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FAQ for Explosives and Related Threats: Frontiers in Prediction and Detection (EXP) and Domestic Nuclear Detection Office/National Science Foundation Academic Research Initiative (ARI) Solicitations NSF 07-528 and NSF 07-545

Proposal deadlines March 01, 2007 and May 2, 2007 respectively


Q  What is meant by multi-disciplinary?

A  The intent of the solicitation is to encourage broad multidisciplinary work and any two or more disciplines would be considered multi-disciplinary.  This could occur within a single academic department, but the case must be made very clear that the disciplines are truly distinct.

Q  Does a proposal between a university and a national laboratory count as a multi-institutional proposal?

A  If a proposal makes the case that the national laboratory can be an effective partner even though no funding can go to the national laboratory, the collaboration would meet the intent of the solicitation.  In this case, the national laboratory personnel may be listed as co-PIs or senior personnel even though they are receiving no funds.

Q  Are there constraints on the participation of foreign nationals in the project?

A  PIs are advised to check with their university's office of export control or general counsel.

Q  Can Federal employees serve as investigators on the proposal?

A  Normally not.

Q  Can national laboratory personnel who have joint appointments with the university receive salary for the university portion of the work?

A  Yes, as long as no funds are exchanged between the university and the laboratory.

Q  What can I request as a starting date for the grant?

A  October 15, 2007 or later.

Q  Can work be proposed on detecting radiation?

A  For the EXP solicitation, not on detection of radiation, but nuclear methods can be proposed for explosives' detection. (Does not apply to the ARI solicitation, where detection of radiation may be a principal objective)

Q  The solicitation says that I have to declare any work on related topics.  My work is classified.  What shall I do?

A  Declare that you have a grant that is classified.

Q  You say proposals with an international dimension are welcome. What sort of international dimension is NSF looking for?

A  The design of each project is based on the opportunity at hand, but NSF welcomes proposals in which the U.S. research team is complemented and enhanced through meaningful collaboration with researchers overseas. The international dimension should be well-justified in terms of the counterpart's unique skills, expertise and/or facilities, and efforts should be made to involve U.S. students and junior researchers in the international collaboration.

Q  Can foreign faculty or postdoctoral fellows be supported?

A  Individuals legally employed by a U.S. university can be supported.

Q Are students supported by ARI funds considered trainees?

A Yes, students supported by ARI funds are considered trainees.  A principle objective of the ARI solicitation is the building of academic workforce capabilities.

Q  Can foreign students receive award funds?

A  Yes, for the EXP solicitation, but not for the DND-ARI solicitation which states that “all students supported with award funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., its territories, or its possessions.”  This does not apply to post-doctoral fellows who are not students.

Q  If there are foreign collaborators, can travel funds be requested for them? Consulting funds?

A  The intent of the solicitations is to fund personnel at U.S. universities.  Travel support is permitted.  Direct support is discouraged.

Q  Can a small business submit a proposal?

A  This solicitation is an academic initiative and no funds can go for salaries of individuals from government laboratories or industry.

Q  We are using genetically engineered plants for TNT and other explosives detection.  Is this work eligible? (Question for EXP solicitation only)

A  Yes, but the detection results must be timely.

Q  Will there be any restriction on publication of results obtained under this program?

A NSF supports unclassified research and has no publication restrictions.  If the PI collaborates with an outside laboratory, it is possible that the outside laboratory may impose restrictions.