Dear Colleague Letter: Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) Collaborative Research Opportunities
November 2, 2020
The U.S. National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Research Cooperation. The MOU provides an overarching framework to encourage collaboration between U.S. and French research communities and sets out the principles by which jointly supported activities might be developed. The MOU provides for an international collaboration arrangement whereby U.S. researchers may receive funding from the NSF and French researchers may receive funding from ANR.
The goal of this France-U.S. collaborative research opportunity is to help reduce some of the current barriers to working internationally. Through a "lead agency model," NSF and ANR will address these issues by allowing a team of U.S. and French researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process at the lead agency for that fiscal year. NSF will be the lead agency for the first three years (FY 2021, FY 2022, and FY 2023), and ANR and NSF anticipate serving as the lead agency in alternate years thereafter.
The collaborative opportunity described in this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) remains in effect until archived.
Collaborative research proposals will be accepted to the Small project class of the CISE Core Programs, available at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505667.
French researchers are invited to read the Generic Call for Proposals (AAPG) from ANR (https://anr.fr/fr/detail/call/aapg-appel-a-projets-generique-2024/). The ANR website indicates the funding limits for the French partners in a NSF-ANR collaborative proposal. ANR support for the French researchers will be for the duration approved by NSF for the U.S. grantee – capped at three years for Small projects in the CISE Core Programs – and French researchers may be part of at most 3 proposals in any fiscal year at the time of writing. Limits for U.S. researchers on the number of proposal submissions are described in the relevant CISE Core Programs solicitation referenced.
Proposals are expected to adhere to the areas of science, funding limits, and grant durations for the Small project class of the CISE Core Programs and ANR programs from which funding is sought (see website links for each listed above). Proposals must represent an integrated collaborative effort. This document provides guidelines for the preparation, submission, review, and award of CISE-ANR collaborative research proposals.
Proposers are advised that all documents submitted to NSF or ANR may be shared with the other agency in order to implement the two-way agency activities.
PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION
Proposals will be submitted to NSF during the first three years (for U.S. fiscal years 2021 through 2023, ending on September 30, 2023) in which NSF is the lead agency, with a separate copy submitted within one week of the NSF submission by the French applicants to ANR. The proposals will be reviewed by NSF in competition with other proposals received for the same funding round of the program to which the proposal is submitted, using NSF's merit review process. ANR will check that the French investigators have an active and appropriate role and confirm their eligibility at the onset of the process but will not conduct a parallel review and will not rank proposals. ANR intends to support the French effort for those projects whose U.S. research partner is funded by NSF, for those years in which NSF is the lead agency.
There are no separate NSF funds available for this effort; proposals must compete with all other proposals submitted to the CISE Core Program competition to which the proposal is submitted and must succeed on the strengths of their intellectual merit and broader impacts.
As the Small project class within the CISE Core Programs has moved to a "no-deadline" format, the applicable deadlines from ANR (see the AAPG link above) will be honored. In general, proposal review is completed generally within six months of submission. A proposer may wish to consult a program director in the relevant program about the timing of their submission.
In all cases, the same proposal must be provided to ANR within one week of the NSF submission.
- The proposed work submitted under a CISE-ANR collaboration must represent an integrated collaborative effort. The Project Summary and Project Description of the proposal must include a description of the collaboration, including an explanation of the role(s) of the French collaborator(s) and an explanation of how the team will work together.
- The proposal must describe the intellectual merits of the proposed research, including the value of the international collaboration, and the anticipated societal benefits (broader impacts) of the effort. As broader impacts are a review requirement for both NSF and ANR, the proposal should include the relevant societal benefits.
- The proposal should describe the full proposed research program, including the total U.S. and French resources that will be part of the project. NSF proposers should indicate only the U.S. expenses on the NSF budget form. ANR proposers should indicate only the French research expenses on the ANR budget form. The French budget and budget justification must be included in the NSF proposal as a supplementary document. The Budget Justification section of the NSF proposal should clearly differentiate the U.S. budget from any similar funds requested by the French team and justify the full U.S. project budget. Proposals that request duplicative funding may be returned without review.
- The proposal must be submitted to the Small project class of a CISE Core Program by an eligible U.S. institution, Research.gov (https://www.research.gov), or Grants.gov (https://www.grants.gov/). Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the standard requirements described in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and comply with requirements in the CISE Core Programs solicitation (referenced above). The French institution must submit a proposal with the identical Project Description, with any required additional information to ANR, via the ANR submission system (https://anr.fr/fr/appels/).
- By submitting, PIs and their institutions agree that NSF may share unattributed reviews and information pertaining to the review process with ANR.
- Involvement in a joint international proposal will count towards the limit on the number of submissions to the CISE Core Programs solicitation in which an individual may participate as a PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel.
- The title of the proposal should be prefixed with "CISE-ANR:" to indicate that the document is to be considered by both NSF/CISE and ANR. The remainder of the title should be structured in accordance with the guidance contained in the relevant CISE Core Programs solicitation (e.g., CISE-ANR: core program acronym: Small: Title).
- If the proposal is submitted as part of a set of collaborative proposals (i.e., involving more than one institution on the U.S. side), the title of the proposal should begin with "Collaborative Research:" followed by "CISE-ANR". The remainder of the title should be structured in accordance with the guidance contained in the relevant CISE Core Programs solicitation (e.g., Collaborative Research: CISE-ANR: core program acronym: Small: Title).
- Do not check "collaborative" proposal unless more than one U.S.-based institution will be submitting the same proposal for separate funding (i.e., the "collaborative" check box only applies if there is more than one collaborating institution on the U.S. side, each submitting the same proposal).
- French investigators should not be listed as co-PIs on the NSF Cover Sheet; French personnel should instead be listed as Other Senior Personnel. Listing French partners as Other Senior Personnel will help ensure that NSF systems automatically request the additional documents that are required. Information on "current and pending support" is required for all personnel listed as "senior personnel."
- Biographical sketches should be provided for French partners and for the U.S. investigators and should be prepared in accordance with the standard biographical sketch format described in the PAPPG.
- For projects involving human subjects/participants or vertebrate animals, proposers should follow both NSF and ANR policies, submitting documentation to each as appropriate.
The NSF proposal must include the documents requested in the CISE Core Programs solicitation.
In addition, the following documents must be included in CISE-ANR proposals:
- Provide as a Supplementary Document a copy of the proposed French budget requested from ANR in English using U.S. Dollars, and a budget justification that explains the request.
- Provide a list, as a Single Copy Document, of collaborators and other affiliations for each Senior Personnel included in a proposal, including French partners. This list of persons with whom there is an affiliation is required for French and U.S. partners to assist in the selection of reviewers. See PAPPG Chapter II.C.1.e.
- Letters of collaboration may be included, but they must comply with the requirements in PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.j.
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 ANR in any reports or publications resulting from the award. Requests for changes in awards (for example, changes in scope) will be discussed by NSF and ANR before a joint decision is made.
Questions about this DCL may be directed to Phillip Regalia (firstname.lastname@example.org), Program Director in the CISE Division of Computing and Communication Foundations. Additionally, the Office of International Science and Engineering helps to coordinate the overall engagement between NSF and ANR.
Assistant Director, CISE
National Science Foundation