NSF Announcement on Proposal Functionality, Website Enhancements, and More

This notice was sent on August 31, 2021 from the National Science Foundation.

Subject: New Proposal Functionality, NSF Website Enhancements, and Updates to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Formats

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has enabled a number of enhancements for proposals submitted in Research.gov, FastLane, and Grants.gov. In addition, the updated NSF-approved biographical sketch and current and pending support SciENcv and fillable PDF formats that fall under the revised Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1) will be available to preview by September 17, 2021

We are also excited to announce enhanced NSF Funding Opportunity Search functionality and revamped program pages on nsf.gov and beta.nsf.gov, the new version of the NSF website. As NSF builds its new nsf.gov website in small, iterative pieces using the beta.nsf.gov platform, we are not simply moving existing content from nsf.gov to the new site. Rather, the new website will improve how information is presented for use by various audiences including prospective proposers, grantees, and the general public. 

Here's what to know.

Research.gov Proposal Submission System Enhancements

  • Research.gov proposal features continue to expand to support the transition of all proposal preparation and submission functionality from FastLane to Research.gov by a target date of December 31, 2022. Many NSF funding opportunities are supported in Research.gov and clearly specify whether submission via Research.gov is available or required.
  • Effective August 30, 2021, Conference and Ideas Lab proposal types, renewal and accomplishment-based renewal submission types, and preliminary proposals for Ideas Lab solicitations are all now available for submission in Research.gov. FastLane must be used to submit preliminary proposals for proposal types other than Ideas Lab until that functionality is available in Research.gov.
  • The proposal preparation landing page has been revised, and Principal Investigators will now first select the proposal submission type from the drop-down options and then will follow the proposal setup wizard to initiate a new proposal. In progress and submitted proposals are accessible from the tiles on the revised proposal preparation landing page, after first selecting the submission type from the drop-down options. 
  • New automated compliance checks and associated error and warning messages for the enabled proposal and submission types were also implemented. Error messages will prohibit proposal submission to NSF, whereas warning messages still permit proposal submission.
  • New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) were added to the Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission page, and the Proposal Submission Capabilities page has been updated to reflect the latest development updates. 
  • All supported proposal and submission types as well as associated compliance checks are also enabled in the Research.gov Proposal Preparation Demo Site. 
  • Refer to the PAPPG (NSF 20-1) for current proposal requirements. Guidelines in the revised PAPPG (NSF 22-1) will apply for proposals submitted or due on or after October 4, 2021.

NSF-approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Format Updates 

Current and Pending Support Fillable PDF Updates

  • Based on feedback from the research community and NSF Program Officers, NSF has incorporated functionality as of August 30, 2021, in FastLane and Grants.gov to remove any pages which do not contain data entered by users (i.e., blank pages) from the NSF-approved current and pending support fillable PDF. This trimming functionality will be integrated in Research.gov on October 4, 2021, in coordination with implementation of the revised PAPPG (NSF 22-1) for proposals submitted in Research.gov and project reports submitted in the Research.gov Project Reporting System. 
  • The trimming service only applies to the NSF-approved current and pending support fillable PDF and not to any other uploaded PDFs. Current and pending support PDFs generated in SciENcv do not include blank pages. 
  • The current and pending support fillable PDF document is paginated, and the PDF page numbers will not be updated during the trimming process. This means that it is possible for the trimmed PDF to have skipped page numbers corresponding to the blank pages removed from the fillable PDF. NSF Program Officers are aware of this potential occurrence in proposals submitted to NSF. 
  • Proposers with in progress proposals as of August 30, 2021, can delete previously uploaded current and pending support fillable PDFs from their FastLane or Grants.gov proposals and then re-upload them to trigger the trimming service.

Updated Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support SciENcv and Fillable PDF Formats

  • The updated NSF-approved biographical sketch and current and pending support formats will be available in September 2021 to preview before they are required on October 4th. The updated fillable PDF formats will be available for download from the NSF biographical sketch and current and pending support websites by September 3rd. Updated SciENcv formats will be available on the SciENcv Create a New Document screen by September 17th. 
  • Biographical sketch format updates include increasing the page limit from two to three pages.
  • Current and pending support format updates include the addition of new sections for information on objectives and overlap with other projects to help NSF and reviewers assess overlap/duplication. 
  • Although submission of the updated NSF-approved formats is not permitted (i.e., Research.gov, FastLane, and Grants.gov will not allow the 22-1 forms to be uploaded) until implementation of the revised PAPPG (NSF 22-1) on October 4, 2021, NSF is encouraging proposers and grantees to begin familiarizing themselves with the updated NSF-approved formats when they are available.

Enhanced Funding Opportunity Search Functionality and Revamped Program Pages

  • Based on extensive research with external and internal stakeholders, NSF has made significant improvements to the NSF Funding Opportunity Search functionality to help researchers and prospective researchers quickly and easily find relevant programs and NSF-funded projects in specified disciplines. Funding Search results now include short program descriptions, programs incorporated in core program solicitations with links to the relevant guidelines, and Dear Colleague Letters.
  • The revamped program pages include significant content and navigation improvements including information previously only viewable in solicitations.
  • For more information about NSF's beta site, please visit https://beta.nsf.gov/about-beta. NSF will continue to enhance the site, and ongoing feedback from external and internal stakeholders is vital to the process. Feedback on the updated Funding Search and program page enhancements or any other aspect of the site may be directed to beta-nsf-feedback@nsf.gov

Questions? If you have IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or to rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov


The National Science Foundation

email: policy@nsf.gov