Call for Proposals FAPESP-NSF: BIOTA and Dimensions of Biodiversity 2015

Published at www.fapesp.br/biota/dimensions-NSF2015

Call for Proposals for Scientific Cooperation between researchers in the United States and in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, under a Scientific Cooperation Agreement between the “Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo” (FAPESP) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

FAPESP and NSF make public this joint Call for Proposals and invite interested researchers to submit projects for Scientific Cooperation through their programs, BIOTA (www.fapesp.br/en/4662) and Dimensions of Biodiversity (www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15533/nsf15533.htm), respectively, under the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth.

This Call for Proposal is based in a broader Call for proposals published annually by the NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity´s Program, which invites the participation of U.S. researchers to apply for NSF´s regular funding or co-funding opportunities under NSF agreements with FAPESP, Chinese National Natural Science Foundation and NASA (for details see the NSF Dimensions Program' Solicitation at www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503446.

1. Introduction:

Life on Earth is astounding in its diversity and in its ability to transform the world. Despite centuries of discovery, the vast majority of our planet's diversity remains unknown. Only a few years ago scientists shared the view that the diversity of life on Earth was so vast that it might be beyond cataloging, much less understanding. This is no longer the case. Advances in our capacity to collect, analyze, and integrate biological data have provided tools with which researchers can significantly expand our knowledge of Earth's biodiversity and revolutionize our understanding of the living world. Unfortunately, the pace of discovery is increasingly offset by rapid and permanent loss of biodiversity. Drivers of biodiversity loss include climate change, over-exploitation of natural resources, planetary re-engineering (such as land use change, water diversions, coastal development, fertilizer use), and the intentional or unintentional movement of species. With biodiversity loss, humanity is losing links in the web of life that provide important ecosystem services, forfeiting opportunities to understand the history and future of the living world, and losing opportunities for future beneficial bio-inspired discoveries and innovations. This reality has stimulated a campaign of integrated study across the dimensions of Earth's biodiversity.

Biodiversity research has often focused on single dimensions. For example, investigators have concentrated on the taxonomic diversity or phylogenetic history of a clade, the genetic diversity of a population or a species, or the functional role of a taxon in an ecosystem. Although this research has yielded important advances, huge gaps persist in our understanding of biodiversity. We understand little about how these various dimensions, individually and in concert, contribute to environmental health, ecosystem stability, productivity, resilience, and biological adaptation in response to rapid environmental change.

By 2020, the Dimensions of Biodiversity program is expected to have transformed our understanding of the scope and role of life on Earth. Investigators are encouraged to propose projects that transcend traditional boundaries among areas of biodiversity research. The Dimensions program focuses on genetic, phylogenetic, and functional dimensions of biodiversity. Successful proposals will test hypotheses about biodiversity that integrate these three dimensions and investigate the dynamic interactions and feedbacks among them. While this focus complements several core programs in BIO and GEO, it differs by requiring that multiple dimensions of biodiversity be addressed and integrated in innovative ways to understand the roles of biodiversity in critical ecological and evolutionary processes. Examples are provided in the following section. Projects funded in the first four years of the program are listed at www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14057/nsf14057.pdf.

2. BIOTA/FAPESP and NSF- Dimensions of Biodiversity Program´s descriptions:

The aims of the BIOTA-FAPESP Research Program, launched in March 1999 includes: i) to inventory, map and characterize the biodiversity of the State of São Paulo; ii) to understand the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity, as well as those that can result in its deleterious reduction; iii) to improve public policies on biodiversity conservation and restoration, and iv) to develop means and strategies for the sustainable use of plants, animals and microorganism with economic potential.

The scientific plan of the BIOTA/FAPESP Program for the next 10 years (www.fapesp.br/biota/10scienceplan.pdf) includes: (i) native biodiversity restoration, (ii) development and implementation of a new information system for the Program (SinBiota 2.0), (iii) biodiversity inventories (including DNA bar-coding and metagenomics), (iv) phylogeny and phylogeography, (v) ecosystem functioning and landscape ecology, (vi) marine biodiversity, (vii) applied ecology and human dimensions of biological conservation, (viii) invasive species and GMOs, (ix) modeling, (x) bioprospecting, and (xi) education and public outreach.

The Dimensions of Biodiversity campaign takes a broad view of biodiversity that ranges from genes through species to ecosystems in an effort to integrate both descriptive and functional aspects of biodiversity on Earth. The long-term goal of the campaign is to develop an integrated understanding of the key dimensions of biodiversity in an ever-changing world.


Figure 1. Three dimensions of biodiversity: phylogenetic, genetic, and functional. This solicitation targets biodiversity research areas where all three overlap. Arrows illustrate the preferred emphasis on understanding dynamic relationships among those dimensions.

The Dimensions of Biodiversity program currently targets three fundamental dimensions of biodiversity - genetic diversity, phylogenetic diversity, and functional diversity. Integration among these three dimensions is an essential aspect of all proposals. Genetic diversity includes nucleotide sequence diversity at neutral or coding loci as well as genomic (proteomic, transcriptomic) diversity. Phylogenetic diversity refers to reconstructing evolutionary relationships among lineages at and above the level of the population and how these relationships compare to current taxonomic understanding. Functional diversity includes aspects of organismal, population, community and ecosystem traits and functions, and the role of key innovations in the generation and maintenance of biodiversity (see examples below). Investigators are encouraged to study the dynamic relationships among these three dimensions and their associated feedbacks. How does functional biodiversity relate to the phylogenetic or taxonomic dimension in a particular study system? How does population genetic diversity influence the functional role of a species or group of species in their habitat? Because these relationships are not static, proposals should seek to understand how these relationships adjust and evolve over time. In addition, a primary goal of the program is to describe the largest unknown mechanisms driving the origin, maintenance, and functional roles of biodiversity; proposals that have the potential to fill large gaps in our understanding of biodiversity are particularly encouraged.

Examples of topics that might be addressed by Dimensions proposals include, but are not limited to, the integrated roles of the three dimensions of biodiversity in: food web and community stability or ecosystem resilience, sustainability or productivity, particularly with respect to environmental thresholds and alternate stable states; feedbacks between biotic and abiotic change; maintenance of symbioses; genetic/phylogenetic diversification enabled by natural selection on novel traits; ecological response to anthropogenic disturbances including climate change; carbon, nitrogen, and other biogeochemical cycles; and rates of evolution.

The Geosciences Directorate is particularly interested in projects that consider how marine biodiversity interacts with ecosystem function relative to climate change.

All projects must ensure that data and biological materials are collected, archived, digitized, and made available using methods that allow current and future investigators to access data to address new questions. Funded projects must disseminate project data broadly, using widely accepted electronic methods. Data publication via existing repositories (e.g., Genbank, Dryad, iDigBio, MorphBank, Open Tree of Life) is strongly encouraged. All projects will be expected to adhere to appropriate standards where they exist (e.g., for taxonomic, geospatial, ecological, gene and genome sequence data) and to identify and maintain data linkages across repositories where possible. As a condition of funding: any digitized data and/or digital media (e.g., images, audio files) of voucher material from the project must be made available through the online National Resource for Digitized Collections (iDigBio.org); and, any phylogenetic character matrices and trees must be formatted and deposited for inclusion within the Open Tree of Life (see http://purl.org/opentree/data-sharing for instructions).

Plans to collect and transfer samples should be approved by the appropriate government authorities. Arrangements for the use of traditional knowledge or the collection of samples from the lands of local peoples should be based upon full disclosure and informed consent of those peoples. Under best practices, such arrangements develop as a partnership with early and ongoing full participation of community representatives in project design. If cooperating indigenous groups, on the basis of religious or other concerns, object to specific uses, widespread dissemination or other treatments of the knowledge or resources they provide, these concerns should be respected. Any dissemination of samples or data that were collected in a foreign country, or dissemination of results based on samples or data collected in a foreign country, should be done with the full knowledge and consent of collaborators in that country, and under any agreements that exist with government agencies in that country.

3. Purpose:

The purpose of this fourth Call is to define the conditions for the submission of proposals for Scientific Cooperation between scientists in São Paulo, Brazil, and in the United States within the scope of the Scientific Cooperation Agreement between FAPESP and NSF signed on 19/12/2011 and published at www.fapesp.br/en/6764.

The funded projects selected in the previous Calls (2012, 2013 and 2014) under the FAPESP and NSF agreement, are listed at www.fapesp.br/en/6517.

4. Research Proposals

Research projects must integrate all three dimensions of biodiversity (Figure 1) with the goal of understanding the complex interactions and dynamic feedbacks among these dimensions. Innovative approaches that accelerate the characterization and understanding of these three dimensions of biodiversity are encouraged, as are empirical, experimental, theoretical, and modeling approaches.

Projects may incorporate the context provided by one or more drivers of biodiversity loss (e.g. climate change; over-exploitation of natural resources; planetary re-engineering such as land use change, water diversions, coastal development, fertilizer use; and the intentional or unintentional movement of species), but this is not a requirement of the solicitation. Projects that also develop original computational methods or technology that will be useful to a wide community of researchers (e.g., informatics, instrumentation, imaging, analysis) and other tools specific to integrative biodiversity studies are also welcome.

Both single investigator and collaborative efforts are acceptable. Investigators are encouraged to develop international collaborations if projects will characterize multiple dimensions of biodiversity and understand their ecological and evolutionary significance within a global context.

Proposals should focus on fundamental aspects of biodiversity research; those whose primary focus is applied in nature (e.g., food and drug development; biomedical prospecting, restoration or biodiversity management) are not eligible for funding. Projects that integrate multiple dimensions of biodiversity but largely repeat or replicate existing work will also not be funded. Additional examples of proposals that will not be considered by this program include:

1) projects that only address the characterization of genetic diversity within a single population or species;

2) projects that focus on species surveys, discovery, inventories, or descriptions (including projects that solely focus on large-scale sequence acquisition, for example microbiome surveys, without integrating the three dimensions of biodiversity);

3) projects that only address taxonomic boundaries (e.g., species delimitation) using genetic markers; and

4) phylogenetic and/or phylogeographic studies that do not also address the genetic and functional aspects of the focal group(s).

Research on biodiversity science that is focused exclusively on systematics, evolution, ecology, or ecosystem science is supported by NSF and FAPESP, however proposals addressing those individual areas may not be directly applicable to the Dimensions of Biodiversity Program. Proposals that do not integrate the three dimensions as described herein will not be considered by the Dimensions of Biodiversity program and should be submitted to to BIOTA-FAPESP relevant NSF programs instead.

5. Eligibility:

For FY2015 NSF will continue the partnership with the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP) of Brazil to facilitate coordinated funding of up to two US-São Paulo Collaborative Research projects. These projects can focus on any topic that falls within the scope of this Dimensions of Biodiversity solicitation and the corresponding FAPESP- BIOTA call for proposals published at www.fapesp.br/biota/dimensions-NSF2015. These projects must have a 5-year duration and should take advantage of the unique and innovative opportunities offered by an international collaboration.

The proposals must be submitted:

5.1 To FAPESP, by researchers associated with public or private Higher Education or Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo. Researchers should meet the FAPESP eligibility requirements for either Thematic Projects (www.fapesp.br/176) or for Young Investigator Awards (www.fapesp.br/en/4479).

São Paulo state researchers must send a pre-proposal as described in the FAPESP call published at www.fapesp.br/biota/dimensions-NSF2015 (item 9.1), before 26 February 2015 (at least 6 weeks prior to the full proposal deadline) to receive pre-approval by FAPESP regarding eligibility as a PI for a FAPESP Thematic Project or Young Investigator Award. Please note that for Dimensions of Biodiversity competition only, FAPESP will consider Young Investigator Award proposals with a duration of 5 years.

5.2 To NSF, by researchers associated with eligible institutions as defined in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg).

5.3 An individual may appear as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, or other senior personnel on only one proposal per annual cycle submitted in response to this solicitation. This limitation includes proposals submitted by a lead organization, any sub-award submitted as part of a proposal, or any collaborative proposal submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations, and this includes all types of projects. If an individual is listed as PI, co-PI, or senior personnel on more than one proposal to this solicitation, all proposals in excess of the limit for any person will be returned without review in the reverse order received.

5.4 The following exceptions to normal FAPESP rules will apply:

5.4.1 Thematic Grants

  1. Each proposal must have at least two co-Principal Investigators, in addition to the Principal Investigator. Please consult with FAPESP before preparing a proposal to ensure the people proposed as co-PIs meet the necessary qualification requirements.
  2. The requested budget must allocate at least 40% of the total funds to support fellowships.
  3. Proposers may request up to three MSc Fellowships, as a quota (“Bolsas como Item Orçamentário”).

5.4.2 Young Investigator Awards

Proposers may request:

  1. Up to two MSc Fellowships, as a quota (“Bolsas como Item Orçamentário”).
  2. Up to one Post-Doctoral Fellowship, as a quota (“Bolsas como Item Orçamentário”).

5.5 Applications with a non-eligible American partner will not be considered for funding by FAPESP. In the same way, applications with a non-eligible São Paulo partner will not be considered for funding by NSF.

6. Timeline:

30th January 2015: Call for proposals publication

26st February 2015 : Closing date for submission of “Pre-proposals” by the SP State PIs to FAPESP

10th March 2015: SP State PIs notification for submission of “Full Proposal” by FAPESP

9th April 2015 : Closing date for submission for Full Proposal (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

June 2015: Publication of the results for selected proposals

7. Duration of the research project:

The duration of the research project must be 5 years with possibility of extension for up to 12 additional months, in exceptional condition, as justified and approved by the corresponding agency.

8. Funding principles:

8.1 Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

8.2 Up to two 5-year US-São Paulo Collaborative Research Project awards will be funded by NSF to the US components and by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) to the São Paulo components. NSF will fund its US researchers at a level up to $2,000,000.

8.3 FAPESP will fund Thematic Project investigators at a level up to $2,000,000 (this total value includes both the overhead for researcher direct use and the overhead for institutional infrastructure) and Young Investigator Award researchers at a level up to $1,500,000 (this total value includes both the overhead for researcher direct use and the overhead for institutional infrastructure). Please note that for Dimensions of Biodiversity competition only, FAPESP will consider Young Investigator Award proposals with a duration of 5 years.

8.4 The proposal budget submitted to NSF should include only the costs of US participants; the anticipated budget for São Paulo state participants should be submitted as a supplementary document.

8.5 The proposal budget submitted to FAPESP should include only the costs of São Paulo participants; the anticipated budget for US participants should be submitted as a supplementary document in the proposal submitted to FAPESP.

8.6 Proposal budgets submitted to NSF and FAPESP do not have to request equal funding from each agency; each proposal should have a budget that reflects the participation of scientists from each region. The only requirement is that the funding rules of each agency must be followed.

9. Proposal characteristics:

9.1 Pre-Proposal

Researchers from the State of São Paulo must send a pre-proposal, in English, which must include the following documents and information:

i) Sao Paulo State PI´s CV;

ii) the title and summary of the collaborative research project;

iii) the name of the US collaborative PI and institution.

The Pre-proposals should be submitted to FAPESP, by February 26th 2015:

i) as printed copy to Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa, CEP 05468-901 – São Paulo/SP. All proposals submitted to FAPESP should be clearly marked “BIOTA-FAPESP/DIMENSIONS-NSF 2015” to distinguish them from other program submissions;

ii) as digital copy to the E-mail address chamada_NSF-Dimensions@fapesp.br. Please identify the message with the subject: “BIOTA-FAPESP/DIMENSIONS-NSF 2015”.

Proposals submitted by any other means will not be accepted.

9.2 Full proposals: For the selected State of Sao Paulo pre-proposals by FAPESP, the corresponding full proposals should be also prepared in English. The full proposal must be submitted to both agencies by 09th April 2015. Other specified in this Call, the proposals should be prepared, formatted and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines of FAPESP and NSF. Each proposer must prepare its proposal using the cover sheet and application form of the corresponding agency.

9.2.1 For the US-SP colaborative research project, an identical (single) scientific research project description must be prepared jointly by the US and SP PIs, and submitted to FAPESP, by the researcher in the State of São Paulo and to NSF by his/her U.S. collaborator(s), as specified below:

i) Project Title: The title of the Research Project should begin with "Dimensions US-BIOTA São Paulo:" followed by the substantive title;

ii) Project Summary: The one-page Project Summary must address three aspects under the following three headings:

ii.1) Intellectual Merit

ii.2) Broader Impacts

ii.3) Integration. The project summary must explicitly summarize how the project integrates the three dimensions of biodiversity as defined in this solicitation. In addition, if the proposal includes the use of satellite remote sensing, this fact should be noted in the project summary.

Proposals that do not address all three aspects in the project summary will be returned without review.

iii) Project Description: The project description must include, within the maximum 15 pages:

iii.1) a description of how the project integrates the three dimensions of biodiversity as defined in this solicitation;

iii.2) details about why the work represents an innovative approach to biodiversity research;

iii.3) information about how the work will rapidly increase understanding of biodiversity;

iii.4) identification of the substantial gap(s) in biodiversity knowledge that will be filled by the proposed research.

iv) A summarized description of results from prior FAPESP (for SP proposers) and NSF (for US proposers) support: If any PI or co-PI on the project has received FAPESP or NSF funding, respectively, in the past five years, information on prior award(s) is required. Each PI and co-PI who has received more than one prior award (excluding amendments) must report on the award most closely related to the proposal. Reviewers will be asked to comment on the quality of the prior work described in this section of the proposal. Please note that the results may be summarized in fewer than five pages, which would leave the balance of the 15 pages for the Project Description.

9.3 For FAPESP:

i) The proposal must be submitted as a Thematic Research Project (www.fapesp.br/176) or a Young Investigator Awards (www.fapesp.br/en/4479).

ii) A PDF copy of the documents of the US collaborator (Application form, CV, budgetary sheets, letters etc) should be included in the SP proposal as Supplementary Documents (see details in section 9.6).

iii) For the proposals submitted to FAPESP, the core of the proposal, submitted in English, shall contain:

1) Research Proposal form customized for this Call and Researcher’s Registration form. The SP proposer should use the application form customized for this Call as a cover sheet to submit the proposal to FAPESP. All documents required for the proposal, including the ones described in this Call, are listed in the last page of the Research Proposal form;

2) Summary of the PI and Co-PI’s CV (FAPESP’s instructions);

3) Research project (as specified in section 9.2);

4) Budget worksheets specifically designed for this Call conforming to FAPESP standards;

5) Team description (description worksheet BIOTA-Dimensions-NSF);

6) BIOTA Membership: The SP proposer must fulfill and sign the BIOTA´s Membership Form (“Formulário de Adesão”), agreeing to comply with the programs rules (www.fapesp.br/5223).

9.4 For NSF:

i) The proposal must be submitted as described in the Dimensions of Biodiversity solicitation (www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503446);

ii) The documents of SP collaborators (Application form, CV, budgetary sheets, letters etc) should be included in the US proposal as Supplementary Documents (see details in section 9.5).

9.5 For FAPESP and NSF:

As specified in this section, the following documents should be provided by the SP PI and his/her U.S. Collaborator, to both proposals (to FAPESP and NSF), as Supplementary Documentation.

Information of the U.S. portion of the proposal should be included as Supplementary Documents in the Sao Paulo proposal to FAPESP. Similarly, comparable information of SP portion of the proposal should be included as Supplementary Documents in the proposal submitted to NSF. That information should include the following, and only the following:

i) Proposal Application Forms:

i.1) A PDF version of the NSF cover page, completed and submitted to NSF by the US PI should be included as a Supplementary Document in the proposal submitted to FAPESP by the SP PI;

i.2) Similarly, a PDF version of the FAPESP Application Form, completed and submitted to FAPESP by the SP PI, should be included as a Supplementary Document in the proposal submitted to NSF;

ii) Senior Personnel Biographical Sketches:

ii.1) A PDF version of the U.S. Senior Personnel Biographical Sketches following the format required by NSF should be included as a Supplementary Document in the proposal submitted to FAPESP;

ii.2) Similarly, a PDF version of the SP Senior Personnel Biographical Sketches, following the format required by FAPESP, should be included as a supplementary document in the proposal submitted to NSF.

iii) Budget worksheets:

iii.1) A PDF version of the NSF budget worksheets containing the cost for U.S. components of the project should be included in the FAPESP proposal as a Supplementary Document;

iii.2) Similarly, a PDF version of the FAPESP budget worksheets containing the cost for SP components of the project should be provided as a Supplementary Document for the proposal submitted to NSF by the U.S. PI. Except for justification of the requested budget, this document SHOULD NOT include any additional project information. All such information should be included in the Project Description;

iv) Data Management Plan: Each proposal must include, as a supplementary document, a data management section with the specific details of data standards, accessibility, electronic dissemination, and preservation. Of particular logistical importance (if applicable) are: plans for data collection and analysis; details of collaborative efforts; information about import, export and collecting permits; plans for the distribution and long term storage of voucher specimens; plans for digitization of all specimens following international standards such as Darwin Core; agreements with existing collections for archiving and maintaining voucher specimens and (shared with iDigBio) digitized images of those specimens; and information about access to resources that are not immediately under the investigator's control (e.g., museum collections, research sites, computing facilities). The data management plan must not exceed two pages. Proposals that do not comply with this requirement will be returned without review.

v) Student Training Plan: Training should promote intellectual and methodological cross-fertilization and encourage a systems/integrative perspective towards understanding biodiversity. An integrated training plan for undergraduate and/or graduate students is a newly required element of Dimensions of Biodiversity proposals. The goal of the Training Plan is to prepare students to develop broad hypotheses and to become well versed with all aspects of inter-disciplinary biological research. This may be accomplished, for example, through lab rotations among PI institutions, cross-training plans, and/or integrative training workshops. NSF believes that student research experiences have their greatest impact in situations that lead the participants from a relatively dependent status to as independent status as their competence warrants. A training plan must be included that explains the approach, depth and breadth of instruction. The training plan must not exceed two pages. Proposers should describe specifically how the proposed training plan will enhance the future workforce for the field of biodiversity science and how trainees will be better able to engage in emerging research areas employing newly developing methods and tools. Only one Student Training Plan should be submitted for each project, even if it is a collaborative project. Proposals that do not comply with this requirement will be returned without review.

vi) Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan: Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. The mentoring plan must not exceed one page. Only one Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan should be submitted for each project, even if it is a collaborative project. Proposals that do not comply with this requirement will be returned without review.

For SP PIs and Co-PIs, the proposal that requests funding to support doctoral, scientific initiation and technical training fellowships must include, as supplementary documents, a description of the mentoring activities for each application as specified in the rules for the Thematic project published at www.fapesp.br/176#4603;

vii) Letters of Collaboration:

This section may include letters of collaboration from individuals or organizations that will play an integral role in the proposed project (e.g., individuals or organizations who will provide materials, data, or analytical capabilities). Letters of collaboration should focus solely on affirming that the individual or organization is willing to collaborate on the project as specified in the project description of the proposal. No additional text, especially elaboration of the nature of activities to be undertaken by the collaborator and endorsements of the potential value or significance of the project for the collaborator, may be included. The template that must be used for the preparation of letters of collaboration is provided below. Letters of collaboration should not be provided for any individual designated as a principal investigator or senior personnel, nor are letters of collaboration required for any organization that will be a subawardee in the proposal budget. Each letter of collaboration must be signed by the designated collaborator. Requests to collaborators for letters of collaboration should be made by the PI well in advance of the proposal submission deadline, because they must be included at the time of the proposal submission. Letters deviating from this template will not be accepted and may be grounds for returning the proposal without review.

Letters of collaboration from U.S. scientists are required. These letters must be restricted to a statement of intent to collaborate only. Additional information on the nature of the collaboration and the roles of the investigators should be included in the Project Description.

Similarly, letters of collaboration from Sao Paulo scientists must be included, as a supplementary document, in the proposal submitted to NSF by the U.S. PI.

Template to be used for letters of collaboration:

To: BIOTA/FAPESP-NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity Programs

From: ___________ (Printed name of the individual collaborator or name of the organization and name and position of the official submitting this memo)

By signing below (or transmitting electronically), I acknowledge that I am listed as a collaborator on this proposal, entitled "__ (proposal title) __," with _ (PI name) _ as the Principal Investigator. I agree to undertake the tasks assigned to me or my organization, as described in the project description of the proposal, and I commit to provide or make available the resources specified therein.

Signed: _______________________

Organization: ________________________________

Date: _________________________

viii) Institutional certification of the submission (endorsement):

For the proposal submitted to FAPESP, an institutional certification of the submission should be included as a Supplemental Document. This certification must be a signed letter from an authorized Sao Paulo state institutional representative, and should consist of the following text: "I confirm on behalf of [insert name of institution] that the US-Sao Paulo Collaborative proposal between [insert name of SP PI and institution] and [insert name of U.S. PI] is endorsed and has been submitted by [name of Research Office]."

Similarly, an institutional certification of the submission must be included as a Supplemental Document in the proposal submitted to NSF. This certification must be a signed letter from an authorized U.S. institutional representative, and should consist of the following text: "I confirm on behalf of [insert name of institution] that the US-Sao Paulo Collaborative proposal between [insert name of US PI and institution] and [insert name of Sao Paulo PI] is endorsed and has been submitted by [name of Research Office]."

ix) Suggested Reviewers:

Names and contact information for 4-8 individuals who have expertise appropriate to review the proposal should be provided as a single document in both proposals (SP and US). Names of people with whom the proposer have conflicts must not be included as suggested reviewers.

x) Conflicts of Interest:

For the PI, all Co-PIs, and all Senior Personnel, including the US collaborators and SP collaborators, all persons or institutions with which there is a conflict of interest must be listed, using an alphabetized spreadsheet with the following column headers: full name (last name first), institutional affiliation, and type of conflict (e.g., advisor, advisee, co-author in last 48 months, collaborator, institutional). The names of people with the proposer do not have conflicts, must not be included as this may unnecessarily limit qualified reviewers. In addition, all sub-awardees who would receive funds through the Dimensions award should be listed. A single list containing the conflicts of interest should be prepared by the SP and US proposers, being included in both proposals (to FAPESP and to NSF).

10. Proposal Preparation and submission Instructions:

10.1 The proponents must submit their proposals before the closing date set in the item 6 of this Call. No proposal will be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or the NSF.

10.2 The proposal submitted by the State of São Paulo PI to FAPESP (including the documents of his/her US collaborator) shall be sent to FAPESP in printed copy to the following address:

Rua Pio XI, 1500, Alto da Lapa, CEP 05468-901 – São Paulo/SP.

All proposals submitted to FAPESP should be clearly marked “BIOTA-FAPESP/DIMENSIONS-NSF” to distinguish them from other program submissions. Proposals submitted by any other means will not be accepted.

All the documents listed in the FAPESP Research Proposal Form are required as components of the proposal, being essential for the merits analysis by NSF and FAPESP. It is recommended that, before submission, the SP PI verify if all documents are included in the proposal. Proposals with any missing document will be returned to the PI without review.

10.3 U.S. proposals should be submitted via FastLane (www.fastlane.nsf.gov/jsp/homepage/proposals.jsp).

10.4 Compliance with these requirements is critical in determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure in submitting all these information may delay processing.

11. Proposal Processing, Review Information Criteria and procedures:

The US-São Paulo Collaborative Research Projects will be reviewed by NSF in accordance with NSF policies and procedures as described below. Proposals will be shared with FAPESP during the review process. NSF will solicit suggestions for appropriate external reviewers from FAPESP, but will independently manage the review of proposals in accordance with its policies and procedures. Coordinated support will be arranged for successful proposals by the participating organizations with NSF funding the US participants and FAPESP funding São Paulo participants through each agency's standard award process.

Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the Dimensions of Biodiversity NSF program where they will be reviewed if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposal.

11.1 NSF Merit Review Criteria:

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board approved merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. Both criteria are to be given full consideration during the review and decision-making processes; each criterion is necessary but neither, by itself, is sufficient. Therefore, proposers must fully address both criteria.\ (GPG Chapter II.C.2.d.i. contains additional information for use by proposers in development of the Project Description section of the proposal.) Reviewers are strongly encouraged to review the criteria, including GPG Chapter II.C.2.d.i., prior to the review of a proposal.

When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. To that end, reviewers will be asked to evaluate all proposals against two criteria:

  • 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
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. 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?

Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

Proposers are reminded that reviewers will also be asked to review the Data Management Plan and the Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan, as appropriate.

Examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available electronically on the NSF website at: www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf.

Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

iii) Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria:

For research proposals, reviewers will also be asked to evaluate whether the proposal defines a bold agenda that will use innovative approaches to integrate examination of the three dimensions of biodiversity as defined in this document. Strong plans for integration of the information and results from the project with other global data should be clearly detailed in the proposal.

São Paulo-US Collaborative Research Projects will also be reviewed with respect to the extent to which they demonstrate substantial collaboration between São Paulo and US or and enhance research on the dimensions of biodiversity. The most competitive projects will be those in which the international collaboration brings substantial additional value to the project.

The reviewers will consider: mutual benefits, true intellectual collaboration with the foreign partner(s), benefits to be realized from the expertise and specialized skills, facilities, sites and/or resources of the international counterpart, and active research engagement of U.S. and SP students and early-career researchers, where such individuals are engaged in the research activities.

12. Review and Selection Process:

Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to evaluate proposals using two National Science Board approved merit review criteria and, if applicable, additional program specific criteria. A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF strives to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. Large or particularly complex proposals or proposals from new awardees may require additional review and processing time. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director acts upon the Program Officer's recommendation.

After programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications. After an administrative review has occurred, Grants and Agreements Officers perform the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.

Once an award or declination decision has been made, Principal Investigators are provided feedback about their proposals. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers or any reviewer-identifying information, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents.

13. Result of the analysis: Notification of the Award:

Final results will be announced on FAPESP and NSF web portals and by means of communication to the proposers by both agencies. Copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, will be sent to the Principal Investigator. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

Notification of the U.S. award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the NSF Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program.

14. Grant cancellation:

FAPESP or NSF may cancel funding if, during grant implementation, a fact is established of sufficient gravity to justify cancellation, at the Scientific Board of Directors’ discretion, without prejudice of any other appropriate actions.

15. Reporting Requirements:

For US-São Paulo Collaborative Research projects, FAPESP awardees are subject to FAPESP and NSF reporting and administration requirements as appropriate and outlined in www.fapesp.br/176#4603 and the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag. Annual and final reports of these projects should describe activities of the entire collaborative effort being submitted to FAPESP and NSF.

For FAPESP, together with the report above mentioned, the PIs must also fulfill and submit the BIOTA’s Project Progress Form (www.fapesp.br/5223).

For NSF, the U.S. Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report, and a project outcomes report for the general public.

As a requirement of the Dimensions of Biodiversity program: 1) any digitized data and/or digital media (e.g., images, audio files) of voucher material must be made available through the online National Resource for Digitized Collections (iDigBio.org), located at the University of Florida, and 2) any phylogenetic character matrices and trees must be formatted for inclusion within the Open Tree of Life (see http://purl.org/opentree/data-sharing for instructions). Consequently, PIs must include statements in annual and final reports indicating that their project data are being prepared according to these standards for integration or, in the case of voucher material, any media and/or digitized data are now part of the national resource and the physical specimens are part of a permanent natural history collection.

Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports or the project outcomes report will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

U.S. PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational), publications, and other specific products and contributions.

16. Agency contacts:

All questions related to this Call for Research Proposals must be directed to:

FAPESP:

Regina Costa de Oliveira, FAPESP Biological and Agronomical Sciences Area Director.
E-mail address: chamada_NSF-Dimensions@fapesp.br

NSF:

Simon Malcomber, BIO/DEB, telephone: (703) 292-8227, email: Dimensions@nsf.gov

George W Gilchrist, BIO/DEB, telephone: (703) 292-7138, email: Dimensions@nsf.gov

Matthew Kane, BIO/DEB, telephone: (703) 292-7186, email: Dimensions@nsf.gov

Douglas Levey, BIO/DEB, telephone: (703) 292-5196, email: dlevey@nsf.gov

Garth Spellman, BIO/DEB, telephone: (703) 292-8610, email: gspellma@nsf.gov

Kelly Zamudio, BIO/DEB, telephone: (703) 292-2992, email: kzamudio@nsf.gov

Arcady Mushegian, BIO/MCB, telephone: (703) 292-8528, email: Dimensions@nsf.gov

Reed S. Beaman, BIO/DBI, telephone: (703) 292-7163, email: rsbeaman@nsf.gov

Michael Sieracki, GEO/OCE, telephone: (703) 292-7585, email: msierack@nsf.gov