University at Albany
State University of New York
October 19, 2011
NSF Directorate for Geosciences
Alex Pszenny
Program Director, Atmospheric Chemistry
Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences
[email protected]
• NSF Structure and GEO Programs
• Budget and Proposal Statistics
• Proposal and Award Process
• New Funding Opportunities
• Proposal preparation
NSF Structure and GEO
National Science Foundation (NSF)
U.S. federal agency created by Congress in1950
Funds research, education, and technological innovation
Annual budget about $6.8 billion (2011)
About 10,000 new awards per year with an average
duration of three years
 Supporting an average of about 200,000 scientists,
engineers, educators and students
 About 42,000 new proposals and 50,000 reviewers/
panelists per year
 NSF-funded researchers have won >180 Nobel Prizes
Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)
Atmosphere and Geospace
The Mission of GEO Directorate
 Support research in the atmospheric, earth
and ocean sciences
 Address the nation’s need to understand,
predict and respond to environmental
events and changes in order to use the
Earth’s resources wisely
Division of Atmospheric and Geospace
NCAR/Facilities Section
Atmosphere Section
Geospace Section
Lower Atmospheric Observing
Atmospheric Chemistry
National Center for Atmospheric
Physical & Dynamic
Magnetospheric Physics
Climate & Large-Scale Dynamics
Solar Terrestrial
Geospace Facilities
Cross-Disciplinary Activities
Division of Atmospheric and Geospace
Sciences (AGS)
Furthers understanding of weather, climate and
the solar-terrestrial system by expanding the
fundamental knowledge of the composition and
dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere and
geospace environment
Supports large, complex facilities required for
research in the atmospheric and solarterrestrial sciences
Division of Earth Sciences
Surface Earth Processes Section
Deep Earth Processes Section
Education & Human Resources
Instrumentation & Facilities
Hydrologic Sciences
Continental Dynamics
Geomorphology & Land Use
Sedimentary Geology &
Geobiology & Environmental
Petrology & Geochemistry
Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
 Improves the understanding of the structure,
composition, and evolution of the Earth and the
processes that govern the formation and behavior of
the solid Earth
 Supports theoretical, computational, laboratories
and field stations and state-of-the-art scientific
Division of Ocean Sciences
Marine Geosciences Section
Integrative Programs Section
Ocean Section
Ocean Drilling Program
Ocean Sciences Education
Biological Oceanography
Marine Geology and Geophysics
Oceanographic Technology and
Interdisciplinary Coordination
Physical Oceanography
Oceanographic Centers,
Facilities and Equipment
Chemical Oceanography
Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE)
 Enhances understanding of all aspects of the global
oceans and their interactions with the solid earth
and the atmosphere
 Supports major shared-use oceanographic facilities
including research vessels and manned deep diving
Budget and Proposal Statistics
GEO Budgets
$979M (President’s request)
NSF Proposal Statistics FY 2011
Proposal Actions
Funding Rate
Average Research
Duration (yrs)
2.55 years
2.48 years
Median Annual
Award Size ($)
Individual Panel
Panel Summaries
Mail Reviews
GEO Funding Trend
Proposal and Award Process
Modes of support
• unsolicited proposals from all scientists with
interests in the geosciences
- investigator-initiated individual research projects
- investigator-initiated collaborative research programs
• special competitions, often interdisciplinary
• promote collaborations with scientists in other
disciplines, funding agencies, and nations
• promote integration of research and education
Long-term support for shared
 Observational platforms
Ships, aircraft
 Analytical facilities
NOSAMS Facility
 Computational facilities
NWSC (under construction)
NSF-wide Cross-cutting Programs
 Faculty Early Career Program (CAREER)**
 Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI)
 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)**
 Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research
(EAGER) **
 Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) **
**contact Program Director before submitting
Faculty Early Career Development Program
 CAREER proposals are submitted to a disciplinary program
 They are reviewed according to the relevant Program
guidelines - Talk to Program Officer or Division Contact for
more information
 Make sure to check on typical award sizes in your program
 Ask about expectations for scope of research and education
 Assessment of Departmental endorsement letter is part of
the review criteria for CAREER
 Funding rates follows trend for regular proposals in the
program of interest
NSF Activities of Interest
- Instrumentation and Facilities
 Major Research Instrumentation (MRI)
$100,000 to $6M -- proposals requesting less than $100,000 will be
considered only from non-Ph.D. granting organizations or from the
disciplines of mathematical science or social, behavioral, and
economic science at any eligible organization.
 Improvements in facilities, communications, and
equipment at biological field stations and marine
laboratories (FSML)
 Earth Sciences: Instrumentation and facilities (EAR/IF)
 Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences: Mid-Size Infrastructure
Opportunity (MSI)
 EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program:
Inter-Campus and Intra-Campus Cyber Connectivity (RII C2)
 ….
GEO Education
GEO has a Directorate-wide program to fund formal (K-16)
and informal geoscience education activities.
Contact: Jill Karsten
[email protected]
 Division of Atmospheric Sciences
Contact: Sue Weiler
[email protected]
 Division of Earth Sciences
Contact: Lina Patino
[email protected]
 Division of Ocean Sciences
including the Centers for Ocean Science Education
Excellence (COSEE)
Contact: Lisa Rom
[email protected]
Opportunities for Enhancing
Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG)
Addresses the problem of underrepresentation of
certain groups across the geosciences as compared
to their proportion of the general population. The
primary goal of the OEDG program is to increase
the participation in geoscience education and
research by students from these groups.
Solicitation 10-599
Contact Jill Karsten for further information at
(703) 292-8500 or at [email protected]
Post-Doctoral Fellowships
• Integrated program of independent research and
education that address scientific questions within
the scope of geoscience.
Fellowship program may be conducted at any
appropriate U.S. or foreign host institution
2 year long fellowships, $172K/2years
Eligibility within 3 years of PhD
Fellowships are awards to individuals, not
institutions, and are administered by the Fellows.
2 months parental leave can be requested
New Funding Opportunities
New Funding Opportunities for
Climate Research Investment (CRI)
 CRI-EaSM: Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction
Using Earth System Models (NSF/GEO, NSF/MPS,
& DOE)
 CRI-WSC: Water Sustainability and Climate (GEO, BIO,
 CRI-OA: Ocean Acidification (GEO, BIO & OPP)
 CRI-DB: Dimensions of Biodiversity (GEO, BIO & OPP)
 CRI-CCEP: Climate Change Education Partnership (EHR,
FESD: Frontiers in Earth System
• GEO-wide program involving AGS, EAR and/or OCE
• Intra- or Inter- Divisional scope, but beyond purview of a single
• Complements science funded through GEO’s core programs;
• Provides support for ‘mid-sized’ activities that fall between core
program and STC/MREFC scales
• Where appropriate, capitalizes on major facility investments
NSF is already making;
• Promotes interdisciplinary study of interactive dynamics within
the Earth system over a wide range of space and time scales
• Program budget: Planning for $28M per competition
• 3 competitions FY11, FY13, FY15
Major Investments in 2012
Science, Engineering and Education for
Sustainability (SEES)
Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st
Century Science and Engineering (CIF21)
Creating a More Disaster Resilient America
Continuing investments in Basic Research,
Education & Diversity, Infrastructure
Science, Engineering, and
Education for Sustainability
 Goal: Generate discoveries and build capacity to
achieve an environmentally and economically
sustainable future
 FY 2012 priorities:
 Advance a clean energy future
 Nurture the emerging SEES workforce
 Expand research, education, and knowledge dissemination
 Engage with global partners
 Environment, energy, and economy nexus
 Increase of $338 million over FY 2010 enacted level
(GEO increase $87.2M)
SEES – Geosciences Foci
 Sustainable Energy Pathways
 characterize and understand existing energy
systems and their limitations (e.g. wind, geothermal,
 understand risks and stressors associated with new
and emerging energy sources (e.g. tidal, clean coal,
carbon sequestration)
 Sustainability Research Networks
 interdisciplinary research and education
partnerships involving government, academe, and
the private sector
 address fundamental issues of use in improving
policy and practices with regard to energy, the
environment, and human well-being
Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st
Century Science and Engineering (CIF21)
 Comprehensive and integrated
cyberinfrastructure to transform
research, innovation and education
 Focus on computational and dataintensive science to address complex
 Four major components
Data-enabled science
New computational infrastructure
Community research networks
Access and connections to cyberinfrastructure
CIF21 – Geosciences Foci
GEO investment is $16 million in 2012
Computational Infrastructure
acquisition and use of cyberinfrastructure for the
conduct of geoscience research
Data Enabled Science
geoinformatics – the tools and techniques that
facilitate data-enabled geoscience
enhancement of access and connections to
facilities and scientific instruments
Creating a More Disaster Resilient
America (CaMRA)
 GEO will initiate a new $10.0 million GEO-wide
program on Creating a More Disaster Resilient
America (CaMRA)
 CAMRA will catalyze basic research efforts in hazardrelated science to improve forecasting and prediction
of natural and man-made hazardous events
 AGS, EAR, and OCE are participating
 A formal solicitation is anticipated
Proposal preparation
Proposal Preparation Resources
 NSF Home Page (
 Guide to Programs
 Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures
 Program Solicitations – eligibility, goals, special
 NSF Custom News Service – what’s new
 Program Officers – current or former rotators
NSF Merit Review
NSF Review Criteria
 Intellectual Merit
 Broader Impacts
 Programs can also have additional review
criteria – read the Program Solicitation!
Merit Review is conducted through ad hoc
peer review and/or panel review
Proposal Peer-Review Process
Most Scientists regarded the new streamlined
peer-review process as ‘quite an improvement’
Core Program Due Dates
 Earth Sciences: January and July
 Ocean Sciences: February and August
 Atmospheric Sciences: no target dates,
proposal may be submitted any time
 CAREERs, MRIs, others do have deadlines!
 It is useful to check the NSF web site for
actual dates and updates to requirements
etc when developing a proposal idea.
Always Check the NSF Website
Words of Wisdom
 Talk to your Program Director(s) - ask early, ask often
during conferences, email, phone, visit NSF, meetings.
 Read the funding opportunity (program descriptions,
solicitations) carefully, and ask a Program Officer for
clarifications if needed
 Learn the culture- each Division/solicitation is different
 Know and follow the current Grant Proposal Guide (GPG)
- it changes! (e.g., Postdoc mentoring and data
management plans)
 Explicitly address Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts in
both the Project Summary and Project Description.
Words of Wisdom
• Know the audience for your proposal’s review!
• Check available NSF facility pool for your research
• Compelling Project Summary-big picture
• Match and justify the budget to the scope of the
proposed work - ask for what you need!
• Be familiar with projects that have succeeded Award Abstracts at
• Submit proposals before the last day/hour
Attributes of Successful Proposals
New and original ideas
Articulate importance of the science
Sound, succinct, detailed, focused plan
Preliminary data and/or feasibility study
Relevant experience and facilities
Clarity concerning future direction
Well-articulated broader impacts
Some Do’s
• Dave’s words of wisdom (see handout)
• Serve as a reviewer and/or panelist
• Consider serving as a rotator
and Some Don’t’s
• Jakob et al. (2010):
Life Cycle of a Proposal: PI’s View
Write & Revise
& Submit
(or Begin
don’t give up, keep trying
NSF GEOsciences: Questions?

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