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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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Significant Changes & Clarifications to the PAPPG

2019 PAPPG Summary of Significant Changes and Clarifications

The following are some of the major changes to the PAPPG: 

  • NSF Proposal Preparation and Submission has been updated to provide information about the modernization of the proposal preparation functionality in Research.gov. The new coverage specifies that the on-screen instructions in Research.gov may differ from what is stated in the PAPPG and that the on-screen instructions must be followed. Chapter I.A
  • Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) has been revised to address an expanded use of the DCL. They also may now be used to announce NSF’s interest in receiving proposals in specified topical areas via the following types of proposals described in Chapter II.E.: Rapid Response Research (RAPID); Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER); Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE); and Conference. Chapter I.C.4
  • Subawards has been updated to clarify that the description of the work to be performed by the subaward must be included in the project description. Chapter II.C.2.g(vi)(e)
  • Types of Proposals specifies that "RAPID", "EAGER" and "RAISE" must be included in the proposal project title. The language has been updated to indicate that these proposal types are not eligible for reconsideration. Chapter II.E
  • Conferences has been supplemented with new language that requires conference proposers to have a policy or code-of-conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault, and that includes clear and accessible means of reporting violations of the policy or code-of-conduct. This policy or code-of-conduct must be disseminated to conference participants prior to attendance at the conference as well as made available at the conference itself. This section also has been updated to specify that conference proposals in excess of $50,000 must include the Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information in the proposal submission. Guidance in the Participant Support Costs section of conference proposals has been updated to clarify that speakers and trainers are not considered participants and should not be included in this section of the budget. If the primary purpose of the individual’s attendance at the conference is learning and receiving training as a participant, however, then the costs may be included under participant support. If the primary purpose is to speak or assist with management of the conference, then such costs should be budgeted in appropriate categories other than participant support. Chapter II.E.7
  • Changes in PI/PD, co-PI/co-PD or Person-Months Devoted to the Project at the Initiation of NSF is an entirely new section that describes the process that will be used by NSF upon receipt of notification identified Chapter VII.A.2.f. or g. Chapter VII.B.3

For a comprehensive listing, go to Significant Changes and Clarifications to the PAPPG on the NSF website.

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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