OSP FO# 11-202

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)/Division of Emerging Frontiers (EF)/Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)/ Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)

PROGRAM: Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC)

OBJECTIVES: This program provides funding to create a national resource of digital data documenting existing vouchered biological and paleontological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States. Proposals that address the goals of specimen digitization through innovative plans, strong collaborations among large and small institutions, and mechanisms to build upon existing digitization projects are strongly encouraged. Proposals that increase efficiency of the digitization effort (e.g. by reducing the time and cost per specimen, or by developing new workflows) will have a stronger priority for funding.

This program focuses on proposals for Thematic Collections Networks (TCN) and proposals for Partners to Existing Networks (PEN) to link with existing TCNs, outlined below:

Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) – Thematic Collections Network (TCN) proposals will be submissions for two-to-four year awards based on a particular research theme (not clade or preservation type). This research theme may be a grand challenge for biodiversity, a part of a grand challenge, or another important research theme requiring information from existing collections. The TCNs will conduct the actual digitization of the specimens (including imaging and mobilization of the data). The length of award and size of award will depend upon the number and size of the collections to be digitized. This program encourages projects of various sizes and duration, although the expectation is that all projects will be collaborative efforts among several institutions. Integration across different types of collections is expected for broad research themes, and proposals should include a description of the metadata to be used to integrate these disparate collections. TCNs will share infrastructure among the collections involved in the project, identify deliverable goals and metrics for assessment, identify specific needs for community support, and reach out to other collections for inclusion in the digitization effort.

Proposals for Partners to Existing Networks (PENs) – Proposals to partner with and further the efforts of ongoing NSF-funded TCNs are encouraged. The new partners must increase the number of specimens digitized in the ongoing project. The existing TCNs are working to integrate data via the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections: Integrated Digitized Biocollections at the University of Florida (iDigBio). A list of those projects is available through iDigBio. The PEN proposals should adequately indicate how the partner collection will add information to the ongoing project, fill in gaps in digitized data and increase value to the efforts for the research theme and broader impacts. These projects should contain most of the elements of other proposals, but the data management plan required (by the GPG) and project management plan must be developed with the existing network. It is expected that PEN proposals will utilize the infrastructure of the existing network, thus providing an efficient means to further the impact of the existing network. Priority will be given to proposals that improve efficiency of the digitization process.

For both TCN and PEN proposals, priority will be given to projects that 1) fill gaps in the effort to provide online access to specimen data for existing biological and paleobiological collections and 2) integrate with other ongoing digitization activities.

Both TCN and PEN proposals should include a detailed management plan for accomplishing the project, training plan for participants and students, priorities for tasks, task analysis, a plan for sustaining the data, and plans for interacting and integrating with iDigBio.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: Institutions may submit only one proposal as the lead organization for either the TCN or the PEN. Organizations may be involved in more than one collaborative effort as a non-lead proposal.

An individual may appear in only one proposal as the Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, or equivalent submitted in any given year.

BU Internal Deadline: September 19, 2011
Full Proposals: October 31, 2011

FUNDING INFORMATION: NSF anticipates providing $10 million to fund 4 to 12 standard or continuing grants. TCNs may request a maximum duration of 4 years; the budget should support the scope of work proposed. PEN awards will be for 1 to 3 years (may not exceed the duration of the existing TCN) with a maximum request of $150,000, and will adhere to the standards and processes established by the existing network. Recognizing that there will be some cost to the existing network, any single TCN may only incorporate a maximum of 4 PENs over the duration of its award.

Anne M. Maglia, Program Director
Division of Biological Infrastructure
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 615 N
Arlington, VA 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-8470
Fax: (703) 292-9063
Email: biodigit@nsf.gov
Web: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11567/nsf11567.htm

INTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS: To screen potential proposals for this competition, an internal deadline has been established. Principal Investigators (PIs) interested in submitting a preliminary proposal should provide the following proposal information to their Associate Dean by Monday, September 19, 2011 for internal review purposes:

1. Project description (maximum length 5 pages) should include items a–d:
a)  briefly describe the project vision, goals, and work to be undertaken;
b)  identify partner institutions and describe how each partner will contribute to the proposed work;
c)  describe how all biological collections will be integrated;
d)  address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity (the NSF Merit Review criteria).
2. Budget and budget justification and matriculation plan (2 pages).
3. Biographical sketches: include 2-page NSF format biographical sketch for PI and Co-PIs.

Following the Dean’s assessment of the internal application, it will be forwarded to OSP-CRC Director Joan Kirkendall for review and then to the Office of the VP for Research for final selection. PIs will be informed if their proposal is selected for submission in time to complete and process their proposal for final review.

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 11-567 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.