NSF 19-609 Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2)

Sponsor Name: 
NSF
Amount: 
$3,550,000
Description of the Award: 
  • Description:

Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2) funds research projects that identify (1) factors that are effective in the formation of ethical STEM researchers and (2) approaches to developing those factors in all STEM fields that NSF supports. ER2 solicits proposals for research that explores the following: "What constitutes responsible conduct for research (RCR), and which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?" Do certain labs have a "culture of academic integrity?" What practices contribute to the establishment and maintenance of ethical cultures and how can these practices be transferred, extended to, and integrated into other research and learning settings?" Factors one might consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, an ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula or memberships in organizations (e.g. Engineers without Borders) that stress responsible conduct for research, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work, or do not grade. Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either between or within institutional settings that differ along these or among other factors, and they specify plans for developing interventions that promote the effectiveness of identified factors.

ER2 research projects will use basic research to produce knowledge about what constitutes or promotes responsible or irresponsible conduct of research, and how to best instill this knowledge into researchers and educators at all career stages. In some cases, projects will include the development of interventions to ensure ethical and responsible research conduct.

Proposals for awards from minority-serving institutions (e.g., Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions), women's colleges, and organizations primarily serving persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged. Proposals including international collaborations are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. If possible, the U.S. team's international counterparts should obtain funding through other sources.

Type of Proposals

STANDARD RESEARCH GRANTS AND INSTITUTIONAL TRANSFORMATION RESEARCH GRANTS

Proposed research should seek to provide answers to the following: "What constitutes ethical STEM research and practice? Which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why? Do certain labs have a "culture of academic integrity'? What practices contribute to the establishment and maintenance of ethical cultures and how can these practices be transferred, extended to, or integrated into other research and learning settings?" Factors one might consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, an ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula or membership in organizations (e.g. Engineers without Borders) that stress responsible conduct for research, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work, or do not grade. Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either (1) between or within institutional settings that differ along the factors suggested or other factors, or (2) over time-- before and after an intervention. For Institutional Transformation Research Grants, investigators are expected to gather and report baseline data in the first annual report. Both Standard and Institutional Transformation Research Grant proposals can be collaborative.

CONFERENCE PROPOSALS

The ER2 program supports thematic conferences designed to bring together researchers and students to foster new ER2 research, synthesize results across previously funded ER2 projects, and develop new ethical standards for STEM research. It does not support gatherings whose purpose is primarily to convey the results of completed research. Conference proposals can focus on any topic within STEM ethics, but they should do so from a perspective that moves beyond explaining unethical behavior at the level of the individual researcher and towards more collective, cultural explanations and solutions for advancing ethical and responsible STEM. Conference proposals should generally be submitted a year in advance of the proposed event. The ER2 program encourages including graduate students and members of underrepresented groups as active conference participants. While conference proposals may be submitted at any time, they may also be reviewed by review panels along with other senior research proposals submitted to the regular target dates. For general guidance about conferences, including a list of required elements and budget exclusions, follow the PAPPG guidance for preparing Conference Proposals (PAPPG Chapter II.E.7). Please follow those instructions while keeping in mind the ER2 program's specific interests and limitations. Conference proposals must be submitted via FastLane or Grants.gov.

Budget Guidelines for Conference Proposals

ER2 conference support is typically around $30,000 in direct costs. The ER2 program will consider requests for conferences that exceed this amount given special circumstances. Indirect costs are in addition to this direct cost limitation and are subject to the awardee's current Federally negotiated indirect cost rate. We encourage seeking support from multiple agencies and organizations.

PROJECT INCUBATION PROPOSALS

ER2 supports small Project Incubation proposals that provide funds for STEM researchers and administrators from multiple organizations to collaborate to develop and submit a full ER2 STANDARD Grant. Proposers must span at least two organizations. Those who intend to submit a Project Incubation proposal must consult with a cognizant NSF Program Officer before submitting to ascertain the suitability of the envisioned activity. These proposals are reviewed along with other senior research proposals and should be submitted to one of the deadline dates for this solicitation. Project Incubation proposals provide only one year of support. Proposers should follow the guidance in the PAPPG, adapting the Project Description as needed for the particulars of the project.

Budget Guidelines for Project Incubation Proposals

ER2 Project Incubation Grant support is typically around $60,000 in direct costs. The ER2 program will consider requests for Project Incubation proposals that exceed this amount given special circumstances. Indirect costs are in addition to this direct cost limitation and are subject to the awardee's current Federally negotiated indirect cost rate. We encourage seeking support from multiple agencies and organizations. Proposals for awards from minority-serving institutions (e.g. Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions), women's colleges, and organizations primarily serving persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged.

Note: NSF does not consider proposals for medical research and hence, the ER2 program will not consider proposals focused on ethics for medical students or in medical education. It will consider proposals that address medical informatics, biomedical engineering, systems engineering, and social scientific studies of health and medicine.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 6 to 8

Anticipated Funding Amount: $3,550,000

Estimated total annual funding amount is $3,550,000 subject to the availability of funds. The maximum amount for 5-year awards is $600,000 (including indirect costs) and the maximum amount for 3-year awards is $400,000 (including indirect costs). The average award is $275,000.

Eligibility Information

Who May Serve as PI:

NSF expects project teams to include persons with appropriate expertise. This might include expertise in the domain or domains of science or engineering on which the project focuses, in ethics, values, evaluation, and pedagogy. For Institutional Transformation Research Grant proposals, it is highly recommended that one or more senior members of the administration (e.g., Provost, VP, and/or President) serves as a PI.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1

Only one proposal may be submitted by an eligible organization, as defined above, in which a member of their organization serves as the PI. Potential PIs are advised to contact their organizational office of research regarding processes used to select proposals for submission. Organizations submitting more than one proposal will be notified and given one week from notification to select one proposal for consideration. If one is not selected in that period, all of those proposals will be returned without review. There is no limit on the number of proposals under which an organization may be included as a non-lead collaborator or subawardee.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
1
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Feb 22, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 
  • Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF 19-609_2021 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

    Cover Page:

    • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) names and departmental affiliation
    • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
    • A list of possible participating organizations (if applicable)
    • Proposal Title
    • Proposal Type (Standard Research Grants & Institutional Transformation Research Grants, Conference or Project Incubation

    Project Description (no more than two pages):

    • Identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements outlined in the NSF solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

    General Timeline for Proposal Development.

    2-page current NSF Bio-sketch for all PIs and Co-PIs.

    Formatting Guidelines and Page Limit:

    • Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
    • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
    • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)
To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 4:00pm