This discussion is targeted for all scientists who have or intend to submit proposals to the NSF that include ship time aboard research vessels managed by UNOLS institutions. Early career scientists and graduate students are encouraged to attend.
In its Autumn 2012 newsletter, NSF's Ocean Sciences Division directed that proposals involving significant seagoing work be submitted to the August 15th target date rather than the February 15th target date. NSF's rationale for this change in policy is to enable adequate planning time as follows.
Seagoing science has become more complicated to schedule and more difficult to budget. The complexity of acquiring permits (for foreign clearance or marine mammals), as well as the need to coordinate ancillary facilities such as the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF), the Ocean Bottom Seismometer Instrument Pool (OBSIP), etc., makes the logistical planning and cost projection for large field projects difficult. NSF’s intention is to improve the planning process in order to satisfy science objectives as effectively and efficiently as possible, thus maximizing the amount of field work that can be supported by a finite budget. Also, for planning purposes it is better for NSF to know commitments to fleet operations at the beginning of each fiscal year (October 1). This dovetails with the autumn panels.
This process is currently being phased in. Looking ahead, the general expectation for going to sea with large field projects should be at least 16 months from the time of proposal submission. For small programs involving local/coastal work, planning ahead is still encouraged, but flexibility will remain part of the scheduling process. If you have any questions, please contact your Program Officer or Rose Dufour at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-292-8811.