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NSF 15-013

Dear Colleague Letter: Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under the US NSF/GEO/OCE – US-Israel BSF International Opportunity


The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Research Cooperation. The MOU provides an overarching framework to encourage collaboration between US and Israeli research communities and sets out the principles by which jointly supported activities might be developed. The MOU provides for an international collaboration arrangement whereby US researchers may receive funding from the NSF and Israeli researchers may receive funding from the BSF.

The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) in the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) of the National Science Foundation and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation are pleased to announce a US-Israel collaborative research opportunity. The goal is to help reduce some of the current barriers to working internationally. Through a lead agency model, NSF/GEO/OCE and BSF will address these issues by allowing US and Israeli researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process.

Proposals will be accepted for collaborative research in areas at the intersection of NSF/GEO/OCE and BSF as set out below:

Division of Ocean Sciences Core Programs:

Physical Oceanography (PD 98-1610);
Chemical Oceanography (PD 98-1670);
Biological Oceanography (PD 98-1650);
Marine Geology and Geophysics (PD 98-1620)

BSF Solicitation
Call for Proposals in the BSF-NSF program in Ocean Sciences.

Proposals are expected to adhere to the remit, funding limits, and grant durations for the BSF and NSF/GEO/OCE program from which the funding is sought and must represent an integrated collaborative effort. This document provides guidelines for the preparation, submission, review, and award of NSF/GEO/OCE-BSF collaborative proposals. During an initial two-year phase (2015-2016), both agencies will evaluate the interest and success of the activities. 

Proposers are advised that all documents submitted to NSF or BSF may be shared with the other agency in order to implement the two-way agency activities.


  1. Prior to submission, NSF proposers should contact to discuss the research focus of the international project.

  2. Proposers must submit proposals in accordance with the OCE core program requirements and in keeping with the 15 February 2015 submission target date.

  3. Proposers who submit a joint, full research proposal will do so in accordance with the proposal preparation requirements of both agencies. NSF and BSF proposers will each submit all documents required in the Dear Colleague Letter using their respective agency's system.

  4. Biographical sketches of all senior personnel (including US and Israeli partners) should be prepared in accordance with the NSF standard biographical sketch format and uploaded in one PDF file.
  5. NSF proposers must comply with proposal preparation requirements outlined in NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide as well as those outlined in the Dear Colleague Letter. The proposal must be submitted through NSF FastLane system ( or ( to the relevant OCE core program.

    Israeli proposers should follow directions set out by BSF and submit the proposal via the BSF system (

  6. The full proposal should indicate that the proposal is to be considered under the collaborative activities by prefacing the title with "NSFOCE-BSF:"

  7. The proposal should include a description of the full proposed research program, research team, total resources for the joint project, and any specified supplementary documents. In the budget justification, the funds requested from both the NSF and BSF with costs of the US and Israeli organizations should be clearly differentiated. However, the budget forms submitted to each agency should only indicate the amount requested from that agency. A copy of the proposed requested budget of the other agency should be included as part of the full proposal as a supplementary document.

  8. NSF proposers should only indicate the US expenses on the NSF budget form. BSF proposers should indicate only the Israeli research expenses on the BSF budget form. A copy of the proposed requested budget of the partner agency should be included as part of the full proposal as a supplementary document. The Budget Justification section of the full proposal should address the full US and Israeli project budgets and they must be clearly differentiated in the justification. Proposals that request duplicative funding may be returned without review.

  9. In the case of NSF, the following documents must be provided as Supplementary Documents:

    Funding Requested from BSF: A detailed breakdown of funding requested from BSF should be included.

    Institutional endorsement: An institutional acknowledgment of the submission must be a signed letter from an authorized institutional representative from the non-lead partner's country with the following text: "I confirm on behalf of [insert name of institution] that the US-Israel Collaborative proposal between [insert name of lead agency PI and institution] and [insert name of non-lead agency PI and institution] is endorsed and has been submitted by [name of Research Office], thereby acknowledging the proposed collaboration."

  10. For projects involving human subjects/participants or vertebrate animals, proposers should consult both NSF and BSF policies.

  11. The proposal should be submitted by the established target date of submission as determined for each agency's participating program. For OCE core programs this date is 15 February 2015.


NSF/GEO/OCE-BSF collaborative proposals will be reviewed alongside all other standard proposals received in the same funding round or call and will not undergo a separate or special review process.

Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with NSF's review criteria; reviewers are asked to evaluate the proposed project on both its intellectual merit and broader impacts. The review panel will be carried out using NSF procedures, in consultation with BSF. A description of the NSF merit review process is provided on the NSF merit review website at:


The funding recommendations will be discussed with the partner agency. Each agency will use its usual internal procedures to determine whether a proposal will be awarded or declined. Funding decisions may be subject to the availability of funds.

All proposers will be advised whether their proposals have been recommended for funding or will be declined. Proposers will receive copies of the reviewers' unattributed comments and, where applicable, a panel summary. Should a proposal be declined for funding, proposers should refer to the respective agency resubmission policies.

Each agency will notify the proposer that the award for joint international research is made in collaboration between NSF and BSF.

Because the participating organizations have different funding cycles, it is possible that some projects will have delayed start dates in order to wait until funds become available.


Awardees will be expected to comply with the award conditions and reporting requirements of the agencies from which they receive funding.

Awardees will be required to acknowledge both NSF and BSF in any reports or publications arising from the grant.

Extension and supplement requests will be considered by participating agencies using standard procedures. Requests for changes to awards pertaining to changes in scope in research or changes or delays to the research will be discussed with other involved funding agencies before a mutual decision is reached.