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Division of Integrative Organismal Systems
Core Programs

Program Solicitation
NSF 17-508

Replaces Document(s):
NSF 16-505

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Biological Sciences
     Division of Integrative Organismal Systems

Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     January 19, 2017

     January 19, 2018

     Third Friday in January, Annually Thereafter

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     August 04, 2017

     First Friday in August, Annually Thereafter

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

The Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools (EDGE) track, a component of the previous IOS Core solicitation (NSF 16-505) has been removed and will be announced in a separate solicitation forthcoming in late 2016.

Proposals focused on plant-microbial symbioses of all types formerly accepted for review in the Symbiosis, Defense, and Self-recognition Program in the Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster of IOS are no longer accepted into this solicitation. Proposals on plant-microbial symbioses are accepted for review by the Plant Biotic Interactions program (NSF 16-551), supported and managed by NSF IOS and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

This solicitation includes information about international collaborative research opportunities with the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation as described in a recent IOS Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 15-090).

Biographical sketches submitted with preliminary and full proposals in response to this solicitation must now conform to the Biosketch guidelines of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide(PAPPG).

Important Reminders

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems continues an annual cycle of preliminary and full proposal merit review in the core programs. Preliminary proposals will be accepted in January and binding decisions will be made to invite or not invite full proposals for submission in August. The core programs do not accept full proposals without invitation; exceptions are [1] proposals submitted in response to the CAREER, Research Coordination Network, Plant Genome Research Program, Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development, EDGE, or Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant solicitations; or [2] special proposals that are described in the Grant Proposal Guide, e.g., Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID), EArly Concept Grants for Exploratory research (EAGER), conference proposals, and requests for supplemental funding. Full proposals received in response to this solicitation that were not invited will be returned without review (except as noted under Additional Funding Opportunities).

Unsolicited full research proposals are no longer accepted into the IOS Core Programs.

Post-award requests for supplemental funding should only be made for unanticipated opportunities that arise after an award is made.

Important Information about Proposal Submission

Preliminary Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1).

Invited Full Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF PAPPG (NSF 17-1). NSF anticipates release of the PAPPG in the Fall of 2016 and it will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title:

Division of Integrative Organismal Systems Core Programs

Synopsis of Program:

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) supports research aimed at understanding why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do. Proposals should focus on organisms as a fundamental unit of biological organization. Principal Investigators (PIs) are encouraged to apply systems approaches that will lead to conceptual and theoretical insights and predictions about emergent organismal properties. Areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, developmental biology and the evolution of developmental processes, nervous system development, structure, and function, physiological processes, functional morphology, symbioses, interactions of organisms with biotic and abiotic environments, and animal behavior.

Proposals are welcomed in all of the core scientific program areas supported by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. All investigator-initiated proposals submitted to this solicitation must be invited based on merit review of preliminary proposals. There is a single submission deadline with a limit of 2 preliminary proposals per investigator per year as PI or Co-PI in response to this solicitation. Please see the PAPPG for definition of roles for PI and Co-PI. The PI/Co-PI limits apply only to the preliminary proposals submitted to this solicitation and do not pertain to proposals submitted in response to other IOS or NSF solicitations.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

  • Behavioral Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8423, email: IOSBSC@nsf.gov

  • Developmental Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8417, email: IOSDSC@nsf.gov

  • Neural Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8421, email: IOSNSC@nsf.gov

  • Phys. & Struct. Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8413, email: IOSPSS@nsf.gov

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.074 --- Biological Sciences

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 220

Anticipated Funding Amount: $55,000,000

IOS estimates that approximately $55,000,000 will be available for new and continuing awards per fiscal year. See Section III below for additional information about the anticipated number of awards in the solicitation. The estimated budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.
  • Consortia of only the eligible organizations listed above

Who May Serve as PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 2

The number of proposals per PI or co-PI is 2.

In a given year, an individual may participate as a PI or co-PI on no more than two preliminary proposals submitted to the Core track in response to this IOS Core Program Solicitation. Preliminary proposals in excess of the limit for any person will be returned without review in the reverse order received.

"PI" and "co-PI" refer to the role an individual would play in a full proposal (including all parts of a Collaborative Research Proposal). See Exhibit II-7: Definitions of Categories of Personnel in the PAPPG for the definition of proposer roles. It is the responsibility of the submitters to confirm that the entire team is within the eligibility guidelines. Participating in a proposal as a lead investigator on a sub-award, other senior personnel or as a collaborator does not count towards this limit, including investigators who contribute services for a fee (e.g., sequencing). Thus, the number of proposals on which an investigator can be listed as collaborator is unlimited. Changes in the team post-submission to meet the eligibility limits will not be allowed.

For the purposes of this solicitation senior personnel include the Principal Investigator (PI), any co-PIs, and any other researchers actively involved in achieving and managing the intellectual merit or broader impacts goals of the project. Senior personnel may include individuals who will provide essential expertise and intellectual engagement in a small but significant component of the overall project. Named postdoctoral researchers may be considered senior personnel. Students, or collaborators and consultants who provide specific technical expertise on a limited portion of the project are not considered senior personnel.

This limit does not pertain to proposals submitted to other solicitations (e.g., EDGE, Research Coordination Networks, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants, CAREER, Plant Genome Research Program, Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development) or to core programs in other BIO Divisions (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Biological Infrastructure, Environmental Biology). However, solicitations may have their own limit guidelines so be sure to review those carefully for details.

Please consult the IOS website (https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=IOS) for answers to frequently asked questions.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposals: Submission of Preliminary Proposals is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Other budgetary limitations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

C. Due Dates

  • Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

         January 19, 2017

         January 19, 2018

         Third Friday in January, Annually Thereafter

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

         August 04, 2017

         First Friday in August, Annually Thereafter

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria:

National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions:

Standard NSF award conditions apply.

Reporting Requirements:

Standard NSF reporting requirements apply.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Summary of Program Requirements

  1. Introduction

  2. Program Description

  3. Award Information

  4. Eligibility Information

  5. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Due Dates
    4. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. Merit Review Principles and Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process

  7. Award Administration Information
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements

  8. Agency Contacts

  9. Other Information

I. INTRODUCTION

IOS supports research aimed at improving our understanding of organisms as integrated units of biological organization. The Division welcomes diverse approaches to research addressing organismal questions, and especially encourages integrative and interdisciplinary perspectives on complex problems in organismal biology. The goal is to predict why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do. Projects that innovatively apply approaches that combine experimentation, computation, and modeling, and which lead to new conceptual and theoretical insights and testable predictions about integrated organismal properties, including the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes or genomes and phenomes are particularly encouraged. Research that integrates data across spatial/temporal/biological scales, leads to transformative methods, tools and resources, and/or seeks breakthroughs in the areas of phenotypic plasticity and organismal resilience will be given high priority for funding throughout the division. However, research motivated by relevance to human health or addressing the mechanisms of human disease is not appropriate for the Division and will be returned without review.

IOS continues to support projects that provide unique educational and training opportunities for the next generation of researchers, scientific educators and scientifically literate citizens. In order to address the Broader Impacts review criterion, proposals can contain the development of innovative educational, broadening participation, and outreach activities or substantive participation in existing institutional infrastructure for education, training and outreach. Successful proposals often demonstrate close integration of the scientific and educational goals.

The Division will continue to support projects addressing any of these opportunities across the full range of conceptual scales, and time (1-5 years) with associated budget requests for support that are commensurate with the scope and scale of the work. The Division recognizes the interest of the scientific community in projects that are smaller in scope, potentially shorter in duration, and that require relatively modest support compared to the present norm. Therefore, the Division reminds proposers that it will continue to support small-scale projects.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Proposals are welcomed in all of the core scientific program areas supported by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, including projects that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The core scientific programs in IOS are organized into four clusters. Click on the cluster name to go to the cluster web page to learn more about each cluster.

After reading the cluster and program descriptions, discuss any questions about the potential fit of a project to one of the clusters with the Program Director you believe is most closely associated with your field of interest. Biological questions, rather than techniques or approaches, should guide program selection.

Please consult the IOS web page (https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=IOS) for information about Program Directors associated with each programmatic area. This interaction can be a critical aspect for ensuring that your proposal is assigned to the most appropriate program for review.

The core scientific programs in IOS are organized into four clusters:

Behavioral Systems Cluster

The Behavioral Systems Cluster consists of the Animal Behavior Program and the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant program (DDIG). Only the Animal Behavior Program is part of the IOS Core Programs Solicitation.

Developmental Systems Cluster

Programs within the Developmental Systems Cluster are: the Plant, Fungal and Microbial Developmental Mechanisms Program, the Animal Developmental Mechanisms Program and the Evolution of Developmental Mechanisms Program.

Neural Systems Cluster

Programs within the Neural Systems Cluster are the Organization Program, the Activation Program and the Modulation Program.

Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster

Programs within the Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster are: the Symbiosis, Defense and Self-recognition Program (SDS), the Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics Program (PMB), and the Integrative Ecological Physiology Program (IEP). Note: Proposals focused on plant-microbial symbioses of all types that were formerly accepted for review in the SDS Program in response to the Core Programs solicitation will not be accepted for review in this solicitation. Proposals in this area of research should be submitted to the Plant Biotic Interactions solicitation (NSF 16-551), jointly managed by NSF/IOS and USDA NIFA.

Please note that you must select a program name on the FastLane cover page during submission.

REVIEW PROCESS

A two-stage review process is used for applications to the IOS core programs, including RUI proposals:

Preliminary Proposals: All proposers must submit a preliminary proposal that outlines the major goals of the project including the components described below. Preliminary proposals will typically be reviewed by a panel of outside experts. The Program Directors will communicate the decision to Invite/Not Invite full proposals via FastLane and these decisions will be based on the panel recommendations and additional portfolio considerations. Invite/Do Not invite decisions are binding.

Full Proposals: Invited full proposals will receive ad hoc and/or panel review at the discretion of the Program, as described in Section VI of this Solicitation. Full proposals that were not invited at the Preliminary Proposal stage (except as noted for RCN, CAREER and ABR) will be returned without review.

Special Information for:

Research in Undergraduate Institution (RUI) Proposals

Research in Undergraduate Institution (RUI) proposals may be submitted in response to this solicitation. RUI submissions must start with a preliminary proposal. The preliminary proposal must be received by the deadline listed in this solicitation. Information on the scope of RUI projects and the format of these proposals can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5518&from=fund.

Research Coordination Network (RCN) Proposals

This solicitation will accept Research Coordination Network (RCN) Proposals. RCN proposals do not start with a preliminary proposal and instead should be submitted at the deadline for the Core track invited full proposals listed in this solicitation. Information on the scope of RCN projects and the format of these proposals can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=11691.

Accomplishment Based Renewal (ABR) Proposals

This solicitation will accept Accomplishment Based Renewal Proposals. ABR proposals do not start with a preliminary proposal and instead should be submitted at the deadline for invited full proposals listed in this IOS solicitation. Information on eligibility and the scope and format for ABR submissions can be found in the PAPPG. If you are considering an ABR submission you MUST contact a program officer in the relevant cluster prior to submission. Failure to do so may result in your proposal being returned without review.

U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Proposals

Proposals for international research in accordance with the IOS Dear Colleague Letter that announced this international collaborative activity with the BSF (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf15090) will be accepted under this solicitation. These international collaborative proposal submissions (whether reviewed by NSF or the international partner) will be subject to the submission limits in this solicitation for any PI or Co-PI. The preliminary proposal must be received by the deadlines listed in this solicitation. Questions about this activity should be directed to NSF-IOS-BSF@nsf.gov.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

This solicitation does not apply to conference proposals, requests for supplemental funding, RAPID or EAGER proposals, all of which should be submitted following the standard guidelines outlined below by selecting "In response to PAPPG" on the proposal coversheet and then selecting the appropriate Type of Proposal from the pull-down menu. CAREER proposals are likewise not covered by this solicitation. Additional CAREER proposal information can be found here: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503214

Conferences

IOS supports conferences, symposia, and workshops in areas of science supported by IOS that bring experts together to discuss current research, to expose other researchers or students to new research methods, and to discuss future directions. Conferences will be supported only if equivalent results cannot be obtained at regular meetings of professional societies or established conference series. For Guidance on preparing proposals for Conferences visit https://www.nsf.gov/bio/ios/confworkshopguidance.jsp. Proposers are encouraged to contact a Program Director about the suitability of the proposed activity for IOS support prior to submission.

EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)

The EAGER type of proposal may be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. These exploratory proposals may also be submitted directly to an NSF program at any time, but the EAGER mechanism should not be used for projects that are appropriate for submission as "regular" (i.e., non-EAGER) NSF proposals. PI(s) must contact the NSF Program Director(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic prior to submission of an EAGER proposal. This will aid in determining the appropriateness of the work for consideration under the EAGER mechanism; this suitability must be assessed early in the process. For guidelines, see the most recent version of the NSF PAPPG (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg).

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID)

The RAPID type of proposal is used for proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. PI(s) must contact the NSF Program Director(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic before submitting a RAPID proposal. This will facilitate determining whether the proposed work is appropriate for RAPID funding. For guidelines, see the most recent version of the NSF PAPPG (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg).

Supplemental Funding Requests

The target date for most IOS programs for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS), and Research Opportunity Award (ROA) supplement requests as well as proposals for Conferences is March 1 annually (or next business day if that is a weekend or holiday). See https://www.nsf.gov/bio/supp.jsp and https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=IOS for guidance on preparation of requests for supplemental funding.

Please note that supplemental funding is intended for unanticipated opportunities only and should be justified on this basis. Requests for support of planned REU, RET, RAHSS, and ROA activities should be included in the invited full proposal budget. See https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5517&org=IOS for additional guidance on budget preparation.

Career Life Balance Supplements

The Division will continue to support Career Life Balance (CLB) supplements. Instituted in 2012, NSF’s Career-Life Balance (CLB) Initiative is an ambitious, ten-year initiative that will build on the best of family-friendly practices among individual NSF programs to expand them to activities NSF-wide.

Funded Principal Investigators (PIs) are invited to submit supplemental funding requests to support additional personnel (e.g., research technicians or equivalent) to sustain research when the PI is on family leave. These requests may include funding for up to 3 months of salary support, for a maximum of $12,000 in salary compensation. The fringe benefits and associated indirect costs may be in addition to the salary payment and therefore, the total supplemental funding request may exceed $12,000.

International Activities

Investigators may also include international components in new proposals submitted to any relevant NSF program, or request supplemental funding for projects already supported by NSF. Investigators should consult early in the proposal process with both the disciplinary program manager and the International Science and Engineering (ISE) country program manager. ISE works with all NSF areas to co-fund new awards and supplements that meet these criteria. Information about additional international funding opportunities and links to ISE country program manager contacts may be found at https://www.nsf.gov/od/iia/ise/index.jsp.

III. AWARD INFORMATION

Anticipated Type of Award: Continuing Grant or Standard Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: Up to 220 awards per year, pending availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: NSF anticipates that approximately $55,000,000 will be available for new and continuing awards from this solicitation per fiscal year. Grants may be awarded in a variety of sizes and durations, as summarized below. The estimated budget and average award size/duration are subject to availability of funds and the quality of proposals received.

IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.
  • Consortia of only the eligible organizations listed above

Who May Serve as PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 2

The number of proposals per PI or co-PI is 2.

In a given year, an individual may participate as a PI or co-PI on no more than two preliminary proposals submitted to the Core track in response to this IOS Core Program Solicitation. Preliminary proposals in excess of the limit for any person will be returned without review in the reverse order received.

"PI" and "co-PI" refer to the role an individual would play in a full proposal (including all parts of a Collaborative Research Proposal). See Exhibit II-7: Definitions of Categories of Personnel in the PAPPG for the definition of proposer roles. It is the responsibility of the submitters to confirm that the entire team is within the eligibility guidelines. Participating in a proposal as a lead investigator on a sub-award, other senior personnel or as a collaborator does not count towards this limit, including investigators who contribute services for a fee (e.g., sequencing). Thus, the number of proposals on which an investigator can be listed as collaborator is unlimited. Changes in the team post-submission to meet the eligibility limits will not be allowed.

For the purposes of this solicitation senior personnel include the Principal Investigator (PI), any co-PIs, and any other researchers actively involved in achieving and managing the intellectual merit or broader impacts goals of the project. Senior personnel may include individuals who will provide essential expertise and intellectual engagement in a small but significant component of the overall project. Named postdoctoral researchers may be considered senior personnel. Students, or collaborators and consultants who provide specific technical expertise on a limited portion of the project are not considered senior personnel.

This limit does not pertain to proposals submitted to other solicitations (e.g., EDGE, Research Coordination Networks, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants, CAREER, Plant Genome Research Program, Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development) or to core programs in other BIO Divisions (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Biological Infrastructure, Environmental Biology). However, solicitations may have their own limit guidelines so be sure to review those carefully for details.

Please consult the IOS website (https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=IOS) for answers to frequently asked questions.

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Preliminary Proposals (required): Preliminary proposals are required and must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system, even if full proposals will be submitted via Grants.gov.

PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

The following solicitation specific exceptions and additions to the PAPPG guidelines apply to preliminary proposals submitted to this Solicitation:

Submission of a Preliminary Proposal is required to be eligible for invitation for a Full Proposal. Preliminary proposals that are not compliant with the guidelines will be returned without review. It is the submitting organization's responsibility to ensure that the preliminary proposal is compliant with all applicable guidelines.

Collaborative Proposals from Multiple Organizations: For projects with multiple PIs that would be submitted as Collaborative Research Proposals, the preliminary proposal should be submitted by ONLY the lead institution. The title should begin with the phrase "IOS Preliminary Proposal: Collaborative Research:" The collaborative partners should be indicated in the list of personnel on the first page of the Project Description (see below).

Preliminary proposals must contain the items listed below and adhere strictly to the specified page limitations. No additional information may be provided as an appendix or by links to webpages. Figures and tables must be included within the applicable page limit. All elements of the proposal, including legends and tables, must meet the formatting requirements for font, font size, characters per inch, margins, etc. as specified in the PAPPG. Preliminary proposals that fail to adhere to these formatting and page limitation requirements will be returned without review.

Preliminary proposals should contain an overview of the proposed research with sufficient detail to allow assessment of the major ideas and approaches to be used, as well as the broader impacts of the proposed research. Proposers must include the documents below in their preliminary proposals (prepared in accordance with standard NSF formatting guidelines):

Cover Sheet: Select the program solicitation number from the pull-down list. The IOS Programs will automatically appear. Check the box indicated for the preliminary proposal. Entries on the Cover Sheet are limited to the Principal Investigator and a maximum of four-co-principal investigators. The box for "Beginning Investigator" on the proposal Cover Sheet must be checked if either the Principal Investigator [PI] or one of the co-Principal Investigators [co-PIs] is an individual who has not been a PI or co-PI on a Federally-funded award with the exception of doctoral dissertation, postdoctoral fellowship or research planning grants. The sum of $2 should be entered on the budget line to allow correct FastLane processing. For more FastLane instructions, see section V.D. below.

Title of Proposed Project: Title should begin with the prefix "IOS Preliminary Proposal:..." followed by any additional acronyms or descriptors (e.g. "RUI:" for Research at Undergraduate Institutions, or "Collaborative Research:" ), if applicable.

Project Summary (1 page): Project Summaries must include three sections: Overview, Statement on Intellectual Merit and Statement on Broader Impacts. The summary should be written in the third person, informative to those working in the same or related field(s), and understandable to a scientifically or technically literate reader. Preliminary proposals that do not separately and explicitly address the overview and both intellectual merit and broader impacts in the Project Summary will not be accepted by FastLane or will be returned without review.

Project Description. Maximum 5 pages total, containing the following two sections:

Section I. Personnel (This section is limited to one page. Any remaining space should be left blank.) Provide a list of project personnel, including PI(s), co-PI(s), lead investigators on sub awards and other project personnel, whether from proposed collaborative research proposals (multiple organizations) or sub-awards. For proposed collaborative research proposals, indicate each non-lead organization's PI as non-lead PI 1, non-lead PI 2, etc. For the purposes of this solicitation, senior personnel include PIs, co-PIs and any other researchers actively involved in achieving and managing the intellectual merit or broader impacts goals of the project. Senior personnel may include individuals who will provide essential expertise and intellectual engagement on a small but significant component of the overall project, and may include named postdocs. For each person listed in Section I. Personnel, provide their institutional affiliation, title, status on the full proposal (i.e., PI, co-PI, subaward lead, other personnel), and in one sentence only describe that person's role(s) in the project. Any individual for whom a Biographical Sketch is included must be listed in Section I. Personnel. Any remaining space on this page should be left blank.

Section II. Project (This section is limited to four pages. The use of the sub-sections listed below is recommended, organized as appropriate.)

  1. "Conceptual Framework" or "Objectives" or "Specific Aims"
  2. "Rationale and Significance" or "Background"
  3. "Hypotheses" or "Research Question(s)"

  4. "Research Approach" or "Experimental Plan" or "Research Design"

  5. "Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work" (As required in the PAPPG)
  • References Cited (maximum 3 pages) See PAPPG for format guidelines.
  • Biographical Sketches (2-page limit for each) should be included for each person listed on the Personnel page. Biographical sketches should follow the format described in the PAPPG.
  • No budget should be submitted; however, please enter $2 in the Requested Amount box on the FastLane Cover Sheet (this entry allows correct FastLane processing).
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information. The template found at https://www.nsf.gov/bio/ios/ioscoatemplate.xlsx, contains a total of five tabs. Please read the Instructions carefully and follow guidance. Using the template, compile an Excel Workbook that identifies collaborators and other affiliations for all persons listed on the Personnel page (i.e., Section I) of the Project Description.

Collaborators and other affiliations to be identified are:

  1. Ph.D. dissertation advisors and advisees,
  2. collaborators or co-authors, including postdoctoral researchers, within the past 48 months,
  3. co-editors of a journal compendium, or conference proceedings within the past 24 months,

  4. A spouse or immediate family member who is also a collaborator should be identified as a family member rather than a collaborator; the family member status takes precedence.
  5. any other individuals with whom, or institutions with which, the senior personnel (PI(s), co-PI(s), and any named personnel) have ties, including advisory committees (specify type), boards of directors, or prospective employees.

The template identifying all collaborators and affiliations must be submitted as a Single Copy Document along with the proposal. Please note that Single Copy Documents are only available to NSF staff and not visible or accessible to reviewers.

The completed Excel Workbook should also be emailed to IOScoispreadsheet@nsf.gov immediately after you submit your proposal, but no later than the proposal deadline. The completed file must include the FastLane proposal ID (Not the Temporary ID #) assigned after submission of your proposal.

Collaborative Proposals. The lead organization on collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations should submit a single Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information document (one Excel Workbook) listing the collaborators and other affiliations for all persons listed on the Cover Page along with other senior personnel and subaward lead(s) of each proposal in the linked collaborative proposals.

Proposers must include the above documents (prepared in accordance with standard NSF formatting guidelines).

NOTE: Other documents except those included above are prohibited in preliminary proposals and should not be included.

Documents specifically EXCLUDED in a preliminary proposal are:

  • Current and Pending Support Statements,
  • Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources,
  • Budget and Budget Justification,
  • Data Management Plan,
  • Letters of Collaboration,
  • Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan,
  • RUI Impact Statement,
  • Certification of RUI, and
  • Supplementary documents or appendices.

Mid-Career Investigator Awards in Integrative Organismal Biology (MCA-IOS) activities may be included in preliminary and invited full proposals submitted to this solicitation. The Mid-Career Investigator should be listed along with the other project personnel in Section I (Personnel) and the proposed activities should be described in Section II (Project). A "mid career" investigator is defined here as any researcher who is post-tenure and not retired. The MCA-IOS opportunity provides support for mid-career researchers/scientists to acquire new skills to use genomics and bioinformatics tools and/or novel technologies to answer organismal questions. In the invited full proposal, requests for support may include research visits, for participation in training opportunities in other laboratories, and for the use of genome research facilities not available at the applicant's institution. If invited for a full proposal, support can be requested by an eligible investigator for his or her own activities or to host an eligible Mid-Career investigator and can include a request for salary support during periods of training. Investigators interested in the MCA-IOS activity are strongly encouraged to contact a Program Director for further guidance prior to submission of a preliminary proposal containing these activities.

Preliminary Proposal Checklist For Compliance

Prior to submission, please review your preliminary proposal against this checklist to ensure that it is fully compliant with the guidelines provided in this solicitation:

  • On the Cover Page, $2 is entered into the Requested Amount box to allow correct FastLane Processing and the Beginning Investigator box is checked if applicable.
  • The Title begins with the prefix "IOS Preliminary Proposal..." followed by any additional acronyms (e.g. RUI:), if applicable.
  • The Project Summary is limited to 1 page and includes an overview and separate statements on the Intellectual Merit and the Broader Impacts of the proposed activity.
  • The Project Description is limited to 5 pages, the first page of which contains only a list of project personnel, including institution, title, planned status (e.g. PI, co-PI, subaward lead, other senior personnel), and one-sentence summary of role(s) in the project.
  • The References Cited is limited to 3 pages and conforms to the PAPPG format.
  • Biographical Sketches conform to PAPPG format.
  • A Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information document prepared according to the provided template and emailed to IOScoaspreadsheet@nsf.gov.

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov or via the NSF FastLane system.

  • Full proposals submitted via FastLane: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg. Paper copies of the PAPPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov. Proposers are reminded to identify this program solicitation number in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
  • Full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via Grants.gov should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov. The complete text of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide). To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the Grants.gov site, then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Application Instructions link and enter the funding opportunity number, (the program solicitation number without the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper copies of the Grants.gov Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

In determining which method to utilize in the electronic preparation and submission of the proposal, please note the following:

Collaborative Proposals. All collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system. Chapter II, Section D.5 of the Grant Proposal Guide provides additional information on collaborative proposals.

See Chapter II.C.2 of the PAPPG for guidance on the required sections of a full research proposal submitted to NSF. Please note that the proposal preparation instructions provided in this program solicitation may deviate from the PAPPG instructions.

INVITED PROPOSAL PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

Full proposals will be accepted only from PIs who have submitted preliminary proposals in the current review cycle and have been invited to submit a full proposal, except as noted under Additional Funding Opportunities.

The full proposal should not deviate substantially from the preliminary proposal in the scope of the project or the list of personnel without prior written approval of the managing Program Director. However, PIs should consider incorporating useful suggestions from the reviews and panel summary of the preliminary proposal merit review. PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss such changes to scope, project plan and personnel with the managing Program Director prior to submitting a full proposal incorporating such changes.

The invited full proposal must be submitted to this Program Solicitation (not the PAPPG) and the Program area to which the Preliminary Proposal was submitted should be selected from the pull-down menu.

ADDITIONAL FULL PROPOSAL PREPARATION GUIDANCE

The PAPPG now states that the Project Description, must contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work". This separate section must be included in the Project Description of full proposals submitted to the IOS Core Programs solicitation.

  • Research Experiences. Projects anticipating the inclusion of REU, RET, RAHSS, or ROA activities should include those as part of the research proposal itself. See https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5517&org=IOS for additional information about preparation of REU budget requests. Please note that supplemental funding is intended only for unanticipated opportunities that arise during the course of the project.
  • For REU activities, a Supplementary Document (limited to three pages) should be included that describes (1) the nature of each prospective student's involvement in the research project; (2) the experience of the PI (or other prospective research mentors); (3) the nature of the mentoring that the student(s) will receive; and (4) the process and criteria for selecting the students(s). If a student has been selected, the grounds for selection and a brief biographical sketch of the student should be included. Please note that this section should not include a project description. See: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13542/nsf13542.pdf for additional guidance.

  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information. The template found at https://www.nsf.gov/bio/ios/ioscoatemplate.xlsx, contains a total of five tabs. Please read the Instructions carefully and follow guidance. Using the template, compile an Excel Workbook that identifies collaborators and other affiliates for all persons listed on the Proposal Cover Page, along with other senior personnel and subaward lead(s).
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliates to be identified are:
  1. Ph.D. dissertation advisors and advisees,
  2. collaborators or co-authors, including postdoctoral researchers, for the past 48 months,
  3. co-editors of a journal compendium, or conference proceedings within the past 24 months,
  4. A spouse or immediate family member who is also a collaborator should be identified as a family member rather than a collaborator; the family member status takes precedence.
  5. any other individuals with whom, or institutions with which, the senior personnel (PI(s), co-PI(s), and any named personnel) have ties, including advisory committees (specify type), boards of directors, or prospective employees.

The template identifying all collaborators and affiliations must be submitted as a Single Copy document along with the proposal. Please note that Single Copy documents are only available to NSF staff and not visible or accessible to reviewers.

The completed Excel Workbook should also be emailed to IOScoispreadsheet@nsf.gov immediately after you submit your proposal, but no later than the proposal deadline. The completed file must include the FastLane proposal ID (Not the Temporary ID # or Grants.gov ID) assigned after submission of your proposal.

Collaborative Proposals. The lead organization on collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations or on full proposals that include sub-awardees from one or more organizations should submit a single Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information document (one Excel Workbook) listing the collaborations and other affiliations for all persons listed on the Cover Page along with other senior personnel and subaward lead(s) of each proposal in the linked collaborative proposals or in the single proposal including multiple organizations.

  • Letters of Collaboration.

Supplementary Documents may include letters of collaboration from individuals or organizations that are integral parts of the proposed project but are not supported by subawards. Such involvement may include subsidiary involvement in some aspect of the project, cooperation on outreach efforts, or documentation of permission to access materials or data. Letters of collaboration should focus solely on affirming that the individual or organization is willing to collaborate on the project as specified in the project description which should include the nature of and need for the collaboration. No additional text may be included. The template that must be used for the preparation of letters of collaboration is provided below. Letters of collaboration should not be provided from any individual designated as a principal investigator or senior personnel, nor are letters of collaboration required from any organization that will be a subawardee in the proposal budget.

Requests to collaborators for letters of collaboration should be made by the PI well in advance of the proposal submission deadline, because they must be included at the time of the proposal submission. Proposals containing letters deviating from this template will be returned without review.

Template to be used for Letters of Collaboration

To: NSF _________(Program Title)___________ Program

From: ____________________________________

(Printed name of the individual collaborator or name of the organization and name and position of the official submitting this memo)

By signing below (or transmitting electronically), I acknowledge that I am listed as a collaborator on this proposal, entitled "_____(proposal title)_______," with _______(PI name)______ as the Principal Investigator. I agree to undertake the tasks assigned to me or my organization, as described in the Project Description or the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal, and I commit to provide or make available the resources specified therein.

Signed: _______________________

Organization: ________________________________

Date: _________________________

Please note that generic letters of general support are not allowed.

  • BIO Proposal Classification Form. Proposers must complete the Proposal Classification Form. The Proposal Classification Form is required for all submissions to BIO; FastLane will not allow processing of the proposal without it.

Invited Full Proposal Checklist For Compliance

Prior to submission, please review your invited full proposal against this checklist to ensure that it is fully compliant with the guidelines provided in this solicitation:

  • The email invitation to submit a full proposal is uploaded into Single Copy Documents.
  • The intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed research are addressed in the Project Summary and in the Project Description. The Project Description contains, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work".
  • The Biographical Sketches conform to the guidance in the PAPPG.
  • Planned REU, RET, RAHSS, and ROA activities are included in the budget request.
  • The Data Management Plan, and (where applicable) Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan, RUI Impact Statement and RUI Certification, and/or REU Request, have been uploaded into Supplementary Documents. Contact a cognizant Program Director if you have questions about these or other Supplementary Documents that you plan to upload.
  • Letters of Collaboration conform to the provided template and are loaded into Supplementary Documents. Generic letters of support are not allowed.
  • A Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information document prepared according to the provided template and emailed to ioscoaspreadsheet@nsf.gov by the full proposal deadline. Please contact a Program Director for guidance if you are unable to download the template.
  • It is highly recommended that a list of 5-10 suggested reviewers be entered into the appropriate tab on the Collaborators and Other Affiliations spreadsheet template, including the individuals' names, institutions, and areas of expertise, email addresses and URLs if available.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing:

Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Other Budgetary Limitations:

None

C. Due Dates

  • Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

         January 19, 2017

         January 19, 2018

         Third Friday in January, Annually Thereafter

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

         August 04, 2017

         First Friday in August, Annually Thereafter

D. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:

To prepare and submit a proposal via FastLane, see detailed technical instructions available at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

For Proposals Submitted Via Grants.gov:

Before using Grants.gov for the first time, each organization must register to create an institutional profile. Once registered, the applicant's organization can then apply for any federal grant on the Grants.gov website. Comprehensive information about using Grants.gov is available on the Grants.gov Applicant Resources webpage: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants.html. In addition, the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide (see link in Section V.A) provides instructions regarding the technical preparation of proposals via Grants.gov. For Grants.gov user support, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email: support@grants.gov. The Grants.gov Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Grants.gov. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this solicitation.

Submitting the Proposal: Once all documents have been completed, the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must submit the application to Grants.gov and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to Grants.gov. The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.

Proposers that submitted via FastLane are strongly encouraged to use FastLane to verify the status of their submission to NSF. For proposers that submitted via Grants.gov, until an application has been received and validated by NSF, the Authorized Organizational Representative may check the status of an application on Grants.gov. After proposers have received an e-mail notification from NSF, Research.gov should be used to check the status of an application.

VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES

Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program for acknowledgement and, if they meet NSF requirements, for review. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF either as ad hoc reviewers, panelists, or both, who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposal. In addition, Program Officers may obtain comments from site visits before recommending final action on proposals. Senior NSF staff further review recommendations for awards. A flowchart that depicts the entire NSF proposal and award process (and associated timeline) is included in PAPPG Exhibit III-1.

A comprehensive description of the Foundation's merit review process is available on the NSF website at: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/merit_review/.

Proposers should also be aware of core strategies that are essential to the fulfillment of NSF's mission, as articulated in Investing in Science, Engineering, and Education for the Nation's Future: NSF Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. These strategies are integrated in the program planning and implementation process, of which proposal review is one part. NSF's mission is particularly well-implemented through the integration of research and education and broadening participation in NSF programs, projects, and activities.

One of the strategic objectives in support of NSF's mission is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions must recruit, train, and prepare a diverse STEM workforce to advance the frontiers of science and participate in the U.S. technology-based economy. NSF's contribution to the national innovation ecosystem is to provide cutting-edge research under the guidance of the Nation's most creative scientists and engineers. NSF also supports development of a strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce by investing in building the knowledge that informs improvements in STEM teaching and learning.

NSF's mission calls for the broadening of opportunities and expanding participation of groups, institutions, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, which is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

A. Merit Review Principles and Criteria

The National Science Foundation strives to invest in a robust and diverse portfolio of projects that creates new knowledge and enables breakthroughs in understanding across all areas of science and engineering research and education. To identify which projects to support, NSF relies on a merit review process that incorporates consideration of both the technical aspects of a proposed project and its potential to contribute more broadly to advancing NSF's mission "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes." NSF makes every effort to conduct a fair, competitive, transparent merit review process for the selection of projects.

1. Merit Review Principles

These principles are to be given due diligence by PIs and organizations when preparing proposals and managing projects, by reviewers when reading and evaluating proposals, and by NSF program staff when determining whether or not to recommend proposals for funding and while overseeing awards. Given that NSF is the primary federal agency charged with nurturing and supporting excellence in basic research and education, the following three principles apply:

  • All NSF projects should be of the highest quality and have the potential to advance, if not transform, the frontiers of knowledge.
  • NSF projects, in the aggregate, should contribute more broadly to achieving societal goals. These "Broader Impacts" may be accomplished through the research itself, through activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified.
  • Meaningful assessment and evaluation of NSF funded projects should be based on appropriate metrics, keeping in mind the likely correlation between the effect of broader impacts and the resources provided to implement projects. If the size of the activity is limited, evaluation of that activity in isolation is not likely to be meaningful. Thus, assessing the effectiveness of these activities may best be done at a higher, more aggregated, level than the individual project.

With respect to the third principle, even if assessment of Broader Impacts outcomes for particular projects is done at an aggregated level, PIs are expected to be accountable for carrying out the activities described in the funded project. Thus, individual projects should include clearly stated goals, specific descriptions of the activities that the PI intends to do, and a plan in place to document the outputs of those activities.

These three merit review principles provide the basis for the merit review criteria, as well as a context within which the users of the criteria can better understand their intent.

2. Merit Review Criteria

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board approved merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. Both criteria are to be given full consideration during the review and decision-making processes; each criterion is necessary but neither, by itself, is sufficient. Therefore, proposers must fully address both criteria. (PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.d(i). contains additional information for use by proposers in development of the Project Description section of the proposal). Reviewers are strongly encouraged to review the criteria, including PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.d(i), prior to the review of a proposal.

When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. To that end, reviewers will be asked to evaluate all proposals against two criteria:

  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

Proposers are reminded that reviewers will also be asked to review the Data Management Plan and the Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan, as appropriate.

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

For preliminary proposals, it is recommended that reviewers focus on the following critical aspects of the proposed work:

  • The questions driving the research
  • The goals expected to be accomplished
  • The approaches employed in the proposed research

In addition, it is suggested that the following issues be considered as they prepare their reviews:

  • Are the ideas innovative or potentially transformative?
  • Are the ideas conceptually well grounded?
  • Are the experimental approaches and experimental design feasible and logically linked to the central ideas?
  • Are the PIs well qualified and sufficiently experienced with the approaches to effectively conduct the research?
  • What risks are involved and can they be overcome?
  • What is the potential impact of the science?
  • Is there a convincing and significant effort made towards broader impacts?

A strong preliminary proposal is one in which the logical flow and significance of the proposed line of investigation are articulated clearly and the broader impacts of the work are apparent. In short, IOS would like reviewers to identify preliminary proposals that address questions and/or ideas that are most likely to lead to large advances in the field.

B. Review and Selection Process

Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to evaluate proposals using two National Science Board approved merit review criteria and, if applicable, additional program specific criteria. A summary rating and accompanying narrative will generally be completed and submitted by each reviewer and/or panel. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF strives to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. Large or particularly complex proposals or proposals from new awardees may require additional review and processing time. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director acts upon the Program Officer's recommendation.

After programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications. After an administrative review has occurred, Grants and Agreements Officers perform the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.

Once an award or declination decision has been made, Principal Investigators are provided feedback about their proposals. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers or any reviewer-identifying information, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See Section VI.B. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award notice, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award notice; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1)*; or Research Terms and Conditions* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award notice. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/award_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter VII, available electronically on the NSF Website at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg.

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer no later than 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require submission of more frequent project reports). No later than 120 days following expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report, and a project outcomes report for the general public.

Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports, or the project outcomes report, will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for all identified PIs and co-PIs on a given award. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through Research.gov, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on accomplishments, project participants (individual and organizational), publications, and other specific products and impacts of the project. Submission of the report via Research.gov constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete. The project outcomes report also must be prepared and submitted using Research.gov. This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project. This report will be posted on the NSF website exactly as it is submitted by the PI.

More comprehensive information on NSF Reporting Requirements and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter VII, available electronically on the NSF Website at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg.

VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Please note that the program contact information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

  • Behavioral Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8423, email: IOSBSC@nsf.gov

  • Developmental Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8417, email: IOSDSC@nsf.gov

  • Neural Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8421, email: IOSNSC@nsf.gov

  • Phys. & Struct. Systems Cluster, Program Directors, 685N, telephone: (703) 292-8413, email: IOSPSS@nsf.gov

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:

  • Grants.gov Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from Grants.gov within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail: support@grants.gov.

IX. OTHER INFORMATION

The NSF website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, "NSF Update" is an information-delivery system designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail or the user's Web browser each time new publications are issued that match their identified interests. "NSF Update" also is available on NSF's website.

Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

NSF receives approximately 55,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Arctic and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide Chapter II.E.6 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at https://www.nsf.gov

  • Location:

4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230

  • For General Information
    (NSF Information Center):

(703) 292-5111

  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):

(703) 292-5090

  • To Order Publications or Forms:

Send an e-mail to:

nsfpubs@nsf.gov

or telephone:

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PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; and to another Federal agency, court, or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Suzanne H. Plimpton
Reports Clearance Officer
Office of the General Counsel
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230



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