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Frequently Asked Questions for the NSF/USDA-NIFA Joint Solicitation Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems

The full solicitation for this program is NSF 18-545

1. As stated in the solicitation, INFEWS proposals must incorporate science from three or more intellectually distinct disciplines that, in aggregate, represent scientific areas typically supported by three or more of the participating NSF directorates or two (or more) directorates and USDA/NIFA. USDA/NIFA can be invoked as a “discipline” if the research focus represents a topical area that is uniquely distinct from disciplines typically supported by NSF directorates. What are the topical areas that USDA/NIFA supports?

INFEWS Disciplines across NIFA
INFEWS Disciplines across NIFA
Biochemistry and Biophysics Chemistry Anthropology
Nutrition and Metabolism Physics Economics
Physiology Engineering Education
Cellular Biology Geology Information and Communication
Molecular Biology Mineralogy History
Developmental Biology Hydrology Law
Biology (whole systems) Geography Political Science
Genetics (excludes breeding) Pedology Psychology
Breeding Meteorology, Climatology Sociology
Immunology Mathematics, Computer Sciences Sensory Science (human senses)
Bacteriology Statistics, Econometrics, and Biometrics Management
Virology   Art and Architecture
Mycology   Landscape Architecture
Microbiology, Protozoology, Phycology, etc.    
Entomology and Acarology    
Weed Science    

2. What is the allowed length/duration of the awards?

The duration of the award should be no more than five years and should be commensurate with the work proposed.

3. Do the disciplinary requirements need to be meet by the lead PIs, or can Co-PIs and senior personnel count towards the three or more distinct disciplines?

The three or more intellectually distinct disciplines can be represented by a combination of the lead PI(s), Co-PIs, and other senior personnel. All of these people should have a required biographical sketch detailing their background/intellectual contribution to the project. One PI could potentially represent all the disciplines covered in the context statement, but the biographical sketch for that person would have to represent the appropriate background to do this.

4. When constructing the budget for the proposal, should I use the indirect cost rate for NSF or for USDA NIFA?

All applications must be submitted to NSF. In order pass NSF compliance, you must adhere to NSF rules. The budget should be constructed using your institution's US federally negotiated indirect costs rate, as stated in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide. Proposal budgets should not use the indirect cost rate of USDA NIFA that is listed in the solicitation. This rate was only listed in the solicitation in case that USDA NIFA chooses to fund your proposal. If, after panel review, USDA-NIFA decides to fund your proposal, you will be asked to withdraw the award application from NSF and resubmit the application to USDA NIFA with an altered budget to adhere to USDA NIFA rules.

5. Will the participating agencies be holding separate panels?

No, all proposals will be reviewed in joint panels that are assembled by program officers from both agencies.

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