Career Interruption for Family Responsibilities
Q. My position is not formally
entitled postdoctoral, but is similar is all essential aspects
to a typical postdoctoral position. Who can I contact to find
out if I am eligible to apply to the Fellows program?
A. As this designation varies by discipline, questions
on whether an applicant's position is a "postdoc equivalent"
position should be directed to the applicable NSF research
directorate. Check the ADVANCE website (https://www.nsf.gov/ADVANCE)
to find a list of directorate contacts.
Q. I have not served as a PI on any
NSF award; however, I am listed as a co-PI on a current
award. Am I eligible to apply to the Fellows program?
A. Applicants who have served as co-PIs on NSF awards
are eligible to apply for Fellows awards if they are currently
in a postdoctoral or equivalent status, have never held a
tenure-track or tenured position at a U.S. institution of
higher learning, and meet the other eligibility criteria for
Q. I received my Ph.D. in 1997.
For the past year and a half, I have been a faculty member
in a tenure-track position. I am not planning to leave this
position since my spouse is also in a tenure-track position
at this institution. Am I eligible to apply to the ADVANCE
program as a Fellow?
A. You are not eligible to apply for a Fellows award
since you have a tenure-track position. You may wish to apply
for NSF research support through the programs in your area
of research and also to consider the Faculty Early Career
Development (CAREER) Program, a Foundation-wide activity that
supports junior faculty within the context of their overall
career development (https://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/career/start.htm).
- FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES
Q. Is a person who has been out of the science and engineering
workforce to attend to a seriously ill family member eligible
A. Yes, persons who have taken 2 to 8 years off to
attend to family responsibilities such as child rearing or
elder care, or to care for a spouse or an immediate family
member with an incapacitating illness or injury, are eligible
Q. The ADVANCE guidelines list some possible career advancement
limitations (child-rearing, elder care, and spouse relocation).
Does an applicant have to demonstrate such a limitation to
be eligible to apply?
A. The ADVANCE guidelines list three categories
of eligibility (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2001/nsf0169/nsf0169.htm#ELIG)
for the Fellows awards in addition to the requirements that
all applicants have to hold a Ph.D. in a field of science
or engineering supported by NSF, be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national
or permanent resident of the United States, and be establishing
a full-time independent academic research and education career
at an institution of higher learning in the U.S., its territories
or possessions, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. You must
meet one of the eligibility requirements to apply for a Fellows
awards, and when you submit your proposal you will have to
certify which of the three criteria you meet. In your proposal,
you will need to provide a brief narrative of your career
history and accomplishments to date and describe the likely
impact of a Fellows award on your career.
Q. I am currently an adjunct faculty
member and I have not been a full-time researcher due to family
considerations since 1998. However, I have never held a tenure-track
position. Am I eligible to apply?
A. There is no requirement under this part of the
Fellows program for an applicant to have had a tenure-track
position. It appears that you have been out of the full-time
science and engineering (S&E) workforce for 2 to 8 years to
attend to family responsibilities and will be out of this
workforce on the proposal due date. Therefore, you may be
eligible to apply if you meet other eligibility requirements
for the Fellows awards.
Q. I left my planned career path as an assistant professor
in 1995 in order to raise my children. I am currently employed
in a "soft money" position in a nearby university. Though
my position could be considered as in the "full-time science
and engineering workforce," it is a significant diversion
from my planned career path and does not involve research
or teaching. I would like to apply for the ADVANCE Fellows
program to reestablish my research and teaching experience
so that at the end of the program I am in a position to once
again secure an academic position at an undergraduate institution.
Am I eligible to apply?
A. You would not be eligible for the ADVANCE program
under the criterion you mentioned because the program solicitation
says that the applicant "on the proposal due date, be out
of the full-time science and engineering workforce and have
been out of this workforce for 2 to 8 years to attend to family
responsibilities". Since your position is full-time, you wouldn't
qualify under that criterion.
Q. I received my Ph.D. in 1993 and worked in a full-time
position at a national laboratory from 1994-1998. I resigned
my position in 1998 for my husband's relocation. A year later,
I started work as a research assistant professor (a non-tenure-track
position). The appointment ends this year. Am I eligible to
A. You would not be eligible under the relocation
of a spouse criterion, as your resignation from full-time
employment was more than 24 months ago.
RELOCATION - FOLLOWING
Q. I am writing to ascertain whether applicants for a
"Fellows Award" can be male. I relocated (leaving behind a
tenure-track appointment) so that my wife could accept a tenure-track
appointment. I accepted a temporary visiting position, at
significantly lower rank and wages, and with a significantly
higher teaching load than my counterparts who were recently
hired in my department with tenure-track status. Indeed, my
salary dropped significantly relative to my previous position.
On the ADVANCE web page, the word "spouse" (rather than "husband")
is used throughout, which leads me to believe that it might
also be your intention to support men who have delayed their
own careers to support their wives. Please let me know.
A. Yes, you are eligible if your wife is in a science
or engineering field that is supported by NSF and your resignation
from the tenure track position occurred in the 24 months preceding
the proposal due date. You must also hold a Ph.D. in a field
of science or engineering supported by NSF; be a U.S. citizen,
U.S. national or permanent resident of the United States;
and, at the time of award, be establishing a full-time independent
academic research and education career at an institution of
higher learning in the U.S., its territories or possessions,
or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Q. My husband is planning a sabbatical in the year 2002.
We have both received invitations to spend the year at the
national laboratory where I was formerly employed. The ADVANCE
Program would be an ideal opportunity for me to initiate a
new program with the laboratory and perhaps continue it with
a student when I return to my institution. Would I be eligible
for funding to cover a portion of my salary plus the $25K
in ancillary expenses?
A. If you are taking a leave of absence, and you
plan to return after your husband's sabbatical, you would
not be eligible.
Q. I am a young, female Assistant Professor with a Ph.D.
in chemistry. I am interested in applying for the affiliated
PI, Fellows award but I am not certain I would qualify since
I am not a postdoc anymore.
A. Since you are not longer in postdoctoral or equivalent
status and do not meet the other eligibility criteria, you
would not be eligible to apply for a Fellows award. You may
wish to apply for NSF research support through the programs
in your area of research and also to consider the Faculty
Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, a Foundation-wide
activity that supports junior faculty within the context of
their overall career development (https://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/career/start.htm).
Q. I received my DVM in 1971 and practiced for many years.
In 1994, I received a PhD in Veterinary Medicine. I am currently
employed as Research Associate Professor. I need to establish
my own research funding. Am I eligible to apply?
A. The date of your PhD would make you ineligible
for a Fellows post-doc award. You might be eligible for support
in one of the other Fellows eligibility categories, but we
would need more information to determine that. There are also
restrictions on the type of research NSF supports. For example,
research with disease-related goals, including work on the
etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease,
abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals, is
normally not supported. Animal models of such conditions or
the development or testing of drugs or other procedures for
their treatment also are not eligible for support. This is
obliquely referenced in the solicitation: "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: https://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf012."
However the GPG clarifies that research in bioengineering,
with diagnosis or treatment-related goals that applies engineering
principles to problems in biology and medicine while advancing
engineering knowledge is eligible for support. Bioengineering
research to aid persons with disabilities also is eligible,
as is research on the ecology of infectious disease.
Q. What is meant by U.S. national?
A. The term "nationals of the United States" designates
citizens of the United States or native residents of a possession
of the United States such as American Samoa. It does not refer
to citizens of another country who have applied for U.S. citizenship.
Q. I applied for a green card some time ago and have been
assured that I will have it by the end of the calendar year.
Am I eligible to apply for a Fellows award?
A. In order to qualify as a permanent resident, Fellows
applicants must have their green card in hand at the proposal
Institutions of Higher Learning
Q. Do 2-year (community) colleges that award A.A.S. degrees
qualify as "academic institutions of higher learning" for
purposes of the ADVANCE program?
Q. Must supporting institutions guarantee a tenure-track
or "hard money" position at the end of an ADVANCE fellowship
(as in NSERC Women's Fellowships)?
A. No, there is no requirement that institutions
offer a tenure track position at the end of an ADVANCE fellowship.
Q. Can fellowships be used to allow a scientist to re-tool
her research and teaching expertise?
A.Yes, if the fellow meets the eligibility criteria
and makes a good case for the proposed career development
Q. Must an "independent academic
research and education career" involve undergraduate teaching,
or may it involve only supervision of graduate theses?
A. There is no requirement that undergraduate teaching
be part of the independent academic research and education
Q. Can fellowships be used to establish
a part-time academic career to accomodate family obligations?
A. No. In order to be eligible for a Fellows award,
a PI must, at the time of award, be establishing a full-time,
independent academic research and education career.
Q. I am very interested in research
questions related to mechanisms underlying brain injury and
recovery and have been working in the area of somatosensory
physiology, specifically the neural control of active touch.
However, I am not sure that this research is in field of science
supported by NSF.
A. NSF does not support research with disease-related
goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis or treatment
of physical or mental disease, abnormality or malfunction
in human beings or animals. For such research, the National
Institutes of Health and private foundations would be the
most likely sources of support. However, research in normal
somatosensory physiology, is supported by NSF's Sensory Systems
Program and would be supportable research under the ADVANCE
guidelines. You can obtain more detailed information on the
types of research supported by the NSF through the NSF Guide
to Programs at https://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/publicat/nsf013/how-to/toc.htm
and the NSF directorate Web pages.
Q. What if my proposal arrives after the directorate deadline
for proposal submissions?
A. Only proposals submitted by your institution through
FastLane before 5:00 p.m. (your local time) on or before the
Directorate/Office deadline will be accepted. Because the
volume of ADVANCE Fellows may be quite large and individuals
who are not submitting through an institution must register
as a FastLane organization before submitting a proposal, you
are encouraged to start your FastLane proposal submission
well before the ADVANCE Fellows deadline. Refer to the ADVANCE
Guidelines for Submission and the FastLane Web page for more
details. Any proposal received after the Directorate/Office
deadline will be returned to the preparer without review.
Please note that NSF program officers are not authorized to
grant extensions to the deadline for the ADVANCE program.