Did you miss it? November 2021 Virtual Office Hours Recap – Part I

Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in BIO (BRC-BIO)

The slides are available HERE

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on November 18, 2021  on the new Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology (BRC-BIO) program,(Solicitation 22-500) n as well as the Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP) program (Solicitation 22-506). We were joined by program directors who work directly on these funding opportunities. This report out focuses on BRC-BIO. Part II will cover the RaMP program.

BRC-BIO focuses on enhancing research capacity and broadening participation of new faculty of minority-serving institutions and predominantly undergraduate institutions, or other universities/colleges that are not among the nation’s most research-intensive institutions.

General Information:

  • There are two windows for submitting full proposals to the BRC-BIO solicitation; January 3-31 and June 1-30.
  • Lead investigators must be at the Assistant Professor rank with service at that rank for no more than 3 years by the proposal submission date.
  • Awards are for a maximum of 36 months.
  • Award budgets have a maximum of $450,000 plus up to $50,000 for equipment.
  • There is a limit of 1 proposal per principal investigator (PI) or co-PI.

There were many questions related to this new funding opportunity and investigators are strongly encouraged to reach out to the program directors active in BRC-BIO via BRC-BIO@nsf.gov and to regularly check the program page for updates, FAQs, and future outreach sessions.

The next opportunity to learn more about this program is a BRC-BIO Webinar, December 15, from 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. Learn more about the webinar via our colleagues in DBI and visit the program page to register.

Below is a recap of some questions asked at the session:


Q: Does this activity support medical research? 

A: Research that falls within the purview of one or more of the following divisions is appropriate: Division of Biological Infrastructure, Division of Environmental Biology, Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, and Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. As indicated in the PAPPG, biological research on mechanisms of disease in humans, including on the etiology, diagnosis, or treatment of disease or disorder, is normally not supported. Biological research to develop animal models of such conditions, or the development or testing of procedures for their treatment, also are not normally eligible for support. Contact BRC-BIO@nsf.gov if you have questions about a specific research idea. 

Q: What if I’ve moved institutions but just started in my current position as Assistant Professor at a PUI? Do I need to count my prior experience in determining eligibility? 

A: No, if you are at the Assistant Professor rank (or equivalent) at your current institution (but see eligibility for institution types) with service at that rank for no more than 3 years by the proposal submission date then you are eligible. 

Q: If the PI was recruited before the COVID-19 pandemic, would the two-years interrupted by COVID (2019 and 2020) be excluded from the ‘no more than 3-year assistant professor’ rule? 

A: This solicitation was written with the COVID context in mind. Hence no further accommodations will be made on this basis. 

Q: My institution is an MSI but is also classified as R1 in the Carnegie scale, am I eligible? 

A: No, this opportunity is focused on building research capacity at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) that are not among the nation’s most research-intensive institutions, and other institutions that are classified as R2, D/PU, or M1-3 (see Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education http://carnegieclassifications.iu.edu/


Q: What is the review process for the BRC-BIO proposals? 

A: They will be reviewed in interdisciplinary panels specific to the BRC-BIO program. 


Q: Must collaborators and Co-PIs be at the Assistant Professor level for less than 3 years? 

A: No, collaborators can be at any faculty rank and at other institutions, regardless of Carnegie Classification, including international collaborations. Also, note that funding is rarely provided for a foreign individual or organization’s involvement (see PAPPG chapter I, IE6 (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappg20_1/pappg_1.jsp#IE6). 


Q: Can I budget for student support? Including as an REU student? 

A: Yes, you can support students at any level. Anything you would normally budget in an NSF core program submission can be budgeted in a BRC-BIO project.