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The U.S. National Science Foundation and the NSF-BSF Programs Yair Rotstein Executive Director - BSF.

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Presentation on theme: "The U.S. National Science Foundation and the NSF-BSF Programs Yair Rotstein Executive Director - BSF."— Presentation transcript:

1 The U.S. National Science Foundation and the NSF-BSF Programs Yair Rotstein Executive Director - BSF

2 NSF’s Mission Support for basic science in all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for the medical sciences. Keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from Astronomy to Zoology High-risk high payoff ideas Fully integrated with education Train tomorrow’s scientists and engineers

3 Basic Where Does NSF Fit? Translation Utility

4 U.S. Federal Agency-~3000 employees Budget: ~ $7 Billion ~11,000 awards per year from > 51,000 submissions/yr. Uses temporary academic and permanent NSF staff for program management NSF At A Glance

5 Proposal Cycle and Merit Review Process

6 Where do I find information about funding opportunities?


8 I. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?. II. What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? At NSF, these are considered equally important merit criteria Merit Review Criteria

9 What is Intellectual Merit? Quality of the science – Does it answer a large important question in basic biology? – Is it novel and exciting? – Will it move the field forward? – Is it well conceived and well planned? – Are the proposers well qualified? – Are there adequate resources in the labs to do the work?

10 What is Intellectual Merit? Is it traNSFormative? – “Transformative research involves ideas, discoveries, or tools that radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or educational practice or leads to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science, engineering, or education. Such research challenges current understanding or provides pathways to new frontiers.”

11 Integrated activities that: Promote teaching, training and learning Broaden participation of underrepresented groups Enhance infrastructure for research and education Broadly disseminate findings Benefit society – Applied uses including agriculture, conservation and human health Not a checklist! What are Broader Impacts?

12 Partner with museums, nature centers, science centers, and similar institutions to develop exhibits in science, math, and engineering. Involve the public or industry, where possible, in research and education activities. Give science and engineering presentations to the broader community (e.g., at museums and libraries, science cafes, on radio shows, and in other such venues). Participate in multi- and interdisciplinary conferences, workshops, and research activities Integrate research with education activities in order to communicate in a broader context. Examples of Broader Impacts Activities:

13 Catalyzing New International Collaborations (CNIC) Office of International and Integrative Activities – Solicitation NSF 12-573 Support for international planning visits which will then result in a submission of a full NSF proposal – Speak with both the CNIC program director and the program director in the program a full proposal would later be submitted to NSF contact, email:


15 Directorate for Biological Sciences Core Programs are within each cluster

16 GENERAL - I The NSF does not have an official policy on international cooperation. It is left for each executive, mostly on the DD level, to decide whether he wants this added burden at all, and in what form. THIS IS NEVER A TOP DOWN ROCESS. Since the BSF does not have scientific priorities, our progress is generally not according to a master plan, but rather we move in where we find a willing NSF partner. More recently, after we received from the MALAG a list of priority areas, we are making a special effort to advance in these areas. All new NSF programs go through a long and complex administrative approval process, never with rejections, but always slowing the partnership a great deal, and alienating the NSF staff.

17 GENERAL - II Unless specified differently: Submission of proposals is to the NSF by the US PI only. His submission will include a chapter describing the role and budget of the Israeli Both PIs also submit to the BSF for its records. This submission will use as input the PDF of the NSF submission. Evaluation will be made ONLY by the NSF, most likely with some Israeli input. If awarded a grant, the US PI will receive a regular NSF grant, while the Israeli will receive a special BSF grant.

18 GENERAL - III BSF uses special funds from the Finance Ministry and VATAT – these programs do not affect the regular BSF programs. Based on our experience, we try that all new Israeli participation will be in the core programs of the relevant NSF units, and not in special programs. Some of the programs are open for other countries, but submission of Israelis is limited to US PIs. In some programs other US government agencies are also participating, such as the NIH and USDA. They will pick for support those projects that are of interest to them. However- - Submission is always to the NSF - Processing is always only by the NSF

19 GENERAL - IV BSF grants to the Israelis can be expected to be $75-100,000/year for 3-5 years, depending on the program. UNLIKE THE CONVENTIONAL BELIEF, AND ALL CONSIDERED, THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO THE SIZES OF MANY NSF GRANTS. Success rate in the NSF is mostly lower than ISF/BSF, often less than 20% and very often less than 10%, particularly when the comparison is made with the number of submitted pre-proposals.

20 PITFALLS Pitfall 1- Choose carefully your partner. - Must fit the profile of the program - Friendly with the program manager- unlike in Israel, HE CALLS THE SHOTS - Does not have ongoing support for generally similar work - Preference for underprivileged minorities and less developed states - Make sure that the partner did not fail previously with a similar proposal in another program. Pitfall 2 Make sure that your proposal is consistent with the core of the program Pitfall 3 Make sure that the proposal has a strong section about what the NSF considers as a “broader impacts” Always remember that the NSF is not about science, but rather about U.S. science

21 PAST PROGRAMS Integrative Organismal Systems (Special program; 100 submissions; 7 grants) EAGER in Brain Research (special program open to US-US and US-Israel groups; 572 short proposals; 44 with Israelis; 36 awards including 3-4 Israeli) Chemistry 2012 (12 full proposals; 3 awards) Chemistry 2013 (18 full proposals; 3 awards) Computational Neuroscience 2013 (10 submissions; 1 award) Computer Science (BSF is doing the evaluation; NSF funds travel to Israel of US PIs and their groups)

22 NSF-BSF PROGRAMS ACTIVE AND PLANNED Oceanography (starting Feb. 2015) Renewable Energy (starting Sept. 2014) Integrative Organismal Systems (On hold) Molecular and Cellular Biology (On hold) Environmental Biology (Starting January 2015) Ecology & Evolution of Infec. Diseses (staring, Nov. 2014) Computational Neuroscience (October, 2014) Cyber Security and Privacy (starting Jan. 2015) Economics (Coming soon) Physics (starting Oct. 2014) Computer Science (active) Chemistry (on hold) Materials (on hold)

23 PROGRAMS ON HOLD FOR REASSESMENT Material Science (Includes solid state physics; for 2 years now; was a large international program; if resumed, Israel is likely to be part of it) Chemistry (no program in 2014; nine countries program; If resumed, most probably it will be together with Materials)

24 COMPUTER SCIENCE - I US and Israeli scientists submit to the regular program of the BSF NSF will publish a solicitation that is open only to those US scientists that are PIs on the BSF proposals NSF will not carry full independent processing, and will use the evaluation data collected by the BSF Processing is done in the regular way by the BSF, with NSF staff participating in the BSF panel meetings as observers. NSF awards are for extended travel by the US PIs and their groups to Israel High complements to the BSF evaluation process

25 COMPUTER SCIENCE - II NSF opens for Israeli participation its core program in CYBER SECURITY & PRIVACY. The role of Israelis in the evaluation is not yet clear. 1 st round deadline is expected in early 2015. We hope to expand the program to all areas of Computer Sciences Priority area for MALAG

26 Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS) New round with deadline on Oct. 28, 2014 Participating countries: US, Germany, France, Israel Multinational projects are possible, but always with a US component. NIH is a partner to the program and will fund some of the US PIs, but Program management is by the NSF. Present budget per proposal is $250,000/YEAR (total combined budget!!). Israelis participate in the review panels in Washington.

27 OCEANOGRAPHY NSF opens for Israeli participation its core program in OCEANOGRAPHY The role of Israelis in the evaluation is not yet clear. 1 st round deadline is expected in February 2015. We hope to expand the program to all areas of Earth Sciences Priority area for MALAG

28 ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES NSF opens for Israeli participation its core program in ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES. England is also a partner to the program, and submission of tri-lateral proposals will be allowed. NIH and USDA are partners and will pick projects for support of the US PI in their respective areas of interest. 1 st round deadline is expected in November 2014.

29 ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY NSF opens for Israeli participation all of core programs in ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY. Ecosystem Science Evolutionary Processes Population and Community Ecology Systematics & Biodeiversity Science 1 st rounds deadlines are expected in late 2014 and early 2015

30 CELLULAR & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Initial agreement to include joint US-Israeli proposals in the core programs. No steps have been taken by the NSF division to implement the understanding. Cellular Dynamics and Function Genetic Mechanism Molecular Biophysics Systems & Synthetic Biology

31 INTEGRATIVE ORGANISMAL SYSTEMS First round was set up as a special program and proved to be problematic. DD requested moving into Idea Lab, that later became an EAGER program The future of the cooperation is not clear Behavioral Systems Developmental Systems Neural Systems Physiological & Structural Systems Plant Genome

32 RENEWABLE ENERGY Cooperation starts with a joint workshop in Israel that will discuss Perovskite materials for photovoltaic devices (Sept. 2014). Full joint funding program in all areas of renewable energy is planned as the next step for cooperation.

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