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National Science Foundation (NSF)

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

Transition to

NSF is transitioning proposal submission from Fastlane to

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

NSF Resources

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

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 homepage.

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

Existing NSF Accounts

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

When first signing in to FastLane or, 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.


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.


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.

Rebudgeting 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.

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

  • On December 10, 2010 a revised version of the NSF 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):


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".


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)


  • The PI submits all project reports directly to NSF.
  • Getting Started Guide for submitting progress reports to
  • Starting Feb. 1, 2013, 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

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.


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