NSF Receives Funding in Stimulus

The National Science Foundation (NSF) plays a critical role supporting research to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate physical, emotional and economic consequences. NSF received $75 million in the most recent stimulus package, the CARES Act, to help “prevent, prepare for, and respond” to the pandemic.

In addition to base support, NSF has a mechanism, Rapid Response Research (RAPID), to fast-track time-sensitive ideas and enables the agency to help fight the pandemic by supporting scientists doing relevant work across many disciplines. Looking at the average award size last year of $89,000— awards have a limit of $200,000 —the stimulus will fund about 840 studies relating to COVID-19. FABBS President, Roxane Cohen Silver, University of California, Irvine received one of the awards to study of how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the well-being of Americans.

Meanwhile, NSF continues to move forward supporting graduate students, improving reporting on the merit review process, and managing change in agency leadership.

Earlier this month, NSF announced 2,076 recipients of the 2019-2020 Graduate Research Fellowship Program, a similar number of prize awards for the last 10 years. This is an important program for behavioral and brain scientists and had been at risk of being cut this year.

The National Science Board (NSB) released the NSF Merit Review Digest FY2018 which provides information about the numbers of NSF proposals, awards, and funding rates for the year under review. The Digest describes how the NSF merit review process works, the kinds of proposal review used, and the role of the Program Officers. It also includes detailed information about proposal submission and funding rates of female researchers and of researchers from underrepresented communities. Dr. France Córdova stepped down from her role as the Director of NSF on March 31st, sharing a farewell message with the community. The White House announced that Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier will serve as Acting Director of the NSF, until the Senate is able to confirm Dr. Panchanathan, Arizona State University – an appointment announced back in December. Dr. Droegemeier currently serves as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and has previously served on the NSB. Here is the NSF news release for additional information.