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National Science Foundation

NSF 13-109

Dear Colleague Letter: FY 2013 Career-Life Balance (CLB) Supplemental Funding Opportunities in support of Postdoctoral Investigators funded by NSF awards

Date: July 2, 2013

BACKGROUND

Instituted in 2012, NSF's Career-Life Balance (CLB) Initiative is an ambitious, ten-year initiative that will build on the best of family-friendly practices among individual NSF programs to expand them to activities NSF-wide. This agency-level approach will help attract, retain, and advance graduate students, postdoctoral students, and early-career researchers in STEM fields. This effort is designed to help reduce the rate at which women depart from the STEM workforce. Further information on the CLB initiative may be found on the Foundation's website.

The primary emphasis of NSF's CLB initiative in FY 2012 was focused on opportunities such as dependent-care issues (child birth/adoption and elder care). These issues initially were addressed through NSF's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, where career-life balance opportunities can help retain a significant fraction of early career STEM talent. In FY 2013, the Foundation intends to further integrate CLB opportunities through other programs such as the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) and postdoctoral fellowship programs, as well as expand opportunities such as dual career-hiring through the Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE) program. Each of these opportunities will be described and implemented separately.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this DCL is to announce a gender neutral supplemental funding opportunity for NSF research awardees that support postdoctoral investigators. NSF recognizes that dependent care responsibilities and other family considerations pose unique challenges for postdoctoral researchers.

Principal Investigators (PIs) of research awards are invited to submit supplemental funding requests to support additional personnel (e.g., research technicians or equivalent) to sustain research while the postdoctoral researcher is on family leave. These requests may include funding for up to 3 months of salary support, for a maximum of $12,000 in salary compensation. The fringe benefits and associated indirect costs may be in addition to the salary payment and therefore, the total supplemental funding request may exceed $12,000.

Special instructions for use by PIs and Sponsored Projects Offices in preparation and submission of postdoctoral investigators-Life Balance Supplemental Funding Requests are included as an attachment (see below) to this DCL.

Additional questions should be directed to the cognizant NSF program director identified in the award notice.

Sincerely,

Wanda E. Ward
Office Head
Office of International & Integrative Activities


PART B

Special Instructions for use by Principal Investigators and Sponsored Projects Offices in the preparation and submission of FY 2013 Career-Life Balance (CLB) Supplemental Funding Request in support of Postdoctoral Investigators funded by NSF awards

In NSF 13-109, FY 2013 Career-Life Balance (CLB) Supplemental Funding Opportunities in support of Postdoctoral Investigators funded by NSF awards, the Foundation announced that PIs are eligible to submit supplemental funding request to support additional personnel (e.g., research technicians or equivalent) to sustain research while the postdoctoral researcher is on family leave. These requests may include funding for up to 3 months of salary support, for a maximum of $12,000 in salary compensation. The fringe benefits and associated indirect costs may be in addition to the salary payment and, therefore, the total supplemental funding request may exceed $12,000.

The Supplemental Funding Requests in support of Postdoctoral Investigators funded by NSF awards must:

  1. Clearly specify that this is a CLB supplemental funding request;
  2. Provide a description of how the technician (or equivalent) would be used to sustain the research effort while the postdoctoral investigator is on leave;
  3. Provide a budget and budget justification in support of requested costs;
  4. Identify the proposed period of performance for the technician; and
  5. Include the following statement:

"The Authorized Organizational Representative hereby certifies that the request for a technician is because the postdoctoral researcher is, or will be, on family leave status (or equivalent) from the institution in accordance with the institution's policies."

There should be no privacy related information provided in this request, i.e., the rationale for leave should not be disclosed to NSF.

Additional questions should be directed to the cognizant NSF program director identified in the award notice.

For additional information on the CLB Initiative, see http://www.nsf.gov/career-life-balance/

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