Blog Archives

NSF Solicitation on “Future of Work” Encourages Social Science Proposals

The National Science Foundation has released a solicitation related to its Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) Big Idea. The solicitation invites proposals for multidisciplinary research investigating the evolving technological, human and societal aspects of work. Researchers from the social, behavioral and economic sciences are asked to collaborate with researchers in computer science, engineering and learning sciences to investigate the potential impacts of technological innovations and disruptions. More information is available in the full solicitation. Proposals are due on March 23, 2021.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 19), Update, Volume 40

NSF’s Kellina Craig-Henderson Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? post comes from Kellina Craig-Henderson, Deputy Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Craig-Henderson wrote for NSF’s Science Matters blog about her experiences confronting stereotypes as an African American female scientist and about SBE’s new Build and Broaden program, which directs resources to researchers at minority-serving institutions. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Update

NSF Seeking Interdisciplinary Project Ideas on Understanding the Brain

On December 14, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter requesting suggestions for potential interdisciplinary projects on brain research. In the letter, NSF states that these submissions should shed light on untapped research areas that may depend on collaboration between neuroscience and other fields such as behavioral science which may lead to future funding opportunities. The letter asks for input on recent scientific advances in the brain sciences that impact multiple disciplines as well as the perspectives needed to pursue research opportunities more effectively. A survey collecting submissions is available on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 25 (December 22), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

White House Announces Final Appointments for National Science Board

On November 24, the White House announced nominations and appointments for several key federal positions including the final two appointments filling out the National Science Board (NSB), the advisory body for the National Science Foundation (NSF). These appointments mark the first time since May that the NSB has had all seats filled and will be the last opportunity for the Trump White House to submit appointments to the NSB before the Presidential transition. The two NSB appointees are:

  • Matthew Malkan, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Scott Stanley, Vice President of Technology and Co-Founder of aerospace engineering firm Techno Planet

The next meeting of the NSB is December 9-10. More information and the meeting agenda are available on the NSB website.

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

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)

NSF Accepting Career-Life Balance Supplemental Funding Requests

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it is accepting supplemental funding requests for current NSF grantees and research fellows under its Career-Life Balance (CLB) initiative. This initiative, which began in 2012, gives financial support to early-career researchers with the goal of preventing leaving the STEM workforce due to sudden increases in family care responsibilities and costs. The award requests may be for funding for up to six months of salary or up to a $30,000 stipend plus indirect costs. More information about the CLB initiative and instructions on submitting supplemental funding requests are available on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 23 (November 24), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NSF Seeks Input on Future Convergence Accelerator Topics, Midscale STEM Education Infrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a request for information (RFI) on future topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator. The Convergence Accelerator is a capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The Convergence Accelerator is entering its third funding cycle and has previously featured tracks related to NSF’s Industries of the Future (IotF) initiative and Big Ideas related to Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), Quantum Leap (QL). The RFI is seeking ideas for new topics that build upon use-inspired foundational research aligned to IotF, NSF’s Big Ideas, or other research in areas of national importance. However, topics selected for previous Convergence Accelerator program tracks are likely to be a low priority. NSF is seeking responses to this RFI by November 9, 2020. More information can be found in NSF’s Dear Colleague Letter. More information about the Convergence Accelerator can be found on the NSF’s website.

Separately, NSF’s Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate is seeking public input on identifying mid-scale infrastructure needs for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education research and will be holding a virtual listening session on October 30. More details including registration information are available in the event invitation.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 27), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

CNSF Hosts Congressional Briefing on Undergraduate Learning During COVID-19

On October 22, the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which COSSA is a member, hosted a virtual briefing for Congressional staffers on undergraduate learning during COVID-19 and how funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) can address gaps in learning. The briefing featured presentations from Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at North Carolina A&T State University Adrienne Aiken Morgan and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning at Northeastern University Kemi Jona. In addition, brief remarks were offered by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Katherine Clark (D-CA). The briefing was moderated by Associate Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society Karen Saxe.

The presentations covered a wide range of relevant issues including the transition of education to remote learning, the importance of virtual internships, differences in equity and access for those seeking virtual internships, lessons learned from the current pandemic that can impact future crises, the role of mental health in affecting learning ability, and how remote learning affects historically Black colleges and universities differently than other institutions. In addition, the presenters highlighted social science as especially useful in informing policy changes to improve learning behaviors. A recording of the briefing will be posted by CNSF when available.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 27), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NSF Seeking Comments on STEM Education Strategic Plan

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced it is accepting stakeholder comments on an upcoming Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan. This strategic plan, which is released roughly every five years, serves as a guide for developing STEM education programs at federal agencies as well as identifying areas for future improvement. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a stated focus in this round of the Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan.

NSF is seeking comments on the following issues:

  • Future opportunities in STEM education;
  • Developing STEM education digital resources;
  • Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM;
  • Engaging students where disciplines converge;
  • Developing and enriching strategic partnerships;
  • Building computational literacy; and
  • Community use and implementation of the Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan.

Comments will be accepted through October 19, 2020. More information is available in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 19 (September 29), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Federal Research Agencies Release Guidance on OMB’s Administrative Flexibility Changes

In response to a June 18 memo (M 20-26) issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extending certain administrative flexibilities to federal grant recipients as relief for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, federal research agencies have released guidance statements clarifying the memo’s implications for recipients of research grants. On June 25, both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) released nearly identical sets of guidance in response to the OMB memo explaining how the changes to the flexibilities will specifically affect recipients of their grants. The flexibilities include an allowance to continue charging salaries, benefits, and other applicable program costs to active NIH and NSF awards through September 30, 2020 (assuming that payroll costs have not already been paid through other COVID-19 relief programs), and an extension of the single audit submission deadline by up to three months.

More information is available on the NIH website and the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)


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