Mid-career investigators now have a new source for external funding at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The first round of proposals are due February 1, 2021, and NSF anticipates funding up to $18 million via 35-45 awards.
The new Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program is NSF’s only cross-directorate program focused on advancing the research needs of mid-career faculty. It is intended to support “protected time” for researchers at the associate professor rank (or equivalent)* to substantively advance their research through partnerships at institutions outside of their own.
With this investment, NSF hopes to enable a more diverse scientific workforce at high academic ranks (more women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities) who remain engaged and active in cutting-edge research. Partners from outside the PI’s own subdiscipline or discipline are encouraged, but not required, to enhance interdisciplinary networking and convergence across science and engineering fields.
Participating programs include the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Geosciences (GEO), Engineering (ENG), Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), and Education and Human Resources (EHR). PIs are encouraged to discuss the suitability of their MCA proposal with a program officer from the appropriate directorate (see https://www.nsf.gov/bio/MCA_contacts.jsp).
*Note: PIs must have been at the associate professor (or equivalent) rank for three years at the time of proposal submission.