Did you miss it? May 2023 Virtual Office Hours Recap: Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Solicitation 

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on May 18, 2023, providing information on current solicitations and Dear Colleague Letters of potential interest to the community. This overview was followed by our topic of the month, the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Solicitation (NSF 22-586).  

Program Directors familiar with the CAREER solicitation gave a brief presentation on the program’s aims; investigator eligibility requirements; major changes in the most recent version of the solicitation; and specific-solicitation requirements for CAREER proposals, including the Departmental Letter and the educational activities and other broader impacts.  

Applicants to the CAREER program are also encouraged to review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document compiled by the CAREER program and attend NSF’s CAREER Proposal Submission Logistics Webinar on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. 

The Virtual Office Hour slides are available here 

Some highlights of the CAREER presentation:  

  • The firm deadline is July 26, 2023. Applicants are strongly advised to start the submission process early to ensure that you have sufficient time to check that all required proposal contents are submitted without any errors.  
  • The purpose of the Departmental Letter is to demonstrate the Department’s commitment to the PI’s proposed CAREER research and education activities. It is not a letter of support and therefore should not recommend or endorse the PI or the project. 
  • The proposed research and education activities should be highly integrated and well developed.  

Program Directors addressed audience member questions: 

  • What is meant by CAREER proposals requiring a strong integration of one’s research and their proposed educational activities? What does this look like?  

While there is no one size fits all here, strong integration will include educational activities that are enriched by research activities. When feasible, integration can also be strengthened by including educational activities that contribute to research aims. Some past examples of integration from funded CAREER proposals include: incorporating research activities directly into undergraduate courses or lab experiments, updating departmental curriculum to include courses relevant to the research, collaborating with K-12 teachers and community college professors to bring aspects of the research into classroom lessons, and establishing research and outreach collaborations with museums and non-profit educational organizations. For more ideas, you can review CAREER award abstracts to see how recently funded PIs have planned to integrated research and educational activities. 

  • What are some tips regarding whether to reply to previous reviewer comments in a new CAREER proposal submission? 

In contrast to the typical journal review process, reviewers of NSF proposals do not have access to previous versions of your proposal or its past reviews. As such, we recommend using prior reviewer comments to help improve your new submission, keeping in mind that substantive comments mentioned in one or more reviews are likely to come up again. As such, you are strongly encouraged to do your best to address concerns raised in prior reviews in your resubmission. While there is no need to reply to reviewer comments in your revised submission, you can opt to include this within the 15-page project description if you think reviewers of your new submission will find it helpful.  

Please join us on June 15, 2023, from 1-2pm ET for our next IOS Virtual Office Hour (VOH), where we will discuss both grant preparation tips and broader impacts. Register HERE

Also note that the Directorate for Biological Sciences will be hosting a Virtual Office Hour on Broader Impacts on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, from 2-3pm ET (register HERE). This VOH will feature special guest Susan Renoe, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor at the University of Missouri and Executive Director of the NSF-funded Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS).