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This document has been archived and replaced by NSF 20-069.

NSF 19-062

Dear Colleague Letter: Research Opportunities in Europe for NSF CAREER Awardees

April 29, 2019

Dear Colleague:


To further scientific and technological cooperation between the United States and the European Community, the National Science Foundation and the European Research Council signed an Implementing Arrangement on July 13, 2012 to enable U.S.-based scientists and engineers with NSF-funded CAREER awards and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to pursue research collaboration with European colleagues supported through EU-funded European Research Council (ERC) grants.

Connecting researchers with complementary strengths and shared interests promotes scientific progress in solving some of the world's most vexing problems. This international research opportunity is mutually beneficial to the U.S. participants and their hosts through cooperative activities during research visits and establishing international research partnerships to enrich future research activities in the U.S. and Europe.

Under the Arrangement, the ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA) identifies ERC-funded research groups who wish to host CAREER awardees for research visits of up to one year within their ERC funding.

The 2018 Dear Colleague Letter for this opportunity noted that 2018 would be the final year in its current form. NSF is extending the current opportunity for one additional year. NSF intends to announce a new, related opportunity in FY 2020.


This letter invites current CAREER awardees to apply for research visits to any identified, appropriate European research group. Further, the letter gives instructions on how to apply and other relevant policies and requirements. A similar Dear Colleague Letter invites NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellows to participate (see NSF 19-063).

ERCEA has provided a list of ERC-funded principal investigators (PIs) and research teams interested in hosting NSF CAREER awardees. CAREER awardees should request this list via email from, and then communicate directly with ERC PIs to ascertain areas of mutual interest and research goals for a visit. CAREER awardees then must discuss plans for their visits with the NSF Program Officer managing their CAREER awards prior to submitting a supplemental funding request. If approved by NSF, the request is forwarded by NSF to ERCEA for review and confirmation with the ERC-funded project.

The European hosts will provide funding to support in-country living expenses during the visits.

NSF will provide travel funds to and from Europe, up to 20 percent of the total CAREER award.

Activities are subject to availability of funds and all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and programs of the ERC and NSF.


Only CAREER awardees with active awards may apply.


NSF CAREER awardees may apply for a single short-term or long-term research visit or multiple short- term visits. Multiple short-term visits should aggregate to an agreed-upon number of visits and minimum time, e.g., 6 months. For definition, research visits of less than 6 months are considered short-term, whereas visits of 6 months to one year are long-term visits. The maximum visit duration is limited to 12 months. Visits must be concluded prior to the expiration date of the NSF CAREER award.

CAREER awardees will continue to receive NSF funding during the period of the European visit, and their salaries will be covered in accordance with the award terms and conditions. NSF will provide supplemental funding to the CAREER award for the foreign travel expenses of the awardee for short-term visits and, if requested, for the awardee plus qualified family members (as defined in Uniform Guidance § 200.474 Travel Costs) for long-term visits.

In-country costs should be provided from the existing ERC funding in accordance with applicable national laws and regulations, commensurate with the level of experience of the CAREER awardee. These in-country costs may include subsistence on a per diem basis or other appropriate arrangement by the host institution. Other eligible costs incurred during the visit that are directly related to the ERC-funded project may also be allowed and should be agreed with the European host prior to submitting the request.

CAREER awardees will be expected to report on the research visits in their NSF annual and final project reports, as appropriate, and may be asked to participate in follow-up evaluation activities.


Research visits will be funded for NSF CAREER awardees as supplements to their awards. Supplemental funding requests will be prepared in accordance with standard policies and procedures using FastLane following consultation with the cognizant NSF Program Officer.

The supplemental funding request consists of:

  • Description of the research to be performed during the visit at the host location and how it relates to current research and broad career goals (no more than 3 pages)
  • 2-page biographical sketch of the U.S. PI
  • 2-page biographical sketch of the ERC-funded PI host
  • Time-line for the proposed activity
  • Confirmation of Institutional Review Board/Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approvals, permits, and/or other special clearances needed, if any
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Communication from the department chair of the U.S. PI endorsing the visit
  • Communication from the ERC-funded PI host indicating:
    1. how the proposed visit fits within the ERC-funded project;
    2. facilities and resources to be made available to the CAREER awardee; and
    3. expectations that the ERC-funded PI host has for the CAREER awardee's visit.
  • Endorsement of the visit from the ERC-funded host institution.

Supplemental funding requests should be prepared and submitted via FastLane in accordance with the guidance in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter VI.E.4.

Supplemental funding requests will be reviewed internally by NSF Program Officers. All supplements are subject to (a) the availability of funds, and (b) review of the quality of the supplemental funding request.

NSF may share the supplemental funding request in its entirety with ERC staff and the proposed ERC-funded PI host.


Requests must be received at NSF at least 3 months prior to the proposed visit, but no later than June 21, 2019, for consideration using Fiscal Year 2019 funds.


For further information, please contact:

Roxanne Nikolaus, Program Director, Office of International Science and Engineering, (703) 292-7578. Email:


Rebecca Keiser
Office Head
Office of International Science and Engineering


Karen Marrongelle
Assistant Director
Directorate for Education and Human Resources