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NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships   (AAPF)


Program Solicitation
NSF 07-572

Replaces Document(s):
NSF 03-578

 

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences
     Division of Astronomical Sciences

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

October 10, 2007

October 08, 2008

Second Wednesday in October, Annually Thereafter

REVISION NOTES

In furtherance of the President's Management Agenda, NSF has identified programs that will offer proposers the option to utilize Grants.gov to prepare and submit proposals, or will require that proposers utilize Grants.gov to prepare and submit proposals. Grants.gov provides a single Government-wide portal for finding and applying for Federal grants online.

In response to this program solicitation, proposers may opt to submit proposals via Grants.gov or via the NSF FastLane system.

This program solicitation has been updated to reflect the following revisions:

  • Award amount and structure have changed to increase the annual stipend and to create a separate benefits allowance that will allow flexibility in procuring health insurance and other benefits in response to varying institutional policies for postdoctoral fellows. See Section III on Award Information.
  • PI eligibility limitations have been changed to allow for interruptions in or part-time periods of postdoctoral training (e.g., for parental leave). Eligibility still allows for a maximum of three years of postdoctoral training prior to proposal submission but extends the potential time from degree to five years. See Section IV on Eligibility Information.
  • Proposal submission requirements have been updated  to require signature from the sponsoring scientist on the letter(s) of commitment and to incorporate current guidance on budget line items. See Section V on Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions.

Due to the unique nature of these proposals, submission via FastLane is strongly encouraged.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title: 

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships  (AAPF)

Synopsis of Program:

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships provide an opportunity for highly qualified, recent doctoral scientists to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. Fellows may engage in observational, instrumental, theoretical, laboratory or archival data research in any area of astronomy and astrophysics, in combination with a coherent educational plan for the duration of the fellowship. The program supports researchers for a period of up to 3 years with fellowships that may be taken to the institution or national facility of their choice. The program is intended to recognize early-career investigators of significant potential and to provide them with experience in research and education that will establish them in positions of distinction and leadership in the community. 

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

  • Dana E. Lehr, NSF AAPF Program Director, 1045 S, telephone: (703) 292-7456, fax: (703) 292-9034, email: dlehr@nsf.gov

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.049 --- Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:  Fellowship Grant

Estimated Number of Awards:    8 to  10  

Anticipated Funding Amount:   $600,000  to $750,000  in FY2008, subject to the availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Organization Limit: 

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships are awards to individuals; applications are submitted directly by the applicant to NSF. Each candidate must identify one or more sponsoring scientist(s) and host institution(s) at the time of proposal submission. Candidates may propose to hold the fellowship at U.S. institutions of higher education, NSF-funded national centers, facilities or institutes such as the national observatories or the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and/or non-profit organizations with research and educational missions. Fellowship tenure is also allowed at international sites that are operated by U.S. organizations, such as Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory or Gemini South.

PI Limit: 

Fellowships are awarded to individuals. The fellowship candidate submits his or her proposal directly to NSF. See the Additional Eligibility Information section for further information about eligibility limitations.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

There is no limit on the number of candidates or fellows that an organization may host.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 

 Each candidate may submit only one fellowship proposal per year.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not Applicable
  • Full Proposals:

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements: Cost Sharing is not required by NSF.  
  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:  

    In lieu of indirect costs, a host institutional allowance of $3,000 per year per applicant may be requested by the host institution as partial reimbursement of expenses incurred in support of the fellow.

  • Other Budgetary Limitations: Other budgetary limitations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

    October 10, 2007

    October 08, 2008

    Second Wednesday in October, Annually Thereafter

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria:   National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions:   Standard NSF award conditions apply

Reporting Requirements:   Standard NSF reporting requirements apply

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Summary of Program Requirements

  1. Introduction

  2. Program Description

  3. Award Information

  4. Eligibility Information

  5. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Due Dates
    4. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. NSF Merit Review Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process

  7. Award Administration Information
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements

  8. Agency Contacts

  9. Other Information

I. INTRODUCTION

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF) provide an opportunity for highly qualified, recent doctoral scientists to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. Fellows may engage in observational, instrumental, theoretical, laboratory or archival data research in any area of astronomy and astrophysics, in combination with a coherent educational plan for the duration of the fellowship. The program supports researchers for a period of up to 3 years with fellowships that may be taken to the institution or national facility of their choice. The program is intended to recognize early-career investigators of significant potential and to provide them with experience in research and education that will establish them in positions of distinction and leadership in the community. 

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF) are available for the support of highly qualified, recent doctoral scientists to carry out an integrated program of research and education at the institution of their choice.

Fellows are expected to carry out a strong, coherent research program in any area of astronomy and astrophysics, including areas of observation, instrumentation, theory, archival data studies or laboratory astrophysics. Applicants are encouraged to approach the fellowships as opportunities to broaden their experience with research that moves beyond their previous research focus and that takes a broad view of integrating disciplines, extending technical approaches to problems, or expanding collaborations. Research that highlights the creative use of or is clearly related to NSF-funded facilities, institutes, or projects is particularly encouraged. We encourage applicants to consider programs that focus on areas of research that are particularly facilitated or enabled by new ground-based capabilities in radio, optical/IR, or solar astrophysics, including the development of theory that guides their use or the interpretation of resulting data. 

Fellows are expected to include educational activities in their fellowship plans, and candidates must each present a coherent program of educational activities as part of his/her proposal. Examples of such activities include teaching one course each year at the host institution or an academic institution with ties to their host institution, developing educational materials, or engaging in a significant program of outreach or public education. As a rough guideline, fellows should plan to dedicate no less than 10% and no more than 25% of their time towards their educational activities; candidates should identify the anticipated time commitment for their proposed activities. Applicants are encouraged to discuss the proposed educational activities with their proposed host institution prior to proposal submission to ensure that their educational plan is consistent with opportunities and plans at the institution. 

Candidates may propose to hold the fellowship at U.S. institutions of higher education, NSF-funded national centers, facilities or institutes such as the national observatories or the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and/or non-profit organizations with research and educational missions. Fellowship tenure is also allowed at international sites that are operated by U.S. organizations, such as Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory or Gemini South. Fellows are expected to be fully integrated into the educational and research activities of their host institution. 

The fellowship candidate must present a coherent research and educational plan throughout the proposed duration of the fellowship. However, the applicant may propose to take the fellowship to more than one host institution. Changes of institution may be sequential, which permits moving from one institution to another during the duration of the fellowship. Holding the fellowship at two institutions simultaneously, for example at a national center and a nearby university, is also possible. In the event of proposing to hold a fellowship at more than one institution simultaneously, a primary host institution must be designated by the applicant to receive the institutional allowance. In any case, the justification of the choice of institution(s) must be made clearly and compellingly as related to the proposed research and education plans, the professional development of the fellow, and the activities of the host institution.

III. AWARD INFORMATION

Support may be requested for periods of up to 3 years at a level of $75,000 per year. NSF anticipates up to 10 awards annually, subject to availability of funds. Fellowships cannot be renewed. Interruptions in tenure or extensions without additional cost to NSF of up to 12 months are permitted with program approval.

The annual fellowship amount of $75,000 consists of four components:

  • an annual stipend of $55,000, paid directly to the fellow on a monthly schedule.
  • an annual research allowance of $10,000, provided to the fellow for expenses directly related to the conduct of the proposed research and education activities, such as materials and supplies, equipment, computing resources, travel, publication charges, and subscription fees.
  • an annual host institutional allowance of $3,000, paid to the host institution upon request for expenses incurred in support of the fellow, such as office space, general purpose supplies and use of equipment, facilities and other institutional resources.
  • an annual benefit allowance of $7,000, paid to either the fellow or the host institution in support of fringe benefits, including health insurance provided through either a group plan offered by the host organization or an individual plan secured by the fellow, dental and/or vision insurance, disability insurance, retirement, dependent care, and moving expenses.

No additional appointment or fellowship may be held during the period of the fellowship. No other remuneration from any source may be accepted during the period of the fellowship without permission of the program officer. For more information on allowable costs, see the relevant section of Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions below.

Successful applicants will be notified on or about 1 February following the proposal submission deadline. Those applicants selected to receive fellowships will be contacted by NSF and asked to provide additional information, such as completing acceptance forms and starting certificates, before starting their fellowships. Successful applicants who have not completed the PhD at the time of application must provide certification of the receipt of the PhD before receiving their fellowship award. Normally fellowships will be held at institutions specified in the proposal, but under certain circumstances and with suitable justification, fellows may transfer during the tenure of the fellowship to a new institution upon approval by NSF.

IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Organization Limit: 

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships are awards to individuals; applications are submitted directly by the applicant to NSF. Each candidate must identify one or more sponsoring scientist(s) and host institution(s) at the time of proposal submission. Candidates may propose to hold the fellowship at U.S. institutions of higher education, NSF-funded national centers, facilities or institutes such as the national observatories or the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and/or non-profit organizations with research and educational missions. Fellowship tenure is also allowed at international sites that are operated by U.S. organizations, such as Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory or Gemini South.

PI Limit: 

Fellowships are awarded to individuals. The fellowship candidate submits his or her proposal directly to NSF. See the Additional Eligibility Information section for further information about eligibility limitations.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

There is no limit on the number of candidates or fellows that an organization may host.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 

 Each candidate may submit only one fellowship proposal per year.

Additional Eligibility Info:

An individual is eligible to submit a proposal to the NSF AAPF Program if all of the following criteria are met:
  • The candidate is a citizen, national or permanent resident of the United States.
  • The candidate has earned the doctoral degree in an appropriate scientific field within five (5) years prior to the proposal deadline or will complete the doctoral degree by October 1 of the award year.
  • The candidate has not participated in postdoctoral training for a combined full-time-equivalent duration of more than three (3) years prior to the proposal deadline.

Any individual who has not yet received the doctoral degree at the time of application must, in the event of being selected for an award, present evidence of having completed all academic requirements before beginning the fellowship at the host institution. Fellowship tenure must begin on or before October 1 of the award year. 

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov or via the NSF FastLane system.

  • Full proposals submitted via FastLane: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov. Proposers are reminded to identify this program solicitation number in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
  • Full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via Grants.gov should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov. The complete text of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: (http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf). To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the Grants.gov site, then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Application Instructions link and enter the funding opportunity number, (the program solicitation number without the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper copies of the Grants.gov Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

Due to the unique nature of fellowship proposals, submission via FastLane is strongly encouraged. Only one proposal is permitted per individual. A full proposal consists of many parts and requires input from the fellowship candidate, the proposed sponsoring scientist(s), and the proposed host institution(s). Candidates are advised to begin the proposal well in advance of the submission deadline and to submit as early as possible. Partially completed proposals may be saved for future completion and submission. The submission of incomplete or late proposals is not permitted.

Before starting proposal preparation, the applicant must be registered as an individual awardee. To register as a new individual in FastLane go to: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/N1CheckROB. To register as a new individual in Grants.gov go to: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/individual_registration.jsp. Fellowship proposals must be submitted by the fellowship candidate, not by the candidates's current or proposed institutional Sponsored Projects Office (SPO). The candidate serves as his/her own SPO for the purposes of any research administration functions in FastLane or Grants.gov.

Proposals must include all of the following items. In cases where requirements given in this document differ from those given in the Grant Proposal Guide or the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide, this solicitation takes precedence.

Detailed instructions for submitting a proposal to the NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships Program are available from the FastLane homepage by clicking on the link for Postdoctoral Fellowships and Other Programs.  

  • NSF Cover Page.

  • Information about Principal Investigators/Project Directors.

  • Table of Contents. This form will be automatically generated by FastLane or Grants.gov.

  • Project Summary of up to 250 words describing the candidate's research and education plan. The project summary must also identify:

    • the proposed sponsoring scientist(s) and

    • the proposed host institution(s).

Proposals for which the project summary does not separately address both NSF merit review criteria will be returned without review. See the Grant Proposal Guide or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide instructions.

  • Project Description, not to exceed ten (10) single-spaced pages, which must include the following information:

    • a detailed plan for research and education;

    • a detailed justification for the choice of the host institution(s) that identifies collaborating scientist(s) and educational mentor(s), relates the proposed work to current research and educational efforts at the host institution(s), and describes available facilities and resources and the suitability of the host institution(s);

    • a description of the candidate's long-term career goals and the role of this postdoctoral experience in achieving them.

  • References Cited. See the Grant Proposal Guide or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide for format.

  • Biographical Sketch, not to exceed two (2) pages. See the Grant Proposal Guide or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide for format. The Biographical Sketch must clearly include all information necessary to certify the candidate's eligibility, as well as all components described in the Grant Proposal Guide or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide.

  • NSF Budget Page. The stipend and research allowance should be entered in, Participant Support Costs (Section F on the FastLane budget and Field E on the Grants.gov budget). Enter the $55,000 stipend in F.1 (FastLane) or E.2 (Grants.gov) and the $10,000 research allowance in F.4 (FastLane) or E.5 (Grants.gov). The $3,000 host institutional allowance and $7,000 benefit allowance should be entered in Other Direct Costs; enter these allowances as a sum total of $10,000 in G.6 (FastLane) or F.8 (Grants.gov). A budget justification is not required for fellowship applicants.

  • Current and Pending Support. Include current and planned applications to other fellowship programs. 

  • Letter(s) of Commitment, as described below, to be submitted as Supplementary Documentation. The signed letter(s) should be scanned into Portable Document Format (PDF) and uploaded as supplementary documentation. No other supplementary documentation or appendices are permitted.

The candidate must include a letter of commitment from the prospective host institution, signed by both the department chair (or equivalent) and the proposed sponsoring scientist. Should the applicant propose to hold the fellowship concurrently or sequentially at more than one institution through the 3-year tenure, letters of commitment must be provided for all institutions involved. 

The letter(s) should certify:

  • that the applicant's proposal has been read and approved by the proposed scientific mentor,

  • that adequate facilities and support will be provided for the fellow to accommodate the proposed research and/or education activities,

  • that the fellow's plan for teaching or education is aligned with the institution's educational plans and goals, and

  • that the fellow will be fully integrated into the educational and research activities of the host institution.

The letter(s) should also include a discussion of:

  • the role the proposed scientific and/or education mentor(s) will play in the professional development of the fellow, and

  • the opportunities for training and research at the host institution that will be of particular benefit to the fellow.

The NSF AAPF program relies on reviewed research and education proposals rather than applications. Hence, letters of recommendation will not be considered. A letter of commitment should not reflect a letter of recommendation and should make no subjective judgments regarding either the candidate or the proposed research and education plan.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing:   Cost sharing is not required by NSF in proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:  

In lieu of indirect costs, a host institutional allowance of $3,000 per year per applicant may be requested by the host institution as partial reimbursement of expenses incurred in support of the fellow.

Other Budgetary Limitations:  Award amounts are $75,000 annually.

Budget Preparation Instructions:  The stipend and research allowance should be entered in section F, Participant Support Costs; enter the $55,000 stipend in F1 and the $10,000 research allowance in F4.  The $3,000 host institutional allowance and $7,000 benefit allowance should be entered in section G, Other Direct Costs; enter these allowances as a sum total of $10,000 in G6.

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

    October 10, 2007

    October 08, 2008

    Second Wednesday in October, Annually Thereafter

D. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

  • For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:

    Detailed technical instructions regarding the technical aspects of preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

    Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane Website at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp.

  • For Proposals Submitted Via Grants.gov:
  • Before using Grants.gov for the first time, each organization must register to create an institutional profile. Once registered, the applicant's organization can then apply for any federal grant on the Grants.gov website. The Grants.gov's Grant Community User Guide is a comprehensive reference document that provides technical information about Grants.gov. Proposers can download the User Guide as a Microsoft Word document or as a PDF document. The Grants.gov User Guide is available at: http://www.grants.gov/CustomerSupport. In addition, the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide provides additional technical guidance regarding preparation of proposals via Grants.gov. For Grants.gov user support, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email: support@grants.gov. The Grants.gov Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Grants.gov. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this solicitation.

    Submitting the Proposal: Once all documents have been completed, the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must submit the application to Grants.gov and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to Grants.gov. The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.

VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES   

Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program and, if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements, for review. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer.

A. NSF Merit Review Criteria

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria: intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

The two NSB-approved merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which the reviewer is qualified to make judgements.

What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

Integration of Research and Education
One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

    Additional Review Criteria:

    In addition to the above criteria, the following factors will be used in the evaluation process:


    • Qualifications of the applicant and his/her potential for continued professional growth and leadership in the field;

    • Qualifications and suitability of the proposed host institution(s) and the scientific and educational collaborations proposed; and

    • Prospective benefits to the applicant, the scientific discipline, and the activities of the host institution(s).

B. Review and Selection Process

Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the date of receipt.  The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer.  In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See Section VI.B. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1); * or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions * and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/general_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require more frequent project reports). Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report.

Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports.  Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational) publications; and, other specific products and contributions.  PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.  Submission of the report via FastLane constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete.

VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

  • Dana E. Lehr, NSF AAPF Program Director, 1045 S, telephone: (703) 292-7456, fax: (703) 292-9034, email: dlehr@nsf.gov

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

  • Kim S. Elliott, Computer Specialist, 1053 S, telephone: (703) 292-4894, email: kelliott@nsf.gov

For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:

  • Grants.gov Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from Grants.gov within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail: support@grants.gov.

IX. OTHER INFORMATION

The NSF Website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this Website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, MyNSF (formerly the Custom News Service)is an information-delivery system designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Regional Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail or the user's Web browser each time new publications are issued that match their identified interests. MyNSF also is available on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/mynsf/.

Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.

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 about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov

  • Location:

4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230

  • For General Information
    (NSF Information Center):

(703) 292-5111

  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):

(703) 292-5090

  • To Order Publications or Forms:

Send an e-mail to:

pubs@nsf.gov

or telephone:

(703) 292-7827

  • To Locate NSF Employees:

(703) 292-5111


PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; and to another Federal agency, court, or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records, " 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0023. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 12 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Suzanne H. Plimpton
Reports Clearance Officer
Division of Administrative Services
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230



 

Policies and Important Links

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National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749

Last Updated:
11/07/06
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