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NSF Updates Proposal Submission Policies and Procedures

The National Science Foundation has issued an updated Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) to provide guidance on the preparation and submission of proposals. The revised GPG is effective for proposals due or submitted on or after February 24, 2014, and includes the following key changes:

  • The Biographical Sketch instructions now clearly state that inclusion of information beyond that specified may result in the proposal being returned without review. Additionally, the instructions have been clarified to explain that if only publications are listed in the Products section, the heading “Publications” may be used for this section.

  • Any substantial collaboration which is not included in the budget should be described in the facilities and resources document and documented in a letter of commitment from each collaborator.

  • The circumstances under which visa costs may be budgeted are now described in the Budget instructions.

  • When beginning to prepare a proposal in Fastlane, the PI must select whether a proposal is a collaborative submission, as well as the type of activity being proposed (e.g., research, RAPID, equipment, conference, etc.). These selections will determine the proposal preparation rules specific to the application (i.e., which documents are required, etc.).

  • When the proposal submission instructions do not require a proposal component to be provided, but that component is still required in Fastlane, proposers should insert text or upload a document that states “Not Applicable” in that section of the proposal.

  • The instructions for special proposals (e.g., RAPID, collaborative proposals, conference proposals, etc.) have been updated to describe changes in how those proposals are prepared in Fastlane.

As a reminder, NSF made significant changes to its proposal preparation and submission requirements and review criteria which took effect January 14, 2013. Those changes remain encapsulated in this latest Grant Proposal Guide release. A December 2012 OSP newsletter article summarized those changes.

Faculty planning an NSF proposal should familiarize themselves with all of these changes and speak with their Research Development Specialist well in advance of the deadline to ensure their proposals meet the requirements included in the GPG and specific funding announcement. The GPG includes a complete summary of the new changes.