GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 178-21
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


THOMAS, Mia S., JENSEN, Heidi B., HARLAN, Stephen S., SMITH, Dena M. and PATINO, Lina C., National Science Foundation, Division of Earth Sciences, 2415 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22314

The National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) supports research, education and infrastructure investments that advance scientific understanding of the Earth’s evolution, structure and the life it supports. Over the last several years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has experienced rising proposal submission rates, resulting in increased stress on the merit review process and decreased success rates. Starting in 2011, a collection of pilot studies was implemented across the NSF, including one that removed proposal deadlines in EAR’s Instrumentation and Facilities program. As a consequence, proposal submissions to the program decreased significantly. In 2015, following on the initial pilot’s success of reducing proposal submission rates resulted in an expanded pilot that included several core science programs in EAR: Geobiology & Low-temperature Geochemistry, Hydrologic Sciences, Geomorphology & Land-use Dynamics and Sedimentary Geology & Paleobiology. Predicted effects of this expanded pilot included: (1) reduced proposal submission rate; (2) increased success rate; (3) reduced workload for the reviewer community; and (4) negligible changes in the demographics of submitting principal investigators. By accepting proposals at any time, investigators are provided more time to collaborate and prepare transformative scientific proposals while leveling administrative workloads associated with merit review. Proposal and principal investigator demographic data were collected and analyzed for the programs both before and after the deadline removal date. Data analyzed thus far are consistent with our predictions and as a result the remaining EAR disciplinary science programs have removed proposal submission deadlines as of summer 2017.