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National Science Foundation (NSF)

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

Proposal Preparation and Submission 

 The Proposal Submission System is being developed incrementally and as capabilities are migrated from FastLane to, the system features will expand until it eventually replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission. NSF Resources 

Proposal Development using UC San Diego’s Kuali Research 

Refer to Kuali Research Training Guides for preparing proposals in campus enterprise system.   

OCGA submits all proposals to NSF for General Campus and Health Sciences, and SIO OCGA submits for SIO Principal Investigators.   

To ensure researchers have the best chance of having their research projects funded, we need to ensure compliance with ever changing regulations and identify inaccuracies or errors that can be fixed before proposals are reviewed by funding agencies.  Refer to important proposal timeliness requirements to ensure your proposal receives institutional review by the SPO and is submitted accurately and by the sponsor deadline. 

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) 

Current and Pending Support

Biographical Sketch

FastLane and

New Registration Process

Effective March 26, 2018, NSF is introducing a new centralized account registration process in 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 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


FastLane Website 

FastLane User Support
(800) 673-6188
(800) 437-7408 (FastLane Availability Recording)
Email User Support at

FastLane FAQ 

FastLane Demo Site

About Account Management 

The new account management functionality will enable the user to centrally sign into NSF systems to perform proposal and award activities. 

New NSF Accounts

To set up a Fastlane and account, go to the NSF 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
  • 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


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.

Preparing Proposals

Follow the Proposal and Awards Policies Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and any specific requirements in the program solicitation.  

Note: NSF FastLane uses the term Sponsored Research Office (SRO); NSF uses the terms Sponsored Projects Office (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). At UCSD, the SRO/SPO/AOR are 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" 

If you are submitting your proposal via, you will allow SRO access in the “Proposal Preparation” module. In the “My Desktop->Proposal Preparation” screen in, select the Temporary Proposal # of the proposal in which you are working. This will take you to the proposal screen. On the lower left hand side, under “Proposal Actions”, click “Share Proposal with SPO/AOR.” This will take you to the “Share Proposal with SPO/AOR” screen. Click “Change Proposal Access.” The “Change Proposal Access” Screen appears. You will be presented with three options: 

  • Proposal Not Shared 
  • View Only Access 
  • Edit Access (Edit Access has a second option of “Allow Proposal Submission- AOR Only”) 
  • Please select Edit Access and Allow Proposal Submission-AOR Only. 

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


Refer to the NSF PAPPG for guidance on budgeting requirements.  

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 

Participant Support Costs (PSC) 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. 

Prior Approval Requirements

Participant Support Costs

For requests to rebudget into Participant Support Costs (PSC) when PSC is not in the original award, and the request is not a change in scope1, NSF approval is not needed. To request a rebudget, departments need to provide their contract officer with the following: 

  • the updated PSC budget broken down into the PSC cost categories 
  • a budget justification 

OCGA will initiate the fund revision sent to OPAFS to ensure the PSC are listed correctly. 

NSF approval is always required for:

  • Rebudgeting out of the Participant Support Costs (PSC) category
  • Rebudgeting that involves change in scope1

Other Costs

Post-award Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) or Research Experience for Teachers (RET), and other training PSC are typically requested via supplemental funding requests in Fastlane. In cases where a PI would like to add an REU, RET, or other training component to an award into the PSC category, the PI should discuss this with the cognizant NSF Program Officer and reach out to OCGA, so that the appropriate Contract and Grant Officer can discuss it with the cognizant NSF Grants Officer. A formal prior NSF approval request will most likely be required. 

Please see the Prior Approval Matrix for additional information on prior approval requirements for NSF.

1 Change in scope. See PAPPG 2019 - Section VIIB for NSF guidance. Change in scope is not specified but 25% of total budget is the commonly applied rule. 

Data Management Plan

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". 

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

Post Award (Non-Financial)


  • The PI submits all project reports directly to NSF.
  • Getting Started Guide for submitting progress reports to
  • All NSF project reports must be submitted through
  • 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

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. Please refer to NSF’s Public Access FAQs for more information.


For more information, contact our main desk at 858-534-3330 or email