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NSF 18-1 January 29, 2018
Chapter II - Proposal Preparation Instructions
Each proposing organization that is new to NSF or has not had an active NSF assistance award within the previous five years should be prepared to submit basic organization and management information and certifications, when requested, to the applicable award-making division within the Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management (BFA). The requisite information is described in the NSF Prospective New Awardee Guide. The information contained in this Guide will assist the organization in preparing documents which NSF requires to conduct administrative and financial reviews of the organization. This Guide also serves as a means of highlighting the accountability requirements associated with Federal awards.
To facilitate proposal preparation, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding proposal preparation and submission are available on the NSF website.8
Proposers should also be aware of core strategies that are essential to the fulfillment of NSF’s mission, as articulated in Investing in Science, Engineering, and Education for the Nation’s Future: NSF Strategic Plan, 2014-2018. These strategies are integrated in the program planning and implementation process, of which proposal review is one part. NSF’s mission is particularly well-implemented through the integration of research and education and broadening participation in NSF programs, projects, and activities.
One of the strategic objectives in support of NSF’s mission is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at NSF grantee organizations. These organizations recruit, train, and prepare a diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce to advance the frontiers of science and participate in the US technology-based economy. NSF’s contribution to the national innovation ecosystem is to provide cutting-edge research under the guidance of the Nation’s most creative scientists and engineers. NSF also supports development of a strong STEM workforce by investing in building the knowledge that informs improvements in STEM teaching and learning.
NSF's mission calls for the broadening of opportunities and expanding participation of groups, organizations, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, which is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.
It is important that all proposals conform to the proposal preparation instructions contained in Part I of the PAPPG or the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide. Conformance is required and will be strictly enforced unless an authorization to deviate from standard proposal preparation requirements has been approved. NSF will not accept or will return without review proposals that are not consistent with these instructions. See Chapter IV.B for additional information. NSF authorization to deviate from these instructions must be received prior to proposal submission. Deviations may be authorized in one of two ways:
1. through specification of different requirements in an NSF program solicitation; or
2. by the written approval of the cognizant NSF Assistant Director/Office Head or designee. These approvals to deviate from NSF proposal preparation instructions may cover a particular program or programs or, in rare instances, an individual deviation for a particular proposal.
Proposers may deviate from these instructions only to the extent authorized. Proposals must include an authorization to deviate from standard NSF proposal preparation instructions in one of the following ways, as appropriate: (a) by identifying the solicitation number that authorized the deviation in the appropriate block on the Cover Sheet; or (b) for individual deviations, by identifying the name, date and title of the NSF official authorizing the deviation.
Prior to submission, it is strongly recommended that proposers conduct an administrative review to ensure that proposals comply with the guidelines established in Part I of the PAPPG or the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide. The Proposal Preparation Checklist (Exhibit II-1) may be used to assist in this review. The checklist is not intended to be an all-inclusive repetition of the required proposal contents and associated proposal preparation guidelines. It is, however, meant to highlight certain critical items so they will not be overlooked when the proposal is prepared.
During completion of the proposal Cover Sheet (See Chapter II.C.2.a), the PI will be prompted to select the applicable response that describes the nature and type of proposal being developed:
The type of proposal being developed:
Whether the proposal is:
The requested proposal information noted above will be used to determine the applicable proposal preparation business rules that must be followed. Proposers are strongly advised to review the applicable sections of Part I of the PAPPG pertinent to the type of proposal being developed PRIOR to submission. Additional information on NSF auto-compliance checks run during the proposal preparation and submission process can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/autocompliance.jsp.
1. Proposal Pagination Instructions
Proposers are advised that FastLane does not automatically paginate a proposal. Each section of the proposal that is uploaded as a file must be individually paginated prior to being uploaded to the electronic system.
2. Proposal Margin and Spacing Requirements
The proposal must conform to the following requirements:
a. Use one of the following typefaces identified below:
A font size of less than 10 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figures, table or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters. PIs are cautioned, however, that the text must still be readable.
b. No more than six lines of text within a vertical space of one inch.
c. Margins, in all directions, must be at least an inch.
These requirements apply to all uploaded sections of a proposal, including supplementary documentation.
3. Page Formatting
Proposers are strongly encouraged to use only a standard, single-column format for the text.
The guidelines specified above establish the minimum type size requirements; however, PIs are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal. Small type size makes it difficult for reviewers to read the proposal; consequently, the use of small type not in compliance with the above guidelines may be grounds for NSF to return the proposal without review. Adherence to type size and line spacing requirements also is necessary to ensure that no proposer will have an unfair advantage, by using smaller type or line spacing to provide more text in the proposal.
1. Single-Copy Documents
Certain categories of information that are submitted in conjunction with a proposal are for "NSF Use Only." As such, the information is not provided to reviewers for use in the review of the proposal. With the exception of proposal certifications (which are submitted via the Authorized Organizational Representative function10), these documents should be submitted via the FastLane Proposal Preparation Module. A summary of each of these categories follows:
a. Authorization to Deviate from NSF Proposal Preparation Requirements (if applicable)
Instructions for obtaining authorization to deviate from NSF proposal preparation instructions are provided in Chapter II.A.
b. List of Suggested Reviewers or Reviewers Not to Include (optional)
Proposers may include a list of suggested reviewers (including email address and organizational affiliation) who they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal. Proposers also may designate persons they would prefer not review the proposal, indicating why. These suggestions are optional. Exhibit II-2 contains information on conflicts of interest that may be useful in preparation of this list. Exhibit II-2 contains information on conflicts of interest that may be useful in preparation of this list.
The cognizant Program Officer handling the proposal considers the suggestions and may contact the proposer for further information. The decision whether or not to use the suggestions, however, remains with the Program Officer.
c. Proprietary or Privileged Information (if applicable)
Instructions for submission of proprietary or privileged information are provided in Chapter II.D.1 .
d. Proposal Certifications
With the exception of the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF LLL) identified below, the procedures for submission of the proposal certifications differ from those used with other single-copy documents. The AOR must use the "Authorized Organizational Representative function" in FastLane to sign and submit the proposal, including the proposal certifications. It is the proposing organization's responsibility to assure that only properly authorized individuals perform this function.11
The required proposal certifications are as follows:
(1) community in which that area is located participates in the national flood insurance program; and(2) building (and any related equipment) is covered by adequate flood insurance.
By signing the proposal certification pages, AORs for prospective grantees located in FEMA-designated special flood hazard areas are certifying that adequate flood insurance has been or will be obtained in the following situations:
(1) for NSF grants for the construction of a building or facility, regardless of the dollar amount of the grant; and
(2) for other NSF grants when more than $25,000 has been budgeted in the proposal for repair, alteration or improvement (construction) of a building or facility.
Prospective grantees should contact their local government or a Federally-insured financial institution to determine what areas are identified as having special flood hazards and the availability of flood insurance in their community.
Additional information on NSF's RCR policy is available in the Chapter IX.B. While training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF, institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request.
(1) has filed all Federal tax returns required during the three years preceding this certification;
(2) has not been convicted of a criminal offense under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and
(3) has not, more than 90 days prior to this certification, been notified of any unpaid Federal tax assessment for which the liability remains unsatisfied, unless the assessment is the subject of an installment agreement or offer in compromise that has been approved by the IRS and is not in default, or the assessment is the subject of a non-frivolous administrative or judicial proceeding.
e. Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information
The following information regarding collaborators and other affiliations (COA) must be separately provided for each individual identified as senior project personnel. The COA information must be provided through use of the COA template. If there are more than 10 individuals designated as senior project personnel on the proposal, instructions provided in the applicable solicitation must be followed. Please note that some information requested in prior versions of the PAPPG is no longer requested. THIS IS PURPOSEFUL AND WE NO LONGER REQUIRE THIS INFORMATION TO BE REPORTED. Certain relationships will be reported in other sections (i.e., the names of postdoctoral scholar sponsors should not be reported, however if the individual collaborated on research with their postdoctoral scholar sponsor, then they would be reported as a collaborator). The information in the tables is not required to be sorted, alphabetically or otherwise.
There are five separate categories of information which correspond to the five tables in the COA template:
COA template Table 1:
List the individual's last name, first name, middle initial, and organizational affiliation (including considered affiliation) in the last 12 months.
COA template Table 2:
List names as last name, first name, middle initial, for whom a personal, family, or business relationship would otherwise preclude their service as a reviewer.
COA template Table 3:
List names as last name, first name, middle initial, and provide organizational affiliations, if known, for the following:14
COA template Table 4:
List names as last name, first name, middle initial, and provide organizational affiliations, if known, for the following:
COA template Table 5:
List editorial board, editor-in chief and co-editors with whom the individual interacts. An editor-in-chief must list the entire editorial board.
The template has been developed to be fillable, however, the content and format requirements must not be altered by the user. This template must be saved in .xlsx or .xls format, and directly uploaded into FastLane as a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Single Copy Document. FastLane will convert the uploaded .xlsx or .xls files to .PDF. Using the .xlsx or .xls format will enable preservation of searchable text that otherwise would be lost. It is therefore imperative that this document be uploaded in .xlsx or .xls only. Uploading a document in any format other than .xlsx or .xls may delay the timely processing and review of the proposal.
This information is used to manage reviewer selection. See Exhibit II-2 for additional information on potential reviewer conflicts.
f. Submission of Proposals by Former NSF Staff
For one year following separation from the Foundation, any communication with NSF by a former employee or IPA must be done through use of a "substitute negotiator." Unless a substitute negotiator has been designated by the proposer/grantee, the Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) or the Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support (DACS) will not process a new proposal with a former employee or IPA as PI or co-PI. If it has been less than a year since a former employee separated from NSF or an IPA ended their appointment and they submit a proposal, documentation from the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) needs to be included which designates a substitute negotiator for that proposal. A co-PI on a new proposal should designate the PI as the substitute negotiator. This information should be submitted as a single copy document and uploaded in the “Additional Single Copy Documents” category.
2. Sections of the Proposal
The sections described below represent the body of a research proposal submitted to NSF. Failure to submit the required sections will result in the proposal not being accepted16, or being returned without review. See Chapter IV.B for additional information.
A full research proposal must contain the following sections17. Note that the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide may use different naming conventions, and sections may appear in a different order than in FastLane, however, the content is the same:
a. Cover Sheet
b. Project Summary
c. Table of Contents
d. Project Description
e. References Cited
f. Biographical Sketch(es)
g. Budget and Budget Justification
h. Current and Pending Support
i. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
j. Special Information and Supplementary Documentation
- Data Management Plan
- Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan (if applicable)
k. Single Copy Documents
- Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information
Proposal preparation instructions for RAPID, EAGER, RAISE, GOALI, Ideas Lab, FASED, conference, equipment, travel, center, research infrastructure, and fellowships may deviate from the above content requirements.
All proposals to NSF will be reviewed using the two NSB-approved merit review criteria described in greater length in Chapter III.
a. Cover Sheet
There are four major components of the Cover Sheet. A number of the boxes contained on the Cover Sheet are pre-filled as part of the FastLane login process. The information requested on the Cover Sheet is as follows:
(1) Awardee Organization/Primary Place of Performance
The information on the Awardee Organization is prefilled on the Cover Sheet based on the login information entered. If the project will be performed at the awardee organization, check the designated box. If the project, however, will be performed at a location other than the awardee, provide the following information (where applicable):
(2) Program Announcement/Solicitation/Program Description Number
Proposers are required to select the applicable funding opportunity (i.e., program announcement, solicitation or description.) If the proposal is not submitted in response to a specific funding opportunity, proposers should select "Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide." Proposers are advised to select "No Closing Date" when the proposal is not submitted in response to any relevant NSF funding opportunity.
(3) NSF Unit of Consideration
Proposers must follow instructions for selection of an applicable NSF Division/Office and Program(s) to which the proposal should be directed.
(4) Remainder of the Cover Sheet
(a) Title of Proposed Project
The title of the project must be brief, scientifically or technically valid, and suitable for use in the public press. NSF may edit the title of a project prior to making an award.
(b) Budget and Duration Information
The proposed duration for which support is requested should be consistent with the nature and complexity of the proposed activity. The Foundation encourages proposers to request funding for durations of three to five years when such durations are necessary for completion of the proposed work and are technically and managerially advantageous. The requested start date should allow at least six months for NSF review, processing and decision. The PI should consult his/her organization’s SPO for unusual situations (e.g., a long lead time for procurement) that create problems regarding the proposed start date. Specification of a desired start date for the project is important and helpful to NSF staff; however, requests for specific start dates may not be met.
(c) Announcement and Consideration Information
This information is prefilled based on previously entered information.
(d) PI Information and co-PI Information
Information (including address information) regarding the PI is derived from login information and is not entered when preparing the Cover Sheet. The proposal also may identify up to four additional co-PIs.
Each individual's name and either NSF ID or primary registered e-mail address, must be entered in the boxes provided.
(e) Previous NSF Award
If the proposal is a renewal proposal, or an accomplishment-based renewal proposal, the applicable box must be checked. If yes, the proposer will be requested to select the applicable previous award number.
Some NSF program solicitations require submission of both a preliminary and full proposal as part of the proposal process. In such cases, the following instructions apply:
(i) During the preliminary proposal stage, the proposing organization should identify the submission as a preliminary proposal by checking the block entitled, "Preliminary Proposal" on the Cover Sheet;
(ii) During the full proposal submission stage, the proposing organization should identify in the block entitled, "Show Related Preliminary Proposal Number", the related preliminary proposal number assigned by NSF.
For projects that support research infrastructure and tools, such as vessels, facilities, and telescopes, the project/performance site should correspond to the physical location of the research asset. For research assets or projects that are geographically distributed, the proposer should report information for the primary site, as defined by the proposer. For example, proposals for the operations and maintenance of research vessels may list the project/performance site as the vessel’s home port.
(f) Consideration by Other Federal Agencies
If the proposal is being submitted for consideration by another Federal agency, the abbreviated name(s) of the Federal agency(ies) must be identified in the spaces provided.
(g) Awardee Organization Information
The awardee organization name, address, NSF organization code, DUNS number and Employer Identification Number/Taxpayer Identification Number are derived from the profile information provided by the organization or pulled by NSF from the SAM database and are not entered when preparing the Cover Sheet.
Profit-making organizations must identify their status by checking the appropriate boxes on the Cover Sheet, using the following guidelines:
(h) Primary Place of Performance
This information is prefilled based on previously entered information.
(i) Other Information
Should any of the following items on the Cover Sheet apply to a proposal, the applicable box(es) must be checked.
b. Project Summary
Each proposal must contain a summary of the proposed project not more than one page in length. The Project Summary consists of an overview, a statement on the intellectual merit of the proposed activity, and a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity.
The overview includes a description of the activity that would result if the proposal were funded and a statement of objectives and methods to be employed. The statement on intellectual merit should describe the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge. The statement on broader impacts should describe the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.
The Project Summary should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, and, insofar as possible, understandable to a broad audience within the scientific domain. It should not be an abstract of the proposal.
The Project Summary may ONLY be uploaded as a Supplementary Document if use of special characters is necessary. Such Project Summaries must be formatted with separate headings for Overview, Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts. Failure to include these headings will result in the proposal being returned without review.
c. Table of Contents
A Table of Contents is automatically generated for the proposal. The proposer cannot edit this form.
d. Project Description (including Results from Prior NSF Support)
The Project Description must contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Intellectual Merit". The Project Description should provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken and must include the objectives for the period of the proposed work and expected significance; the relationship of this work to the present state of knowledge in the field, as well as to work in progress by the PI under other support.
The Project Description should outline the general plan of work, including the broad design of activities to be undertaken, and, where appropriate, provide a clear description of experimental methods and procedures. Proposers should address what they want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified. These issues apply to both the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions.
The Project Description also must contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Broader Impacts". This section should provide a discussion of the broader impacts of the proposed activities. Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to the achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the US; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.
Plans for data management and sharing of the products of research, including preservation, documentation, and sharing of data, samples, physical collections, curriculum materials and other related research and education products should be described in the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section of the proposal (see Chapter II.C.2.j for additional instructions for preparation of this section).
(ii) Page Limitations and Inclusion of Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) within the Project Description
Brevity will assist reviewers and Foundation staff in dealing effectively with proposals. Therefore, the Project Description (including Results from Prior NSF Support, which is limited to five pages) may not exceed 15 pages. Visual materials, including charts, graphs, maps, photographs and other pictorial presentations are included in the 15-page limitation. PIs are cautioned that the Project Description must be self-contained and that URLs must not be used because: 1) the information could circumvent page limitations; 2) the reviewers are under no obligation to view the sites; and 3) the sites could be altered or deleted between the time of submission and the time of review.
Conformance to the 15-page limit will be strictly enforced and may not be exceeded unless a deviation has been specifically authorized. (Chapter II.A contains information on deviations.)
(iii) Results from Prior NSF Support
The purpose of this section is to assist reviewers in assessing the quality of prior work conducted with prior or current NSF funding. If any PI or co-PI identified on the proposal has received prior NSF support including:
information on the award is required for each PI and co-PI, regardless of whether the support was directly related to the proposal or not. In cases where the PI or any co-PI has received more than one award (excluding amendments to existing awards), they need only report on the one award that is most closely related to the proposal. Support means salary support, as well as any other funding awarded by NSF, including research, Graduate Research Fellowship, Major Research Instrumentation, conference, equipment, travel, and center awards, etc.
The following information must be provided:
(a) the NSF award number, amount and period of support;
(b) the title of the project;
(c) a summary of the results of the completed work, including accomplishments, supported by the award. The results must be separately described under two distinct headings: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts;
(d) a listing of the publications resulting from the NSF award (a complete bibliographic citation for each publication must be provided either in this section or in the References Cited section of the proposal); if none, state “No publications were produced under this award.”
(e) evidence of research products and their availability, including, but not limited to: data, publications, samples, physical collections, software, and models, as described in any Data Management Plan; and
(f) if the proposal is for renewed support, a description of the relation of the completed work to the proposed work.
If the project was recently awarded and therefore no new results exist, describe the major goals and broader impacts of the project. Note that the proposal may contain up to five pages to describe the results. Results may be summarized in fewer than five pages, which would give the balance of the 15 pages for the Project Description.
(iv) Unfunded Collaborations
Any substantial collaboration with individuals not included in the budget should be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal (see Chapter II.C.2.i) and documented in a letter of collaboration from each collaborator. Such letters should be provided in the supplementary documentation section of the FastLane Proposal Preparation Module and follow the format instructions specified in Chapter II.C.2.j. Collaborative activities that are identified in the budget should follow the instructions in Chapter II.D.3.
(v) Group Proposals
NSF encourages submission of proposals by groups of investigators; often these are submitted to carry out interdisciplinary projects. Unless stipulated in a specific program solicitation, however, such proposals will be subject to the 15-page Project Description limitation established in Section (ii) above. PIs who wish to exceed the established page limitations for the Project Description must request and receive a deviation in advance of proposal submission. (Chapter II.A contains information on deviations.)
(vi) Proposals for Renewed Support
See Chapter V for guidance on preparation of renewal proposals.
e. References Cited
Reference information is required. Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication. (See also Chapter II.C.2.d.(iii)(d)) If the proposer has a website address readily available, that information should be included in the citation. It is not NSF's intent, however, to place an undue burden on proposers to search for the URL of every referenced publication. Therefore, inclusion of a website address is optional. A proposal that includes reference citation(s) that do not specify a URL is not considered to be in violation of NSF proposal preparation guidelines and the proposal will still be reviewed.
Proposers must be especially careful to follow accepted scholarly practices in providing citations for source materials relied upon when preparing any section of the proposal. While there is no established page limitation for the references, this section must include bibliographic citations only and must not be used to provide parenthetical information outside of the 15-page Project Description.
f. Biographical Sketch(es)
(i) Senior Personnel
A biographical sketch (limited to two pages) is required for each individual identified as senior personnel. (See Exhibit II-7 for the definitions of Senior Personnel.) Proposers may elect to use third-party solutions, such as NIH’s SciENcv to develop and maintain their biographical sketch. However, proposers are advised that they are still responsible for ensuring that biographical sketches created using third-party solutions are compliant with NSF proposal preparation requirements.
The following information must be provided in the order and format specified below. Inclusion of additional information beyond that specified below may result in the proposal being returned without review.
Do not submit any personal information in the biographical sketch. This includes items such as: home address; home telephone, fax, or cell phone numbers; home e-mail address; driver’s license number; marital status; personal hobbies; and the like. Such personal information is not appropriate for the biographical sketch and is not relevant to the merits of the proposal. NSF is not responsible or in any way liable for the release of such material. (See also Chapter III.H).
(a) Professional Preparation
A list of the individual’s undergraduate and graduate education and postdoctoral training (including location) as indicated below:
Degree & Year
Degree & Year
Inclusive Dates (years)
A list, in reverse chronological order, of all the individual's academic/professional appointments beginning with the current appointment.
A list of: (i) up to five products most closely related to the proposed project; and (ii) up to five other significant products, whether or not related to the proposed project. Acceptable products must be citable and accessible including but not limited to publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights. Unacceptable products are unpublished documents not yet submitted for publication, invited lectures, and additional lists of products. Only the list of ten will be used in the review of the proposal.
Each product must include full citation information including (where applicable and practicable) names of all authors, date of publication or release, title, title of enclosing work such as journal or book, volume, issue, pages, website and URL or other Persistent Identifier.
If only publications are included, the heading "Publications" may be used for this section of the Biographical Sketch.
(d) Synergistic Activities
A list of up to five examples that demonstrate the broader impact of the individual's professional and scholarly activities that focuses on the integration and transfer of knowledge as well as its creation. Examples could include, among others: innovations in teaching and training (e.g., development of curricular materials and pedagogical methods); contributions to the science of learning; development and/or refinement of research tools; computation methodologies and algorithms for problem-solving; development of databases to support research and education; broadening the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM; and service to the scientific and engineering community outside of the individual’s immediate organization.
In FastLane, Biographical sketches for all senior project personnel must be uploaded as a single PDF file associated with that individual.
(ii) Other Personnel
For the personnel categories listed below, the proposal also may include information on exceptional qualifications that merit consideration in the evaluation of the proposal. Such information should be clearly identified as “Other Personnel” biographical information and uploaded as a single PDF file in the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal.
(a) Postdoctoral associates
(b) Other professionals
(c) Students (research assistants)
(iii) Equipment Proposals
For equipment proposals, the following must be provided for each auxiliary user:
(a) Short biographical sketch; and
(b) List of up to five publications most closely related to the proposed acquisition.
Such information should be clearly identified as "Equipment Proposal" biographical information and uploaded as a single PDF file in the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal.
g. Budget and Budget Justification
Each proposal must contain a budget for each year of support requested. The budget justification must be no more than five pages per proposal. The amounts for each budget line item requested must be documented and justified in the budget justification as specified below. For proposals that contain a subaward(s), each subaward must include a separate budget justification of no more than five pages. See Chapter II.C.2.g.(vi)(e) for further instructions on proposals that contain subawards.
The proposal may request funds under any of the categories listed so long as the item and amount are considered necessary, reasonable, allocable, and allowable under 2 CFR § 200, Subpart E, NSF policy, and/or the program solicitation. For-profit entities are subject to the cost principles contained in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Part 31. Amounts and expenses budgeted also must be consistent with the proposing organization's policies and procedures and cost accounting practices used in accumulating and reporting costs.
Proposals for major facilities also should consult NSF's Large Facilities Manual for additional budgetary preparation guidelines.
(i) Salaries and Wages (Lines A and B on the Proposal Budget)
(a) Senior Personnel Salaries & Wages PolicyNSF regards research as one of the normal functions of faculty members at institutions of higher education. Compensation for time normally spent on research within the term of appointment is deemed to be included within the faculty member’s regular organizational salary.
As a general policy, NSF limits the salary compensation requested in the proposal budget for senior personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. (See Exhibit II-7 for the definitions of Senior Personnel.) It is the organization's responsibility to define and consistently apply the term "year", and to specify this definition in the budget justification. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. This effort must be documented in accordance with 2 CFR § 200, Subpart E, including 2 CFR § 200.430(i). If anticipated, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.20
Under normal rebudgeting authority, as described in Chapters VII and X, a grantee can internally approve an increase or decrease in person months devoted to the project after an award is made, even if doing so results in salary support for senior personnel exceeding the two month salary policy. No prior approval from NSF is necessary as long as that change would not cause the objectives or scope of the project to change. NSF prior approval is necessary if the objectives or scope of the project change.
These same general principles apply to other types of non-academic organizations.
(b) Administrative and Clerical Salaries & Wages Policy
In accordance with 2 CFR § 200.413, the salaries of administrative and clerical staff should normally be treated as indirect costs (F&A;). Direct charging of these costs may be appropriate only if all the conditions identified below are met:
(i) Administrative or clerical services are integral to a project or activity;
(ii) Individuals involved can be specifically identified with the project or activity;
(iii) Such costs are explicitly included in the approved budget or have the prior written approval of the cognizant NSF Grants Officer; and
(iv) The costs are not also recovered as indirect costs.
Conditions (i), (ii) and (iv) above are particularly relevant for consideration at the budget preparation stage.
The names of the PI(s), faculty, and other senior personnel and the estimated number of full-time-equivalent person-months for which NSF funding is requested, and the total amount of salaries requested per year, must be listed. For consistency with the NSF cost sharing policy, if person months will be requested for senior personnel, a corresponding salary amount must be entered on the budget. If no person months and no salary are being requested for senior personnel, they should be removed from Section A of the budget. Their name(s) will remain on the Cover Sheet and the individual(s) role on the project should be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal.
For postdoctoral associates and other professionals, the total number of persons for each position must be listed, with the number of full-time-equivalent person-months and total amount of salaries requested per year. For graduate and undergraduate students, secretarial, clerical, technical, etc., whose time will be charged directly to the project, only the total number of persons and total amount of salaries requested per year in each category is required. Compensation classified as salary payments must be requested in the salaries and wages category. Salaries requested must be consistent with the organization’s regular practices. The budget justification should detail the rates of pay by individual for senior personnel, postdoctoral associates, and other professionals.
(d) Confidential Budgetary Information
The proposing organization may request that salary data on senior personnel not be released to persons outside the Government during the review process. In such cases, the item for senior personnel salaries in the proposal may appear as a single figure and the person-months represented by that amount omitted. If this option is exercised, senior personnel salaries and person-months must be itemized in a separate statement, and forwarded to NSF in accordance with the instructions specified in Chapter II.D.1. This statement must include all of the information requested on the proposal budget for each person involved. NSF will not forward the detailed information to reviewers and will hold it privileged to the extent permitted by law. The information on senior personnel salaries will be used as the basis for determining the salary amounts shown in the budget. The box for "Proprietary or Privileged Information" must be checked on the Cover Sheet when the proposal contains confidential budgetary information.21
(ii) Fringe Benefits (Line C on the Proposal Budget)
If the proposer's usual accounting practices provide that its contributions to employee benefits (leave, employee insurance, social security, retirement, other payroll-related taxes, etc.) be treated as direct costs, NSF grant funds may be requested to fund fringe benefits as a direct cost. These are typically determined by application of a calculated fringe benefit rate for a particular class of employee (full time or part-time) applied to the salaries and wages requested. They also may be paid based on actual costs for individual employees, if that institutional policy has been approved by the cognizant Federal agency. See 2 CFR § 200.431 for the definition and allowability of inclusion of fringe benefits on a proposal budget.
(iii) Equipment (Line D on the Proposal Budget)
Equipment is defined as tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the proposer for financial statement purposes, or $5,000. It is important to note that the acquisition cost of equipment includes modifications, attachments, and accessories necessary to make the property usable for the purpose for which it will be purchased. Items of needed equipment must be adequately justified, listed individually by description and estimated cost.
Allowable items ordinarily will be limited to research equipment and apparatus not already available for the conduct of the work. General purpose equipment such as office equipment and furnishings, and information technology equipment and systems are typically not eligible for direct cost support. Special purpose or scientific use computers or associated hardware and software, however, may be requested as items of equipment when necessary to accomplish the project objectives and not otherwise reasonably available. Any request to support such items must be clearly disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and be included in the NSF award budget. See 2 CFR § 200.313 for additional information.
(iv) Travel (Line E on the Proposal Budget)
When anticipated, travel and its relation to the proposed activities must be specified, itemized and justified by destination and cost. Funds may be requested for field work, attendance at meetings and conferences, and other travel associated with the proposed work, including subsistence. In order to qualify for support, however, attendance at meetings or conferences must be necessary to accomplish proposal objectives, or disseminate its results. Travel support for dependents of key project personnel may be requested only when the travel is for a duration of six months or more either by inclusion in the approved budget or with the prior written approval of the cognizant NSF Grants Officer. Temporary dependent care costs above and beyond regular dependent care that directly result from travel to conferences are allowable costs provided that the conditions established in 2 CFR § 200.474 are met
Allowance for air travel normally will not exceed the cost of round-trip, economy airfares. Persons traveling under NSF grants must travel by US-Flag Air carriers, if available.
(b) Domestic Travel
Domestic travel includes travel within and between the US, its territories and possessions.22 Travel, meal and hotel expenses of grantee employees who are not on travel status are unallowable. Costs of employees on travel status are limited to those specifically authorized by 2 CFR § 200.474.
(c) Foreign Travel
Travel outside the areas specified above is considered foreign travel. When anticipated, the proposer must enter the names of countries and dates of visit on the proposal budget, if known.
(v) Participant Support (Line F on the Proposal Budget)
This budget category refers to direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with NSF-sponsored conferences or training projects. Any additional categories of participant support costs other than those described in 2 CFR § 200.75 (such as incentives, gifts, souvenirs, t-shirts and memorabilia), must be justified in the budget justification, and such costs will be closely scrutinized by NSF. (See Chapter II.E.7). For some educational projects conducted at local school districts, however, the participants being trained are employees. In such cases, the costs must be classified as participant support if payment is made through a stipend or training allowance method. The school district must have an accounting mechanism in place (i.e., sub-account code) to differentiate between regular salary and stipend payments.
To help defray the costs of participating in a conference or training activity, funds may be proposed for payment of stipends, per diem or subsistence allowances, based on the type and duration of the activity. Such allowances must be reasonable, in conformance with the policy of the proposing organization and limited to the days of attendance at the conference plus the actual travel time required to reach the conference location. Where meals or lodgings are furnished without charge or at a nominal cost (e.g., as part of the registration fee), the per diem or subsistence allowance should be correspondingly reduced. Although local participants may participate in conference meals and coffee breaks, funds may not be proposed to pay per diem or similar expenses for local participants in the conference.
Funds may be requested for the travel costs of participants. If so, the restrictions regarding class of accommodations and use of US-Flag air carriers are applicable.23 In training activities that involve field trips, costs of transportation of participants are allowable. The number of participants to be supported must be entered in the parentheses on the proposal budget. Participant support costs must be specified, itemized and justified in the budget justification section of the proposal. Indirect costs (F&A;) are not allowed on participant support costs. Participant support costs must be accounted for separately should an award be made.
(vi) Other Direct Costs (Lines G1 through G6 on the Proposal Budget)
Any costs proposed to an NSF project must be allowable, reasonable and directly allocable to the supported activity. When anticipated, the budget must identify and itemize other anticipated direct costs not included under the headings above, including materials and supplies, publication costs, computer services and consultant services. Examples include aircraft rental, space rental at research establishments away from the proposing organization, minor building alterations, payments to human subjects, and service charges. Reference books and periodicals only may be included on the proposal budget if they are specifically allocable to the project being supported by NSF.
(a) Materials and Supplies (including Costs of Computing Devices) (Line G1 on the Proposal Budget)
When anticipated, the proposal budget justification must indicate the general types of expendable materials and supplies required. Supplies are defined as all tangible personal property other than those described in paragraph (d)(iii) above. A computing device is considered a supply if the acquisition cost is less than the lesser of the capitalization level established by the proposer or $5,000, regardless of the length of its useful life. In the specific case of computing devices, charging as a direct cost is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable, but not solely dedicated, to the performance of the NSF project. Details and justification must be included for items requested to support the project.
(b) Publication/Documentation/Dissemination (Line G2 on the Proposal Budget)
The proposal budget may request funds for the costs of documenting, preparing, publishing or otherwise making available to others the findings and products of the work conducted under the grant. This generally includes the following types of activities: reports, reprints, page charges or other journal costs (except costs for prior or early publication); necessary illustrations; cleanup, documentation, storage and indexing of data and databases; development, documentation and debugging of software; and storage, preservation, documentation, indexing, etc., of physical specimens, collections or fabricated items.
(c) Consultant Services (also referred to as Professional Service Costs) (Line G3 on the Proposal Budget)
The proposal budget may request costs for professional and consultant services. Professional and consultant services are services rendered by persons who are members of a particular profession or possess a special skill, and who are not officers or employees of the proposing organization. Costs of professional and consultant services are allowable when reasonable in relation to the services rendered and when not contingent upon recovery of costs from the Federal government. Anticipated services must be justified and information furnished on each individual’s expertise, primary organizational affiliation, normal daily compensation rate, and number of days of expected service. Consultants’ travel costs, including subsistence, may be included. If requested, the proposer must be able to justify that the proposed rate of pay is reasonable. Additional information on the allowability of consultant or professional service costs is available in 2 CFR § 200.459. In addition to other provisions required by the proposing organization, all contracts made under the NSF award must contain the applicable provisions identified in 2 CFR § 200 Appendix II.
(d) Computer Services (Line G4 on the Proposal Budget)
The cost of computer services, including computer-based retrieval of scientific, technical and educational information, may be requested only where it is institutional policy to charge such costs as direct charges. A justification based on the established computer service rates at the proposing organization must be included. The proposal budget also may request costs for leasing of computer equipment. As noted in Chapter II.C.2.g(iii), general purpose (such as word processing, spreadsheets, communication) computer equipment should not be requested. Note: See paragraph (a) above for guidance on acquisition of computing devices.
(e) Subawards24 (Line G5 on the Proposal Budget)
Except for the purchase of materials and supplies, equipment or general support services allowable under the grant, no portion of the proposed activity may be subawarded or transferred to another organization without prior written NSF authorization. Such authorization must be provided either through inclusion of the subaward(s) on an NSF award budget or by receiving written prior approval from the cognizant NSF Grants Officer after an award is issued.
If known at the time of proposal submission, the intent to enter into such arrangements must be disclosed in the proposal. A separate budget and a budget justification of no more than five pages, must be provided for each subrecipient, if already identified, along with a description of the work to be performed.
All proposing organizations are required to make a case-by-case determination regarding the role of a subrecipient versus contractor for each agreement it makes. 2 CFR § 200.330 provides characteristics of each type of arrangement to assist proposing organizations in making that determination. However, inclusion of a subaward or contract in the proposal budget or submission of a request after issuance of an NSF award to add a subaward or contract will document the organizational determination required.
It is NSF's expectation that, consistent with 2 CFR § 200.414, NSF grantees will use the domestic subrecipient's applicable US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s). If no such rate exists, the NSF grantee may either negotiate a rate or will fund the subrecipient using the de minimis indirect cost rate recovery of 10% of modified total direct costs.
It is also NSF’s expectation that NSF grantees will use the foreign subrecipient's applicable US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s). However, if no such rate exists, the NSF grantee will fund the foreign subrecipient using the de minimis indirect cost rate recovery of 10% of modified total direct costs.
(f) Other (Line G6 on the Proposal Budget)
Any other direct costs not specified in Lines G1 through G5 must be identified on Line G6. Such costs must be itemized and detailed in the budget justification.
Incentive payments, for example, payments to human subjects or incentives to promote completion of a survey, should be included on line G6 of the NSF budget. Incentive payments should be proposed in accordance with organizational policies and procedures. Indirect costs should be calculated on incentive payments in accordance with the organization's approved US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s). Performance based incentive payments to employees as described in 2 CFR §200.430(f) should not be included in this section of the budget.
(vii) Total Direct Costs (Line H on the Proposal Budget)
The total amount of direct costs requested in the budget, to include Lines A through G, must be entered on Line H.
(viii) Indirect Costs (also known as Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A;) for Colleges and Universities) (Line I on the Proposal Budget)
Except where specifically identified in an NSF program solicitation, the applicable US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s) must be used in computing indirect costs (F&A;) for a proposal. Use of an indirect cost rate lower than the organization's current negotiated indirect cost rate is considered a violation of NSF’s cost sharing policy. See section (xii) below. The amount for indirect costs should be calculated by applying the current negotiated indirect cost rate(s) to the approved base(s), and such amounts should be specified in the budget justification. Indirect cost recovery for IHEs are additionally restricted by 2 CFR § 200, Appendix III, paragraph C.7. which specifies Federal agencies are required to use the negotiated F&A; rate that is in effect at the time of the initial award throughout the life of the sponsored agreement. Additional information on the charging of indirect costs to an NSF award is available in Chapter X.D.
Domestic proposing organizations that do not have a current negotiated rate agreement with a cognizant Federal agency, and who are requesting more than a de minimis 10% recovery of modified total direct costs should prepare an indirect cost proposal based on expenditures for its most recently ended fiscal year. Based on the information provided in the indirect cost proposal, NSF may negotiate an award-specific rate to be used only on the award currently being considered for funding. No supporting documentation is required for proposed rates of 10% or less of modified total direct costs. The contents and financial data included in indirect cost proposals vary according to the make-up of the proposing organization. Instructions for preparing an indirect cost rate proposal can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/caar/docs/idcsubmissions.pdf. NSF formally negotiates indirect cost rates for the organizations for which NSF has rate cognizance. NSF does not negotiate rates for organizations that are not direct recipients of NSF funding (e.g., subrecipients). The prime grantee is responsible for ensuring that proposed subrecipient costs, including indirect costs, are reasonable and appropriate.
Foreign organizations that do not have a current US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s) are limited to a de minimis indirect cost rate recovery of 10% of modified total direct costs. Foreign grantees that have a US Federally negotiated indirect cost rate(s) may recover indirect costs at the current negotiated rate.
(ix) Total Direct and Indirect Costs (F&A;) (Line J on the Proposal Budget)
The total amount of direct and indirect costs (F&A;) (sum of Lines H and I) must be entered on Line J.
(x) Fees (Line K on the Proposal Budget)
This line is available for use only by the SBIR/STTR programs.
(xi) Amount of This Request (Line L on the Proposal Budget)
The total amount of funds requested by the proposer should be the same as the amount entered on Line J.
(xii) Cost Sharing (Line M on the Proposal Budget)
The National Science Board issued a report entitled “Investing in the Future: NSF Cost Sharing Policies for a Robust Federal Research Enterprise”(NSB 09-20, August 3, 2009), which contained eight recommendations for NSF regarding cost sharing. In implementation of the Board’s recommendation, NSF’s guidance25 is as follows:
Voluntary Committed and Uncommitted Cost Sharing
As stipulated in 2 CFR § 200.99, "Voluntary committed cost sharing means cost sharing specifically pledged on a voluntary basis in the proposal's budget or the Federal award on the part of the non-Federal entity and that becomes a binding requirement of Federal award." As such, to be considered voluntary committed cost sharing, the amount must appear on the NSF proposal budget and be specifically identified in the approved NSF budget.26 Unless required by NSF (see the section on Mandatory Cost Sharing below), inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited and Line M on the proposal budget will not be available for use by the proposer. NSF Program Officers are not authorized to impose or encourage mandatory cost sharing unless such requirements are explicitly included in the program solicitation.
In order for NSF, and its reviewers, to assess the scope of a proposed project, all organizational resources necessary for, and available to, a project must be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal (see Chapter II.C.2.i for further information). While not required by NSF, the grantee may, at its own discretion, continue to contribute voluntary uncommitted cost sharing to NSF-sponsored projects. As noted above, however, these resources are not auditable by NSF and should not be included in the proposal budget or budget justification.
Mandatory Cost Sharing
Mandatory cost sharing will only be required for NSF programs when explicitly authorized by the NSF Director, the NSB, or legislation. A complete listing of NSF programs that require cost sharing is available on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/. In these programs, cost sharing requirements will be clearly identified in the solicitation and must be included on Line M of the proposal budget. For purposes of budget preparation, the cumulative cost sharing amount must be entered on Line M of the first year’s budget. Should an award be made, the organization’s cost sharing commitment, as specified on the first year’s approved budget, must be met prior to the award end date.
Such cost sharing will be considered as an eligibility, rather than a review criterion. Proposers are advised not to exceed the mandatory cost sharing level or amount specified in the solicitation.27
When mandatory cost sharing is included on Line M, and accepted by the Foundation, the commitment of funds becomes legally binding and is subject to audit. When applicable, the estimated value of any in-kind contributions also should be included on Line M. An explanation of the source, nature, amount and availability of any proposed cost sharing must be provided in the budget justification28. It should be noted that contributions derived from other Federal funds or counted as cost sharing toward projects of another Federal agency must not be counted towards meeting the specific cost sharing requirements of the NSF award.
Failure to provide the level of cost sharing required by the NSF solicitation and reflected in the NSF award budget may result in termination of the NSF award, disallowance of award costs and/or refund of award funds to NSF by the grantee.
(xiii) Allowable and Unallowable Costs
2 CFR § 200, Subpart E provides comprehensive information regarding costs allowable under Federal awards. The following categories of unallowable costs are highlighted because of their sensitivity:
Costs of entertainment, amusement, diversion and social activities, and any costs directly associated with such activities (such as tickets to shows or sporting events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities) are unallowable. Travel, meal and hotel expenses of grantee employees who are not on travel status are unallowable. Costs of employees on travel status are limited to those specifically authorized by 2 CFR § 200.474. See also 2 CFR § 200.438.
(b) Meals and Coffee Breaks
No funds may be requested for meals or coffee breaks for intramural meetings of an organization or any of its components, including, but not limited to, laboratories, departments and centers. (See 2 CFR § 200.432, for additional information on the charging of certain types of costs generally associated with conferences supported by NSF.) Meal expenses of grantee employees who are not on travel status are unallowable. See also 2 CFR § 200.438.
(c) Alcoholic Beverages
No NSF funds may be requested or spent for alcoholic beverages.
h. Current and Pending Support
This section of the proposal calls for required information on all current and pending support for ongoing projects and proposals, including this project, and any subsequent funding in the case of continuing grants. All current project support from whatever source (e.g., Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations, or internal funds allocated toward specific projects) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the PI and any other senior personnel must be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s). The total award amount for the entire award period covered (including indirect costs) must be shown as well as the number of person-months per year to be devoted to the project, regardless of source of support. Similar information must be provided for all proposals already submitted or submitted concurrently to other possible sponsors, including NSF. Concurrent submission of a proposal to other organizations will not prejudice its review by NSF. The Biological Sciences Directorate exception to this policy is delineated in Chapter I.G.2.
If the project now being submitted has been funded previously by a source other than NSF, the information requested in the paragraph above must be furnished for the last period of funding.
In FastLane, Current and Pending Support for all senior project personnel must be uploaded as a single PDF file or inserted as text associated with that individual.
i. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
This section of the proposal is used to assess the adequacy of the resources available to perform the effort proposed to satisfy both the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts review criteria. Proposers should describe only those resources that are directly applicable. Proposers should include an aggregated description of the internal and external resources (both physical and personnel) that the organization and its collaborators will provide to the project, should it be funded. Such information must be provided in this section, in lieu of other parts of the proposal (e.g., Budget Justification, Project Description). The description should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information. Reviewers will evaluate the information during the merit review process and the cognizant NSF Program Officer will review it for programmatic and technical sufficiency.
Although these resources are not considered voluntary committed cost sharing as defined in 2 CFR § 200.99, the Foundation does expect that the resources identified in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section will be provided, or made available, should the proposal be funded. Chapter VII.B.1 specifies procedures for use by the grantee when there are postaward changes to objectives, scope or methods/procedures.
j. Special Information and Supplementary Documentation
Except as specified below, special information and supplementary documentation must be included as part of the Project Description (or part of the budget justification), if it is relevant to determining the quality of the proposed work. Information submitted in the following areas is not considered part of the 15-page Project Description limitation. This Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section also is not considered an appendix. Specific guidance on the need for additional documentation may be obtained from the organization’s SPO or in the references cited below.
Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices.
Data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit, relevant to a proposal are available at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp. If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the requirements established in this section apply.
Simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals and proposals that include subawards are a single unified project and should include only one supplemental combined Data Management Plan, regardless of the number of non-lead collaborative proposals or subawards included. In such collaborative proposals, the data management plan should discuss the relevant data issues in the context of the collaboration.
A valid Data Management Plan may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. Proposers who feel that the plan cannot fit within the limit of two pages may use part of the 15-page Project Description for additional data management information. Proposers are advised that the Data Management Plan must not be used to circumvent the 15-page Project Description limitation. The Data Management Plan will be reviewed as an integral part of the proposal, considered under Intellectual Merit or Broader Impacts or both, as appropriate for the scientific community of relevance.
"If the proposal submitted by Dr. [insert the full name of the Principal Investigator] entitled [insert the proposal title] is selected for funding by NSF, it is my intent to collaborate and/or commit resources as detailed in the Project Description or the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal."
While letters of collaboration are permitted, unless required by a specific program solicitation, letters of support should not be submitted as they are not a standard component of an NSF proposal. A letter of support is typically from a key stakeholder such as an organization, collaborator or Congressional Representative, and is used to convey a sense of enthusiasm for the project and/or to highlight the qualifications of the PI or co-PI. A letter of support submitted in response to a program solicitation requirement must be unique to the specific proposal submitted and cannot be altered without the author’s explicit prior approval. Proposals that contain letters of support not authorized by the program solicitation may be returned without review.
In addition, the supplementary documentation section should alert NSF officials to unusual circumstances that require special handling, including, for example, proprietary or other privileged information in the proposal, matters affecting individual privacy, required intergovernmental review under E.O. 12372 (Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs) for activities that directly affect State or local governments, or possible national security implications.
All information necessary for the review of a proposal must be contained in Sections a through i of the proposal. Appendices may not be included unless a deviation has been authorized. Chapter II.A contains further information.
1. Proprietary or Privileged Information
Patentable ideas, trade secrets, privileged or confidential commercial or financial information, disclosure of which may harm the proposer, should be included in proposals only when such information is necessary to convey an understanding of the proposed project. Such information must be clearly marked in the proposal and be appropriately labeled with a legend such as,
"The following is (proprietary or confidential) information that (name of proposing organization) requests not be released to persons outside the Government, except for purposes of review and evaluation."
Such information also may be included as a separate statement. If this method is used, the statement must be submitted as a single-copy document in the Proposal Preparation Module in FastLane. (See also Chapter II.C1Chapter II.C.1 for further information regarding submission of single-copy documents.)31
The box for "Proprietary or Privileged Information" must be checked on the Cover Sheet when the proposal contains such information. While NSF will make every effort to prevent unauthorized access to such material, the Foundation is not responsible or in any way liable for the release of such material.
2. Beginning Investigators (applies to proposals submitted to the Biological Sciences Directorate only)
Research proposals to the Biological Sciences Directorate ONLY (not proposals for conferences) cannot be duplicates of proposals to any other Federal agency for simultaneous consideration. The only exceptions to this rule are: (1) when the Program Officers at the relevant Federal agencies have previously agreed to joint review and possible joint funding of the proposal; or (2) proposals for PIs who are beginning investigators (individuals who have not been a PI or co-PI on a Federally funded award with the exception of doctoral dissertation, postdoctoral fellowship or research planning grants). For proposers who qualify under this latter exception, the box for "Beginning Investigator" must be checked on the Cover Sheet.
3. Collaborative Proposals
A collaborative proposal is one in which investigators from two or more organizations wish to collaborate on a unified research project. Collaborative proposals may be submitted to NSF in one of two methods: as a single proposal, in which a single award is being requested (with subawards administered by the lead organization); or by simultaneous submission of proposals from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award. In either case, the lead organization’s proposal must contain all of the requisite sections as a single package to be provided to reviewers (that will happen automatically when procedures below are followed). All collaborative proposals must clearly describe the roles to be played by the other organizations, specify the managerial arrangements, and explain the advantages of the multi-organizational effort within the Project Description.
a. Submission of a collaborative proposal from one organization
The single proposal method allows investigators from two or more organizations who have developed an integrated research project to submit a single, focused proposal. A single investigator bears primary responsibility for the administration of the grant and discussions with NSF, and, at the discretion of the organizations involved, investigators from any of the participating organizations may be designated as co-PIs. Note, however, that if awarded, a single award would be made to the submitting organization, with any collaborators listed as subawards. (See Chapter II.C.2.g(vi)(e) for additional instructions on preparation of this type of proposal.)
If a proposed subaward includes funding to support postdoctoral researchers, the mentoring activities to be provided for such individuals must be incorporated in the supplemental mentoring plan outlined in Chapter II.C.2.j.
b. Submission of a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations
Simultaneous submission of proposals allows multiple organizations to submit a unified set of certain proposal sections, as well as information unique to each organization as specified below. All collaborative proposals arranged as separate submissions from multiple organizations must be submitted via FastLane. For these proposals, the project title must begin with the words "Collaborative Research:” If funded, each organization bears responsibility for a separate award.
Required sections of the proposal differ based on the organization’s role. The following sections are required for a collaborative proposal submitted by:
Table of Contents (automatically generated)
Table of Contents (automatically generated)
Budget and Budget Justification
Current and Pending Support
Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
Budget and Budget Justification
Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information
Current and Pending Support
Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
Data Management Plan
Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan (if applicable)
Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information
See Chapter II.C.2.j for additional guidance on the mentoring and data management plan requirements for collaborative proposals. NSF will combine the proposal submission for printing or electronic viewing.
To submit the collaborative proposal, the following process must be completed:32
(i) Each non-lead organization must assign their proposal a proposal PIN. This proposal PIN and the temporary proposal ID generated by FastLane when the non-lead proposal is created must be provided to the lead organization before the lead organization submits its proposal to NSF.
(ii) The lead organization must then enter each non-lead organization(s) proposal PIN and temporary proposal ID into the FastLane lead proposal by using the "Link Collaborative Proposals" option found on the FastLane "Form Preparation" screen.
(iii) All components of the collaborative proposal must meet any established deadline date, and failure to do so may result in the entire collaborative proposal being returned without review.
(iv) If funded, both lead and non-lead organizations are required to submit separate annual and final project reports. These reports should reference the work of the collaborative, while focusing on the distinct work conducted at each funded organization.
4. Proposals Involving Vertebrate Animals
a. a. Any project proposing use of vertebrate animals for research or education shall comply with the Animal Welfare Act (7 USC 2131, et seq.) and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the Secretary of Agriculture (9 CFR 1.1-4.11) pertaining to the humane care, handling, and treatment of vertebrate animals held or used for research, teaching, or other activities supported by Federal awards. In accordance with these requirements, proposed projects involving use of any vertebrate animal for research or education must be approved by the submitting organization's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before an award can be made. For this approval to be accepted by NSF, the organization must have a current Public Health Service (PHS) Approved Assurance. See also Chapter XI.B.3 for additional information on the administration of awards that utilize vertebrate animals. Note that for some types of vertebrate animals, additional review may be required.
Any project proposing use of vertebrate animals for research or education must comply with the provision in the PHS Assurance for Institutional Commitment (Section II) that requires the submitting organization to establish and maintain a program for activities involving animals in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide). Taxon-specific guidelines may be used as supplemental references.33 Departures from the Guide must be approved by the IACUC and based on scientific, veterinary, medical, or animal welfare issues (for more information, see Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) Departures from the Guide).
b. Sufficient information must be provided within the 15-page Project Description to enable reviewers to evaluate the:
(i) rationale for involving animals;
(ii) choice of species and number of animals to be used;
(iii) description of the proposed use of the animals;
(iv) exposure of animals to discomfort, pain, or injury; and
(v) description of any euthanasia methods to be used.
c. Research facilities subject to the Animal Welfare Act using or intending to use live animals in research and who receive Federal funding are required to register the facility with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), US Department of Agriculture. A current listing of licensed animal dealers also may be obtained from APHIS. The location of the nearest APHIS Regional Office, as well as information concerning this and other APHIS activities, may be obtained at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/.
d. Projects involving the care or use of vertebrate animals at an international organization or international field site also require approval of research protocols by the US grantee’s IACUC. If the project is to be funded through an award to an international organization or through an individual fellowship award that will support activities at an international organization, NSF will require a statement from the international organization explicitly listing the proposer’s name and referencing the title of the award to confirm that the activities will be conducted in accordance with all applicable laws in the international country and that the International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals (see: http://www.cioms.ch/) will be followed.
e. The following information regarding the organization's intention to utilize vertebrate animals as part of the project should be provided on the Cover Sheet:
(i) The box for "Vertebrate Animals" must be checked on the Cover Sheet if use of vertebrate animals is envisioned.
(ii) The date of IACUC approval of the animal-use protocol covering the proposed work, if such approval has been granted prior to proposal submission, must be identified in the space provided. If IACUC approval has not been obtained prior to submission, the proposer should indicate "Pending" in the space provided for the approval date. If a decision is made to fund the proposal, the organization must provide a copy of the approval letter from the IACUC. The approval letter must affirm that an animal-use protocol covering the proposed activities has been approved, and should explicitly list the organization’s PHS Assurance Number, the proposer’s name, the title and number of the NSF proposal, and the date of IACUC approval, as well as show an organizational signature. The approval letter must be provided to the cognizant NSF Program Officer before an award can be issued.
(iii) The PHS Approved Animal Welfare Assurance Number must be entered in the space provided.
f. For fellowship proposals submitted by individuals that involve the care and use of vertebrate animals, the proposal should contain the information specified in paragraph b. above. In addition, a copy of the approval letter from the IACUC of the organization that provides oversight of the proposed work should be included as an Other Supplementary Document in FastLane. The approval letter must affirm that an animal-use protocol covering the proposed activities has been approved, and should explicitly list the organization’s PHS Assurance Number, the proposer’s name, the title and number of the NSF proposal, and the date of IACUC approval, as well as show an organizational signature. If IACUC approval has not been obtained prior to submission, the individual should indicate “Pending” in the space provided for the approval date. If a decision is made to fund the proposal, the individual must provide a signed copy of the official IACUC approval letter (which includes the items specified above) to the cognizant NSF Program Officer before an award can be issued.
See also Chapter XI.B.3 for additional information on the administration of awards that include use of vertebrate animals.
5. Proposals Involving Human Subjects
a. Projects involving research with human subjects must ensure that subjects are protected from research risks in conformance with the relevant Federal policy known as the Common Rule (Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, 45 CFR 690). All projects involving human subjects must either (1) have approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before issuance of an NSF award; or, (2) must affirm that the IRB has declared the research exempt from IRB review, in accordance with the applicable subsection, as established in 45 CFR § 690.104(d) of the Common Rule. If certification of exemption is provided after submission of the proposal and before the award is issued, the exemption number corresponding to one or more of the exemption categories also must be included in the documentation provided to NSF.
NSF cannot accept any IRB document that requires continued monitoring of the award activities involving human subjects by NSF. For projects lacking definite plans for the use of human subjects, their data or their specimens, pursuant to 45 CFR § 690.118, NSF can accept a determination notice34 that establishes a limited time period under which the PI may conduct preliminary or conceptual work that does not involve human subjects. Further instructions are provided in paragraph (iv) below.
If the project involves human subjects and is to be performed outside of the US, evidence of IRB approval also is required. If there is no IRB approval provided, nor is a Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) on file with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) (http://ohrp.cit.nih.gov/search/search.aspx?styp=bsc), NSF may decline to support the project. Pursuant to 45 CFR §690.101(g), the Common Rule is not intended to supersede any additional protections that may be afforded to human subjects under foreign laws or regulations. OHRP keeps a list of foreign laws, regulations, and guidelines governing human subjects research.
b. The following information regarding the organization's intention to use human subjects as part of the project should be provided on the Cover Sheet:
(i) The box for "Human Subjects" must be checked on the Cover Sheet if use of human subjects is envisioned.
(ii) If human subject activities are exempt from IRB review, provide the exemption number(s) corresponding to one or more of the exemption categories. The six categories of research that qualify for exemption from coverage by the regulations are defined in the Common Rule for Protection of Human Subjects.
(iii) If the research is not designated as exempt, the IRB approval date should be identified in the space provided. This date, at minimum, should cover the period at which the project is initiated. If IRB approval has not been obtained prior to submission, the proposer should indicate "Pending" in the space provided for the approval date. If a decision is made to fund the proposal, the organization must provide a signed copy of the IRB approval letter to the cognizant program prior to award. The letter should indicate approval of the proposed activities and must be submitted prior to an award being issued.
(iv) If the project lacks definite plans regarding use of human subjects, their data or their specimens, pursuant to 45 CFR §690.118, the proposer must check the box for "Human Subjects" on the Cover Sheet and enter "Pending" in the space provided for the approval date. If available at the time of proposal submission, the determination notice should be uploaded as an Other Supplementary Document in FastLane. If the determination notice is not available, and, the decision is made to fund the proposal, the organization must provide a signed copy of the determination notice to the cognizant program prior to award.
Prior to the expiration date specified in the determination notice, the AOR is required to provide to the cognizant NSF Program Officer:
1. verification that the project continues to lack definite plans for the involvement of human subjects, their data, or their specimens; or
2. documentation that demonstrates that IRB approval has been obtained.
The determination notice must indicate that no work with human subjects, including recruitment, will be conducted until full IRB approval is obtained. NSF will add conditions to the grant that prevent any research involving human subjects from being carried out, or otherwise restrict the drawing down of funds, until IRB approval has been obtained.
(v) The FWA Number that the proposer has on file with OHRP should be entered, if available.
See also Chapter XI.B.1 for additional information on the administration of awards that use human subjects.
6. Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC)
This section applies to all research, for which NSF grant funds may be used, that potentially falls within the scope of the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern as published in September, 2014, hereafter referred to as the "Policy".
b. NSF Implementation of the Policy
NSF is committed to preserving the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies provided by such research. The purpose of NSF's implementation of the Policy is to clarify proposer expectations about NSF-funded research with certain high-consequence pathogens and toxins with potential to be considered DURC.
Proposing organizations are responsible for identifying NSF-funded life sciences proposals that could potentially be considered DURC as defined in the Policy and for compliance with the requirements established in that Policy therein. NSF will not fund research that would be considered to lead to a gain of function of agents associated with the US Government Policy on DURC (See also Chapter XI.B.5 for additional information.)
7. Projects Requiring High-Performance Computing Resources, Large Amounts of Data Storage, or Advanced Visualization Resources
Many research projects require access to computational, data storage or visualization resources in order to complete the work proposed. Typically such resources will be noted in the proposal under Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources. For those projects that require such resources at a scale that is beyond that available locally, NSF supports a number of national resources. For the most computationally massive projects, the Blue Waters system at University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, is the most suitable. Blue Waters is designed to support a small number (~50) of research teams involved with projects requiring the most advanced computational and data resources. The allocation review process is through proposal submission to the cognizant Program Officer in the Office of Advanced CyberInfrastructure within the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering. Proposals are reviewed for both their scientific and computational needs. The Blue Waters supercomputer provides sustained performance of 1 petaflop on a range of real-world science and engineering applications. It is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. Those interested should visit the Blue Waters portal (https://bluewaters.ncsa.illinois.edu/) for more details of the system's hardware and capabilities.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) is a significant resource, with current capabilities of 1.5 petaflops peak speed. The NWSC is designed to meet the needs of the atmospheric and related-sciences communities. NWSC operates its own allocations process and those interested in obtaining time and/or storage should consult the cognizant Program Officer in the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences within the Geosciences Directorate.
The most general set of large computational and data resources funded by NSF are accessible through the XSEDE project. XSEDE provides the integrating fabric for a collection of very powerful supercomputers, a high-throughput computing environment, high-volume data storage facilities, advanced visualization services, connected by a high-bandwidth private network, a training education and outreach program in how to use its services, and an extended collaborative support program to assist researchers in using the advanced computational resources. The physical resources themselves are provided by Service Providers (SP) via separate awards from NSF. Allocations of those resources for large projects are determined by the XSEDE Resource Allocation Committee, which meets quarterly, using an external set of experts. Smaller requests do not require a proposal or review and a simple on-line process may be used to request such an allocation. NSF encourages prospective users to seek more information at: https://www.xsede.org/allocations.
In addition to standard research proposals that follow the proposal preparation instructions contained in sections A through C of this chapter, there are other types of proposals that may be submitted to NSF. Each of them is described below, along with instructions that may supplement or deviate from NSF's standard proposal preparation instructions.
1. Rapid Response Research (RAPID) Proposal
RAPID is a type of proposal used when there is a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. PI(s) must contact the NSF Program Officer(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic before submitting a RAPID proposal. This will facilitate determining whether the proposed work is appropriate for RAPID funding.
2. EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) Proposal
EAGER is a type of proposal used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. These exploratory proposals also may be submitted directly to an NSF program, but the EAGER proposal type should not be used for projects that are appropriate for submission as "regular" (i.e., non-EAGER) NSF proposals. PI(s) must contact the NSF Program Officer(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic prior to submission of an EAGER proposal. This will aid in determining the appropriateness of the work for consideration under the EAGER proposal type; this suitability must be assessed early in the process
3. Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) Proposal
RAISE is a type of proposal that may be used to support bold, interdisciplinary projects whose:
To receive funding as a RAISE-appropriate project, all three criteria must be met. RAISE is not intended to be used for projects that can be accommodated within other types of proposals or that continue well established practices. Prospective PIs must receive approval to submit a proposal from at least two NSF Program Officers, in intellectually distinct programs, whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topics.
Contingent on Program Officers' approval to submit a proposal:
4. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) Proposal
GOALI is a type of proposal that seeks to stimulate collaboration between academic research institutions and industry. Under this proposal type, academic scientists and engineers request funding either in conjunction with a regular proposal submitted to a standing NSF program or as a supplemental funding request to an existing NSF-funded award. GOALI is not a separate program; GOALI proposals must be submitted to an active NSF funding opportunity and must be submitted in accordance with the deadlines specified therein. A proposer interested in submitting a GOALI proposal or a GOALI supplemental funding request to an existing NSF-funded award must contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer listed in the relevant funding opportunity prior to submission. Special interest is focused on affording opportunities for:
GOALI proposals should focus on research that addresses shared interests by academic researchers and industrial partners. The research should further scientific and engineering foundations to enable future breakthrough technologies with the potential to address critical industry needs. Industry involvement assures that the research is industrially relevant. Principal Investigators are expected to integrate their research objectives with educational and industrial needs.
Interdisciplinary research and education projects that enable faculty from different academic departments or institutions to interact with one or more industrial partners in industry-university groups or networks are encouraged. Proposals may include the participation of a "third partner" such as a National Laboratory or a non-profit organization. NSF funding can be used for university research/education activities and may support activities of faculty and their students and research associates in the industrial setting. NSF funds are not permitted to be used to support the industrial research partner.
GOALI proposals and supplemental funding requests are reviewed by the program to which the proposal is submitted. In addition to any program-specific review criteria defined in the solicitation, reviewers may be asked to evaluate the degree and extent to which industry will be involved with the proposed research and the extent to which students and/or post-doctoral researchers will benefit from the interaction. The proposed research should be transformative, beneficial to industry, and further collaboration between the academic and industrial partners.
Specific instructions for each type of request are provided below.
a. Requests as part of a competitive proposal submission
(i) GOALI proposals must follow the deadlines applicable to an existing funding opportunity as well as the following GOALI-specific requirements: The title of a GOALI proposal should start with "GOALI:" (after any other title requirements specified by the funding opportunity to which the proposal is being submitted);
(ii) At least one industrial co-PI must be listed on the Cover Sheet at the time of submission although the industrial participant cannot use or receive any NSF funds;
(iii) The university-industry interaction should be described in the Project Description;
(iv) A GOALI-Industrial PI Confirmation Letter from the industrial partner that confirms the participation of a co-PI from industry must be submitted with the proposal (if applicable, the letter also must state the degree of industrial participation as well as detail any support that the industry is providing to the academic partner). All GOALI-related confirmation must be uploaded under "GOALI-Industrial PI Confirmation Letter" in the supplementary documentation section of FastLane. This supplementary documentation will not be counted towards the 15-page Project Description limitation; and
(v) Academic and industry partners should agree in advance as to how intellectual property (IP) rights will be handled. A signed university-industry agreement on IP (including publication and patent rights) must be submitted prior to issuance of an award. NSF will review this agreement to ensure that the graduation of students will not be unduly affected. NSF is responsible neither for the agreement reached nor the IP information exchanged between the academic institution and the industrial partner.
b. Supplemental funding requests to existing NSF awards
Supplemental funding requests to add GOALI elements to a currently funded NSF research project should be submitted by using the "Supplemental Funding Request" function in FastLane. Such requests should include a brief description of the proposed activity, a budget and a budget justification, in addition to items (iii)-(v) above. At least one industrial participant must be included in the GOALI activity and must be specified in the GOALI-Industrial PI Confirmation Letter. The industrial participant cannot use or receive any NSF funds.
5. Ideas Lab Proposal
"Ideas Lab" is a type of proposal to support the development and implementation of creative and innovative project ideas that have the potential to transform research paradigms and/or solve intractable problems. An Ideas Lab may be run independently, or in parallel, with the issuance of an NSF funding opportunity on the same topic. These project ideas typically will be high-risk/high-impact, as they represent new and unproven ideas, approaches and/or technologies. This mechanism was developed collaboratively within NSF, modeled on the "sandpit" workshops that are a key component of the United Kingdom Research Council’s "IDEAs Factory" program.
The Ideas Lab type of proposal is implemented using the four-stage process described below:
a. Stage 1: Selection of Panelists
There are two separate panels convened for an Ideas Lab: a selection panel and an Ideas Lab panel. The role of the selection panel is to provide advice on the selection of participants. The role of the Ideas Lab panel is to provide an assessment of the project ideas developed during the Ideas Lab. The individuals selected to participate in each of these panels are subject matter experts for the specific topic of the Ideas Lab. All panelists are barred from receiving any research funding through, or in any other way collaborating on, the particular Ideas Lab in which they are involved.
b. Stage 2: Selection of Participants
A "call for participants" solicitation that describes the specific focus of the Ideas Lab will be issued. The solicitation will specify the content and submission instructions for such applications.
The Project Description is limited to two pages and should include information regarding the applicant’s specific expertise and interest in the topic area, as well as certain personal attributes that enhance the success of the Ideas Lab workshop (e.g., experience and interest in working in teams, communication skills, level of creativity, willingness to take risks). Applicants also must include a Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support information (both of which must be prepared in accordance with standard NSF formatting guidelines). All other elements of a "full proposal" are waived (i.e., Project Summary, References Cited, Budget and Budget Justification, Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources). The application must be submitted as a preliminary proposal in FastLane. No appendices or supplementary documents may be submitted.
Applicants are notified electronically of NSF's decision regarding whether they are invited or not invited to participate in the Ideas Lab. Applicants will be informed about the context of the review and the criteria that were used to assess the applications in the form of a panel summary, but will not receive individual reviews or other review-related feedback.
c. Stage 3: Ideas Lab
The agenda and duration35 of the Ideas Lab are communicated to meeting participants by the cognizant NSF Program Officer. Typically, Anonymous real-time peer review involving the participants and the Ideas Lab panel is incorporated into the workshop format, providing iterative constructive feedback during the development of project ideas. The Ideas Lab concept incorporates a "guided creativity" process, thus the use of a facilitator(s) is included, both to guide the creation of interdisciplinary teams and the creative development of ideas, and to ensure that the workshop progresses in a productive manner. At the end of the Ideas Lab, the Ideas Lab panel will provide a consensus report summarizing their evaluation of each project idea. The recommendations of the Ideas Lab panel are advisory to NSF. Within seven to fourteen days following the Ideas Lab, the NSF Program Officers will determine which project ideas are meritorious and should be invited as full proposals. At the NSF Program Officers’ discretion (subject to Division Director concurrence), they may invite none, some, or all of the project ideas as full proposals, with the final funding decision to occur after the full proposals have been received and reviewed. Invited full proposals (which are prepared in accordance with standard research proposal formatting guidelines) must be submitted within two months of receiving NSF notification after the Ideas Lab.
d. Stage 4: Review and recommendation of full proposals
Invited proposals will be reviewed internally by the cognizant NSF Program Officers, the Ideas Lab panelists, and other external reviewers, as appropriate. Resulting awards will be administered in accordance with standard NSF policies and procedures, including no-cost extensions and supplemental funding requests. Renewed funding of an Ideas Lab award may be requested only through submission of a full proposal that will be subject to external merit review. Such proposals would be designated as an "Ideas Lab renewal."
6. Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED)
As part of its effort to promote full utilization of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, and to develop scientific and technical talent, the Foundation has the following goals:
Persons with disabilities eligible for facilitation awards include PIs, other senior personnel, and graduate and undergraduate students. The cognizant NSF Program Officer will make decisions regarding what constitutes appropriate support on a case-by-case basis. The specific nature, purpose, and need for equipment or assistance should be described in sufficient detail in the proposal to permit evaluation by knowledgeable reviewers.
There is no separate program for funding of special equipment or assistance. Requests are made in conjunction with regular competitive proposals, or as a supplemental funding request to an existing NSF award. Specific instructions for each type of request are provided below.
a. Requests as part of a competitive proposal submission
Funds may be requested to purchase special equipment, modify equipment or provide services required specifically for the work to be undertaken. Requests for funds for equipment or assistance that compensate in a general way for the disabling condition are not permitted. For example, funds may be requested to provide: prosthetic devices to manipulate a particular apparatus; equipment to convert sound to visual signals, or vice versa, for a particular experiment; access to a special site or to a mode of transportation (except as defined below); a reader or interpreter with special technical competence related to the project; or other special-purpose equipment or assistance needed to conduct a particular project. Items, however, such as standard wheel chairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, TDD/text-phones, or general readers for the blind would not be supported because the need for them is not specific to the proposed project. Similarly, ramps, elevators, or other structural modifications of research facilities are not eligible for direct support under this program.
No maximum funding amount has been established for such requests. It is expected, however, that the cost (including equipment adaptation and installation) will not be a major component of the total proposed budget for the project. Requests for funds for special equipment or assistance to facilitate the participation of individuals with disabilities should be included in the proposed budget for the project and documented in the budget justification. The specific nature, purpose and need for such equipment or assistance should be described in sufficient detail in the Project Description to permit evaluation of the request by knowledgeable reviewers.
b. Supplemental funding requests to existing NSF grants
Supplemental funds for special equipment or assistance to facilitate participation in NSF-supported projects by persons with disabilities may be requested under existing NSF grants. Normally, title is vested in the grantee organization for equipment purchased in conjunction with NSF-supported activities. In accordance with the applicable grant terms and conditions, the grantee organization guarantees use of the equipment for the specific project during the period of work funded by the Foundation, and assures its use in an appropriate manner after project completion. In instances involving special equipment for persons with disabilities, the need for such may be unique to the individual. In such cases, the grantee organization may elect to transfer title to the individual to assure appropriate use after project completion.
Supplemental funding requests should be submitted by using the "Supplemental Funding Request" function in FastLane and should include a brief description of the request, a budget and a budget justification. Requests must be submitted at least two months before funds are needed. Funding decisions will be made on the basis of the justification and availability of program funds with any resultant funding provided through a formal amendment of the existing NSF grant.
7. Conference Proposals36
NSF supports conferences in special areas of science and engineering that bring experts together to discuss recent research or education findings or to expose other researchers or students to new research and education techniques. NSF encourages the convening in the US of major international conferences.
A conference proposal will be evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, and, will be supported only if equivalent results cannot be obtained by attendance at regular meetings of professional societies. Although requests for support of a conference proposal ordinarily originates with educational institutions or scientific and engineering societies, they also may come from other groups. Shared support by several Federal agencies, States or private organizations is encouraged. A conference proposal should generally be submitted at least a year in advance of the scheduled date. Conferences, including the facilities in which they are held, funded in whole or in part with NSF funds, must be accessible to participants with disabilities.
A conference proposal must contain the elements identified below:
a. A statement of the need for such a gathering and a list of topics;
b. Separate statements on the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity;
c. A listing of recent meetings on the same subject, including dates and locations;
d. The names of the chairperson and members of organizing committees and their organizational affiliations;
e. Information on the location and probable date(s) of the meeting and the method of announcement or invitation;
f. A statement of how the meeting will be organized and conducted, how the results of the meeting will be disseminated and how the meeting will contribute to the enhancement and improvement of scientific, engineering and/or educational activities; and
g. Results from Prior NSF Support (up to five pages): If any PI or co-PI identified on the proposal has received prior NSF support including
information on the award is required for each PI and co-PI, regardless of whether the support was directly related to the proposal or not. See Chapter II.C.2.d.(iii) for additional instructions on preparation of this section.
a. Conference Facilities. Rental of facilities and necessary equipment.
b. Supplies. Expendable materials and supplies necessary for the meeting.
c. Conference Services. Costs of translation services, audio visual, webcast, and computer services for recording, transmitting and transcribing the proceedings.
d. Publication Costs. Costs of publishing the proceedings.
e. Salaries. Salaries of professional personnel, editorial and clerical assistants and other staff members in proportion to the time or effort devoted to the preparation and conduct of the conference and summarizing its results.
f. Consultant Services and Speaker Fees. Reasonable fees and travel allowances and per diem (or meals provided in lieu of per diem). Consultants’ travel costs, including subsistence, may be included. If requested, the proposer must be able to justify that the proposed rate of pay is reasonable. Additional information on the allowability of consultant or professional service costs is available in 2 CFR § 200.459. In addition to other provisions required by the proposing organization, all contracts made under the NSF award must contain the applicable provisions identified in 2 CFR § 200, Appendix II.
g. Meals and Coffee Breaks. Meals that are an integral and necessary part of a conference (e.g., working meals where business is transacted). Funds may be included for furnishing a reasonable amount of hot beverages or soft drinks to conference participants and attendees during periodic coffee breaks. Proposed costs for meals must be reasonable and otherwise allowable to the extent such costs do not exceed charges normally allowed by the grantee organization in its regular operations as the result of the grantee organizations written policies. In the absence of an acceptable, written grantee organizational policy regarding meal costs, 2 CFR §200.474(b)(3) will apply.
h. Participant Support Costs. See Chapter II.C.2.g(v).
i. Dependent Care Costs. As needed, the costs of identifying, but not providing, locally available dependent care resources may be included.
The following provides a listing of the types of costs that are not allowable for inclusion on a conference budget.
(i) Meals and Coffee Breaks for Intramural Meetings. NSF funds may not be included or spent for meals or coffee breaks for intramural meetings of an organization or any of its components, including, but not limited to, laboratories, departments and centers, as a direct cost.
(ii) Entertainment. Costs of entertainment, amusement, diversion and social activities (such as tickets to shows or sporting events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities) are unallowable and may not be requested. Travel, meal, and hotel expenses of awardee employees who are not on travel status also are not permitted. See also 2 CFR § 200.438.
(iii) Alcoholic Beverages. No NSF funds may be requested or spent for alcoholic beverages.
8. Equipment Proposals
A proposal for specialized equipment may be submitted by an organization for: individual investigators; groups of investigators within the same department; several departments; organization(s) participating in a collaborative or joint arrangement; any components of an organization; or a region. One individual must be designated as PI. Investigators may be working in closely related areas or their research may be multidisciplinary.
An equipment proposal must contain all of the following proposal sections:
a. an overall acquisition plan which discusses arrangements for acquisition, maintenance and operation. Equipment to be purchased, modified or constructed must be described in sufficient detail to allow comparison of its capabilities with the needs of the proposed activities;
b. a description, from each potential major user, of the project(s) for which the equipment will be used. This description must be succinct, not necessarily as detailed as in a full research proposal, and must emphasize the intrinsic merit of the activity and the importance of the equipment to it. A brief summary will suffice for auxiliary users; and
c. a description of comparable equipment already at the proposing organization(s), if applicable, and an explanation of why it cannot be used. This includes comparable government-owned equipment that is on-site.
d. Results from Prior NSF Support (up to five pages): If any PI or co-PI identified on the proposal has received prior NSF support including:
information on the award is required for each PI and co-PI, regardless of whether the support was directly related to the proposal or not. See Chapter II.C.2.d.(iii) for additional instructions on preparation of this section.
This type of proposal normally competes with proposals for research or education projects.37
9. Travel Proposal
A proposal for travel support, either domestic and/or international, for participation in scientific and engineering meetings are handled by the NSF organizational unit with program responsibility for the area of interest.
A group travel proposal is encouraged as the primary means of support for travel. A university, professional society or other non-profit organization may apply for funds to enable it to coordinate and support participation in one or more scientific meeting(s). A proposal submitted for this purpose must contain the elements identified below, with particular attention to plans for composition and recruitment of the travel group. Information on planned speakers should be provided, where available, from the conference organizer.
a. A statement of the need for attending such a gathering and a list of topics;
b. A listing of recent meetings on the same subject, including dates and locations;
c. Information on the location and probable date(s) of the meeting;
d. A statement of how the meeting will be organized and conducted, how the results of the meeting will be disseminated and how the meeting will contribute to the enhancement and improvement of scientific, engineering and/or educational activities; and
e. Results from Prior NSF Support (up to five pages): If any PI or co-PI identified on the proposal has received prior NSF support including:
information on the award is required for each PI and co-PI, regardless of whether the support was directly related to the proposal or not. See Chapter II.C.2.d.(iii) for additional instructions on preparation of this section.
A group travel proposal may request support only for the travel costs of the proposed activity. Group travel grantees are required to retain supporting documentation that funds were spent in accordance with the original intent of the proposal. Such documentation may be required in final reports and is subject to audit.
10. Center Proposal
NSF provides support for a variety of individual Centers and Centers programs that contribute to the Foundation's vision as outlined in the NSF Strategic Plan. Centers exploit opportunities in science, engineering and technology in which the complexity of the research problem(s) or the resources needed to solve the(se) problem(s) require the advantages of scope, scale, change, duration, equipment, facilities, and students that can only be provided by an academic research center. They focus on investigations at the frontiers of knowledge not normally attainable through individual investigations, at the interfaces of disciplines and/or by incorporating fresh approaches to the core of disciplines. Centers focus on integrative learning and discovery and demonstrate leadership in broadening participation through focused investments in a diverse set of partner organizations and individuals. In doing so, they draw upon, and contribute to, the development of the Nation's full intellectual talent. Most Center awards are limited to a maximum duration of ten years and are often subject to mid-course external merit review. Proposers interested in learning more about current or future NSF Centers are encouraged to contact the appropriate disciplinary NSF Program Officer. Centers are not considered research infrastructure, but will often use research infrastructure to meet their objectives.
11. Research Infrastructure Proposal
As an integral part of its responsibility for strengthening the science and engineering capacity of the country, NSF provides support for the design, construction, operation and upgrade of research infrastructure including instrumentation, mid-scale projects and major facilities. NSF depends on the research communities to provide the justification as well as the capabilities to manage the development and implementation of research infrastructure projects. Justification normally occurs through National Academies studies, workshop reports, professional society activities, and other community-based mechanisms, including engineering studies and research projects related to the development of new technologies. Many of these mechanisms are funded by interested NSF Programs on the basis of merit-reviewed proposals. The NSF process and funding mechanisms for development and implementation of research infrastructure projects depends, in part, on the scale of the project. The largest projects, major facilities, are typically supported through the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account. Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate NSF Program to discuss the availability of funding and the appropriate funding mechanisms in advance of proposal submission. The Large Facilities Manual (LFM), a public document managed by the Large Facilities Office, contains policies and procedures related to NSF oversight and Recipient management of research infrastructure projects funded by NSF. The purpose of the LFM is to: (1) provide guidance to NSF staff on conducting appropriate oversight and to recipients in carrying out effective project planning and management; and (2) clearly state the required policies and procedures as well as pertinent good practices for each life-cycle stage.
It is imperative that all proposals conform to the proposal preparation and submission instructions specified in Part I of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide. Conformance with all preparation and submission instructions is required and will be strictly enforced unless a deviation has been approved in advance of proposal submission. Note that some NSF program solicitations modify standard NSF proposal preparation guidelines, and, in such cases, the guidelines provided in the solicitation must be followed. FastLane uses the rules specified for each type of proposal, (e.g., Research, RAPID, EAGER, RAISE, GOALI, Ideas Lab, FASED, Conference, Equipment, or Travel) to check for compliance prior to submission to NSF. Proposers are strongly advised to review the applicable sections of Chapter II.E. relevant to the type of proposal being developed PRIOR to submission. NSF will not accept38 or will return without review proposals that are not consistent with these instructions. See Chapter IV.B and visit: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/autocompliance.jsp for additional information.
Prior to submission, it is strongly recommended that an administrative review be conducted to ensure that proposals comply with the instructions, and the format specified. This checklist is not intended to be an all-inclusive repetition of the required proposal contents and associated proposal preparation guidelines. It is, however, meant to highlight certain critical items so they will not be overlooked when the proposal is prepared.
[ ] General:
[ ] The proposal is compliant with the provisions in the PAPPG and/or the relevant program solicitation.
[ ] The proposal is responsive to the relevant program description or announcement (if applicable).
[ ] If the proposal has been previously declined and is being resubmitted, the proposal has been substantively revised to take into account the major comments from the prior NSF review.
[ ] The proposed work is appropriate for funding by NSF, and is not a duplicate of, or substantially similar to, a proposal already under consideration by NSF from the same submitter.
[ ] The proposal must be submitted by 5 p.m. submitter's local time on the established deadline date.
[ ] Single Copy Documents:
[ ] Authorization to Deviate from NSF Proposal Preparation Requirements is included (if applicable).
[ ] List of Suggested Reviewers, or Reviewers Not To Include has been provided (if applicable).
[ ] SF LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (if applicable).
[ ] Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) Information has been separately provided for each individual identified as senior project personnel through use of the COA template available at: https://nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/coa.jsp.
[ ] Cover Sheet:
[ ] For interdisciplinary proposals, ensure all relevant programs are identified.
[ ] Title includes any necessary prefix, e.g., "Collaborative Proposal:."
[ ] For renewal proposals, previous award numbers have been entered.
[ ] Related preliminary proposal number has been entered (if applicable).
[ ] The "Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy" box has been checked on the NSF Cover Sheet and the requisite Single Copy Document has been provided (if applicable).
[ ] Appropriate box(es) have been checked, and requisite information has been provided.
[ ] Project Summary:
[ ] The Project Summary may ONLY be uploaded as a Supplementary Document if use of special characters is necessary. Such Project Summaries must be formatted with separate headings for Overview, Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.
[ ] The Project Summary must not exceed one page.
[ ] Project Description:
[ ] The Project Description must not exceed the 15-page limitation, the limit specified in a specific program solicitation, or the limit provided in the instructions for types of proposals (e.g., RAPID, EAGER and Ideas Lab).
[ ] Project Description contains, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled “Intellectual Merit.”
[ ] Project Description contains, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Broader Impacts".
[ ] Project Description is self-contained, and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) have not been included.
[ ] Results from Prior NSF Support have been provided for any PI or co-PI identified on the proposal that has received prior NSF support including:
- an award with an end date in the past five years; or
- any current funding, including any no cost extensions.
[ ] Results related to Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts are described under two separate, distinct headings, and are limited to five pages of the Project Description.
[ ] References Cited:
[ ] This section includes bibliographic citations only and does not provide parenthetical information outside of the 15-page Project Description.
[ ] Each reference is in the required format, which may vary according to the norms of the scientific discipline.
[ ] Biographical Sketch(es):
[ ] The content described is in accordance with the instructions, and does not contain additional information beyond that specified.
[ ] Each biographical sketch must not exceed two pages.
[ ] Each individual's biographical sketch must be uploaded as a single PDF file associated with that individual.
[ ] Proposal Budget:
[ ] Each budget line item is documented and justified in the budget justification.
[ ] Any compensation for senior personnel in excess of two months is disclosed in the proposal budget and justified in the budget justification.
[ ] A budget justification must be provided for the proposer AND any proposed subawardee.
[ ] The amount for indirect costs was be calculated by applying the current negotiated indirect cost rate(s) to the approved base(s) and amount is specified in the budget justification.
[ ] Each budget justification must not exceed five pages or the page limitation specified in a specific program solicitation. For proposals that contain a subaward(s), each subaward must include a separate budget justification that must not exceed five pages.
[ ] Cost Sharing:
[ ] Unless required by an NSF program solicitation, voluntary committed cost sharing has not been included. Note that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited and Line M on the proposal budget will not be available for use by the proposer. While not required by NSF, proposing organizations may, at their own discretion, continue to contribute voluntary uncommitted cost sharing to NSF-sponsored projects. These resources are not auditable by NSF and should not be included in the proposal budget or budget justification.
[ ] Current and Pending Support:
[ ] All current and pending support from whatever source (e.g., Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations, or internal funds allocated toward specific projects) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the PI and other senior personnel must be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s).
[ ] Information on this proposal is included.
[ ] Each individual's current and pending support must be uploaded as a single PDF file or inserted as text associated with that individual.
[ ] Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources:
[ ] An aggregated description of the internal and external resources (both physical and personnel) that the organization and its collaborators will provide to the project, should it be funded, has been included.
[ ] No quantifiable financial information has been provided.
[ ] If there are no facilities, equipment or other resources identified, a statement to that effect has been included in this section of the proposal and uploaded into FastLane.
[ ] Special Information and Supplementary Documentation:
[ ] A postdoctoral mentoring plan, limited to one page, has been included, if required.
[ ] A data management plan, limited to two pages, has been included.
[ ] Letters of collaboration documenting collaborative arrangements of significance to the proposal have been included (if applicable).
[ ] Other types of information identified in Chapter II.C.2.j have been included, as appropriate.
[ ] Any additional items specified in a relevant program solicitation have been included.
[ ] Appendices:
[ ] Appendices may not be included unless a deviation has been authorized.
Unless a waiver has been granted by NSF, a reviewer cannot review a proposal if:
has a financial interest in the outcome of the proposal.
Unless a waiver has been granted by NSF, a potential reviewer also may be barred from reviewing a proposal, if it involves individuals with whom he/she has a personal relationship, such as a close relative, current or former collaborator, or former thesis student/advisor.
Unless a waiver has been granted by NSF, a disqualifying conflict may exist, if a proposal involves an organization or other entity with which the potential reviewer has a connection. Such potentially disqualifying connections include:
Instructions for Certification
Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements
Alternate I (Grantees Other Than Individuals)
The grantee certifies that it will or will continue to provide a drug-free workplace by:
(a) Publishing a statement notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the grantee's workplace and specifying the actions that will be taken against employees for violation of such prohibition;
(b) Establishing an ongoing drug-free awareness program to inform employees about --
(1) The dangers of drug abuse in the workplace;
(2) The grantee's policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace;
(3) Any available drug counseling, rehabilitation and employee assistance programs; and
(4) The penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations occurring in the workplace;
(c) Making it a requirement that each employee to be engaged in the performance of the grant be given a copy of the statement required by paragraph (a);
(d) Notifying the employee in the statement required by paragraph (a) that, as a condition of employment under the grant, the employee will --
(1) Abide by the terms of the statement; and
(2) Notify the employer in writing of his or her conviction for a violation of a criminal drug statute occurring in the workplace, no later than five calendar days after such conviction;
(e) Notifying the agency in writing, within 10 calendar days after receiving notice under subparagraph (d)(2) from an employee or otherwise receiving actual notice of such conviction.
Employers of convicted employees must provide notice, including position title, to every grant officer or other designee on whose grant activity the convicted employee was working, unless the Federal agency has designated a central point for the receipt of such notices. Notice shall include the identification number(s) of each affected grant;
(f) Taking one of the following actions, within 30 calendar days of receiving notice under subparagraph (d)(2), with respect to any employee who is so convicted--
(1) Taking appropriate personnel action against such an employee, up to and including termination, consistent with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; or
(2) Requiring such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a Federal, State, or local health, law enforcement, or other appropriate agency;
(g) Making a good faith effort to continue to maintain a drug-free workplace through implementation of paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f).
Alternate II (Grantees Who Are Individuals)
(a) The grantee certifies that, as a condition of the grant, he or she will not engage in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance in conducting any activity with the grant.
(b) If convicted of a criminal drug offense resulting from a violation occurring during the conduct of any grant activity, he or she will report the conviction, in writing, within 10 calendar days of the conviction, to every grant officer or other designee, unless the Federal agency designates a central point for the receipt of such notices. When notice is made to such a central point, it shall include the identification number(s) of each affected grant.
For NSF, grantee notification should be made to the Cost Analysis & Audit Resolution Branch, Division of Institution & Award Support, NSF, Arlington, VA 22230.
Instruction on Certification Regarding Debarment and Suspension
(1) The prospective primary participant certifies to the best of its knowledge and belief, that it and its principals: (a) Are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from a covered transaction by any Federal department or agency; (b) Have not within a three-year period preceding this proposal been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against them for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (Federal, State or local) transaction or contract under a public transaction; violation of Federal or State antitrust statutes or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property; (c) Are not presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State or local) with commission of any of the offenses enumerated in paragraph (1)(b) of this certification; and (d) Have not within a three-year period preceding this application/proposal had one or more public transactions (Federal, State or local) terminated for cause or default.
(2) Where the prospective primary participant is unable to certify to any of the statements in this certification, such prospective participant shall include an explanation with this proposal.
Instructions on Certification Regarding Lobbying
This certification is required for an award of a Federal contract, grant or cooperative agreement exceeding $100,000 and for an award of a Federal loan or a commitment providing for the United States to insure or guarantee a loan exceeding $150,000. The Certification for Contracts, Grants, Loans and Cooperative Agreements also is included in full text on the FastLane submission screen.
Certification for Contracts, Grants, Loans and Cooperative Agreements
The undersigned certifies, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, that:
(1) No Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid, by or on behalf of the undersigned, to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the awarding of any federal contract, the making of any Federal grant, the making of any Federal loan, the entering into of any cooperative agreement, and the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement.
(2) If any funds other than Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with this Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement, the undersigned shall complete and submit Standard Form LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,” in accordance with its instructions.
(3) The undersigned shall require that the language of this certification be included in the award documents for all subawards at all tiers including subcontracts, subgrants, and contracts under grants, loans, and cooperative agreements and that all subrecipients shall certify and disclose accordingly.
This certification is a material representation of fact upon which reliance was placed when this transaction was made or entered into. Submission of this certification is a prerequisite for making or entering into this transaction imposed by Section 1352, Title 31, US Code. Any person who fails to file the required certification shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 for each such failure.
Instructions for Nondiscrimination Certification
Certification of Compliance with National Science Foundation Nondiscrimination Regulations and Policies
By signing the proposal, the Authorized Organizational Representative hereby certifies that the organization will comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC § 2000d), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 USC §§ 1681 et seq.), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC § 794), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 USC §§ 6101 et seq.) and all regulations and policies issued by NSF pursuant to these statutes.
To that end, in accordance with the above-referenced nondiscrimination statutes, and NSF’s implementing regulations and policies, no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the Proposer receives Federal financial assistance from the Foundation; and HEREBY CERTIFIES THAT it will immediately take any measures necessary to effectuate this agreement.
If any real property or structure thereon is provided or improved with the aid of Federal financial assistance extended to the Proposer by the Foundation, this Certification shall obligate the Proposer, or in the case of any transfer of such property, the transferee, for the period during which the real property or structure is used for a purpose for which the Federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provision of similar services or benefits. If any personal property is so provided, this Certification shall obligate the Proposer for the period during which it retains ownership or possession of the property. In all other cases, this Certification shall obligate the Proposer for the period during which the Federal financial assistance is extended to it by the Foundation.
THIS CERTIFICATION is given in consideration of and for the purpose of obtaining any and all Federal grants, cooperative agreements, loans, contracts, property, discounts or other Federal financial assistance extended after the date hereof to the Proposer by the Foundation, including installment payments after such date on account of applications for Federal financial assistance which were approved before such date. The Proposer recognizes and agrees that such Federal financial assistance will be extended in reliance on the representations and agreements made in this Certification, and that the United States shall have the right to seek judicial enforcement of this Certification. This Certification is binding on the Proposer, its successors, transferees, and assignees.
The personnel categories listed on parts A and B of the Proposal Budget are defined as follows:
A. Senior Personnel
1. (co) Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) means the individual(s) designated by the proposer, and approved by NSF, who will be responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project. NSF does not infer any distinction in scientific stature among multiple PIs, whether referred to as PI or co-PI. If more than one, the first one listed will serve as the contact PI, with whom all communications between NSF program officials and the project relating to the scientific, technical, and budgetary aspects of the project should take place. The PI and any identified co-PIs, however, will be jointly responsible for submission of the requisite project reports. The term "Principal Investigator" generally is used in research projects, while the term "Project Director" generally is used in centers, major facilities, and other projects. For purposes of this Guide, PI/co-PI is interchangeable with PD/co-PD.
2. Faculty Associate (faculty member) (or equivalent) -- an individual other than the Principal Investigator(s) considered by the performing institution to be a member of its faculty (or equivalent) or who holds an appointment as a faculty member at another institution, and who will participate in the project being supported.
B. Other Personnel
1. Postdoctoral (Scholar, Fellow, or Other Postdoctoral Position) -- An individual who has received a doctoral degree (or equivalent) and is engaged in a temporary and defined period of mentored advanced training to enhance the professional skills and research independence needed to pursue his or her chosen career path. Postdoctoral scholars not identified under Senior Personnel above should be listed as Other Personnel.
2. Other Professional -- a person who may or may not hold a doctoral degree or its equivalent, who is considered a professional and is not reported as a Principal Investigator, faculty associate, postdoctoral scholar or student. Examples of persons included in this category are doctoral associates not reported under B1, professional technicians, physicians, veterinarians, system experts, computer programmers and design engineers.
3. Graduate Student (research assistant) -- a part-time or full-time student working on the project in a research capacity who holds at least a bachelor’s degree and is enrolled in a degree program leading to an advanced degree.
4. Undergraduate Student -- a student who is enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.
5. & 6. These categories include persons working on the project in a non-research capacity, such as secretaries, clerk-typists, draftsmen, animal caretakers, electricians and custodial personnel regardless of whether they hold a degree or are involved in degree work.
Any personnel category for which NSF funds are requested must indicate, in the parentheses provided on the Proposal Budget, the number of persons expected to receive some support from those funds.
8 FAQs regarding FastLane proposal preparation and submission also are available in the FastLane. Back to Text
9Macintosh users also may use Helvetica and Palatino typefaces.Back to Text
10 Further instructions for this process are available in FastLane. Back to Text
11Detailed instructions for completion of this process are available in FastLane. Back to Text
12Detailed instructions submission of the SF LLL are available in FastLane. Back to Text
13 A wide array of information exists to help inform development of an institution’s RCR training plan. For example, many professional societies as well as governmental licensing authorities for professional scientists and engineers have adopted policies or best practices that might be usefully considered. In addition, research is illuminating existing practices surrounding ethical issues, and providing an evaluation of pedagogical innovations in ethics education.Back to Text
14 Note that graduate advisors are no longer required to be reported.Back to Text
15Editorial Board does not include Editorial Advisory Board, International Advisory Board, Scientific Editorial Board, or any other subcategory of Editorial Board. It is limited to those individuals who perform editing duties or manage the editing process (i.e., editor in chief). Back to Text
16 Proposal Not Accepted is defined as FastLane will not permit submission of the proposal. Back to Text
17 See Chapter II.E for the proposal preparation requirements for other types of proposals submitted to NSF. Back to Text
18 If the proposal includes use of vertebrate animals, supplemental information is required. See Chapter II.D.4 for additional information.Back to Text
19 If the proposal includes use of human subjects, supplemental information is required. See Chapter Chapter II.D.5 for additional information. Back to Text
20NSF grantees remain subject to the provisions of OMB M-01-06, "Clarification of OMB A-21 Treatment of Voluntary Uncommitted Cost Sharing and Tuition Remission Costs," regarding requirements for committing and tracking "some level" of faculty (or senior researcher) effort as part of the organized research base.Back to Text
21 Detailed instructions for submission of confidential budgetary information are available in FastLane. Back to Text
22 According to the IRS, US territories and possessions are as follows: Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Midway Island, Wake Island, Palmyra Island, Howland Island, Johnston Island, Baker Island, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, and other US islands, cays, and reefs that are not part of any of the fifty States. Back to Text
23See Chapter XI.F, Grant General Conditions (GC-1) Article 10, and Article 14 in the NSF Agency Specific Requirements to the Research Terms and Conditions, as applicable, for additional information on travel restrictions.Back to Text
24A subaward may be provided through any form of legal agreement, including an agreement that the proposing organization considers a contract. The substance of the relationship is more important than the form of the agreement.Back to Text
25See NSF's Revised Cost Sharing Policy Statement for the Foundation’s overarching policies on cost sharing. Back to Text
26Inclusion in the Budget Justification also meets this definition. Back to Text
27 For further information on procedures for inclusion of programmatic cost sharing in an NSF solicitation, see http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/csdocs/principles.pdf. Back to Text
28 2 CFR § 200.306 describes criteria and procedures for the allowability of cash and in-kind contributions in satisfying cost sharing and matching requirements. Back to Text
29 For purposes of meeting the mentoring requirement, simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals, and collaborative proposals that include subawards, constitute a single unified project. Therefore, only one mentoring plan may be submitted for the entire project.Back to Text
30 In situations where a postdoctoral researcher is listed in Section A of the NSF Budget, and is functioning in a Senior Personnel capacity (i.e., responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project), a mentoring plan is not required. Back to Text
31Detailed instructions for submission of proprietary or privileged information are available in FastLane at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/help/proprietary.htm.Back to Text
32 Detailed instructions for the preparation and submission of collaborative proposals are available in FastLane. Back to Text
33Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research; Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the Use of Wild Mammals in Research; Guidelines for the Use of Fishes in Research; and Guidelines for the Use of Live Amphibians and Reptiles in Field and Laboratory Research. Back to Text
34 An NSF-approved format for submission of these determination notices is available on the NSF website.Back to Text
35 Ideas Labs are generally one to five days in duration. Back to Text
36 This coverage also applies to symposia and workshop proposals. Back to Text
37 See Chapter IX.D for additional information on the administration of equipment awards. Back to Text
38 Proposal Not Accepted is defined as FastLane will not permit submission of the proposal. Back to Text