OSP FO# 11-138

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)/Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)

PROGRAM: Improvements to Biological Research Collections (BRC)

OBJECTIVES: This program provides supports research for biological collection enhancement, computerization of specimen-related data, research to develop better methods for specimen curation and collection management, and activities such as symposia and workshops to discuss management of biological collections and other subjects designed to improve service to the research community. Biological collections supported include those housing natural history specimens, frozen tissues, and other physical samples such as digital images and DNA samples (e.g., BAC libraries). Such collections provide the materials necessary for a substantial amount of research on biodiversity, including that on evolutionary relationships, ecosystem functioning, and biological conservation.

“Voucher collections”, such as those maintained by some academic departments, field stations, and marine laboratories are also eligible if it is shown that use of the collections justify the investment, there is a long-term commitment to maintain the collection, and curatorial support is adequate. BRC supported projects include those that deal directly with specimens of organisms, parts of organisms, or direct artifacts of organisms (e.g., recorded sounds, fossilized footprints). Also eligible are organism-based collections that maintain associated specimens and data documenting the environmental context of the primary organism (e.g. soil and water samples, temperature and precipitation records, specimen-based geographic information) or the genomic context of the organism (e.g. frozen tissue, DNA). Collection portions of organisms must be properly vouchered.

The Improvements to Biological Research Collections Program provides funding for collection enhancement which may include improvements in storage units or the incorporation of specimens from other institutions, collection computerization projects that digitally capture specimen-related data or improve the usefulness of the collection (e.g., by georeferencing data), research on methods to improve curation of specimens or management of collections, and scientific conferences, symposia, and workshops that investigate the management and broader impacts of collections and associated data.

Most awards are for enhancement of the infrastructure of a research collection such as the purchase of new specimen cases and installation costs, curatorial supplies, technical assistance during the project, or for computerization. BRC does not provide support to defray ordinary operating expenses, or for the purchase of specimens, or for creating/establishing a new collection, or support related to the improvement of libraries or archives.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: In any single round of the BRC competition, only one proposal may be submitted from any individual collection within an institution. Proposals are accepted from U.S. institutions, including colleges and universities that maintain research collections, natural history museums including herbaria, and other collections administered by independent organizations or by state, county, or local governments; non-federal and non-profit research organizations that maintain collections; and botanical gardens, zoological parks, and aquaria that maintain research collections that document biological diversity.

TARGET DATE: July 22, 2011

FUNDING INFORMATION: NSF anticipates providing $6 million to support 6-15 standard or continuing grants. Proposers may request up to $500,000 with duration of 1-3 years for individual awards, and up to $2 million with duration of 1-5 years for collaborative projects.

W. Carl Taylor, Program Director
Directorate for Biological Sciences
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-8470
Fax: (703) 292-9063
Email: dbibrc@nsf.gov
Web: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2009/nsf09548/nsf09548.htm

REMARKS: Applications must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. Collaborative proposals must be submitted via FastLane. For more information about FastLane, or to register as a FastLane user, please contact India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. B. Effgen (abeffgen@bu.edu) in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at x3-4365. Information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP web site at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. In addition, for investigators interested in submitting proposals via Grants.gov, NSF has published the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide which may be found online at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf. Investigators should contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to their school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through either FastLane or Grants.gov.

Complete program guidelines and application material (NSF 09-548 and NSF GPG 11-1) may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.