January 21, 2005
SUBJECT: Research Opportunity Award (ROA): Supplement Opportunity
The purpose of this Dear Colleague letter is to call your attention to the Research Opportunity Award (ROA) activity that is part of the NSF-wide Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program (see NSF 00-144). ROAs enable faculty at predominantly undergraduate institutions, including community colleges, to pursue research as visiting scientists with NSF-supported investigators at other institutions. The goal of this activity is to enhance the research productivity and professional development of science faculty at undergraduate institutions through research activities that enable them to explore the emerging frontiers of science. Such research not only contributes to basic knowledge in science but also provides an opportunity to integrate research and undergraduate education.
The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) strongly encourages all of its awardees to make special efforts to invite community college faculty, as well as faculty at predominantly undergraduate institutions, to participate in research through ROAs and thus broaden the national research base. Participation of members of underrepresented groups (underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities) is particularly encouraged.
We believe that involving community college science faculty in on-going NSF projects is an excellent way to strengthen the research environment at community colleges. This may encourage students to consider majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. ROAs can also help to build collaborative relationships between undergraduate science faculty and NSF-funded researchers.
An ROA supplement can be requested on a current award or when submitting a new or renewal proposal. Most frequently, ROA activities are summer experiences, but partial support of sabbaticals may also be provided. ROA supplements are usually about $25,000, including indirect costs. Except for major instrumentation or equipment, almost anything allowable in a regular grant proposal (see the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) for details) may be included in an ROA budget. The ROA supplement request should clearly describe, in some detail, the research to be conducted by the ROA visitor, a statement from the host about his/her role in the proposed research efforts, the contribution of the proposed work to the visitor’s future research plans and impact on his/her home institution, a budget with appropriate explanatory information, and a biographical sketch for the visitor. This same information should be supplied for an ROA that is incorporated into a new research proposal.
For guidance and inquiries concerning the ROA supplement, the Principal Investigator should consult the Program Director for his/her particular NSF award or the cognizant Program Director for the program to which he/she is submitting a proposal. The decision to award an ROA supplement will be based on internal review by the Program Director and availability of funds in a particular program.
A proposal for an ROA supplement to an existing NSF award should be submitted via FastLane following the instructions described in the GPG. Further information is available from the RUI Program Announcement (NSF 00-144). ROAs incorporated in a new or renewal research proposal should adhere to the same guidelines for new or renewing proposals that are described in the GPG.
We believe that ROAs will strengthen the research productivity of undergraduate science faculty, facilitate the integration of research and undergraduate science education, and enhance the development of the U.S. science and engineering workforce.
Mary E. Clutter