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NSF-Approved Formats for the Biographical Sketch

NSF requires a biographical sketch (limited to two pages) for each individual identified as senior personnel. Detailed information about the content is available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter II.C.2.f.

The PAPPG requires that publication citations "include full citation information, including (where applicable and practicable) the names of all authors..." Senior personnel that wish to include publications in the products section of the biographical sketch that include multiple authors may, at their discretion, choose to list one or more of the authors and then "et al." in lieu of including the complete listing of authors' names. See PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.f(i)(c) for complete coverage of the requirements for the biographical sketch.

The PAPPG also requires senior personnel to list "all the individual's academic, professional, or institutional appointments, beginning with the current appointment." With regard to professional appointments, senior personnel must identify all current domestic or foreign professional appointments outside of the individual's academic, professional, or institutional appointments at the proposing organization.

The requirement to use an NSF-approved format for preparation of the biographical sketch will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020. In the interim, proposers must continue to prepare this document in accordance with the guidance specified in the PAPPG (NSF 20-1). NSF, however, encourages the community to use the NSF-approved formats and provide valuable feedback as we enhance them for the October implementation.

NSF recorded a webinar on the use of NSF-approved formats.

Approved formats for creating biographical sketches are:

  • SciENcv - (Revised May 1, 2020) NSF has partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae as an NSF-approved format for use in preparation of the biographical sketch section of an NSF proposal. Adoption of a single, common researcher profile system for Federal grants reduces administrative burden for researchers. SciENcv will produce an NSF-compliant PDF version of the biographical sketch. Proposers must save these documents and submit them as part of their proposals via FastLane, or
  • NSF Fillable PDF - (Revised May 1, 2020) NSF is providing a fillable PDF for use in preparation of the biographical sketch. Proposers should download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content. NSF recommends both Mac and Windows users open and fill in the blank PDF document using Adobe Acrobat Reader for an optimized experience. The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, or


For system-related questions, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188 or Policy-related questions regarding the content of the formats should be directed to