Did you miss it? November 2022 Virtual Office Hours Recap: Mid-Career Advancement (MCA)

The slides are available here.

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on November 17th, 2022 providing information about the Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program (NSF 22-603). Program Officers active in the MCA program and representatives from other IOS core programs attended to discuss with and answer questions from the audience. 

The goal of the MCA program is to support opportunities for scientists and engineers at the associate professor rank (or equivalent) to substantively enhance and advance their research program through synergistic partnerships.

There is a new Pilot PUI Track in the Directorates for Biological Sciences and Geosciences only, which extends PI eligibility to “Researchers at the Full Professor rank (or equivalent) at PUI institutions only and with proposed research that falls within the purview of a participating program within the Directorate for Biological Sciences or the Directorate for Geosciences”.  

More information can be found on the MCA program webpage and there is an up-coming submission window of February 1, 2023 through March 1, 2023.

Individuals with specific questions regarding the MCA solicitation are encouraged to contact a cognizant Program Officer or the MCA email at MCA.info@nsf.gov. Some questions that were posed to program officers at the VOH included:

Q: Can you have multiple partners at multiple institutions and is one designated as the primary partner?

Yes, you may have more than one partner, at one or multiple institutions, including international institutions. It is not necessary to designate one as the primary partner, but the role of each partner should be clearly described in the proposal. The MCA solicitation emphasizes that the collaboration between the candidate and the Partner(s) should be synergistic, mutually beneficial, and go beyond that which would typically occur through a normal collaborative grant, for example, by opening new avenues of research.

The MCA seeks to enable quality networking and mentorship through these partnerships. One month of summer support for each partner may be requested in the budget (in lieu of summer support for the partner(s), other reasonable costs may be considered). The one-month summer salary support for the partner(s) should be requested in the senior personnel or consultant services budget line items of the proposal, or as a subaward to the other institution.

Q: Can you explain the changes to the MCA budget made in the new solicitation (NSF 22-603)?

No substantive changes were made in the solicitation in terms of the size of the allowable budget for an MCA proposal. However, NSF 22-603, section V.A.6 does clarify specific details about the budget.

Q: Would funding of a graduate or undergraduate research assistant fall under the $100K direct costs part of the budget?

Yes; however, the focus of the MCA program is to support the research goals of the mid-career individual in order to enhance and advance their research program and career trajectories through partnerships.

You may also refer to the MCA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2023/nsf23022/nsf23022.jsp

Please join us on December 15th, 2022 for our next IOS Virtual Office Hour when we will have a unique VOH where every IOS program will be represented and researchers will be able to ask questions directly to Program Directors. Bring your questions and let’s have a discussion! Don’t miss this one!