OSP FO# 11-204

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Engineering (ENG)/Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)/Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)/Directorate for Education & Human Resources (EHR)/Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)/Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS)/Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE)/Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)/Office of Polar Programs (OPP)

PROGRAM: Sustainability Research Networks Competition (SRN)

OBJECTIVES: This program provides funding to support robust research collaborations that develop and strengthen research networks, and foster dialogue between highly-talented individuals from a spectrum of disciplines, sectors (e.g. research, education, policy), perspectives, and research methods. Networks will be unconstrained by institutional boundaries and may include an international reach. SRNs will connect interdisciplinary teams of investigators focused on performing cutting-edge research and education relating to the challenges of sustainability.

A number of general concepts underlie the science of sustainability, including complexity, emergent behavior, multi-scale processes, and adaptability and resiliency in coupled, human-environment systems. These topics guide research to define tradeoffs in alternate ways of managing the environment and applying technology to improve human well-being, to ensure robustness of social and environmental systems to disruption, and to anticipate thresholds or tipping points in response to rapid and gradual change. This research strives to understand how patterns and processes at the local and regional scales are shaped by and feed into processes and patterns that manifest at the global scale over the long term. Conceptual frameworks for sustainability, including general theories and models, are still in their infancy, yet are critically needed to help inform management and policy decisions. The SRN competition seeks to address this need through support for interdisciplinary research and education that strengthens fundamental understanding of sustainability science, engineering, and education that will help achieve more sustainable pathways of development and improve human well-being.

The following examples of SRN themes are neither prescriptive nor priority statements with regard to NSF’s specific interests about SRNs and the intent of this program, but provided as the types of topics that an SRN could address:

  • Energy and Materials Issues in Sustainability
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Large Scale Energy Production and Consumption Dynamics
  • Coastal System Vulnerability and Resilience
  • Altered Biogeochemistry of Earth Systems
  • Sustainability of Freshwater Supplies
  • Food Security and Land Use Change

Please see the program announcement below for further program details.

ELIGIBILITY: A single organization may submit a maximum of three preliminary proposals as the lead institution. Full proposals are to be submitted only when invited by NSF. There is no limit to participation as a partner institution. It is not likely that the SRN program will provide support for more than one SRN from any one lead institution in this competition.

An individual may appear as Lead Principal Investigator (PI) on only one SRN proposal submitted in response to this program solicitation. If multiple organizations are participating in the project, support for secondary organizations must be made via subawards from the lead organization.

BU Internal Deadline: October 24, 2011
Preliminary Proposal (required): December 1, 2011
Full Proposal (by invitation): April 1, 2012

FUNDING INFORMATION: The NSF intends to commit $36 million to support 3-4 new awards. SRN awards are expected to be 4 to 5 years in duration and budgets must not exceed $12 million total per award. The budget request must be consistent with the scope of the SRN network proposed. Proposers are discouraged from asking for the maximum annual budget amount, unless the proposal outlines network activities that are consistent with this scope.

Bruce K. Hamilton
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-8320
Email: srn@nsf.gov
Web: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11574/nsf11574.htm

INTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS: Institutions may submit three preliminary proposals. To screen potential preliminary proposals for this competition, an internal deadline has been established. Principal Investigators (PIs) interested in submitting an application should provide the following proposal information to their Associate Dean by Monday, October 24, 2011 for internal review purposes:

  1. Project description (maximum length 4 pages) that articulates a vision for the proposed SRN that clearly outlines the grand challenges being addressed or breakthroughs being sought.
  2. Budget and budget justification (2 pages).
  3. Biographical sketches: include 2-page NSF format biographical sketch for PI and Co-PIs involved with the proposed program.
  4. Address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity (the NSF Merit Review Criteria).

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: Preliminary proposals must be submitted via FastLane, NSF’s web-based system for proposal submission and review, even if full proposals will be submitted via Grants.gov. Invited applications must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. 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 11-574 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.