Section I. Introduction to Preparation of Proposals


Contents of this chapter

General Information

The Foundation considers proposals submitted by individuals or groups for support in most fields of science and engineering (see Appendix A for programs). Interdisciplinary proposals are also eligible for consideration.

NSF does not normally support technical assistance, pilot plant efforts, research requiring security classification, the development of products for commercial marketing, or market research for a particular project or invention. Bioscience research with disease-related goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis, or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals, is normally not supported. Animal models of such conditions or the development or testing of drugs or other procedures for their treatment also are not eligible for support. However, research in bioengineering, with diagnosis or treatment-related goals, that applies engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine while advancing engineering knowledge is eligible for support. Bioengineering research to aid persons with disabilities is also eligible.

Research proposals (not proposals for conferences or workshops) to the Biological Sciences Directorate cannot be duplicates of proposals to any other Federal agency for simultaneous consideration. The only exceptions to this rule are: (1) when the proposers and program managers at relevant Federal agencies have previously agreed to joint review and possible joint funding of the proposal; and (2) proposals from beginning investigators (individuals who have not been a principal investigator on a Federally funded award with the exception of doctoral dissertation, postdoctoral fellowship, or research planning grants). For proposers who qualify under this latter exception, processing will be assisted by checking the box for "Beginning Investigator" on the Cover Sheet for Proposal to the National Science Foundation, NSF Form 1207.

NSF expects strict adherence to the rules of proper scholarship and attribution, which are at the heart of the research community, the communication of research results, and the competitive merit-review system on the basis of which NSF makes awards. The responsibility for proper attribution and citation rests with authors of a research proposal, all parts of which should be prepared with equal care for this concern. Failure to adhere to such standards can result in disqualification of the proposal. NSF Regulations on Misconduct are contained in the Grant Policy Manual, Section 666, which is available from the Government Printing Office at (202) 783-3238 or by writing to Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402.

The Foundation encourages proposals with a requested duration of 3 to 5 years, where it is technically and managerially advantageous.