NSF Updates Grant Proposal Guide – Implications for Your Proposals

Effective January 14, 2013, the National Science Foundation has updated its Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 13-1), which includes the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and the Award & Administration Guide (AAG).  Changes include revisions to the merit review criteria based on recommendations of the National Science Board’s report, “National Science Foundation’s Merit Review Criteria: Review and Revisions.”  

NSF’s changes will impact the preparation of your NSF proposals.  Faculty submitting letters of intent, pre-proposals and/or proposals to NSF are encouraged to take some time to familiarize themselves with the changes when developing their submissions, and should speak with their research administrators well in advance of submission to make sure NSF’s changes are incorporated properly in their materials. 

Resources For Researchers and Administrators

NSF’s Dear Colleague Letter – Issuance of a new NSF Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 13-004)  

NSF’s GPG Summary of Changes

NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, January 2013

Summary of Changes

The OSU Office of Research website has compiled some notable changes to NSF’s GPG:

  • Biographical Sketches – The Publications section has been renamed Products. Products may include, but are not limited to, publications, data sets, software, patents and copyrights.
  • Budget – If salary is not being requested for senior personnel, their names must be removed from Section A of the budget.  These senior personnel should still be listed on the cover sheet and their roles on the project described in the Facilities, Equipment and other Resources section of the proposal (see below).
  • Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources – Proposers must now include an aggregated description of the internal and external resources (both physical and personnel) that the organization and its collaborators will provide to the project, should it be funded. The information must be provided in this section, rather than in other parts of the proposal (e.g., budget justification, project description). It should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information. If there are no facilities, equipment or other resources information related to the proposal, a statement should be included in this section.
  • Project Description – Broader impacts must be described in a separate section within the narrative instead of being included as an integral part of the narrative. In addition, Results from Prior NSF Support has been redefined to include current NSF funding, whether or not the support was directly related to the proposal or salary support was provided.
  • Project Summary – The headings for Overview, Intellectual Merit and Broader are no longer required since FastLane has been modified to display three separate text boxes where the information should be provided. Note that proposals not containing all three elements of the Project Summary will be returned without review.
  • References Cited – If there are no references cited, a statement to that effect should be included in this section.
  • Review Criteria – this section has been replaced by an expanded Merit Review Principles and Criteria section.
  • Indirect Costs – NSF has elected to use grantee institutions’ predetermined overhead rates in most instances. NSF program staff is not authorized to suggest or request that PIs seek reduction or waivers of indirect cost.

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