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Frequently Asked Questions
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Do I have to seek a partner from the other country (U.S. or Israel) in order to submit a BSF application?

Yes, a BSF application must be submitted by at least one scientist from each of the two countries. Up to 6 applicants can be PIs on an application. However, if it is a BSF-NSF application, see some limitations explained below.

I am a U.S. scientist. Can I be the initiator of a BSF application?

Certainly you may. Just look for an Israeli partner and follow the instructions and regulations that appear on our website here

I am a U.S. scientist. Can I receive support from the BSF?

Definitely yes. The BSF allows the PIs to divide a grant as they wish.

I have never cooperated with my current co-applicant before. Would this hurt my chances?

No, not at all. The BSF encourages new partnerships.

I have cooperated previously with my current co-applicant. Is this good or bad?

At present the BSF does not weigh one way or another if the two of you cooperated previously. However, if the applicants received a previous BSF grant we do look carefully at whether or not the previous collaboration produced joint products (papers, books, patents, etc.). If not, your chances of receiving a BSF grant are significantly reduced. Unless there is a good explanation for the lack of joint products, this record is considered even if you are submitting with another collaborator.

I am employed by a for-profit organization. Can I be a BSF applicant?

Yes, but you will not be able to receive financial support from the BSF, and you will need to produce a letter from your employer to the effect that you will be able to have the time and facilities required to carry out your part in the joint research project.

Can we add a PI from a third country to the application?

No. Such a scientist may serve as an unpaid consultant/advisor, but no funds can be used to support his work, not even for travel.

May I be a Co-PI on the application, so that I may submit another application as a PI?

No. The BSF does not use the term Co-PI, and you are considered a PI even if you do not request funding, unless you are defined by the PIs as an ‘unpaid advisor’.

I am employed at a U.S. government institution. Can I receive support from the BSF?

All institutions in which the grantees are employed are required to sign the standard BSF contract. Most U.S. government institutions refuse to sign because of an apparent problem they have with our intellectual property clause. We recently found a solution to this problem with the NIH, and NIH researchers may now receive support from the BSF. If you are employed by a U.S. government institution, please contact us and we will try to resolve this issue with your grant office. If you have a position as an adjunct professor in a nearby university, you may choose to submit the proposal through that university and thus avoid the problem.

Can I be an applicant on two simultaneous proposals?

No, our system will not let you submit two proposals at the same time, unless one of the applications is for a special program. If you are in this situation, you should carefully read the program instructions.

Can I be an applicant if I have an active BSF grant?

In our regular program this is not possible, unless you have started the last year of your current grant. However, in certain special programs such as Transformative Science and NSF-BSF programs, it is possible. If you have a BSF grant, before you embark on a new application, be certain to examine the specific regulations of the program you are interested in.

I submitted a BSF application in the last round and it was turned down. May I revise and resubmit it?

Generally, BSF applications are allowed to be resubmitted once only. Exception:

-        However, if you received a letter with code N3E, you are allowed to resubmit the application even if the previous submission was already a resubmission (a third time).

(the codes appear in the upper right corner of the results letter. If you miss this letter you are welcome to call our office.) This code means that this was an excellent proposal but was not awarded a grant due to insufficient funds. 

How large are BSF grants?

BSF grants vary in size. In the regular program they do not exceed $200,000 and this support is divided among the PIs and spread over the lifetime of the program (up to 4 years). This maximum amount is awarded for an experimental program in which the funds are divided equally between the PIs from the two countries. In all other cases the sizes of the grants are smaller. Please note that even if you and your partner do not plan to share the grant equally, you may request the maximum amount when you apply.


The BSF is aware that the grants are small, and in many cases cannot support the entire research project that is described in the proposal. Thus, the grant is mostly given to support the cooperation. Keeping the grants small enables the BSF to award more grants.

Would the size of my grant per year increase if I request a shorter grant period?

Usually not.

If the proposed research is interdisciplinary, to which area should I submit and how would the proposal be evaluated?

With science being increasingly interdisciplinary this is becoming an important issue. The BSF is not able to form a specific panel for each of the numerous combinations of interdisciplinary proposals. In the future, emerging fields such as Biophysics may have their own panels. However, at present we list on our website the different panels, and ask you to choose which one you would like to see your proposal evaluated by. Of course, the panels include interdisciplinary scientists as much as possible, and the 4 external reviews that we usually secure will be mostly from scientists doing similar disciplinary research.


NSF-BSF Programs

My U.S./Israeli partner and I would like to submit to an NSF-BSF joint funding program. Do we have to submit separately to the two organizations?

Yes. The U.S. scientist alone submits to the NSF, and using the research plan that was submitted to the NSF the Israeli alone submit to the BSF. You should follow the special regulations and instructions published by both the NSF (for the American) and the BSF on their websites.

What about the NSF-BSF program in Computer Science; do we have to apply twice as well?

Also in this program the submission is double, but the order is different. Both of you must first submit a regular BSF application, and the U.S. scientist alone has to submit later to the NSF, using the research plan that was previously submitted to the BSF.

I am an Israeli PI submitting to the program and I have a question regarding the format of the NSF application. Whom should I approach?

It is likely that the BSF will not be able to answer your question. Therefore, your best option is to ask your U.S. partner to contact the Program Manager at the NSF with the question.

How many PIs can be in a NSF-BSF application?

In most NSF-BSF programs only a single U.S. PI is allowed by the NSF. To be certain, you should check the instructions for the specific program you are interested in, or with the NSF Program Officer. Several Israelis are allowed, as long as the total number ( U.S. + Israeli) of PIs does not exceed 6.

I am a U.S. PI in the NSF-BSF program in Computer Sciences.  May I request travel funds in my BSF application?

Yes. The parallel NSF program will award travel to some of the applicants. However, since the NSF is independent of that of the BSF, you may end up receiving a grant from the BSF, but not from the NSF.


How are the NSF-BSF programs funded?

For the BSF, the funding comes from a special allocation from the Israeli government (Ministry of Finance and Council of Higher Education). In the US, no special funding is allocated to these programs within the NSF.

Do these new programs affect the old BSF programs?

No, since the source of funding is different, the old BSF programs are not affected.

Are you expecting additional NSF-BSF programs?

We would like to enlarge the scope of the NSF-BSF programs to include other areas of research, and we believe that it is possible as far as the NSF is concerned. However, to accomplish it, we will require additional funding from the Israeli government.

Are the NSF-BSF programs “special” programs?

No. These programs are part of the regular programs of the NSF, and the joint US-Israeli proposals are thrown in the same basket as the ones by US PIs without international collaboration. Both kind of proposals receive the same treatment and are evaluated together. This means that these programs do not constitute a new source of funding for the US PI, which is different than the one he might have been applying to previously.

I am a US scientist with an NSF grant. Can I submit to the NSF-BSF program?

Yes, you can. However, if your grant is from the same division as the one to which you are considering submitting a new NSF-BSF proposal, you will be well advised to check with the NSF program director whether they will award you a second grant.

Is the NSF-BSF grant to the US scientist different from the standard NSF grant?

No, it is a regular NSF grant.

What is the success rate in NSF-BSF programs?

Our experience thus far is that it varies between 10% to 35%. There is a rumor circulating in Israel that the success rate is universally low across the NSF. This may be true in certain NSF divisions, and applicants are welcome to check it with the NSF. However, in most cases, a lower success rate characterizes those NSF divisions that require pre-proposals. For example, in the Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) division the success rate of the entire program is less than 10%, but that of full proposals is usually 30-35%!!

Can I apply to both the regular BSF program and the NSF-BSF program?

Yes. This will increase your chances of receiving a grant. However, if you are recommended for a grant in both programs, we will award you only the NSF-BSF grant. Thus, if you apply with a different partner to each, be sure to make your partner on the regular BSF proposal aware of this regulation. Of course, if you are a US applicant, the NSF will fund your NSF-BSF grant and this rule does not apply to you.


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