Division of Ocean Sciences - Fall 2002 Newsletter
NSF 03-014
(Replaces NSF 02-055)

Bypass Navigation

Program News

Biological Oceanography / Chemical Oceanography / Physical
/ Marine Geology and Geophysics / Ocean
Drilling Program
/ Education / Ocean Technology and
Interdisciplinary Coordination
/ Oceanographic Instrumentation
and Technical Services

Marine Geosciences Section

Marine Geology and Geophysics


The FY2002 MARGINS competition for funding was held in February 2002. All four MARGINS initiatives (Seismogenic Zone; Subduction Factory; Rupture of Continental Lithosphere (RCL); and Source to Sink (S2S)) competed for funding from a total budget of $5.65 M. The panel considered 37 proposals of which 10 were eventually recommended for funding (including 2 for Seismogenic Zone, 5 for SubFac, 1 for RCL and 2 for S2S). An additional proposal, submitted to the MG&G core program (for RCL work in the Gulf of California), was also partially funded under the MARGINS program. The Program is pleased that all four initiatives are now operative, and although work on two of the “focus study sites” (RCL focus site of Red Sea and S2S focus site of Waipaoa sedimentary system) could not be initiated due to logistical or funding limitations, these can be started in the future when funds and logistics allow.

The MARGINS community held several workshops/town meetings during late 2001 and early 2002. Of these, the most noteworthy was the workshop on “Community Sediment Model” held in February 2002. It brought together over 60 sedimentary geologists, geophysicists, glaciologists, geomorphologists and software engineers to discuss a potential community-wide effort to develop protocols for a “community sediment model” that covers the entire source-to-sink system. The ultimate goal of such an endeavor would be to combine the separate efforts of these specialists and sub-communities into a common framework and common set of modular application tools. The envisaged products would be a set of flexible modular tools that would support a variety of modeling approaches, time scales and geographic locations (in the source-to-sink system), and a set of individual models produced from the modular components for applications in predicting sedimentary processes. Such a readily available “tool box” would enhance the predictive and “forward-modeling” capabilities for all sedimentary geology, but, due to its holistic vision, the first major beneficiary would be the MARGINS S2S initiative. The deliberations and the results of the workshop can be viewed at the CSM website http://instaar.colorado.edu/deltaforce/workshop/csm.html.

Marine Earth System History (MESH)

Two workshops were held at NSF in July to help define MESH research priorities for the future. Peter deMenocal and Christina Ravello organized a workshop on tropical climate variability. Jerry Dickenson and Jim Zachos organized a workshop on the links between methane hydrates and climate. Additional information about the workshops and other MESH activities can be found on the MESH Program Office webpage http://mesh.whoi.edu. The MESH Program Office webpage is part of an effort by the MESH steering committee and NSF to foster communication among paleoceanographic researchers and set priorities for future work.

Ridge 2000

Ridge 2000 (R2K) has held two major workshops since the first of the year; a Community Education workshop to provide background science information on the three Integrated Studies Sites, and an RIDGE 2000Implementation workshop to write implementation plans for each site. The papers presented at the Community Education workshop, as well as the implementation plans and Endnote bibliographic files for the sites, are available on the Ridge 2000 web site http://Ridge2000.bio.psu.edu. The R2K data policy and other updates on R2K activities and opportunities are also available on the web site.

Initial proposals for work at the integrated studies sites were submitted to the August 15 target date. Investigators are encouraged to look at the information on the R2K web site. Principal investigators are reminded that, in addition to proposal submission to NSF, in order to be considered for R2K funding the text of the proposal must be sent to the R2K office (Ridge2000@psu.edu). The R2K program announcement can be seen at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/nsf02011.html.

Ridge 2000 education and outreach activities got underway with a teacher workshop this July. The 3-day workshop explored ways to use the uniqueness of deep-sea research and exploration to enhance secondary science education. Thirty participants, primarily experienced teachers, district coordinators and curriculum specialists, focused on how to bring existing and new educational offerings to a broader secondary school audience. Working within the spirit of COSEE (NSF’s Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence), results of this workshop will be shared with the larger ocean sciences community.

The NSF Geosciences Directorate expects to issue an announcement of opportunity in Biogeosciences. The Biogeosciences program will have some themes in common with R2K, and investigators may want to take advantage of this opportunity.

MG&G Program’s Goal for Larger and Longer-Duration Proposals

The MG&G Program strongly supports the NSF-wide goal of larger and longer-duration awards. It is clearly in everyone’s interest to spend less time writing and reviewing proposals and more time on research. For this reason, the Program is moving in the direction of funding larger and longer grants, provided that the additional funds and project scope/duration are well justified. Nevertheless, the Program and the reviewing community are also interested in identifying good, cost-effective projects of shorter duration as well. Moving gradually to larger and longer grants will mean that researchers’ funding will come from a smaller number of grants and in larger average increments. However, moving in this direction will clearly involve revision of currently perceived ideas of how the funding “game” is played on the part of the MG&G community.

One related trend seen in the last few years is the increase in the number of small components in collaborative proposals. A collaborative proposal is one in which investigators from two or more organizations wish to collaborate on a unified research project. Collaborative proposals may be submitted to NSF by one of two methods: as a single proposal, in which a single award is being requested (with sub-awards administered to the collaborating organizations by the lead organization); or by simultaneous submission of proposals from different organizations with each requesting a separate award. The latter is more appropriate where collaborating institutions all have relatively large managerial and fiscal roles. Smaller components are better handled as sub-awards to the lead organization. In either case, the lead organization’s proposal must contain all of the requisite sections as a single package that can be provided to the reviewers. The project description of this package must clearly include a description of the roles to be played by other principal investigators/organizations, specify managerial arrangements, and explain the advantages of a multi-organizational effort. Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the cognizant NSF program officer prior to the submission of a collaborative proposal.

Bilal Haq (bhaq@nsf.gov)
Dave Epp (depp@nsf.gov)
Rodey Batiza (rbatiza@nsf.gov)
Dick Poore (rpoore@nsf.gov)
Brian Midson (bmidson@nsf.gov)

Next Section -->