New & Noteworthy

Archive for May, 2009

29 May 2009

NSC Alliance Submits Comments on USDA Roadmap for Agricultural Research

The Natural Science Collections Alliance submitted comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on May 29, 2009 regarding the agency’s development of a strategic research, education, and extension plan.  When completed, the plan will identify current trends, constraints, and major opportunities and gaps that no single entity within the USDA would be able to address individually. To view the notice published in the Federal Register, go to

Click here to read the text of the comments submitted by NSC Alliance to the USDA.

27 May 2009

FY 2010 NSF Budget Details Released

On May 18, 2009, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released its long-anticipated fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget request. In total, NSF’s FY 2010 request is for $7.045 billion, an increase of $555 million (8.5 percent) above the FY 2009 request (Note: The FY 2009 and 2010 budget numbers do not include the one-time appropriation of $3 billion NSF received earlier this year via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [ARRA]). Currently, NSF is working to allocate FY 2009 and ARRA funds totaling approximately $9.49 billion. These funds must be allocated during the current fiscal year. The 2010 fiscal year begins on October 1, 2009.

The FY 2010 request for the NSF’s Research and Related Activities (R&RA) accounts is $5.733 billion, an increase of $550.14 million (10.6 percent) from the FY 2009 request of $5.183 billion. This planned new investment in R&RA programs is intended to reflect the President’s priorities for science and innovation with a focus on high-risk, transformative research; new faculty and young investigator support; graduate research fellowships; and support for research on global climate change.

The total FY 2010 request for the Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) is $733 million, an increase of 11.8 percent ($77.19 million) from the FY 2009 request. However, even with this significant increase in funding, it is expected that the funding rate for research proposals will remain at approximately 20 percent, as more grant applications are anticipated.

In FY 2010, BIO investments would focus on understanding biosphere dynamics and bioenergy, stimulating transformative research, and enhancing education and participation in the biological sciences. Climate change research, interdisciplinary basic research, research centers, education activities, and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) would all receive substantial increases.

Research Resources and Centers in the Biological Sciences would receive an increase of $20 million, bringing total spending to $142.54 million in FY 2010. Funds would be used to fulfill the recommendation of the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections to continue digitizing and networking U.S. specimen-based research collections. Additionally, support will be enhanced for Advances in Biological Informatics and Instrument Development for Biological Research.

Other programs within BIO could receive funding increases as well. Environmental Biology Division (DEB) would receive $133.92 million (up 11.2 percent). If funded at this level in FY 2010, 41 of the budget would be used to support new grants. This request includes enhanced support for projects on climate change and biodiversity and the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. Integrative Organismal Systems would receive $221.84 million (up 4.8 percent) for plant genome and organismal systems research. Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) would receive $128.83 million (up 6.2 percent). The Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) would receive $130.14 million (up 11.4 percent) for enhanced support for bioinformatics, instrumentation, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), and the establishment of a Climate Change Education program. The Emerging Frontiers (EF) division would receive $118.27 million (up 37.9 percent), with roughly 50 percent of this funding available for new research grants.

The Geosciences Directorate would also receive a sizeable increase of $151.13 million, a 19.9 percent increase over FY 2009. $46 million of this increase would be designated for climate change research. Additional funds would be made available for climate change education, graduate research fellowships, and other education initiatives.

Education and Human Resource Development would receive $857.76 million (up 1.5 percent) for educating technicians, funding 1,654 new graduate research fellows, and other training opportunities.

26 May 2009

NSF Webcast To Address Stimulus Funding

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide information about two current proposal solicitations funded by the economic stimulus during a webcast to be held on May 28, 2009.  The Academic Research Infrastructure program (the ARI-R2 solicitation, NSF 09-562) and the Major Research Instrumentation program (the MRI-R2 solicitation, NSF 09-561) will be discussed.  The webcast will be held from 1:00-2:45 pm EDT.  Those wishing to participate in the webcast should register in advance at  The registration site includes an opportunity to submit, by email, questions about the ARI-R2 and MRI-R2 solicitations in advance of the webcast.

Funds for these programs were appropriated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.  Together, these two solicitations are intended to strengthen the nation’s academic research capabilities by providing opportunities to develop or acquire research instrumentation (MRI2-R) and to renovate research facilities (ARI2-R).  For the Academic Research Infrastructure solicitation, the deadline for letters of intent is July 1, 2009 and the deadline for full proposals is August 24, 2009.   For the Major Research Instrumentation solicitation, the deadline for full proposals is August 10, 2009.  (No letter of intent is required for MRI-R2.)  More information about the solicitations are available at and

12 May 2009

NSF Solicits Proposals for Two Ecology Grants

The National Science Foundation is accepting proposals through July 9, 2009 for research projects that address evolutionary processes or population and community ecology.  The Evolutionary Processes Cluster will fund proposals that investigate the genetic bases of micro- and macroevolutionary processes and their effects on the evolution of genotypes and phenotypes, as well as proposals that research the evolutionary causes and consequences of ecological interactions.  The Population and Community Ecology Cluster supports research on population dynamics of individual species, demography, and ecological interactions affecting populations, communities, and their environments.  For more information, go to and

11 May 2009

New Stimulus Funding Available from NSF

On 11 May 2009, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced two new grant opportunities for research infrastructure and instrumentation. $400 million will be available through the grant solicitations, which are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Academic Research Infrastructure Program will provide $200 million to update existing research facilities at institutions of higher education and non-profit research organizations, including independent research museums. Approximately 100 awards will be made, ranging in size from $250,000 to $2 million. Letters of intent are due by 1 July 2009. For more information, go to

The Major Research Instrumentation Program anticipates making 400 awards to assist institutions in the acquisition or development of shared research instrumentation. The $200 million in available funds will be allocated for proposals ranging from $100,000 to $6 million. Institutions of higher education, independent museums and science centers, and non-profit research institutions are eligible for funding. Funding proposals are due by 10 August 2009. For more information, go to