Did you miss it? December 2021 Virtual Office Hours Recap: Mid-Career Advancement

The slides are available HERE 

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on 16 December 2021 providing information on the Mid-Career Advancement solicitation (MCA, NSF 21-516). We were joined by program directors who work directly on this funding opportunity.

The MCA funding opportunity focuses on researchers at the Associate Professor rank (or equivalent) and who have been at that rank for at least 3 years. This opportunity is aimed at providing protected time and resources for established researchers to help them remain engaged and active in cutting-edge research and to promote a diverse scientific workforce.

General Information:

  • Full proposal submission target date – February 7th, 2022.
  • Lead investigators must be at the Associate Professor rank with service at that rank for at least 3 years by the proposal submission date.
  • Awards are meant to provide time (up to 6.5 months of salary across the duration of the award) and resources ($100K direct costs) to work with a partner so that investigators can advance their research program and career trajectories.

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

QCan an MCA award be used during a planned sabbatical?

A:  Yes. You can use up to 6.5 months of salary to cover, for example, a semester and two summer months. Alternatively, you could use two months of salary for each of three summers. Bottom line – you may use the protected time as you (and your department) see fit. 

QCan partners who one works with during an MCA project be international and is there any sort of limitation on the rank of the partner?

A:  Partners can be at any rank, and they can be from academic institutions, industry, museums, etc. Partners do not need to be U.S. based. However, as described in the PAPPG chapter I, IE6, funding is rarely provided for a foreign individual or organization’s involvement. Note also that the Partner should not be listed as co-PI on the cover page. They should be designated as senior personnel or consultants.

QHow long can MCA projects last and is the 6.5 months of salary for the entire award period?

A:  MCA projects are for three years, and no-cost extensions (NCEs) are allowed. The 6.5 months of salary is for the entire award period, not a yearly allotment (see above).

QDo you have to be tenure-track to apply or at a specific type of institution?

A:  No. The solicitation spells out ‘tenure-track equivalency’, and the Department Letter should confirm that you are eligible. All institution types are welcome to submit, including community colleges, primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), research-intensive doctoral universities (R1s), etc.

For general questions about MCA please email MCA.info@nsf.gov. For specific questions about research to be completed during an MCA award, please contact a program officer active in your research area with a short prospectus of the project.

There are also published FAQs found here: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2021/nsf21042/nsf21042.jsp#q14.

Our colleagues in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) are also hosting a VOH on MCA on January 10, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern; you can register for that here: https://nsf.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_xLmrYjP7RRyCkX2yGuzymg

Please join us on January 20th, 2022 for our next IOS Virtual Office Hour when we will discuss and answer questions related to the new Organismal Response to Climate Change (ORCC, NSF 22-513) solicitation.