March 10-23, 2000
Back Issues
Researchers seek objective way to diagnose attention disorder
Law School dedicates bust of alumnus Robert F. Kennedy
Funding the University's future

In Memoriam

Biological Timing Center turns on high schoolers' interest in research
NSF looking to fund new centers
Hetherington's groundbreaking work shows how families cope with divorce
Faculty Actions - from the Feb. Board of Visitors meeting
U.Va.-Wise professor wins Outstanding Faculty Award
Hot Links - Mountain Lake Biological Station
Spring Break

NSF looking to fund new centers

The National Science Foundation is expected to issue a new round of proposal requests this month to establish eight to 10 new Science and Technology Centers. There are 28 centers currently funded around the country, including the Center for Biological Timing at U.Va, which has one year remaining on its 11-year NSF grant.

Each new NSF science and technology center will be funded for 10 years to explore new areas and build bridges among disciplines, institutions and other sectors. Funding will be for $1.5 million to $4 million per year. Centers offer the research community an effective means for embarking on long-term scientific and technological research, to explore better and more effective ways to educate students, and to develop ways to ensure the timely transition of research and education advances to society.

"We are hoping that our research community at U.Va. will create a few strong pre-proposals that we can submit to NSF," says Gene Block, vice president for research and public service and director of the Center for Biological Timing. Block and colleagues wrote the proposal 10 years ago that led to the funding for their center and are now pursuing other funding sources.

"My office is available to help faculty members prepare the strongest proposals possible," he says. "We can serve as a filter for ideas, and provide guidance to assist in developing multi-university linkages and in creating an effective outreach program.

"NSF is looking for truly novel research programs that bring together the best people in the field, including collaborations among universities," Block says. "NSF only funds centers that are highly innovative, and that can make a difference. Outreach to other sectors, such as K-12, industry and government, is an essential part of an NSF center, and the outreach has to be real, not something merely mentioned to look good."

Block notes that many research programs in the social and behavioral sciences are also eligible for center funding. He urges faculty in these areas to confer with social and behavioral science program directors at NSF to determine whether their research effort might be appropriate for center funding.

"We want to help interested faculty members get their best shot at this," he says. "The competition in the past has been fierce, so we have to focus on our strongest and most unique areas. Even if a proposal does not win a grant, it is not a wasted effort. This will provide the groundwork and basis for other funding opportunities."

For information about the criteria for NSF center proposals, call Block's office at 924-3606.


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