Blog Archives

SBE Seeks New Director for Social and Economic Sciences Division

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting applications for the position of Division Director for the Social and Economic Sciences (SES) Division within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). The Division Director “serves as a member of the directorate’s leadership team and as a principal NSF spokesperson for social and economic sciences.” More information on the position can be found in the Dear Colleague Letter from SBE. Applications may be submitted through USAJOBS and are being accept through August 6, 2021.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 20), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

NSF Highlights Opportunities for Collaboration between Social and Computer Sciences

On June 23, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter highlighting existing opportunities for collaboration at the agency’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. The letter cites the prevalence of overlap between the fields of social science and computer science as motivation for increased collaboration and that this collaboration may be critical for addressing societal problems. The letter also notes that the SBE and CISE Advisory Committees have been discussing research areas of mutual interest which may indicate increased collaborations in the future. A list of the potential collaborative programs is available on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 6), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

SBE Calls for Proposals for International Collaborative Research to Aid Pandemic Recovery

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) has announced that it is participating in the Trans-Atlantic Platform Call for Proposals: Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World (T-AP RRR). T-AP RRR is a grant competition that will support international collaborative research projects that address gaps in our understanding of the complex and dynamic societal effects of COVID-19. Proposals are asked to address one or more of the following challenges: reducing inequalities and vulnerabilities; building a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable society; fostering democratic governance and participation; advancing responsible and inclusive digital innovation; and/or ensuring effective and accurate communication and media. In addition, collaborative research teams must include researchers based in at least three participating countries and include partners from both sides of the Atlantic. More information is available in the Dear Colleague Letter. Submissions are due by July 12.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 27), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

NSF Webinar Will Highlight Cross-Agency Funding Opportunities for Social Scientists

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) will hold a webinar on April 15 to highlight the opportunity for social scientists to participate in several major NSF-wide initiatives, including Trust and Authenticity in Communications Systems, Understanding the Rules of Life: Emergent Networks, mid-scale research infrastructure and others. Featured speakers will include NSF Assistant Director Arthur Lupia, head of the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and Douglas Maughan, head of NSF’s Convergence Accelerator Program. Information on registering is available here. Additional information about the webinar is available on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 13), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

NSF Issues New Framework for Identifying Broader Impacts; NSB Seeks Additional Guidance

On March 18, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) released a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 21-059) offering guidance to proposal writers for shaping their broader impacts arguments. The notice makes no changes to NSF’s existing merit review criteria, which currently considers a project’s intellectual merit and broader impacts potential. Rather, it offers a framework for SBE researchers to consider “to develop and communicate their projects’ broader impacts more effectively” and “for connecting fundamental research outcomes to quality of life improvements for others.” The framework includes three guiding questions for principal investigators to consider:

  • Who can the scientific opportunities and communicative products empower?
  • Whose quality of life can the empowerment improve?
  • What actions make these broader impacts more likely?

Additional details are available here.

Separately during its February meeting, the National Science Board (NSB) passed a resolution directing the use of broader impacts expertise on NSF Committees of Visitors (COV). COV panels provide external evaluations of NSF’s existing programs and processes, making recommendations to the agency and the NSB for ways to improve programs and agency functions. Recent COV reviews noted significant disparity in how proposal review panels discuss intellectual merit and broader impacts, often with broader impacts receiving much less attention. In response, the NSB has directed the agency to develop a plan for ensuring that broader impacts expertise is included on all future COV panels. This is meant as a first step toward addressing concerns about uneven application of intellectual merit and broader impacts criterion on review panels. A recording of the NSB meeting is available here.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 30), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

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 Creates Resource Webpage for Information on COVID-19

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has established a resource webpage compiling relevant information about NSF activities addressing the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Some of the resources available on the webpage include a FAQ about NSF awards, a document describing NSF’s implementation of an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directive, a Dear Colleague Letter inviting research proposals through the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program, and a list of  NSF deadlines that have changed due to COVID-19. This resource page is frequently updated to include the most relevant and accurate information.

In addition, on March 30, leadership from the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) circulated a letter to the social and behavioral science community providing additional details on NSF’s COVID-19 resources and encouraging proposals from SBE fields.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 31), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NSF Releases Report on Social Science Doctoral Recipients

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), the principal statistical agency within the National Science Foundation (NSF), released a report on “Doctorate Recipients in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE).” The report is part of a series of profiles highlighting trends in education related to each of NSF’s seven research directorates. The SBE report presents data on doctorates received in psychology, economics, sociology, political science, and other social sciences from NCSES’s Survey of Earned Doctorates and Survey of Doctorate Recipients. The full report and associated data tables are available on the NCSES website.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 31), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NSF Announces New Collaboration between SBE and Minority-Serving Institutions

On February 24, the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a Dear Colleague Letter announcing the new Build and Broaden initiative, a collaborative effort between the SBE Directorate and Minority-Serving Institutions. The initiative invites proposals for research conferences intended to promote ideas and partnerships in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences at Minority-Serving Institutions.

Conference proposals for Build and Broaden are due May 1, 2020. The Dear Colleague Letter and more information are found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 3), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NSF Social Science Director Releases Dear Colleague Letter on Repositioning

On September 24, Arthur Lupia, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF), published a Dear Colleague letter announcing the repositioning of some basic research programs within the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) at NSF. The letter describes the repositioned programs, which include Human Networks and Data Science; Linguistics; Science of Learning and Augmented Intelligence; Security and Preparedness; Accountable Institutions and Behavior; Law and Science; Science of Science: Discovery Communication and Impact; Ethical and Responsible Research; and Science and Technology Studies. The letter notes that these changes do not affect current NSF/SBE solicitations and submission deadlines, and that all changes will begin to take effect with solicitation and program submission deadlines occurring after January 1, 2020. The full letter is available on the NSF website. The SBE Directorate is also hosting a series of webinars and virtual office hours to present details about what the repositioning means for SBE research communities. Details on these events can be found on the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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