in Geothermal Energy Supplemental Funding Opportunity (Geothermal INTERN) NSF 23-024

The U.S. National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or EERE, have initiated a joint training opportunity in the area of geothermal energy through NSF's INTERN program. 

This opportunity allows NSF PIs to request supplemental support (related to any NSF project) for Graduate Student funding for internships at a variety of industry/private/government partners. 

Dear Colleague Letter: Research Internships for Graduate Students at Air Force Research Laboratory (NSF-AFRL INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity NSF 21-029: 

The NSF and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have entered into a partnership to support the training of graduate students to meet both the NSF's strategic workforce development objectives as well as the AFRL's mission to lead the discovery, development and delivery of new technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. 

Dear Colleague Letter: Advancing Research in the Geosciences Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) NSF 23-024

NSF/GEO has released a Dear Colleague Letter encouraging research using AI/ML methods to advance important geosciences research 

New Programs & Opportunities 

Geosciences Open Science Ecosystem (GEO OSE)  

NSF 23-534 

In alignment with the 2023 Federal Year of Open Science, the NSF Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) recently announced a new funding opportunity, the Geosciences Open Science Ecosystem (GEO OSE). The GEO OSE program seeks to support sustainable and networked open science activities to foster an ecosystem of inclusive access to data, physical collections, software, advanced computing, and other resources toward advancing research and education in the geosciences. The purpose of this support is to broadly enable geoscientists to leverage expanding information resources and computing capabilities to address interdisciplinary grand challenge research questions at the forefront of the geosciences. 

Two tracks of support are available based on the size and scope of expected efforts. Track 1 will support smaller-scale activities to advance early stage GEO OSE activities, with funding provided for 2 years with a maximum budget size of $400,000 per project. Track 2 will support larger-scale activities, with funding provided for 3 years with budget size commensurate with the size and scope of the project up to about $1,600,000. 

Proposals to the GEO OSE program solicitation are due March 16, 2023.  

Upcoming Webinars


ESWN Virtual Event: Navigating NSF

The Earth Science Women's Network is hosting a webinar: Join us for a virtual workshop on Monday February 6, 2023, at 18:00-20:00 UTC (1:00-3:00pm ET, 12:00-2:00pm CT, 11:00am-1:00pm MT, 10:00am-12:00pm PT)

Register HERE

Get your questions answered by National Science Foundation Program Officers! How can you craft a strong proposal? What makes a strong Broader Impact? How do you find a program that fits your work?

This virtual workshop is open to all and will be particularly helpful to early-career to midcareer participants, especially graduate students, post-docs, researchers, and tenure-track faculty thinking about applying for NSF funding for the first time.

Any questions, please email 


New NSF Requirements for Safe and Inclusive Work Environments

Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geosciences (GEO) Piloting Use of Supplemental Document, Will Hold Virtual Office Hour Session on February 7, 2023, from 3:30pm to 4:30 pm Eastern.

Program Officers from BIO and GEO will provide an overview of the new requirement and take your questions and comments.

Register for the Session Here

Several solicitations from BIO and GEO will soon require the submission of a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan (list of solicitations to date below) that will be considered as part of the Broader Impacts criteria during the review process.

The solicitations that are part of the pilot effort to date are:

Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP, NSF 23-542) 
Pathways into the Geosciences (GEOPAths, NSF 23-540)
Cultural Transformation in the Geosciences Community(CTGC,NSF 23-539)

   BIO core solicitations:

  • Division of Environmental Biology (NSF 23-549)
  • Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (NSF 23-547)
  • Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (NSF 23-548) 



Navigating the NSF Hydrologic Sciences Program 

Monday, March 27th at 2:00 pm ET 
Register HERE
Join NSF Program Directors in Hydrologic Sciences to discuss the scope of Hydrologic Sciences and related programs at NSF, the program goals for broadening participation and other broader impact activities, criteria used to evaluate and rate proposals at NSF, and the various required elements in NSF proposals. The workshop is appropriate for early career researchers new to NSF, researchers interested in related interdisciplinary programs at NSF, experienced researchers who want to reconnect with or are unfamiliar with the new Hydrologic Sciences program solicitation, and any participant interested in learning about funding opportunities in hydrology and related fields at NSF. 

Community News


GEO at AGU 2022 

During the week of December 12th-16th, 2022, NSF’s Geosciences Directorate, or GEO, engaged with thousands of researchers, students and science enthusiasts from around the world at the 2022 American Geophysical Union conference in Chicago. Thirty-seven NSF staff attended the conference in person, collectively representing 100+ staff hours of time dedicated to connecting with visitors to the booth. NSF staff, in person and through pre-recorded talks, presented 39 unique lightning talks on NSF programs such as post-doctoral opportunities, facilities/infrastructure, opportunities for researchers to conduct use-inspired research, and many others. 

To view presentations and recordings from GEO lightning talks, as well as other resources shared at the booth, visit the GEO Outreach webpage here: 



EarthCube Retrospective 

 As the EarthCube program completed its decade-long initiative in 2022, a retrospective event was held in November 8-9, 2022, The community brosure, EarthCube: A Retrospective 2011-2022, can be found here 


CUAHSI Biennial Colloquium – Save the Date! 
June 11-14, 2023, Granlibakken Resort, Tahoe City, CA  
The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc (CUAHSI) is hosting its Biennial Colloquium June 11-14, 2023, in Tahoe City, CA. The event is focused on developments in the hydrology sector of the Earth Sciences and offers a unique opportunity and a casual environment for participants to discuss ideas and interact with colleagues from different disciplinary fields from all over the country. Students, early-career researchers and people from underrepresented groups and institutions are especially encouraged to attend! CUAHSI is currently accepting proposals for workshops and breakout sessions (see website). Registration information will be available soon on their website. 

EAR-funded Research in the News

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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