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National Science Foundation HomeNational Science Foundation - Directorate for Biological Sciences
Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)
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DEB Home
About DEB
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Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Environmental Biology (DEB)
Emerging Frontiers (EF)
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Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
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Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: Representative Activities
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About Environmental Biology (DEB)

About DEB

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) supports fundamental research on populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. Scientific emphases range across many evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes at all spatial and temporal scales. Areas of research include biodiversity, phylogenetic systematics, molecular evolution, life history evolution, natural selection, ecology, biogeography, ecosystem services, conservation biology, global change, and biogeochemical cycles. Research on origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and evolutionary history may incorporate field, laboratory, or collection-based approaches; observational or manipulative experiments; synthesis activities; as well as theoretical approaches involving analytical, statistical, or simulation modeling.

Contact Information

General questions may be directed to DEB by email at DEBQuestions@nsf.gov or by phone at (703) 292-8480. Specific DEB staff may be contacted via individual email addresses in the DEB directory. DEB also encourages the community to engage with us through our blog, DEBrief (http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/good-bye?http://nsfdeb.wordpress.com).

Grant Opportunities

Programs and Funding Opportunities are listed on the DEB Home Page.

Deadline Dates

The deadline date for submission of preliminary proposals to the Division of Environmental Biology Core Programs is January 23. The deadline date for submission of invited full proposals to the Division of Environmental Biology Core Programs is August 2.

Please refer to the specific program announcements for deadline dates associated with additional DEB funding opportunities.

Proposals received by the deadline date will be considered in the next panel review cycle. The earliest possible effective date for an award would be approximately six months after the target date or deadline date.

Review Criteria

All proposals to DEB will be evaluated with respect to two general criteria, described in the Grant Proposal Guide - intellectual merit and broader impacts:

Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and

Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to:

a. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and

b. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?

2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?

3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?

4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?

5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Data Management and Sharing

Proposals submitted to all programs in DEB must adhere to the general NSF policy on data management and sharing as described in the Award Administration Guide: the NSF "expects PIs to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials, created or gathered in the course of the work." Thus, proposals should describe plans for specimen and information management and sharing, including where data and metadata, will be stored and maintained, and the likely schedule for release. These plans will be considered as part of the review process. The BIO Directorate has provided PIs additional guidance on development of Data Management Plans.

Research networks and centers of special interest to DEB researchers

NSF provides funding to networks and centers; while funded outside of DEB, several of these are likely to be of particular interest to environmental biologists. Information about these current activities can be found on the Division of Biological Infrastructure (http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=DBI) and Division of Emerging Frontiers (http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=EF) webpages.


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