U.S. Federal Agency Responses and Research Opportunities: April 8 – 14, 2020

To provide relevant information to ASPB members, we will be sharing weekly updates on US Federal Agency responses to COVID-19 and research opportunities. The information below was prepared by Lewis-Burke Associates and curated by Shandrea Stallworth, Early Career Representative on ASPB’s Science Policy Committee. Additional information about ASPB’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.


National Science Foundation (NSF)

On April 9, the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) within the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) offered virtual Office Hours “to share information about NSF’s current operations and provide guidance to the earth sciences community. This will also allow the community to ask questions, share concerns, or offer suggestions on how EAR can do more to address the impact of COVID-19 on the research community.”

NSF is regularly updating their coronavirus website with FAQs.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released updated guidance for the implementation of the Office of Management and Budget’s March 19 Memo: “Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations.” The guidance can be found here.

The Director of NIFA, Dr. Scott Angle will host a webinar on April 16 from 2-3 PM EST to address COVID-19 efforts. Registration for the webinar. Any questions can be submitted to Dr. Angle’s Chief of Staff, Bill Hoffman at whoffman4@usda.gov.

On April 13, USDA released the “COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide.” This document serves as a menu of programs to provide rural stakeholders, including universities, with technical, training, and management assistance; financial assistance; and state and local assistance.



NSF has started announcing the Coronavirus RAPID Awards. On April 3, NSF released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that combines two previous DCLs. The new DCL invites proposals “to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge.” The solicitation invites researchers to submit proposals through existing funding mechanisms as well as the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism. The DCL also invites proposals that “request the use of NSF-funded advanced computing resources.” NSF directs researchers to contact the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC) before submitting a proposal.

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