Improvements to Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: US $25,000 - US $1,200,000

Fields of work: Biology

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Faculty, Research Scientist

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States


NOTE: See the related Infrastructure Capacity for Biology solicitation for full FOA.

Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories (FSMLs) are off-campus facilities for research and education conducted in the natural habitats of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. FSMLs support environmental and basic biological research and education by preserving access to study areas and organisms, by providing facilities and equipment in close proximity to those study areas, and by fostering an atmosphere of mutual scientific interest and collaboration in research and education. To fulfill these roles, FSMLs must offer modern research and educational facilities, equipment, communications and data management for a broad array of users.

Requests must fall exclusively into one of two classes: Improvement or Planning.

  • Improvement proposals should focus on well-defined projects of major equipment acquisition, data management and communication systems modernization, or physical plant improvement.
  • Planning proposals are for strategic institutional planning for the long term research and education goals of the station.

In addition to a clear description of the proposed improvement or planning project, proposals are expected to present a compelling justification based on demonstrated need for the project, and a realistic appraisal of its potential impact on biological and environmental research and education activities at the proposing facility. Improvement proposals may include the following:

  • Improvements in the physical plant of a field station or marine laboratory. Funds may be requested for renovations to the overall physical structures on the station that are to be used for research, for associated training and education activities, or for temporary accommodations intended for visiting scientists and students. Limited support for new construction will be available with priority given to facilities that have direct advances to research capacity such as labs, greenhouses, or other structures with specialized research functions. Improvements for administrative, classroom, or office space will not be considered. Maintenance, repairs, or replacements of existing infrastructure that do not advance research capability beyond a prior state will also not be considered. Finally, requests for improvement of facilities or equipment used for research or educational activities to be carried out on board a UNOLS (University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System) research ship or similar vessel are inappropriate. Such requests should be directed to Oceanographic Facilities and Equipment Support in the Division of Ocean Sciences.
  • Equipment purchase. Such requests should focus on major, shared-use items (including special purpose vehicles and boats) that are directly essential to the facility's research activities as well as associated training and education programs. These items should enhance and expand the research capabilities of the facility and attract additional users to the facility.
  • Observational or experimental infrastructure. This may include fixed infrastructure such as towers, sensors/gauges, manipulative features, and other facilities used in support of research and data collection activities.
  • Improvements in data management and communication systems. Such requests should be directed at deployment of appropriate, up-to-date technology and should be directed toward broad community use of such systems for research and training collaboration on the Internet.

Depending on the nature of the intended improvement, the proposal may need to address its potential for extensibility, portability, or interoperability as appropriate for enhancing the station's capacity to support larger scale or replicated biological research. Improvements that directly benefit multiple stations may also be proposed provided the PI consults with the program regarding eligibility in advance of submission. All aspects of the request must be justified by a clear, and unified advance in research capability. Requests for multiple unrelated components or predominantly miscellaneous, low-cost supplies will receive lowest priority. Planning grants should focus on long-term strategic planning for growth or redirection in the facility's science and education programs. They should NOT be focused on short term planning or designfor specific improvements.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

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This page was last reviewed September 06, 2018 and last updated September 06, 2018