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NSF-BSF Program in Astronomical Sciences

Grants to USA and Israel Scientists at Nonprofits
for Research in Astrophysics and Astronomy

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United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) and U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) - Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences - Astronomical Sciences (AST)

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Grants of up to $55,000 and grants of up to $80,000 to USA and Israel scientists at nonprofit organizations, including IHEs, hospitals, and government research institutions, for research in astrophysics and astronomy. Funding is intended for collaborative and individual research in observational, laboratory, theoretical, and archival data studies. Funding is also intended for projects and tools that enable or enhance astronomical research. Proposals may span multiple disciplines and/or areas of study and may utilize multiple techniques.

Cooperative research is a fundamental requirement for the BSF and is viewed by the Foundation as active collaboration between Israeli and American scientists. A joint research program must be presented in the form of a single, coordinated application, in which the roles and tasks of the respective partners are clearly defined. Each application should have at least two principal investigators (but not more than six), one from an Israeli institution and one from a U.S. institution.

The BSF also expects that the PIs from both countries will be involved in preparing the application, particularly the research plan. When it is apparent that this was not the case, it is considered to indicate a lack of cooperation and it hinders the chances of the application to be funded.

Israeli applicants are advised that they should pay particular attention to the NSF evaluation criteria, which may include issues such as broad impact, data management, etc. That are either missing in BSF/ISF applications, or have a greatly different meaning (particularly the term ‘broad impact’). Failure to appropriately refer to such topics by the U.S. partner may be detrimental to the proposal, including its rejection without review.

The NSF accepts applications only from U.S. scientists. Submission to the NSF should be made by the U.S. PI alone, but he has to note in the cover page that it is an “NSF-BSF Application” (the Israeli does not appear as a formal co-PI on the application). In the U.S.-Israeli applications, the role of the Israeli partner(s) must be described. Furthermore, it should be clearly explained why the contribution of the Israeli PI to the research project is important/essential.

If awarded a grant, the Israeli scientist will receive a grant from the BSF, while the U.S. scientist will receive a grant from the NSF.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187111

Estimated Size of Grant:

The size of the BSF grant to the Israeli is expected to be up to $80,000/year for experimental programs and up to $55,000/year for theoretical or computer based research, subject to the availability of funds. If more than a single Israeli group is involved in the research, the budget may be increased by up to 50%.

Term of Contract:

BSF will follow the decision by the U.S. funding agency regarding the length of the project. The program is expected to be held annually.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

1. For the BSF submission: Israeli and American principal investigators must have obtained a PhD, MD or an equivalent degree, and must be faculty members or the equivalent of the submitting institutions. Graduate students or postgraduate fellows are not eligible to submit applications.

2. Scientists who wish to apply for grants must submit their applications through a legal entity. The BSF accepts research applications from non-profit organizations only, including institutions of higher learning, government research institutions and hospitals. Although applications cannot be submitted by for-profit or industrial organizations, one of the principal investigators may be affiliated with such an organization. However, the research performed by the investigator affiliated with a for-profit organization will not be funded by the BSF, unless specified differently.

1) All inquiries regarding the eligibility of the research topic must be made by the U.S. PIs to the program directors at NSF. BSF will not respond to any query regarding topic eligibility.
2) All regulations regarding eligibility of the BSF (for the Israeli PI) or the NSF (for the U.S. PI) will apply to this program.
3) Each Israeli scientist is allowed to submit up to two applications/year, if at least one of them is to any of the NSF-BSF programs that have no deadline.
4) Israelis with active grants are allowed to submit an additional application to any of the NSF-BSF programs with no deadline (they don’t have to wait for the last year of their grant before submitting).
5) It is allowed to submit both to an NSF-BSF program and the regular BSF program, including similar applications. In the event that both applications are awarded grants, they will be funded in both, unless the research applications are mostly similar, in which case only the NSF-BSF program will be funded.
6) In case of similar NSF-BSF and regular BSF applications, in which the NSF evaluation was not completed by the time the regular BSF awards are made, the BSF will defer its decision regarding a possible grant to this application, until the NSF-BSF awards are announced.

Pre-Application Information:

The full proposals will be submitted to the program twice. Full proposals should be submitted to the BSF no later than 5 pm (Israel time) on November 21, 2019. NSF deadline is November 15, 2019.

Applications must be written jointly by an Israeli and a U.S. scientist from a U.S. research institution.

Prior to submission, the U.S. applicant is advised to contact the appropriate NSF program manager to discuss the research focus of his international project.

In order to submit an application, all the investigators must be registered in the BSF system.

Proposals will be evaluated by the NSF, using its criteria. The BSF will create a small screening panel to quickly examine the role of the Israelis in the applications, and ascertain that it is meaningful, and that they have the know-how and facilities to perform their part in the research. This panel will also advise the BSF regarding the budget requests, but will not evaluate the scientific merit of the applications. However, Israelis may possibly take part in the NSF evaluation process as panel members and/or external reviewers.

BSF is likely to fund any Israeli whose partner in this program is funded by the NSF, subject to the eligibility constraints listed above and availability of funds, and to the advice of the screening panel.

See this funding opportunity on the NSF website:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

The U.S. scientist (only) will submit to the NSF using its submission system:

The Israeli scientist (only) will submit to the BSF, also providing the U.S. scientist information, according to its regulations and submission system:

Questions regarding the applicability of the proposed research for this program should be directed by the U.S. partner to the program officer at the NSF.

Other questions regarding this special NSF-BSF program can be discussed with the BSF management by mail or phone (972-2-5828239):
- Dr. Rachel (Heni) Haring: ext. 110
- Ms. Yael Dressler: ext. 103

Questions regarding the online application system should be directed to:
Ms. Orli Rozencwajg: ext. 109

United States- Israel Binational Science Foundation
8 Hamarpeh St.
P.O.Box 45086, Har Hotzvim
Jerusalem 91450, Israel

Tel: 972-2-5828239
Fax: 972-2-5828306

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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