In keeping with a growing trend at NSF, the Directorate of Biological Sciences Division of Integrative Organismal Systems Core Programs and the Division of Environmental Biology Core Programs have both announced that they will no longer have proposal deadlines. Instead, core proposals (also called regular, investigator-initiated, or unsolicited proposals) can be submitted at any time.
NSF had released a Dear Colleague Letter announcing that, effective August 15th, NSF's Directorate of Engineering (CBET, CMMI, ECCS, and EEC) will no longer have proposal windows or target dates for core (investigator-initiated) proposals to their disciplinary programs. This does not apply to targeted solicitations such as CAREER, MRI, ERC, etc. As a part of this change, they will also implement a guideline in which a declined proposal (or substantively similar proposal/topic by the same PI) is ineligible for resubmission until a minimum of one year has passed from the date of its initial submission.
While NSF states that their main motivation is to improve the quality of the proposals they receive since fewer proposals will be submitted before they're ready, it's also true that when there is no official deadline, NSF programs receive fewer proposals. As NSF has been struggling with high proposal pressure, this effect was likely another important motivation for this change.
As we all know, something that can be done any time is often done at no time. Don't let this happen to you! Set your own deadline for submitting your core proposal, write it in big red letters on your calendar, announce it to the world - whatever it takes to generate the feeling of urgency that you and your co-PIs need to get your proposal done!
(See NSF's FAQs about this policy change here.)
NSF has issued a Dear Colleague Letter as follows, ":Discoveries to Revolutionize Engineering and Architectural Materials for Buildings, the National Science Foundation (NSF) invites proposals to the Engineering for Civil Infrastructure (ECI) program for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) for high risk/high reward fundamental research to investigate wholly new materials and radical changes in the design of conventional materials, through the adaptation and integration of advanced technologies, to enable high performance buildings (structural systems, foundation systems, and building envelopes). " For more, go here.
NSF is offering a webinar at 12 pm EDT on June 13, 2018 about the Smart and Autonomous Systems program, which is in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, Division of Intelligent Instelligent Systems (IIS). NSF's program synopsis states that, "The Smart and Autonomous Systems (S&AS) program focuses on Intelligent Physical Systems (IPS) that are capable of robust, long-term autonomy requiring minimal or no human operator intervention in the face of uncertain, unanticipated, and dynamically changing situations. IPS are systems that combine perception, cognition, communication, and actuation to operate in the physical world. Examples include, but are not limited to, robotic platforms, self-driving vehicles, underwater exploration vehicles, and smart grids. To foster such intelligent systems, the S&AS program supports research in four main aspects of IPS: cognizant, taskable, adaptive, and ethical"
This description is very broad, so it's important to understand what topics align with the interests of this program. This webinar is a good first step to determining if your project idea might be a good fit.
To sign up for this webinar, go here.
NSF's Division of Mathematical Sciences has changed the dates for submission of proposals to six of its programs:
- Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
- Mathematical Biology
For more information, see the Dear Colleague Letter here.
NSF will host a webinar for PIs who are interested in applying for NSF CAREER grants through the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. If you are one of those folks, this could be a very worthwhile webinar, as each directorate uses the CAREER program in its own way and has its own expectations.
The webinar is scheduled for June 19, 2018 from 2 - 3 pm Eastern Daylight Time. For more info, go to this EHR CAREER webinar link