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NSF Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (All Initiatives)

Date: November 19, 2018

Time: All Day

Contact: Vanity Campbell

Sponsor: Contracts and Grants

Event Details

NSF Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis (All Initiatives)

Funding Opportunity Number: NSF 18-582

Funding Organization's Deadline:  November 19, 2018 at 5:00 PM PST

Discipline/Subject Area: Mid-Career Development

ANR Priority Area(s): All Initiatives

Funding Available($): 300,000


Description: The OPUS program seeks to provide opportunities for mid- to later-career investigators to develop new understanding of science in the fields supported by the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) through two tracks of synthesis activities.

Synthesis is an essential component of scientific inquiry, and it takes time to successfully accomplish. An academic career often does not provide the uninterrupted stretches of time necessary for acquiring and building new skills to enhance one’s research program, or for reflecting on and synthesizing one's research. Many mid-career scientists understand that acquiring and synthesizing new skills or conceptual areas into their research program could enhance their scientific productivity and the quality of their research, including that of all mentored personnel (e.g., undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and colleagues). Likewise, scientists who have enjoyed a long career may accumulate a significant body of work that would benefit from synthesis and an inclusive reconsideration of their research program as a whole. Without such syntheses, the full importance of disaggregated products is often lost, which denies current and future students, as well as young investigators, the added value of the synthetic work. To encourage synthetic studies, the Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes, Population and Community Ecology, and Systematics and Biodiversity Science Clusters in the Division of Environmental Biology have established OPUS (Opportunities for Promoting Understanding through Synthesis). OPUS now provides two tracks that support researchers interested in deepening the understanding of their research system and questions of interest.

OPUS: Mid-Career Synthesis. This track provides an opportunity for a mid-career researcher, defined as a candidate at the associate professor rank (or equivalent) to enable a new synthesis of their ongoing research. Synthesis is achieved by developing new research capabilities through collaboration with a mentor to enable new understanding of their research system and questions of interest. This track aims to provide mid-career scientists with new capabilities to enhance their productivity, improve their retention as scientists, and ensure a diverse scientific workforce that remains engaged in active research (including more women and minorities at high academic ranks).

OPUS: Core Research Synthesis. This track provides an opportunity for an individual or a group of investigators to revisit and synthesize a significant body of their prior research in a way that will enable new understanding of their research system and questions of interest. This track would also be appropriate early enough in a career to produce unique, integrated insight useful both to the scientific community and to the development of the investigator's future career.

Additional Information:

OPUS: MCS Mentor(s): Before submission of the proposal, the candidate must identify a well-qualified mentor who will have a) extensive expertise and a solid track-record in the research area of interest to the candidate and b) an interest in the career development of the candidate and in the supervision of the candidate’s research enhancement activities. Mentors must hold a faculty appointment or equivalent but can be at any academic rank. In some cases, a second mentor may be appropriate. Each mentor must demonstrate their commitment by providing a Letter of Collaboration (see details below under “Additional Supplementary Documentation”). Partnerships between the candidate and mentor(s) that are mutually beneficial and complementary in terms of both research and career advancement are particularly encouraged.

OPUS: MCS Tenure-Track Equivalency: For a position to be considered a tenure-track-equivalent position, it must meet all of the following requirements: 1) the employing department or organization does not offer tenure-track positions to any new hires; 2) the employee is engaged in research in an area of science supported by DEB; 3) the employee has a continuing appointment that is expected to last the two years of a Mid-Career Synthesis grant; and 4) the proposed project relates to the employee's career goals and job responsibilities as well as to the goals of the department or organization.


OCG Note: Please note any changes to the funding opportunity including deadline dates may not be updated to this calendar. Please visit the Sponsor's website below for additional information.

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