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Travel Instructions for Panelists

Please note: Policies on this page reflect those of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, NOT the entire National Science Foundation.

If you are selected and confirmed to serve on a panel for the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (ENG/IIP), you will be authorized to travel on behalf of NSF, a Federal Government agency. Please be aware NSF is operating in line with Executive Order 13589 and OMB Memorandum 12-12, which require all Federal agencies to reduce costs for travel and conferences.

The Directorate for Engineering REQUIRES all panelists to use the Panelist Function component of NSF's FastLane system. We request that you submit your travel information and your banking information via FastLane.

You will receive an email notification with travel guidelines and instructions. This notification is to be used as a substitute for traditional government travel orders. Please take a copy of the email to the airport and to your hotel to ensure that you receive government rates.

Compensation for Non-Local Panelists

For participants who are not federal government employees and are US citizens or US permanent residents and reside outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area, the allowances for flat rate payments are as follows:

  • $480 for each meeting day and
  • $280 for each travel day (based on geographic point of origin and confirmed travel dates)*

* To ensure efficiency of a panel, NSF authorizes payment for one (1) travel day so that you, as the reviewer, can arrive in the Washington, DC metro area the evening before the panel date. Departure times must be scheduled after 5:00 pm on the final panel day. Depending on your geographic point of origin and confirmed travel dates, you may request a second travel day. Please send an email with your SATO Record Locator to Michelle Brown at micbrown@associates.nsf.gov. Michelle must confirm your actual dates of travel before approving payment for two travel days.

The flat rate payment covers lodging, meals, parking, local transportation and mileage incurred during the entirety of the trip, and incidental expenses. You do not need to submit receipts to NSF.

Compensation for Local Panelists

Participants who are not federal government employees and are US citizens or US permanent residents and reside in the Washington-Metropolitan area, which includes

  1. Maryland counties of Prince Georges and Montgomery
  2. Virginia counties of Arlington,Loudoun and Fairfax
  3. Cities of Washington, DC,Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax

The allowance for the flat rate payment is $280 for each meeting day and Real Time Conferencing (virtual) participants.

The flat rate payment for local participants covers costs associated with driving your personal vehicle or use of the METRO, MARC, or AMTRAK, local mileage expenses, parking, and meals.

Please be advised that NSF is required to issue IRS Form 1099, "Miscellaneous Income," to participants for Federal tax filing purposes when annual total compensation exceeds $600.

Compensation for Federal Employees and Non-US Citizens, Non-Permanent Residents

Under the existing travel regulations, federal employees and non-US Citizens/Permanent Residents are not eligible for the flat rate payment method from NSF. All panelists falling into one of these categories must submit receipts for their travel expenses (hotel and ground travel in the form of taxi, public transportation) to the NSF support staff on the day of the panel. If receipts are unavailable the day of the panel, the traveler must notify Michelle Brown (micbrown@associates.nsf.gov) immediately and submit travel receipts to NSF within two business days following panel completion.

Important Reimbursement Note: Rental cars are not allowed and will NOT be reimbursed. Additionally, limousine and/or car services and airport parking fees must be advantageous to the government and cannot exceed the cost of roundtrip taxi fare. The traveler MUST supply a taxi fare quote to substantiate these claims.

In an effort to support the U.S. Government wide cost reduction act and ensure integrity of panel outcomes, NSF expects all reviewers to arrive in the Washington, DC metro area the evening prior to panel meeting start date. Further, reviewers are expected to be in attendance for the duration of the panel meeting, and therefore, departure times must be scheduled after 5:00 pm on the final panel day. 

Depending on your geographic point of origin and confirmed travel dates, you may request additional travel time. Please send an email with your SATO Record Locator to Michelle Brown at micbrown@associates.nsf.gov. Michelle must confirm your actual dates of travel before approving additional travel time.

Important Facts About Government Travel at NSF

All travel arrangements must be made through SatoTravel. NSF pays for your transportation tickets directly through its approved travel agent, SatoTravel. When making your reservation, NSF requires that you supply SatoTravel with the Panel/Meeting ID provided in your authorization email. If a Panel/Meeting ID was not provided, please contact the NSF administrative support staff person that invited you to participate

DO NOT PURCHASE YOUR OWN AIR OR RAIL TICKETS. YOU WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED. Please contact the individuals listed at the bottom of this page to discuss any special ticketing or travel requests.

Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) does not allow NSF to pay for interim, unrelated points of travel. SatoTravel can make reservations from any point of origin to NSF and departing to another location. For example, if a panelist from Los Angeles needs to attend a meeting in Chicago after the panel meeting in Washington, they could be authorized by the Program to travel from Los Angeles to NSF to Chicago. It is then the panelist's responsibility to get back to Los Angeles. Interim, unrelated stops are still not allowed. Please contact the point of contact listed at the bottom of this page with specific requests.

Due to government law and regulation, you must fly the government contract carrier. If you have specific questions about this or if special circumstances arise, please contact the NSF administrative contact person indicated below.

SATO can make other (unrelated to NSF meeting) ticketing arrangements, but you must pay the difference between the government fare and the fare quoted by SATO using your personal credit card. We recommend you call SATO directly to make alternate arrangements.

Making Travel Reservations with SATO

There are 3 methods for making travel reservations:

Option 1: Make your reservations via FastLane at www.fastlane.nsf.gov and click on "Panelist Functions." The word "panelist" refers to invited participants on proposal review panels, advisory committees, COVs, and site visits. Next, login using your name, the panel ID, and password provided by the program office and click on "Panelist Travel System." Here you can fill out a reservations worksheet that is transmitted electronically to SatoTravel. Sato will make your reservations and email you your itinerary. This is the preferred method of making travel reservations. Please note, all IIP panel meetings are expected to end by 5:00 p.m. on the final panel day, departure flights should be reserved for 6:00 p.m. or later.

Option 2: Email your travel request to SatoTravel at travel@nsf.gov. Please include the following information in your travel request: name, email address, home address, home and work phone numbers, meeting ID, your departure/return location (train station or airport), and the dates and times of preferred travel.

Option 3: Call SatoTravel directly with your request at 1-800-817-5257. Their office hours are 7:30 a.m.- 8:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. For emergencies call Sato at 1-800-827-7777. SatoTravel will ask for your meeting or panel ID. This number should be in the invitational letter sent by the program office.

Travel mode-specific Information:

  • Airports: SatoTravel is instructed to ticket panelists to depart from the closest airport to their place of residence. Panelists normally arrive via Washington Reagan National Airport, although Washington Dulles International Airport is a reasonable alternative. SatoTravel issues electronic tickets three days prior to the travel date. You will receive an email confirmation with an attached electronic invoice. The attached invoice may be used for airport entry. Please note that SatoTravel no longer issues paper tickets. If you do not receive your electronic ticket in a timely manner, contact SatoTravel directly.
  • Train: SatoTravel will provide a round-trip train ticket based on the closest train station to your place of residence. Panelists arrive at Washington's Union Station. Upon arrival at Union Station, you may take a cab or the Metrorail to the National Science Foundation.
  • Personal Vehicle: You may elect to drive to the NSF, but only if it is cost effective to the government. If you choose to use a personal vehicle in lieu of an airline or train and if the roundtrip mileage is over 300 miles, the total reimbursement is limited to the normal cost of the government-contracted airfare. If the roundtrip mileage is 300 miles or less, NSF will pay all mileage and tolls incurred. Please contact your NSF administrative contact person for current mileage rates. In order to be reimbursed for your privately owned vehicle (POV) expenses, you must complete a POV reimbursement form. This form will be provided at the start of the panel meeting or you can request one from your NSF administrative contact person. Please note that local parking expenses are not reimbursed.
  • Metrorail (Washington's subway system): The National Science Foundation is at the Ballston-MU station on the Orange Line in Virginia.

Please note that rental cars are not authorized or reimbursable. Additionally, local ground transportation (including parking) will not be reimbursed for any participant (including local participants). All costs associated with ground transportation are already included in your flat rate reimbursement.

Hotel Information

NSF contractor Accommodations Unlimited is available to assist you with securing a hotel room. Please contact Wendi Picker at 800-201-4005 or nsf@wedothelegwork.com. Accommodations Unlimited is very familiar with NSF and the panel process and are experts at finding availability at government or discounted rates. Wendi is qualified to take your information and make your reservation, all you need to provide are the dates of travel and a credit card number w/expiration date to guarantee your reservation.

If you choose not to use Accommodations Unlimited, please contact any hotel of your choice and make the necessary reservations at least two weeks prior to the panel meeting. The National Science Foundation is located at the Ballston-MU station on the Orange Line of the Metrorail.

If the panel or travel is delayed or canceled for any reason, the traveler is responsible for canceling their hotel reservations. Neither the National Science Foundation nor Accommodations Unlimited is responsible for canceling or changing travel reservations on your behalf.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Payment Information

All participants (except Federal government employees and non-US Citizens/Permanent Residents), must login to FastLane at www.fastlane.nsf.gov to provide banking information to NSF for their EFT payment. To get started, go into FastLane and click on "Panelist Functions". Login and go to the Panelist Banking System and enter in the required information. The information in FastLane is transferred nightly to NSF’s accounting system and is a faster and safer alternative to submitting paper forms. This can even be done at the meeting site. REMEMBER: "Panelist" refers to participants of proposal review panels, advisory committees, COVs, and site visits.

Foreign travelers receive reimbursement via a paper check mailed by the US Treasury. Currently, the Federal government cannot process international electronic transactions. The NSF Faststart Direct Deposit Form is used to record the address that checks should be mailed. The first section should be completed and please include your email address. A form can be obtained from your program office and sent by email.

Travel Questions
For specific travel questions involving participation in a Review Panel for the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnership, Please contact:

Michelle Brown
Phone: 703-292-2668
Email: micbrown@associates.nsf.gov

Amanda Morris
Phone: 703-292-7055
Email: amorris@associates.nsf.gov

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.