NSF Invites Proposals for New SBE-Led Initiatives on Strengthening Infrastructure, Broadening Participation in Entrepreneurship, and Enhancing Social Science Capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a pair of Dear Colleague Letters (DCL) soliciting applications from the research community on two new crosscutting initiatives led by the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). The first letter, Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI), signed by the Assistant Directors of all seven research directorates and the head of the Office of Integrative Activities, seeks Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals that “incorporate scientific insights about human behavior and social dynamics to better develop, design, build, rehabilitate, and maintain strong and effective American infrastructure” (which can include cyber, economic, educational, physical, and social). According to the DCL, “NSF is particularly interested in proposals that integrate a deep understanding of human cognition, perception, information processing, decision making, social and cultural behavior, legal frameworks, governmental structures, and related areas into the design, development, and sustainability of infrastructure.” The deadline for EAGER concept outline proposals is December 11. More information is available in the Dear Colleague Letter.

The second announcement invites proposals on “identifying contextual factors and mitigation strategies to enhance participation and success of various populations in STEM entrepreneurship and innovation.” This effort, Broadening Participation in STEM Entrepreneurship and Innovation (BPINNOVATE), falls within SBE’s Science of Science program but receives support from the Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorates, as well as the NSF Office of Integrative Activities. In addition, other NSF programs will also support opportunities for research on this topic, including the NSF Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps), the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions Program (HSI), and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) programs. Proposals through the Science of Science program are due by February 9, 2021. More information is available in the Dear Colleague Letter.

SBE has also announced a new program, Build and Broaden 2.0: Enhancing Social, Behavioral and Economic Science Research and Capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions (B2 2.0). This program is part of SBE’s efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in SBE programs by encouraging research collaborations between minority institutions and other research institutions. The new DCL follows on the original Build and Broaden solicitation that came out earlier this year but, because of COVID, was limited to workshop/conference proposals. The solicitation is expected to be posted shortly in the coming days at this link. Proposals are due by March 5, 2021.

In addition to these new efforts, SBE’s Human Networks and Data Science (HNDS) program, which was formerly the Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (RIDIR) program, has released its second annual solicitation under its new name. The revised program now includes two tracks: HNDS-Infrastructure (formerly RIDIR) and HNDS-Core Research. Details on the new research component are available in the solicitation. Proposals are due by February 4, 2021.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 8), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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