Earth Sciences: Laboratory Technician Support (EAR/LTS)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Grant amount: Up to US $750,000

Next deadline: Feb 13, 2020

Later deadlines: Feb 11, 2021

Applicant type: Faculty Nonprofit College / University

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

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The Division of Earth Sciences supports meritorious proposals for research focused on improving the understanding of the structure, composition, and evolution of the Earth, the life it has supported through geological time, and the processes that govern the formation and behavior of the Earth's materials. The results of this research advance understanding of the Earth's changing environments, and the natural distribution of its mineral, water, biota, and energy resources and provide methods for predicting and mitigating the effects of geologic hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and landslides.

Earth science is the study of the Earth's structure, properties, processes, and four and a half billion years of its abiotic and ultimately, biotic evolution. Understanding these phenomena is essential to maintenance of life on the planet. The expanding world population demands more resources; faces increasing losses from natural hazards; and releases more pollutants to the air, water, and land. Sustaining our existence requires scientific understanding of the natural materials and processes linking the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Life prospers or fails at the surface of the Earth where these environments intersect.

NSF organizational taxonomy may differ from other common terminology describing disciplinary boundaries which are rapidly evolving as science continues to become more interdisciplinary. The NSF Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) is one of four divisions within the Directorate for Geosciences, along with the divisions of Atmospheric and Geospatial Sciences (AGS), Ocean Sciences (OCE) and Polar Programs (PLR). Thus NSF’s use of the term “Earth sciences” includes studies which address ‘Earth’s solid surface, crust, mantle, and core, including interactions between the solid Earth, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere’ (NRC, 2012, New Research Opportunities in the Earth Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 117 pp.)

Program Description

The Instrumentation and Facilities Program in the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR/IF) supports meritorious requests for infrastructure that promotes research and education in the areas currently supported by the Division of Earth Sciences.

This solicitation targets Laboratory Technician Support to provide for optimal and efficient operation of advanced instrumentation, analytical protocol development, and user training for Earth science research instrumentation.

Support is available through continuing grants awarded in response to investigator-initiated proposals.

Laboratory Technician Support EAR/IF accepts proposals seeking support for a laboratory technician with planned focus competitions over three fiscal years (FY 2017 - FY 2019) as follows:

  • FY 2017: Laboratory Technician Support - Geochronology
  • FY 2018: Laboratory Technician Support - Experimental Geophysics
  • FY 2019: Laboratory Technician Support - High Performance Computing

In all cases, the intent is to establish a single, new, full-time technician position at U.S. academic-based laboratories that already have required analytical, experimental or computational equipment but that may seek to offer some level of specialized analytical, experimental and/or computational laboratory equipment and/or services more broadly to the U.S. geosciences community. EAR/IF expects that proposers will have demonstrated laboratory management experience, the availability of adequate and appropriate supporting infrastructure, and a documented ability to conduct measurements, experiments or develop and run computer codes that are of sufficient research quality to warrant consideration for technical support

Budgetary Information

Proposals seeking Laboratory Technician Support may request a maximum of five years of support for salary, fringe benefits and related indirect costs with maximum annual funding as follows: Year 1 = $150,000, Year 2 = $150,000, Year 3 = $150,000, Year 4 = $150,000 and Year 5 = $150,000. An important distinction of the Laboratory Technician opportunity is that proposers may only request support for a technician’s salary and related fringe and indirect costs. No other budget categories may be included. The level of proposed annual request should be justified by inclusion of a letter from a relevant University Administrator which notes under which University position category the potential technician would be hired and the salary range for such a position.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
    • Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
    • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.