Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Program Solicitation NSF 22-638, Build and Broaden (B2) - Enhancing Social, Behavioral and Economic Science Research and Capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions
- Why is NSF offering this solicitation?
- Whom do I contact if I am interested in submitting a proposal pursuant to this solicitation?
- How do I know if my institution or my collaborator's institution is classified as a minority serving institution?
- Are there any restrictions on who may submit proposals?
- Are there any restrictions on who may serve as PI?
- Is there a limit on the number of proposals per principal investigator?
- Is a non-minority scholar based at an MSI eligible to submit a proposal as a PI to the Build and Broaden solicitation?
- Are there any specific research areas NSF is interested in funding in this solicitation?
- When is the due date to submit a proposal to the Build and Broaden solicitation?
- Are there any limits on the proposal budget or duration for this program?
- What is the estimated number of awards for this solicitation?
- Does this solicitation require letters of endorsement?
- Are there any restrictions on the type of proposal that may be submitted to this solicitation?
- How will my proposal be evaluated? Will the research or the MSI involvement be weighted more heavily when funding decisions are made?
- What is the review process for B2 proposal submissions?
- May I submit my proposal to both B2 and another NSF program?
- Can I use Grants.gov, Research.gov, or FastLane to submit my proposal?
Why is NSF offering this solicitation?
The Build and Broaden program was created to encourage research by scholars at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including as part of collaborations with scholars at other institutions or organizations. National forecasts of the impending shortage of science and engineering skills and essential research workforce underscore the importance of expanding the volume and increasing the diversity and interconnectedness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scientists. NSF has taken steps to expand participation by focusing on research communities that are not well represented in the federal research system. MSIs make considerable contributions to educating and training science leaders for U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. The Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) offers Build and Broaden to increase proposal submissions, advance research collaborations and networks involving MSI scholars, and support research activities in the SBE sciences at MSIs.
Whom do I contact if I am interested in submitting a proposal pursuant to this solicitation?
Prospective principal investigators (PIs) are strongly encouraged to contact the program directors listed in the B2 solicitation in advance of proposal submission. You may include a one-page synopsis of your project along with your inquiry to the program directors. The summary should include a brief overview of the proposed project, as well as a brief description of its intellectual merit and broader impacts. Program directors will respond to inquiries concerning project scope, as well as fit and appropriateness of the research idea or capacity-building aspects of the proposal. For NSF-specific preparation instructions, as well as questions about the B2 review process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I know if my institution or my collaborator's institution is classified as a minority serving institution?
Whether an institution is determined to be minority-serving is based on the original purpose of its establishment or its current enrollment thresholds and is designated as such by the federal government. Minority-serving institutions include historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), Alaska Native-serving institutions or Native Hawaiian-serving institutions (ANNH), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISI) and Native American-serving non-tribal institutions (NASNTI). For more information, please see the U.S. Department of Education's definitions and lists of eligible post-secondary institutions (you may also consult the Department of Education’s eligibility matrix).
Are there any restrictions on who may submit proposals?
The lead institution on a Build and Broaden proposal may be any minority-serving institution or any non-MSI. However, NSF strongly encourages proposal submissions from lead institutions that have received fewer than $25,000,000 total in NSF awards within the previous five years, or fewer than $3,000,000 total in SBE awards within the previous five years. Institutions with NSF funding that exceeds these amounts are encouraged to collaborate with institutions that do meet these criteria. To determine how much funding your organization has received within the previous five years, please use the NSF advanced awards search tool.
Are there any restrictions on who may serve as PI?
Yes, the principal investigator for a Build and Broaden project must be either 1) a full-time scientist, educator or researcher at any accredited MSI or 2) a full-time scientist, educator, or researcher at any eligible non-MSI institution or organization whose co-PI or collaborator is based at an MSI. In the second case, the PIs must clearly demonstrate how, as a primary outcome of the proposed work, research partnerships and interconnectedness will be advanced between the MSI and non-MSI institutions. For these proposals, more than 50 percent of the overall project's direct costs must go to the participating MSI(s).
Is there a limit on the number of proposals per principal investigator?
Yes, an individual may be the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for only one proposal per review cycle. In other words, no investigator, PI or co-PI can be listed on the NSF proposal cover sheet on more than one Build and Broaden proposal in a given year.
Is a non-minority scholar based at an MSI eligible to submit a proposal as a PI to the Build and Broaden solicitation?
Yes, a non-minority scientist, educator or researcher based at any accredited MSI is eligible to submit a proposal to the Build and Broaden solicitation as a PI.
Are there any specific research areas NSF is interested in funding in this solicitation?
Faculty at MSIs are uniquely positioned to contribute their expertise to numerous research areas that would expressly benefit from partnership- and capacity-building collaborations. B2 projects can address any of the core research areas supported by the SBE directorate. These areas include, but are not limited to, anthropology, archaeology, cognitive neuroscience, decision science, ecological research, economics, geography, linguistics, law and science, organizational behavior, political science, public policy, security and preparedness, psychology, and sociology. For a full list of SBE science disciplines, please visit the SBE programs page or explore NSF's funding search page. Note that B2 proposals must address fundamental research in one or more of these core areas; proposals that do not will be returned without review.
When is the due date to submit a proposal to the Build and Broaden solicitation?
The target date to submit a proposal is January 19, 2023, by 5 p.m., submitter's local time. Per Chapter I.F.1 of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), target dates are dates after which proposals will still be accepted, although they may miss a particular panel or committee meeting. PIs are encouraged to contact the program directors listed in the B2 solicitation if they have any questions about meeting the due date.
Are there any limits on the proposal budget or duration for this program?
No, there is no limit on budget or duration for B2 proposals. We anticipate a range of award amounts and durations to fit the scope of proposed projects. Please request funds for what you think is reasonable to complete your project within the proposed duration. Refer to the PAPPG for more details on budget and duration.
What is the estimated number of awards for this solicitation?
The SBE directorate plans to make approximately 25 to 30 awards per year in response to this solicitation, with a variety of award sizes to match the scope of the proposed work. B2 awards are subject to the availability of funds.
Does this solicitation require letters of endorsement?
No, this solicitation does not allow for letters of endorsement.
Are there any restrictions on the type of proposal that may be submitted to this solicitation?
In addition to standard research and collaborative research proposals, this program will accept conference proposals, Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals, Research Coordination Networks (RCN) proposals, and requests for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) supplements. EAGER and RCN proposals should describe exploratory and experimental activities involving projects that are theory-driven with outcomes that may be uncertain and involve risk. Proposals may address any of the scientific areas supported by SBE.
How will my proposal be evaluated? Will the research or the MSI involvement be weighted more heavily when funding decisions are made?
The B2 solicitation will focus on advancing research at MSIs and supporting research partnerships among MSIs and between non-MSIs and MSIs. Successful submissions will propose activities that advance the SBE sciences at MSIs and propose well-designed, theoretically sound fundamental research. Please refer to the "VI. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures" section of the B2 solicitation, which includes guidelines on NSF merit review criteria and additional solicitation-specific review criteria.
What is the review process for B2 proposal submissions?
B2 proposals will be reviewed by a combination of panel and external review. B2 proposals are eligible for co-review within SBE programs as is appropriate. Decisions for co-review and co-funding will be at the discretion of managing program officers.
May I submit my proposal to both B2 and another NSF program?
No, the same work/proposal cannot be submitted under separate solicitations. If the proposer envisions co-review by multiple programs, more than one program may be designated on the cover sheet (See the PAPPG for further details). It is possible to submit separate proposals for concurrent review by different programs if the proposals cover different research activities.
Can I use Grants.gov, Research.gov, or FastLane to submit my proposal?
Proposals for B2 are no longer being accepted via FastLane. You may use Research.gov or Grants.gov to submit your proposal to this solicitation. Full proposals submitted via Research.gov should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). Full proposals submitted 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.