This week the National Science Foundation made two important announcements:
- The following enhancements to Research.gov are available as of June 24, 2019:
- Capability to prepare and submit collaborative proposals with subawards.
- Additional flexibilities for PDF uploads.
- Support for PDF generated from LaTeX source documents.
- Compliance checks for fonts and font sizes.
While FastLane is still available for preparation and submission of all types of NSF proposals, researchers and their staff are encouraged to use Research.gov and provide feedback to NSF as the modernization of proposal preparation and submission systems continues. To provide feedback to NSF:
- Go to the Research.gov Feedback page.
- Choose “Other” under the Site Area dropdown menu.
- Include your feedback in the Comments or Suggestions field.
- Click Submit when you are ready to send your feedback to NSF.
- NSF has designated SciENcv as an approved format for submission of biosketches. Effective with the next version of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) with an anticipated effective date of January 2020, NSF will only accept biosketches that are generated through use of an NSF-approved format. We will provide more information about biographical sketch formats as it becomes available.
The full text of both announcements is provided below. Please share this information with NSF researchers and administrators in your department/unit.
Subject: Now Available in Research.gov: Support for Collaborative Proposals with Subawards
We are very pleased to announce that as of June 24, 2019, the research community can prepare and submit full, research collaborative proposals with subawards in Research.gov. This is in addition to the existing capability (since April 2018) to prepare and submit full, research non-collaborative proposals in Research.gov. Since that initial release just over a year ago, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has implemented several enhancements to the site, including additional flexibilities for PDF uploads, support for PDFs generated from LaTeX source documents, and compliance checks for fonts and font sizes. Future enhancements to the Research.gov proposal system will allow the preparation and submission of separately submitted collaborative proposals from multiple organizations.
Compared to FastLane, our grants management system launched in 1994, the Research.gov proposal system is much easier to use and provides proposers with faster document uploads and the ability to quickly create and update documents. We encourage you to try the new system, and we are confident that you will agree that this next generation grants management system is more efficient and less burdensome than FastLane.
Also, as of June 24, 2019, a new email notification functionality was implemented to generate Sponsored Project Office (SPO)/Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) email notifications when Principal Investigators (PIs) enable proposal access to SPOs/AORs. A similar email notification is available in FastLane, and we are excited to add the capability in Research.gov.
Modernizing Proposal Preparation and Submission
NSF’s modernization of its FastLane system continues with the goal of improving the user experience to prepare and submit NSF proposals, while also reducing administrative burden for both proposers and NSF staff. As capabilities are migrated from FastLane to Research.gov, the system features will expand until it eventually replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission.
While proposers can still prepare and submit collaborative proposals with subawards as well as full, research non-collaborative proposals in FastLane, we encourage the research community to use the new Research.gov proposal system because as NSF continues to enhance the new system incrementally, your vital feedback is being incorporated during the development process.
Preparing and Submitting Proposals in Research.gov
Here’s some of the current Research.gov features that proposers are enjoying:
- Integrated compliance checks for fonts, margins, and line spacing;
- Real-time compliance feedback and alerts, so proposers know a proposal section is compliant before moving on to another section;
- Specific checks on the budget screens and for Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) uploads;
- A few seconds to upload documents versus 30-90 seconds for each document upload in FastLane; and
- Embedded relevant sections of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and video job aids, so proposers don’t have to go to multiple sites to access guidance and tools.
Initiating a Proposal in Research.gov
By answering a few questions in the five-step proposal wizard, Research.gov customizes the set-up process and compliance rules for the proposal being created. In addition, the proposal wizard dynamically drives the proposal sections that are required on subsequent screens.
If you have not done so already, we invite you to initiate a proposal in Research.gov by following the steps outlined below:
- Open Research.gov and click “Sign In” located at the top right of the screen;
- Enter your NSF ID and password and click “Sign In;”
- From the Research.gov “My Desktop” page, click “New! Prepare Proposals (Limited proposal types)” in the “Prepare & Submit Proposals tile” or go to this option from the top navigation bar by selecting the “Prepare & Submit Proposals” tab and clicking on “New! Prepare Proposals (Limited proposal types);”
- Select the “Prepare Proposal” option in the “Prepare New Proposal” tile on the left side of the Proposal Preparation page; and
- Follow the five-step proposal wizard to set up the proposal.
After completing the initiation steps, you are ready to complete all required and optional sections of your proposal and then submit it to NSF.
NSF wants to hear from you! To submit feedback about the new Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site:
- Go to the Research.gov Feedback page;
- Choose “Other” under the Site Area dropdown menu;
- Include your feedback in the Comments or Suggestions field; and
- Click Submit when you are ready to send your feedback to NSF.
Training Resources and Additional Information
- Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission web page – This web page includes links to FAQs and video job aids (Initiating a Proposal, How to Manage Personnel & Senior Personnel Documents, How to Work on a Proposal Budget, How to Upload a Collaborators and Other Affiliations Document, and How to Submit a Research Proposal in Research.gov). Note: If a video does not automatically play in your browser, please try viewing the video using a different browser.
- Automated Proposal Compliance Checks for Proposals Submitted via Research.gov – This checklist presents all of the current Research.gov automated proposal compliance checks, together with the associated non-compliant errors or warnings.
- Additional information about proposal preparation and submission in Research.gov, including FAQs, is available on the Electronic Research Administration (ERA) Forum website.
Please share this information with your colleagues. If you have IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Policy-related questions should be directed to email@example.com.
Subject: NSF-approved Biographical Sketch Format
Please be advised that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the National Institutes of Health’s SciENcv (Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae) as an NSF-approved format for submission of biographical sketch(es) and is encouraging its use to prepare a biographical sketch for inclusion in proposals to NSF.
In accordance with the current Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1), a biographical sketch (limited to two pages) is required for each individual identified as senior personnel on a proposal, and a separate biographical sketch PDF file, or other NSF-approved format, must be uploaded in FastLane for each designated individual (see PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.f.). The biographical sketch and file format requirements also apply to NSF proposals submitted through Research.gov and Grants.gov.
Use of an NSF-approved format aims to reduce administrative burden and improve efficiencies by providing proposers with a compliant and reusable way to maintain this information for subsequent proposal submissions to NSF, while also ensuring that the information is submitted in a searchable composition.
Beginning with the next iteration of the PAPPG (anticipated effective date, January 2020), NSF will only accept PDFs for biographical sketches that are generated through use of an NSF-approved format. A description of NSF-approved format(s) will be posted on the NSF website when the PAPPG is issued. A draft version of the PAPPG was published in the Federal Register for public comment. The deadline for submission of comments is COB July 29, 2019.
Multiple training resources are available on the SciENcv website. The following website resources may be of assistance to proposers preparing a biographical sketch using the SciENcv format:
- SciENcv Background
- YouTube Video: SciENcv Tutorial
- YouTube Video: Integrating with ORCID
- SciENcv Help
We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. If you have IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Policy-related questions should be directed to email@example.com.