research opportunities

Dear Colleague Letter: Growing Convergence Research

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Read DCL NSF 18-058 Online

Dear Colleagues:

Growing Convergence Research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) was identified in 2016 as one of 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment. Research relying on convergence is needed to solve complex scientific and engineering problems that require integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation. NSF identifies Convergence Research as having two primary characteristics:

  • Research driven by a specific and compelling problem. Research requiring a convergence paradigm is generally inspired by the need to address a specific challenge or opportunity, whether it arises from deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.
  • Deep integration across disciplines. As experts from different disciplines pursue common research challenges, their knowledge, theories, methods, data, research communities and languages become increasingly intermingled or integrated. New frameworks, paradigms or disciplines can form from sustained interactions across multiple communities.

The convergence paradigm builds upon transdisciplinary approaches to research by intentionally bringing together intellectually diverse scientists and/or engineers at a project's inception in new collaborations that can generate multiple solutions to complex problems. Convergence has been discussed in a number of reports. The National Research Council published a series of reports between 2004 and 2014 on topics in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, culminating in the 2014 study, Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond, which included several examples of convergence in action. A comprehensive treatment of convergence in the biomedical sciences, entitled Convergence: The Future of Health, was published in 2016. More recently – in 2017 – the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report entitled A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research envisioned convergence becoming the essence of center-based research in the 21st century.

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) seeks to identify potential future research areas that go beyond NSF's Big Ideas, require a convergence approach, cross internal and/or external organizational and disciplinary boundaries, and advance the progress of science as articulated in NSF's mission. NSF encourages the submission of prospectuses to identify these new areas and specific projects within them. NSF may invite the teams submitting the most promising prospectuses to submit proposals to further explore their research strategies. Prospectuses must outline novel approaches and research strategies that are likely to result in a clear demonstration of the potential for transformative advances. The research areas and proposed projects must reflect the characteristics of convergence outlined here.

Interested researchers who would like to compete for FY 2018 and FY 2019 funding must submit a prospectus describing a new area of research and an exploratory research project within it to the convergpro [at] nsf [dot] gov mailbox. A prospectus may be submitted at any time to help NSF identify new areas of research that require convergence, but to be considered for FY 2018 support, the prospectus must be submitted by May 1, 2018, and for FY 2019 funding, by October 15, 2018. All prospectus submissions will be acknowledged via email. The prospectus should not exceed 1,000 words of text and be no more than two pages in length, inclusive of figures and tables. It must include: (i) a description of a potential future research area requiring a convergence approach; (ii) a list of the pertinent disciplines to be integrated; (iii) a brief description of the proposed exploratory research project within the area described in (i); (iv) a brief description of the methods and research strategies that will nurture convergence in the exploratory research project; and (v) a listing of the senior personnel who would be involved in the exploratory project. No references are required in the prospectus.

Researchers describing the most promising research ideas and exploratory projects will be invited to submit a proposal within 60 days after issuance of the invitation. An invited proposal must be prepared in accordance to the guidance for Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) proposals, as specified in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG; see Chapter II.E.3). The invited researchers do not need to obtain further approval from NSF program officers to submit the invited proposal. The total proposed budget may not exceed $1 million, and the proposed project duration should not exceed 3 years.

Prospective principal investigators are advised that, based on the portfolio of ideas received, NSF may choose to use internal review for these RAISE proposals or seek advice from external reviewers as to the merits of the full proposals received. Such external review may include review by ad hoc reviewers and/or a panel.

This DCL remains in effect for twelve months from the date of issue, unless superseded by another DCL or a new solicitation.

POINTS OF CONTACT

Researchers should direct questions about this DCL to convergpro [at] nsf [dot] gov.

Questions about convergence should be directed to Dragana Brzakovic at dbrzakov [at] nsf [dot] gov.

Sincerely,

Joanne S. Tornow, Assistant Director (Acting), BIO
James Kurose, Assistant Director, CISE
William J. (Jim) Lewis, Assistant Director (Acting), EHR
Dawn M. Tilbury, Assistant Director, ENG
William E. Easterling, Assistant Director, GEO
C. Suzanne Iacono, Office Head, OIA
Rebecca L. Keiser, Office Head, OISE
Anne Kinney, Assistant Director, MPS
Fay Cook, Assistant Director, SBE

NASA-Missouri Space Grant Consortium -- 2018 Community and Technical College Funding Opportunity

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The NASA Missouri Space Grant Consortium is accepting proposals to extend the Consortium’s capabilities and enhance collaborations with Missouri Community and Technical Colleges. The Consortium expects to award a total of approximately $42,500 under this solicitation for proposals with anticipated funding levels of up to $7,500 per proposal. Note that a one-to-one cost share match is required for all funds awarded as a result of this solicitation. The Missouri Space Grant Office reserves the right to partially fund proposals if deemed appropriate.

The main mission of the Consortium is to maintain and enhance, through the State's research universities and corporate partners, the Nation’s workforce capabilities in aerospace and space related science, engineering, and technology; and to aid in the dissemination of NASA related information to students, faculty, researchers, and the general public. The primary goal of the Consortium is to inspire, motivate, recruit, educate, and train students to be competent researchers at all academic levels in order to help meet Missouri’s and NASA’s need for skilled, knowledgeable, diverse, and high-performing professional scientists, engineers, technologists, and educators specializing in the fields of interest to NASA.

Eligibility

Eligibility is limited to accredited Community and Technical Colleges in Missouri.

Pertinent Dates

Date of Announcement: February 5th, 2018

       Proposal Due Date: March 16th, 2018

Period of Performance

January 1st, 2018 – December 31st, 2018

 

Download the Announcement of Proposal Guidelines HERE

Download the Budget Form to be submitted with the Proposal HERE

Research Coordination Networks in Undergraduate Biology Education

Event date(s): Tuesday, January 30, 2018


PROGRAM SOLICITATION: NSF 18-510

Summary of Program Requirements

Program Title:

Research Coordination Networks in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE)

Synopsis of Program:

The goal of the RCN program is to advance a field or create new directions in research or education by supporting groups of investigators to communicate and coordinate their research, training, and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic, and international boundaries. The RCN-UBE program originated as a unique RCN track to “catalyze positive changes in biology undergraduate education” (NSF 08-035) and is now supported by the collaborative efforts of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). It has been responsive to the national movement to revolutionize undergraduate learning and teaching in the biological sciences as described in the “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education” report. The RCN-UBE program seeks to improve undergraduate biology in different areas by leveraging the power of a collaborative network. The theme or focus of an RCN-UBE proposal can be on any topic likely to advance the goal of enhancing undergraduate biology education. Collectively, the program has contributed to developing and disseminating educational research resources and modules, to forging of new collaborations, and to sharing of best practices and ideas for scalability and sustainability of activities. These efforts have involved a large cadre of faculty, students, and other stakeholders. Proposed networking activities directed to the RCN-UBE program should focus on a theme to give coherence to the collaboration.

In accord with other RCNs, the RCN-UBE provides opportunities to foster new collaborations (including international partnerships), to address interdisciplinary topics, to explore innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies, to explore collaborative technologies, and to develop community standards. RCN-UBE awards do not support existing networks or the activities of established collaborations. RCN awards do not support primary research.

Note: Because it addresses undergraduate biology education, the RCN-UBE track is offered in alignment with the NSF-wide undergraduate STEM education initiative, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE). More information about IUSE can be found in the Program Description section of this solicitation. Depending on the scope and nature of the project, investigators should consider applying to IUSE or RCN-UBE.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 8 to 12

Anticipated Funding Amount: $2,500,000 to $3,500,000

pending availability of appropriations.

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.

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:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required
  • Full Proposals:

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

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

         January 30, 2018

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE)

Event date(s): Friday, December 1, 2017 to Thursday, February 8, 2018


PROGRAM SOLICITATION: NSF 18-509

Important Dates

Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

December 01, 2017

First Friday in December, Annually Thereafter

HBCU-RISE

December 01, 2017

First Friday in December, Every Other Year Thereafter

Preliminary CREST Center

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

February 15, 2018

Third Thursday in February, Every Other Year Thereafter

Preliminary CREST Centers

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

Proposals Accepted Anytime

SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplements

February 08, 2018

Second Thursday in February, Annually Thereafter

CREST Partnership Supplements

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

January 30, 2018

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

February 08, 2018

Second Thursday in February, Annually Thereafter

HBCU-RISE

December 07, 2018

First Friday in December, Every Other Year Thereafter

CREST Centers

December 07, 2018

First Friday in December, Annually Thereafter

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Summary of Program Requirements

Program Title:

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE)

Synopsis of Program:

The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program provides support to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions (MSI) through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. MSIs of higher education denote institutions that have undergraduate enrollments of 50% or more (based on total student enrollment) of members of minority groups underrepresented among those holding advanced degrees in science and engineering fields: African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. CREST promotes the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PRF) awards provide research experience and training for early career scientists at active CREST Centers. HBCU-RISE awards specifically target HBCUs to support the expansion of institutional research capacity as well as the production of doctoral students, especially those from groups underrepresented in STEM, at those institutions.

The CREST program supports the following types of projects:

CREST Center awards provide multi-year support (typically 5-years) for eligible minority-serving institutions that demonstrate a strong research and education base, a compelling vision for research infrastructure improvement, and a comprehensive plan with the necessary elements to achieve and sustain national competitiveness in a clearly defined area of national significance in science or engineering research. Successful Center proposals will demonstrate a clear vision and synergy with the broad goals of the CREST Program and the Human Resource Development Division with respect to development of a diverse STEM workforce. CREST Centers are expected to provide leadership in the involvement of groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM at all levels (faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers) within the Center. Centers are required to use either proven or innovative mechanisms to address issues such as recruitment, retention and mentorship of participants from underrepresented groups.

CREST Partnership Supplements support the establishment or strengthening of partnerships and collaborations between active CREST Centers and nationally or internationally recognized research centers including NSF-supported research centers, and private sector research laboratories, K-12 entities including museums and science centers or schools, as appropriate to enable the CREST Centers to advance knowledge and education on a research theme of national significance.

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PRF) awards recognize beginning CREST Center investigators with significant potential and provide them with research experiences that broaden perspectives, facilitate interdisciplinary interactions and establish them in positions of leadership within the scientific community. Fellows conduct research on topics aligned with the research focus of the host CREST Center. The fellowships are also designed to provide active mentoring to the Fellows by the sponsoring CREST Center scientists who, in turn, will benefit from the incorporation of these talented scientists into their research groups.

HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE) awards support the development of research capability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering disciplines. Supported projects must have a unifying research focus in one of the research areas supported by NSF, a direct connection to the long-term plans of the host department(s), institutional strategic plan and mission, and plans for expanding institutional research capacity as well as increasing the production of doctoral students, especially those underrepresented in STEM.

SBIR/STTR Phase IIa Diversity Collaboration Supplements provide an opportunity for existing SBIR/STTR Phase II projects to initiate collaborations with minority-serving institutions that have active CREST Center or HBCU-RISE awards. These supplemental proposals are administered by and co-funded with the NSF Directorate for Engineering Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (ENG/IIP).

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:

Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Fellowship

Estimated Number of Awards: 40

In fiscal year 2018, 2 newly funded CREST Center awards, up to 5 CREST-PRFs, up to 5 CREST Partnership Supplements, 1 SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplement and up to 4 HBCU-RISE awards will be made. In fiscal year 2019, up to 6 CREST Center awards (new Centers and Phase II Centers), up to 5 CREST-PRFs, up to 5 CREST Partnership Supplements, 1 SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplement and up to 4 HBCU-RISE awards will be made.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $19,300,000

Across fiscal years 2018 and 2019, up to $8,000,000 to support the first year for eight newly funded CREST Centers, up to $2,000,000 to support CREST-PRF Fellowships, up to $300,000 from CREST and $300,000 from ENG/IIP for co-funded SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplements, up to $1,000,000 for CREST partnership supplements and up to $8,000,000 for HBCU-RISE standard grants, pending the availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

Preliminary and invited full CREST Center proposals may be submitted by minority-serving institutions of higher education in the United States. This denotes institutions that have undergraduate enrollments of 50% or more (based on total student enrollment) of members of minority groups underrepresented among those holding advanced degrees in science and engineering fields: African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. Eligibility as a minority-serving institution may be determined by reference to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/). Proposals are also invited from institutions of higher education that primarily serve populations of students with disabilities (https://www.nsf.gov/od/broadeningparticipation/nsf_frameworkforaction_0808.pdf). Support may be provided to partner institutions through subawards.

CREST partnership supplement proposals are invited from current CREST Center awardees.

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship proposals are invited from individuals from active CREST Centers (http://www.crestweb.org). Only three (3) individuals per active CREST Center can submit a CREST-PRF application. Individuals can only submit one proposal per year (maximum 2 proposals per individual). Each candidate must identify one or more CREST Center sponsoring scientist(s) and the host CREST Center institution in the proposal. CREST Center applicants are required to inform the CREST Center Director and/or PIs of their intent to submit a CREST-PRF proposal. CREST Centers should ensure that they do not endorse more than 3 CREST-PRF proposals for each competition.

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are awards to individuals, and applications are submitted directly by applicants to NSF. To be eligible to submit a proposal to the CREST-PRF Program, an individual must, as of the full proposal target date:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident;
  • Have earned the doctoral degree, or expect to have earned the doctoral degree prior to the required start date of the fellowship;
  • Show proof of CREST Center funding as a graduate student for at least one year;
  • Not have worked for more than a total of 24 full-time-equivalent months in positions that require the doctoral degree;
  • May not have previously been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator of an NSF award (other than a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship);
  • Submit a project plan that falls within the purview of the NSF's CREST Center host institution's research priorities; and
  • Not have submitted concurrently the same project to another NSF program.

The proposal must include the following:

  1. A sponsoring CREST scientist(s) statement
  2. A letter(s) of support from the host institution (Department Chair and/or Dean)
  3. A letter of support from the CREST Center Director or CREST PI at the applicant's institution. Certification of eligibility must be included in the letter of support.
  4. A letter of support from the non-CREST Center sponsor (secondary mentor) only if additional funds are requested to conduct research at a non-CREST Center institution.

HBCU-RISE proposals are invited from Historically Black Colleges and Universities that offer doctoral degrees in science (including social, behavioral, and economic science), technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

SBIR/STTR diversity collaborative supplement proposals are invited from current SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees and their CREST Center or HBCU-RISE institution partners.

Who May Serve as PI:

Principal Investigators for CREST Center, HBCU-RISE or SBIR/STTR awards must be employed by an institution eligible for a CREST Center, HBCU-RISE or SBIR/STTR, respectively.

CREST-PRF. Only doctoral recipients affiliated with a CREST Center may serve as Principal Investigator. Individuals must show proof of CREST Center funding as a graduate student for at least one year. Certification of eligibility must be included in the letter of support from the PI's CREST Center Director or CREST PI.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

Only one preliminary CREST Center proposal may be submitted per eligible institution. Full CREST Center proposals are to be submitted only when invited by NSF. An institution may have only one active CREST Center award, irrespective of focus area. Centers that have completed two prior, consecutive 5-year CREST Center awards may recompete in disciplinary areas that are significantly different from those of the previous award(s).

Only three (3) individuals per active CREST Center may submit a CREST-PRF application per competition. Only one individual can be awarded a CREST-PRF at an active CREST Center per year.

Only one HBCU-RISE proposal may be submitted per eligible institution. An institution may have only one active HBCU-RISE award.

For each active SBIR/STTR Phase II grant, only one SBIR/STTR collaboration with a CREST Center may be submitted. For each CREST center, only one SBIR/STTR collaboration can be active at any given time.

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

Eligible individuals may be listed as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on only one CREST Center or HBCU-RISE proposal. CREST-PRF applicants may submit only one fellowship application to the CREST program per year and may apply in no more than two successive years for CREST-PRF.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Submission of Letters of Intent is required for CREST Centers & HBCU-RISE. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Preliminary Proposals: Submission of Preliminary Proposals is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Full Proposals:

    Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) guidelines apply. 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.

    • Full Proposals submitted via Grants.gov: NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov guidelines apply (Note: 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).

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Not Applicable