Undergraduate and Graduate Opportunities at NSF

How’s your summer going? Too early to start thinking about next summer? What about winter or spring break? We don’t think so! Be sure and share these opportunities with your undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates.

Summer Scholars: undergraduate and graduate internships at NSF

NSF hosts about 20 Summer Scholars for 10 weeks during the summer. NSF Program Officers serve as mentors and create a work plan for the student. That work plan is submitted to the NSF Summer Scholars Program for approval and then those internships are advertised through 3 organizations; the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the Quality Education for Minorities Network (QEM), and the Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS). Students need to apply through one of those three associations, not to NSF.

This internship program is designed to serve under-represented students. The purpose is to give students the opportunity to see what it’s like to serve within the Federal sector as well as encourage students to pursue advanced studies in STEM.

As for compensation, summer scholarships can include housing and stipends for undergraduate and graduate students.

REU Sites: research experiences for undergraduates

If students would rather do research at a University lab than work at a Federal agency, they can apply to an REU Site. REU Sites receive funding from NSF to engage undergraduate students in research. Like the Summer Scholar Program, students don’t apply through NSF but have to contact an REU Site directly and apply with that particular site. A list of REU Sites can be found here.

REU Supplements: research experiences for undergraduates

Investigators currently receiving funding from NSF for awards can apply for REU Supplements. Supplements are designed to give undergraduates a genuine research experience similar to REU Site experiences but instead of being offered through an institution, supplements are managed by NSF-funded investigators. Students must seek out those supplement opportunities through active awards, reaching out to labs and inquiring if they have applied (or are planning to apply) for supplements, or paying attention to their local college or university job board.

Stipends for REU students vary depending on location and project but they generally range between $6,000-8,000 and last between 6-10 weeks.

Special Programs for Undergraduates

Here’s a collection of special programs that provide either direct (i.e., from NSF) or indirect (i.e., from an awardee institution) funding for students interested in training and curricula development. They vary in application processes, stipends, and objectives so read them carefully and don’t hesitate to reach out to the program contacts listed on the program webpages.

Pathways: internships and fellowships at Federal agencies

Maybe Federal service is where your heart is, after all. If that’s the case, you’ll need to apply through the USAJobs portal. Of course, you can apply for any federal government job that you qualify for, but there are specific programs that help students and recent graduates get their foot in the door.

  1. There’s the Pathways Internship Program for current students.
  2. The Recent Graduates Program for, you guessed it, recent graduates.
  3. And the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program for those with an advanced degree (Masters or PhD).

Pathways interns and PMFs earn an annual salary that varies by agency and location. Some Federal agencies may also offer internships outside of the Pathways Program but those are generally unpaid.

 

Reintegrating Biology Town Halls

Learn about this exciting new initiative and register for town hall discussions from the Office of the Assistant Director’s blog here or below.

“Biology has the goal of understanding the processes that generate and sustain life.  Despite this unifying principle, the actual practice of modern biology has become increasingly fragmented into subdisciplines due, in part, to specialized approaches required for deep study of narrowly defined problems.  BIO aims to encourage a unification of biology. Our goal is to stimulate creative integration of diverse biological disciplines using innovative experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to discover underlying principles operating across all hierarchical levels of life, from biomolecules to organisms, species, ecosystems, and biomes.

Earlier this year we asked you, as members of the biological sciences community, for high-level ideas on the research questions and topics that would benefit from NSF investment in a truly integrated research environment. The responses from across the country offered a broad range of fundamental biological questions spanning the scales of biological organization. BIO now wants to grow and enrich the conversation with a view to priming the formation of new NSF-supported research teams around these questions.

To that end, we invite you to register for one of several Virtual Town Hall discussions, which will take place the week of September 16, 2019. These events will help identify themes for more focused, in-person discussions that will take place later in the fall – fertile soil for germination of new, foundational cross-disciplinary ideas that will unify and advance the biological sciences.

More details can be found at https://reintegratingbiology.org/.”

Now Hiring: Deputy Division Director!

The Directorate for Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation is seeking a Deputy Division Director for the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB). This is a Senior Executive Service (SES) position within the Federal government, which can be filled as either a Federal employee, or as a rotator (Intergovernmental Personnel Act, 1-3 years), as described here:  https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/536933400

The Deputy Division Director plays a key role in the Division’s senior management, contributing to science planning, management, and program budget allocation and commitment for the Division. The Deputy Division Director advises and aids the Division Director, and is a member of the broader senior management team in the Directorate for Biological Sciences.

The Division of Environmental Biology supports research and training on evolutionary and ecological processes acting at the level of populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.

You can read more about DEB’s structure and mission here: https://www.nsf.gov/bio/deb/about.jsp

For details on how to apply, please visit the job announcement. You may email the Division Director Stephanie Hampton (shampton@nsf.gov) with any additional questions.

NEON Science Summit

Earth Lab, at the University of Colorado Boulder, is hosting a NEON Science Summit from October 15-17, 2019 to build a network of NEON data users and drive questions in ecology and environmental science. Applications to attend are due 7/22/2019.

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) representing 81 sites across the United States, is designed to understand how ecological properties are changing in response to a changing climate, land use, invasive species and other drivers at large spatial scales. This network “will enable a large and diverse user community to tackle new questions at scales not accessible to previous generations of ecologists.” NEON collects an incredible breadth of data on soil, water, organisms, and the atmosphere, ranging from field samples of beetle populations to airborne-based LiDAR data. NEON has 179 data products available that you can download for free!

If you want to connect with some of the 1000-1500 researchers downloading NEON data each month and are interested in collectively working through common challenges of NEON data use, we encourage you to attend the Summit!

The Summit will be an ‘unconference’ which emphasizes opportunities for learning, sharing, and engaging. This format allows participants to choose the topics that are most important to them and drive meeting themes based on their interests. Example themes for the NEON Science Summit include forest nutrient cycling, patterns of biodiversity, climate change and stream hydrology, or cutting-edge research approaches. We expect that working groups will coalesce around research topics of interest and will continue working together after the meeting.

The Summit will be held at the University of Colorado Boulder. Limited funds are available to support travel costs. Remote participation is an option if you are unable to attend in person. We aim to attract a diverse group of attendees from various career stages, institution types, disciplines, and backgrounds. Early careerists are encouraged to attend!

Please visit the NEON Science Summit website for more information: https://www.colorado.edu/earthlab/2019/06/13/neon-science-summit

Applications are due 7/22/2019! To attend, fill out an application here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdKEUW9gMrwes29rnSlBULbF-yJeIaL0BZUduq8w0QtWmAmQA/viewform?usp=sf_link

For questions about the Summit, email Chelsea Nagy: chelsea.nagy@colorado.edu.

 

2019 Summer Meeting Schedule

DEB representatives will be attending the Evolution conference in Providence June 21-25 and the Ecological Society of America (ESA) conference in Louisville August 11-16. We will also be sending representatives to the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH) July 24-28 and to the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) meeting June 10-13 as well as several other meetings throughout the summer.

Come and stop by the NSF exhibitor booth at both Evolution and ESA to chat with staff and Program Officers. We’re ready to talk about the latest NSF news and funding opportunities. Be sure to scoop up your Famous Biologist Trading Cards before they’re all gone and remember to visit our colleagues at the NEON booth.

Q&A Sessions

  • We’ll also be hosting a session at ESA on Tuesday, August 13 from 11:30-1:15 entitled, “Conversations with NSF: Research and Training Opportunities.”
  • The Evolution session will be Sunday, June 23 from 1:15-2:15 in room 554.
  • The JMIH session will be July 26 from 12:05-12:35.

We hope to see you there!

The table below shows which Program Officers and Senior Managers will be attending meetings.

Program Officers and Senior Managers          

Cluster

Digital Data in Biodiversity Research, New Haven, CT

June 10-12

Andrea Weeks SBS

EEID, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

June 10-13

Katharina Dittmar SBS
Sam Scheiner EP

Evolution, Providence, RI

June 21-25

David Cannatella SBS
George Gilchrist EP
Stephanie Hampton Division Director
Simon Malcomber SBS
Paco Moore EP
Leslie Rissler Acting Deputy Division Director
Sam Scheiner EP
Chris Schneider SBS

Microbial Population Biology Gordon Conference, Andover, NH

July 7-12

Susi Remold EP

Animal Behavior Society, Chicago, IL

July 22-27

Colette St. Mary EP

Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Snowbird, UT

July 24-28

David Cannatella SBS
Leslie Rissler Acting Deputy Division Director
Chris Schneider SBS

Botany 2019, Tucson, AZ

July 27-31

Andrea Weeks SBS

ESA, Louisville, KY

August 11-16

Elizabeth Blood ES
Lynn Christenson ES
Dan Gruner PCE
Stephanie Hampton Division Director
Matt Kane ES
Doug Levey PCE
Kendra McLauchlan ES
Betsy von Holle PCE

 

Dear Colleague Letter: Research on Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Harassment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Contexts

Please take a minute to read our most recent DCL on sexual harassment here or below.

“March 29, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has publicly communicated its commitment to promoting safe, productive research and education environments for current and future scientists and engineers, including efforts to help reduce sexual harassment and other forms of harassment in STEM contexts.

Recently, to learn about the challenges related to sexual harassment in STEM settings, NSF and other organizations funded the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to conduct a study on the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in science and engineering departments and programs. The results of the study are available in the report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture and Consequences in Academic Science, Engineering, and Medicine. As the most comprehensive examination to date of sexual harassment in academic science, engineering, and medicine, the report brings together behavioral and social research on types of sexual harassment and prevalence, data on legal and policy mechanisms, and new approaches for changing the climate and culture in higher education to prevent and effectively respond to sexual harassment.

One of the NASEM report’s recommendations is to “conduct necessary research” (pp. 186-187) on a number of topics related to sexual harassment. This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) is intended to highlight for the research community that NSF, as a primary federal funder of basic science and engineering research in the United States, continues to welcome and support competitive, peer-reviewed research that advances fundamental knowledge about the nature and underlying dynamics of sexual and other forms of harassment, and mechanisms for evaluating harassment prevalence, prevention, and responses, in a range of STEM education, research, and workplace settings.

A number of programs across the Foundation may be appropriate for proposals that have clear, theoretically-driven research orientations and advance generalizable knowledge about sexual or other forms of harassment in STEM contexts. Examples of potential research foci include: the nature and dynamics of harassment, including underlying social and behavioral processes; mechanisms for assessing and evaluating harassment prevalence, prevention, and responses across a range of organizational levels; and harassment dynamics with respect to ethics, diversity, and inclusivity in science. Additionally, NSF programs in any research area may elect to support basic research or conferences about sexual or other forms of harassment in a specific research field, group, or context. Proposals involving international collaboration, in which NSF supports the U.S. component of the collaborative activities, may also be considered.

To determine whether a research idea is within the scope of this DCL and appropriate for a particular program, prospective principal investigators are strongly encouraged to contact, prior to submitting proposals, the directorate/office Liaison(s) for Harassment Research most closely aligned with the research activities to be proposed. Proposals will be submitted to existing NSF funding opportunities and should follow the guidance and requirements of the relevant program(s) and the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

Liaisons for Harassment Research:

  • Biological Sciences (BIO): Leslie Rissler
  • Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE): Jeremy Epstein
  • Education & Human Resources (EHR): Jessie DeAro
  • Engineering (ENG): Paige Smith
  • Geosciences (GEO): Elizabeth Rom, Margaret Frasier
  • Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS): Tomasz Durakiewicz
  • Social Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE): Rebecca Ferrell
  • Office of Integrative Activities (OIA): Bernice Anderson, Jolaina Jeff-Cartier
  • Office of International Science & Engineering (OISE): Anne Emig

Sincerely,

Joanne S. Tornow, Assistant Director, BIO
Jim Kurose, Assistant Director, CISE
Karen Marrongelle, Assistant Director, EHR
Dawn M. Tilbury, Assistant Director, ENG
William E. Easterling, Assistant Director, GEO
Anne L. Kinney, Assistant Director, MPS
Arthur W. Lupia, Assistant Director, SBE
Rebecca L. Keiser, Office Head, OISE
C. Suzanne Iacono, Office Head, OIA”

New Email Validation System May Block NSF Email Communications

In a world of endless robocalls and mailing lists, we’re all  bombarded with more and more useless information. Unfortunately, some useful information from NSF might be going to your Spam folder.

Make sure the IT team at your college or university has @nsf.gov as an approved sender. This is especially important if you have your work emails forwarded to a different account (e.g., Gmail or Yahoo).

Be sure and check out this post from our Office of the Director for more information on the new email validation system.

Let’s work together to keep our lines of communication wide open. If you have any questions, please send us a note at debquestions@nsf.gov.

MacroSystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science Webinar 2/6/19, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST.

The MacroSystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science (MSB-NES) program of the National Science Foundation will host an open-forum webinar with Program Directors this February 6, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST. Instructions for joining the session can be found here.* The webinar will be recorded, and a public link will appear at this location.

The program solicitation (NSF 19-538) invites innovative proposals to detect, quantify, and forecast the consequences of changing climate, land-use, and invasive species for the biosphere at regional to continental scales (see DEBrief). The Macrosystems Biology program also invites proposals for Research Coordination Networks for driving convergent science with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) (NSF 19-031). Proposals share the due date of February 25, 2019.

Please note: The due date for this solicitation was not impacted by the recent federal lapse in appropriations, and it is not expected to change if another lapse follows the end of the continuing resolution on February 15 2019. Fastlane, Grants.gov, and Research.gov are expected to be functional and open for proposal submission. Find more information here.

*UPDATE: If you missed the webinar, you can find the recording here.

 

Integration Institutes Request for Information Due March 1

From our friends at the Office of the Assistant Director, “The NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences has published a Dear Colleague Letter seeking ideas from the community on Integration Institutes for cross-cutting biology. These institutes would support collaborative teams of researchers to address questions that span multiple levels of organization in living systems and require expertise from diverse biological subdisciplines.

This is not a call for research proposals, but rather for high-level ideas about the types of questions and resources that would benefit from NSF investment in a truly integrated research environment.

The deadline for submissions is March 1. Please see the Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 19-027) for details on how to submit your ideas.”

DEB at the American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Several DEB Program Officers including, Elizabeth Blood, Dan Gruner, Kendra McLauchlan, and John Schade, will be attending the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC December 10-14. Representatives from the Ecosystem Science cluster and the Population and Community Ecology cluster will be on site and available for conversations. We are ready to talk about the latest NSF news and funding opportunities.

Our colleagues in the Directorate for Geosciences will have a booth, so feel free to stop by there, pick up DEB-relevant materials, and chat at any time.

We will be joining an outreach event called “Navigating NSF” from 9 am to noon on Wednesday, December 12 in the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, in the Georgetown Room. The event is organized by the Earth Science Women’s Network and all are welcome to attend. There will be a short presentation, a discussion among Program Officers, and dedicated time for small group discussion. See you there!