PSA Newsletter: Volume 14 Number 1: January 2008
PSA Newsletter: Volume 14 Number 1: January 2008
Edited for the Philosophy of Science Association by Malcolm Forster
IN THIS ISSUE:
- LETTER from Fred Kronz, Director of the STS Program at NSF.
- JOB: PSA Webmaster.
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Science In Human Culture Program, Northwestern University. Due date for all materials is January 15, 2008.
- CALL for Applications: summer course in History and Philosophy of the Biomedical Sciences, Vienna, June 30 - July 11, 2008. http://www.univie.ac.at/ivc/VISU. Application deadline: January 30, 2008.
- CALL for Applications: Budapest summer course on PROBABILISTIC CAUSALITY. http://www.sun.ceu.hu/causality Deadline for scholarship places: February 14, 2008.
- CONFERENCE: Theoretical Frameworks and Empirical Underdetermination Workshop, April 10-12 2008, University of Düsseldorf.
- CALL for Papers: 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species. http://homepages.wmich.edu/~rudged/darwin.html Deadline: 31 Dec 2008.
- CALL for Applications: Visiting Fellows at the Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science. http://www.pitt.edu/~pittcntr/VFInfo
- REMINDER: PSA election ballots must arrive at the PSA Business Office by January 28, 2008.
- REMINDER: PSA 2008: Call for Contributed Papers, Symposia and Workshops. PSA 2008 Website Deadline: February 1, 2008. The twenty-first PSA biennial meeting will take place November 6-9, 2008, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- PSA website: http://philsci.org/
- PhilSci Archives: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/
- Philosophy of Science journal: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/PHILSCI/home.html
- LETTER from Fred Kronz, Director of the Science, Technology and Society Program at NSF.
THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:
FUNDING FOR PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECTS
The STS program is the primary supporter of research in philosophy of science and related areas (history of science and sociology of science) at NSF. Useful information about the program, proposal writing and submission, and the review process are provided below. Information about other NSF initiatives that may be of special interest to philosophers of science is also included.
Modes of Support
The STS program provides a number of distinct modes of support including doctoral dissertation research improvement grants, post-doctoral fellowships, professional development awards, scholar awards, standard grants, collaborative grants, small grants for training and research, and grants for workshops and conferences. For details, please see the Science and Society program solicitation: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf05588
The solicitation characterizes each mode of funding with regards to the activity supported (mainly research, though some have an education component and others allow for infrastructure development), eligibility requirements (some only require affiliation with a US institution and others permanent residency status), and budgetary guidelines.
It is worth noting that a collaborative projects may have a substantial international component. In the proposal, the collaborator associated with a US academic institution must be designated as the PI (principle investigators) and the collaborator associated with a non-US academic institution may then be tied to a sub-award. For details, see the PAPPG (Proposal and Award Polices and Procedures Guide): http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf08_1/index.jsp
The PAPPG is new. It has updated guidance on fonts that may be used when preparing an NSF proposal and it includes revised language to the intellectual merit review criterion; the criterion now specifically includes evaluation of proposals for potentially transformative concepts. The term "transformative" is notoriously difficult to characterize—a philosophical analysis of it would be most welcome. In the meantime, here is the key question that will be addressed in evaluating proposals as expressed in the PAPPG: To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
New Program Solicitation
A new program solicitation is under review and should be published in February 2008. New caps have been proposed (subject to approval). The program hopes to increase many budgetary caps by at least 20% for most funding modes. If approved, the higher levels will be available for proposals submitted for the 1 August 2008 target date and beyond. The current caps have been fixed for several years; whereas, the STS budget has increased about 6% per year during that time, and the program's annual budget for 2007-2008 is $9.2 million and it is projected to double over the next ten years. Also, if approved, it will no longer be necessary to submit proposals to one of four component areas, though those areas will continue to be core areas of the program.
Crafting the Proposal
Prospective PIs should pay particular attention to putting together the project description and project summary of their proposals. An effective strategy for doing so is to use a successful proposal in your research area as a model. NSF cannot release proposals upon request since they are the intellectual property of the associated PIs, but you are welcome to contact a PI to request a copy of his or her proposal. To obtain information about STS awards, you may search NSF's Awards Web site: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch
There are several search modes. A particularly effective mode is by program element. The program element code is 1353 for history and philosophy of science, and it is 8815 for ethics and values in science. Each award entry includes the PI's name, the project title, and an abstract.
Prospective PIs should us special care in addressing the two key criteria that NSF uses to evaluate proposals: intellectual merit and broader impact. These criteria are characterized in the program solicitation. The following supplementary document on broader impacts is also useful: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf
Finally, there are a number of common mistakes made in project descriptions that should be avoided. They include the following: failure to engage some key relevant literature, failure to map out a detailed plan of research, misplaced emphasis on background information over the proposed project, failure to explain how the results of the project will substantially contribute to the current literature or to the field, failure to explain how the results of the research will be disseminated, failure to characterize the intended audience or how the results of the research might impact teaching or the views of researchers in other areas.
All proposals for the STS program must be submitted via FastLane:http://www.fastlane.gov
Prospective PIs, meaning those planning to submit a proposal to the STS program, are strongly encouraged to request the assistance of his or her academic institution's Sponsored Research Office. The SRO's grant experts are especially helpful in formulating budgets as well as in uploading proposal components via FastLane. It is best to contact the SRO for assistance at least several months prior to the target date for proposal submission.
The Review Process
For those not familiar with the review process at NSF, the following description of the STS program's review process should serve to dispel some of the mystery (though NSF does allow for substantial variation in the review process from one program to another). What follows is a sketch. A more detailed presentation is provided at the following Web site: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/meritreview/
The STS program cycles twice a year, and each cycle centers on one of two annual target dates, 1 February and 1 August. The bulk of proposals submitted for a specified target date arrive at NSF during the two-week period immediately preceding that date, although proposals may be submitted up to six months prior. The "hard" deadline for proposals is understood to mean the target date, unless the PI requests an extension prior to the target date in which case the deadline is extended by one week.
Over a three-day period about three months after the target date, the proposals are carefully discussed and then ranked by a panel of experts. Four categories are used: Must Fund, Should Fund, Could Fund, and Do Not Fund. Sub-rankings occur within each category except for the last. Prior to the panel meeting, a minimum of three reviewers evaluates each proposal. Two of those reviewers are panelists, and every effort made to match proposal topic with panelist expertise. The program also solicits a number of reviews from other experts on the proposal topic. The program sends out a minimum of three review solicitations for each proposal.
Typically, the program recommends all Must Fund proposals and about half Should Fund proposals for funding. Within a month following the panel meeting, the program notifies most PIs by email about its recommendation intent, either to award or decline. The proposal reviews and panel summary are attached to the notification. If the intent is to decline, the PI may wish to revise and resubmit the proposal for the next target date. The panel summary rarely encourages a PI in the summary to revise and resubmit; when it does, that should be taken seriously.
It takes the program about six months to put forth all award recommendations. After that recommendation is made, it takes another six weeks for it to make its way through the bureaucracy to the Division of Grants and Agreements, which makes the final decision and then issues funds. There is no guarantee implicit or otherwise that an award will be issued until the DGA makes that decision. However, once the program makes an award recommendation, it is quite rare for the DGA not to concur with that decision. Given the timeline indicated above, a reasonable start date for a grant submitted for seven months following the target date, though earlier target dates may be proposed since any research expenses covered by the grant that are incurred up to ninety days prior to receiving the grant may be charged to that grant.
Other Funding Opportunities
Finally, it is worth noting that there are some funding opportunities for philosophers of science at NSF outside of the STS program. The program SciSIP (Science of Science and Innovation Policy) funds research that aims to create new explanatory models and analytic tools designed to inform the nation's public and private sectors about the processes through which investments in science and engineering research are transformed into social and economic outcomes. Both disciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions are needed to meet the goals of the program and collaborative projects are encouraged. Although the SciSIP may seem to be targeted more towards social and economic sciences, some philosophical work would be pertinent. See the following Web site for more information: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=501084&org=NSF
NSF also encourages broadening participation in science by under-represented groups. These include Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education (POWRE), Faculty Early Career Development Awards (CAREER), Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, and Career Advancement Awards for Minority Scientists and Engineers. Other initiatives are focused on specific research topics of potentially great importance. Information about all cross-cutting programs of NSF can be accessed at http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/
The International Program encourages collaboration in all fields of science between American scholars and other scholars throughout the world. Funding is often available for travel aimed at developing such connections at all levels, from graduate students to senior scholars. INT is especially interested in supporting postdoctoral exchanges, and support exists for organizing conferences to open exchange. Research collaborations also are supported. INT is especially eager to expand connections to the less developed nations, particularly in Africa. STS scholars can obtain INT funding to supplement a regular award, or can apply directly to INT. For more information, see the INT web page, especially the announcement International Opportunities for Scientists and Engineers, NSF 00-138: http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/int/start.htm
The STS Program (and NSF more generally) depends on its community of scholars to serve as reviewers. The program cannot make solid, responsible funding decisions without the guidance of experts in its core fields of research. If you are asked to serve as a reviewer on a proposal, please help us out by agreeing to do so and please be sure to submit your review in a timely manner. Less than half the scholars who are asked serve as reviewers agree to do so. The process may seem rather impersonal, nevertheless please realize that your efforts are truly appreciated. I surely do appreciate it, as do my fellow program officers, Laurel Smith-Doerr and Steve Zehr.
Members of the philosophy of science community are strongly encourage to submit proposals to the STS program. Now is a really good time to do so. The number of submissions has been rather low during the last three cycles, the STS budget is growing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, and funding levels will soon be going up.
- JOB: PSA Webmaster
Comment added by the newsletter editor:
The use of new web technology, such as the content management system made famous by Wikipedia, could allow news and information to be posted directly on the PSA website by those in possession of the information. This would make the dissemination of information more comprehensive, fairer, and more timely, than has ever been achieved by PSA newsletters. Then the newsletter could be redesigned to complement the service provided by the new PSA website.
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Science In Human Culture Program, Northwestern University
Due date for all materials is January 15, 2008.
The Science in Human Culture Program (SHC) at Northwestern University invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the contextual study of science, technology, and medicine to run September 2008 - August 2010. We seek applicants in the history of science, the philosophy of science, and the sociology/anthropology of science. Each fellow will be affiliated with both the SHC program and an appropriate disciplinary department (History, Sociology, Philosophy, etc). Fellows will pursue a program of independent scholarship and teach two one-quarter courses each year: a seminar and a lecture course. They will also help organize the SHC faculty seminar series. Applicants must have completed all the requirements for the Ph.D. before beginning their fellowship. The annual stipend is $42,000, with an allowance for moving expenses, plus $3,100 per year to fund research and conference travel.
Applicants should send the following materials directly to the SHC office in both paper and electronic form:
- a cover letter and full curriculum vitae
- a four-page fellowship proposal
- a writing sample consisting of either a dissertation chapter or published paper
- graduate school transcripts
They should also arrange to have three letters of recommendation, at least one commenting on teaching qualifications, sent directly to the office in paper form.
- Ken Alder
- Science in Human Culture Program
- 20 University Hall
- Northwestern University
- Evanston, IL 60208-2245
- CALL for Applications: summer course in History and Philosophy of the Biomedical Sciences, Vienna, June 30 - July 11, 2008. www.univie.ac.at/ivc/VISU
Call for Applications: VISU 2008.
History and Philosophy of the Biomedical Sciences Vienna, June 30 - July 11, 2008.
A two-week high-level summer course, for graduate students and junior faculty, on questions related to fundamental philosophical problems of biomedical sciences, spanning a wide range of topics in biomedicine, biotechnology and medical practices, and addressing normative, historical and topical issues from an international perspective.
- Rachel A. Ankeny (University of Adelaide, Australia)
- Bernardino Fantini (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
- David Wootton (University of York, United Kingdom)
Keith Wailoo (Rutgers University, USA)
Applications should be sent to
- Professor Friedrich Stadler
- Institute Vienna Circle
- University Campus
- Spitalgasse 2-4, Court 1, A-1090
- Vienna, Austria
- +43-1-4277 41297
Application deadline: January 30, 2008.
- CALL for Applications: Budapest summer course on PROBABILISTIC CAUSALITY.
Deadline for scholarship places: February 14, 2008.
Course Dates: JULY 21 - AUGUST 1, 2008
Location: Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary,
Detailed course description: http://www.sun.ceu.hu/causality
- Miklos Redei, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics, UK
- Nancy Cartwright, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
- Damian Fennell, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
- Gabor Hofer-Szabo, King Sigismund College, Budapest, Hungary
- Ferenc Huoranszki, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
- Laszlo E. Szabo, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary
- Richard E. Neapolitan, Northeastern Illinois University
Target group: advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty and researchers in philosophy, physics, economics and computer science.
Language of instruction: English
Tuition fee: EUR 500, financial aid is available.
The application deadline: February 14, 2008 (for scholarship places), April 30, 2008 (for fee-paying applications)
- CONFERENCE: Theoretical Frameworks and Empirical Underdetermination Workshop,
April 10-12 2008, University of Düsseldorf.
The aim of the workshop is to explore new and fruitful avenues concerning the empirical limits of scientific knowledge. It brings together some of the world's leading experts in the scientific realism debate to discuss the latest developments in the field. Topics to be discussed include structural realism, underdetermination, empirical equivalence, the pessimistic meta-induction argument, the reference of scientific terms and inference to the best explanation.
The programme will commence with a eulogy to the late Peter Lipton, who was originally scheduled to give a talk at the workshop. David Papineau who had known Peter for over twenty years will give the eulogy.
Date: April 10-12, 2008.
Place: Lecture Room 02.26, Building 23.31, University of Düsseldorf.
Workshop organisers: Gerhard Schurz and Ioannis Votsis.
The workshop is financed by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - German Research Foundation) as part of the research unit FOR600.
- Call for Papers: 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
http://homepages.wmich.edu/~rudged/darwin.htmlDeadline: 31 Dec 2008.
The journal Science & Education will be publishing a special anniversary issue(s) to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 and, coincidently, the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. Researchers working on areas related to Darwinism and evolution education are invited to contribute. See the announcement at http://homepages.wmich.edu/~rudged/darwin.html. A science education perspective is welcome but not necessary.
The due date for submissions has been set for over a year from now on 31 Dec 2008 so as to encourage high quality contributions from as many scholars as possible. (As with other special issues, notification of intent to submit and subject matter are greatly appreciated as it assists with the coordination and planning of the issue.)
Guest editors, Special Journal Issue: Darwinian Anniversary Year, 2009, Science & Education.
- CALL for Applications: Visiting Fellows at the Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science.
END OF PSA NEWSLETTER
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