NSF 99-83


4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230

February 8, 1999


      Office of the
Assistant Director for
Biological Sciences


Dear Colleague:

FastLane has become an integral part of NSF. It is vital for facilitating business transactions and exchange of information with our client community including researchers, educators, reviewers, research administrators, and others doing business with the Foundation. This letter sets forth plans within the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) for implementing efficient and effective use of FastLane technologies.


Since March 1998, BIO has encouraged Principal Investigators to submit unsolicited proposals electronically via NSF’s FastLane System. Electronic submission has proven an effective means of expediting communication between the NSF and Principal Investigators (PIs) and University grants offices, of improving the timeliness of service to the community, and of ensuring accurate data entry into NSF databases by direct electronic capture.

Therefore, beginning May 3, 1999 for all unsolicited proposals submitted to programs in BIO:

  1. The following proposal items must be submitted electronically by FastLane:

2. The full proposal must be submitted either electronically by FastLane (in which case the items above will be included), or by mailing paper copies of the proposal to the NSF as before. We strongly recommend that you submit your entire proposal electronically by FastLane. Submission of paper copies of the full proposal by mail is required only if you do not submit the full proposal by FastLane. Please note that where specific BIO solicitations require submission of the full proposal by FastLane, those instructions must be followed. Complete instructions are given on the FastLane web page, which can be accessed at http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/.

In addition to proposal preparation and submission, the NSF FastLane System includes a number of operational and information dissemination/external support features. Over the next several months, as detailed below, the Directorate for Biological Sciences will be requiring the use of FastLane for specific transactions.


As of October 1, 1998 the Foundation has required that all Principal Investigators use the new Project Reporting System format for submission of annual and final project reports. Previous versions of the annual and final project report forms are no longer accepted. The Directorate for Biological Sciences strongly recommends that annual and final reports be transmitted through NSF’s electronic Project Reporting System via FastLane. PIs unable to access the FastLane Project Reporting System can obtain a paper form by mail to the NSF Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 218, Jessup, MD 20794-0218, or by phone (301) 947-2722, or by e-mail to
pubs@nsf.gov. NSF expects to require electronic submission of all annual and final project reports by FastLane beginning in October 1999.


Effective May 3, 1999, Grantee Post-Award notifications to the NSF and requests for approval by the NSF that are supported by FastLane will only be accepted in that manner. See the FastLane web page at
http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/ for a complete set of FastLane supported functions.


BIO’s goal is to receive 90% of our reviews by FastLane by the end of FY 1999. Starting immediately, reviewers will no longer receive paper copies of the review form, but will be given specific guidance for submitting reviews through FastLane.


Beginning in February 1999, the FastLane Proposal Status Module will have additional information (such as specific post-panel callback dates or estimated decision dates for a particular group of proposals) that will be posted by NSF Program Officers. PIs and Sponsored Research Offices are encouraged to use this FastLane feature for routine information.

Questions about the substance of the proposal and the scientific review should, as always, be directed to the Program Officers in the relevant programs. Procedural and technical questions about these upcoming changes should be directed to the Information and Automation Resources Unit, Directorate for Biological Sciences at
biofl@nsf.gov. Further information about the Directorate for Biological Sciences, staff and related programs can be found on the Directorate Website at http://www.nsf.gov/bio/.



Mary E. Clutter
Assistant Director



The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation regarding NSF programs, employment, or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 306-0090 or through FIRS on 1-800-877-8339.


NSF 99-83 (Replaces NSF 98-85)
Electronic Dissemination Only