NSF Intel

Fantastic presentation here yesterday by Diane Witt, Program Director in the Neural Systems Cluster of the Integrative Organism Systems Division of the Biology Directorate of the NSF. She spent a bit of time explaining how to make NIH submissions NSF-friendly (ie, no mention of disease – focus on basic mechanisms – NSF broader impact does NOT include curing cancer – etc.) … but then admitted that the NSF was funding in the single-digits. Ah well. At least there is no limit on the number of times you resubmit, assuming you haven’t been specifically declined.

News to me was a program that allows new investigators who have never received independent (non-fellowship) federal research funding a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to submit the same application simultaneously to the NIH and the NSF (tweaking the application for each agency’s submission requirements but keeping the aims/design the same). If both submissions are funded, the PI decides which award to decline.

Also coming down the pike for NSF is a new focus/requirement for assessment tools (evaluation) and data/resource sharing.

But, again, as always, dear reader, the take-home message was to become best friends with your NSF Program Director, who has the ultimate power of the purse at the NSF but can also help frame your application in a way that will appeal to reviewers (whom you are required to help name, don’t forget).

And NSF reviewers … the NSF keeps a dossier on each of you that would probably do the NSA proud. So, play nice.


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