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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Find links to information about working with the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Transition to Research.gov

NSF is transitioning proposal submission from Fastlane to Research.gov.

Beginning in April 2018, proposers will be able to prepare and submit non-collaborative research proposals in Research.gov. For details, read the NSF Proposal Award Policy Newsletter (Dec 2017).

NSF Resources

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG)

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2018 PAPPG - Significant Changes & Clarifications

The following are some of the updates that will be effective for proposals due, or awards made, on or after January 29, 2018.

  • Budget Justification - new requirements: UC San Diego definition of "year", page limit increase, and indirect cost amounts.
    • UC San Diego defines a “year” as the fiscal year that spans from July 1 – June 30. 
      • Institutions must include their definition of a “year” in every budget justification. The definition of a “year” is not provided by NSF for the purposes of abiding by its restriction of 2 months’ salary “per year” for senior personnel. Chapter II.C.2.g(i)(a)
    • The page limit increased from three pages to five pages, per institution (i.e. subawards are now also allowed up to 5 pages).Chapter II.C.2.g
    • Amounts for indirect costs must be now be specified in the Budget Justification. Chapter II.C.2.g(viii)
  • Participant Support  (Line F on the Proposal Budget) - clarification
    • An individual cannot generally be both an employee and a participant on an NSF proposal. An exception can be made in the case of student that are employed in non-research related positions. Chapter II.C.2.g(v)
  • Project Description - new requirement: Project Description must now contain a separate section titled “Intellectual Merit.” Chapter II.C.2.d
    • This is in addition to the requirement for the Project Description to include a section titled “Broader Impacts.”
    • The “Intellectual Merit” section is still required in the Project Summary or the “Intellectual Merit” section still required in the “Results from Prior NSF Support” section of Project Description.
  • Project Description - requirement changed: Awards listed in the “Results from Prior NSF Support” section of the Project Description. Chapter II.C.2.d(iii)
    • Awards with an end date within the past five years should be listed for each PI. (Previously, awards with a begin date were required to be listed.)
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) Template is now required for all proposals. Chapter II.C.d.(iii)
    • Footnotes have been added to the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the template. 
  • Who May Submit Proposals - eligibility changes:
    • Addition of a new eligibility subcategory on international branch campuses of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education.
    • Revision of eligibility requirements for foreign organizations. Chapter I.E

Visit NSF.gov 2018 PAPPG for a list of comprehensive changes and clarifications.

FastLane and Research.gov

New Registration Process

Effective March 26, 2018, NSF is introducing a new centralized account registration process in Research.gov for the research community that will provide each new user with a single profile and unique identifier (i.e., NSF ID) for signing in to FastLane and Research.gov for proposal and award activities.

This change will impact the way the research community registers for NSF accounts and maintains account and user profile information in FastLane and Research.gov.


FastLane

Research.gov

FastLane Website 

FastLane User Support
(800) 673-6188
(800) 437-7408 (FastLane Availability Recording)
Email User Support at fastlane@nsf.gov

FastLane FAQ 

FastLane Demo Site

Research.gov

NSF is currently finalizing new account management training resources such as job aids, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and instructional videos.

These materials will soon be available on an “About Account Management” page on the Research.gov homepage.


New NSF Accounts

To set up a Fastlane and Research.gov account, go to the NSF Research.gov Account Registration page:

  • Upon submitting your Account Registration, you will receive two emails, one with your NSF ID and one with a temporary password
  • Use this information to generate a permanent password by logging in to Research.gov
  • Link your profile to UC San Diego by clicking on the “Add a New Role to Add and Manage Organizations” tool, and follow the directions to complete the process
  • OCGA will receive an email request from NSF to verify your account

Existing NSF Accounts

Existing NSF account holders, including Grants.gov and Application Submission Web Service (ASWS) users, will be migrated to the new account management system.

When first signing in to FastLane or Research.gov, existing account holders will be required to verify their information to transfer it to the new account management system.

User ID and Passwords

  • NSF ID: Users with existing NSF accounts can use the NSF ID Lookup to find their NSF ID.
  • Password: If you forget your password, use the Forgot Password option to reset your password.

Proposals

Be sure to follow—exactly—the standard grant proposal guidelines (GPG) and any specific requirements in the program solicitation. 

Please keep in mind that because OCGA submits all proposals to NSF for General Campus and Health Sciences, and SIO Contract & Grant Office submits for SIO Principal Investigators, you will need to allow time for review and submission of the proposal.

Please Note: NSF FastLane uses the term Sponsored Research Office (SRO). At UCSD, the SRO is referred to as OCGA and SIO OCGA.

Please be sure to allow SRO access to the proposal for OCGA/SIO Contract & Grant officer's review and submission of the proposal. In the "Proposal Actions->Temporary Proposals in Progress" screen in FastLane, highlight the Temporary Proposal # of the proposal in which you are working, and select the "Allow SRO Access" button. You will go to a screen with warnings, at the bottom select the Proceed button. You will go to a screen with three options:

  • Allow SRO to only view proposal but not submit
  • Allow SRO to view and edit but not submit proposal
  • Allow SRO to view, edit and submit proposal
  • Please select "Allow SRO to view, edit and submit proposal"

OCGA/SIO Contract & Grant officers will submit a proposal only after they have received a final confirming email from the department contact.

Budget

Senior Project Personnel Salaries & Wages Policy:

NSF limits salary compensation for senior project personnel to no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants. This effort must be documented in accordance with the applicable budget, justified in the Budget Justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice.

Tuition remission category and justification:

UCSD charges tuition remission as a fringe benefit. As such, they are to be included in the fringe benefit category on the NSF budget page. Facilities and Administration (F&A) are not assessed on tuition remission.

Please list the total yearly amounts of the tuition remission in the budget justification.

  • For example: Year 1 = $x, Year 2 = $y).

Participant Support Costs:

This includes 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 meetings, conferences, symposia, or training projects.

For most NSF proposals, IDC is not calculated on participant support costs.

Data Management Plan

  • On December 10, 2010 a revised version of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide mandated the requirement that all proposals contain no more than two pages “Data Management Plan.” NSF guidelines (PDF)
  • If there will be no data, please include a document indicating that no data will be collected.
  • Samples of data management plans from other PIs are available at the UCSD Research Cyberinfrastructure website.

Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC)

The January 25, 2016 PAPPG implements the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC):

Applicability:

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".

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 dual use research of concern.

Proposing organizations are responsible for identifying NSF-funded life sciences proposals that could potentially be considered dual use research of concern as defined in the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern and for compliance with the requirements established in that Policy. (See also AAG Chapter VI.B.5 for additional information.)

Please see UCSD’s implementation of DURC for extensive guidance and information.

Post Award (Non-Financial)

Reports

  • The PI submits all project reports directly to NSF.
  • Getting Started Guide for submitting progress reports to research.gov.
  • Starting Feb. 1, 2013, all NSF project reports must be submitted through Research.gov.
  • It is very important that all reports are submitted on time. NSF will withhold future funding until missing reports are submitted.

No-Cost Extension (NCE)

  • All NCE requests are made through FastLane (no additional forms are required by OCGA). Note that grantee approved NCEs must be submitted at least 10 days before the project period end-date, and NSF-approved NCEs must be submitted at least 60 days before the project end-date.
  • The NCE request must clearly address reasons for delay, estimated balance of funds remaining, a description of the work to be accomplished in the next year, and how the balance will be spent.

Public Access to Copyrighted Material

The January 25, 2016 PAPPG implements the updated NSF Public Access Policy:

NSF’s policy on public access to copyrighted material (Public Access Policy) reflects the Foundation’s commitment to making certain that, to the extent possible, the American public, industry and the scientific community have access to the results of federally funded scientific research. Pursuant to this policy, awardees must ensure that articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings:

  • are deposited in a public access compliant repository (as identified in the Public Access Policy);
  • are available for download, reading, and analysis within 12 months of publication;
  • possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements as described in the Public Access Policy; and
  • are reported in annual and final reports with a persistent identifier.

Either the final printed version or the final peer-reviewed manuscript is acceptable for deposit. NSF’s Public Access Policy applies to awards, funded in whole or in part, as a result of proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. See NSF’s Public Access Policy for more information and NSF’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Each NSF grant contains as part of the grant terms and conditions, an article implementing the public access requirements.

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