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Frequently Asked Questions
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Regular (classical) Grant Program

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 six applicants can be PIs on an application. However, if it is a BSF-NSF application, see below some limitations.

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

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

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 am not a U.S. citizen; can I still submit a BSF proposal?

Yes, as long as you are employed by a U.S. institution or university as a staff member, and it is ready to submit the application on your behalf.

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, and you submit together again, your chances of receiving a BSF grant are significantly reduced.

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, so that 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 an NSF-BSF program. If you are in this situation, you should carefully read the program instructions and consult with the BSF office.

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

In almost all cases this is not possible, unless you have started the last year of your current grant. However, occasionally the BSF has a special program in which it may be possible. Also, it is possible to submit an NSF-BSF joint funding application, even if you have an active regular BSF grant, provided the two projects are different.

Can I submit both a regular BSF application and an NSF-BSF application?

Yes, even if they describe the same project. However, if the projects are the same, or significantly overlap, only one will be funded. If both are recommended for funding, only the NSF-BSF project will be funded, in order to eliminate the chance that the U.S. partner will lose the NSF grant.

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, with the following exception:

-        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 are missing this letter you are welcome to call our office.)

If you received a letter with code N7, you are allowed to resubmit, but it requires major changes, and experience shows that your chances to receive an award are likely to be low.

How large are BSF grants?

BSF grants vary in size. In the regular program they do not exceed $230,000 and this support is divided among the PIs and spread over the lifetime of the program (up to four 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 in the application the maximum amount.


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 in which one you would like to see your proposal be evaluated. Of course, the panels include, as much as possible, interdisciplinary scientists, and the four external reviews that we usually secure will be mostly from scientists doing similar disciplinary research.


NSF-BSF Programs

Are the NSF-BSF programs "special" programs that are a new funding source for the U.S. scientists?

Definitely not. The NSF-BSF application is put into the same basket as the ones submitted in the same discipline by U.S. scientists without foreign partners, and it replaces a proposal that he would have submitted alone to the same program.


Who funds the grants of the U.S. and Israeli scientists in the NSF-BSF programs?

NSF funds the U.S. scientist from its regular budget, with a conventional NSF grant that he would have received if he was alone on the application. The Israeli scientist is funded by the BSF, using funds it receives from the Israeli Council of Higher Education. These funds are separate from the funds the BSF receives from its endowments, which are used solely to serve its regular (classical) grant program.


Can I submit both a regular BSF application and an NSF-BSF one?

Yes, even if they describe the same project. However, if the projects are the same, or significantly overlap, only one will be funded. If both are recommended for funding, only the NSF-BSF application will be funded, in order to eliminate the chance that the U.S. partner will lose the grant.


My 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 the Israeli scientist submits alone to the BSF, using the PDF of the NSF proposal, which can be downloaded from the NSF submission site after the proposal is successfully submitted to the NSF. In order for the Israeli to be able to receive the NSF document from his U.S. partner, the deadline of the Israeli submission is always a few days after the NSF deadline for that program. You should follow the special regulations and instructions published by both the NSF (for the American) and the BSF (for both) on their websites.

I am an Israeli PI submitting to an NSF 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 Director at the NSF with the question, or you may contact them yourself.

Where can I find the contact details of the NSF Program Directors?

In our Call for Proposals you will find a link to the NSF webpage of the program, which lists the names of the Program directors you should approach, along with their contact details.

How many PIs can be Co-PIs in an 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 six.

How are the NSF-BSF applications identified at the NSF as joint U.S.-Israeli applications?

The term "NSF-BSF application" should appear on the NSF application as part of its title.


NSF evaluates the NSF-BSF proposals. Does the BSF conduct a parallel evaluation?

No. The BSF only screens the NSF-BSF applications using experts in the field, to make sure that the role of the Israeli is substantial enough to be awarded BSF funding if the application is recommended for an award by the NSF.

What is the success rateof NSF-BSF applications?

The BSF team regularly compiles the success rate data in all of the NSF-BSF programs, and these can be seen on the BSF website, in the "Grant History" section. Overall, the success rates of the U.S.-Israel joint applications have been higher than applications by U.S. scientists alone.

For how many years can the NSF-BSF project extend?

NSF-BSF projects are usually for three years, but occasionally extend to four and even to five years, particularly when the NIH is involved in the program. The BSF will approve for the Israeli scientist a grant for the same number of years as was approved for the U.S. partner.

How important is it to include the CV and budget of the Israeli scientist in the NSF-BSF proposal that is submitted to the NSF?

Very important! Your application will be evaluated as a joint project, and therefore the panel that discusses and grades it must be shown that the Israeli has the resources and expertise to perform his part in the project. Hence both the budget and the CV are very important. The same is true for the Program Director who later chooses which applilcations to recommend for a grant. 


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