Information for IIS Panelists

This site guides you through aspects of participation as a merit review panelist.

If you require reasonable accommodations to serve as a panelist, such as assistive technology, captioning services, ergonomic furniture, or interpreting services, the NSF Office of Diversity and Inclusion can assist you. Please send a request to at least two weeks before the panel meeting start date.

Using Fastlane

FastLane is our system for registering for the panel, uploading proposal reviews, making travel, lodging, reimbursement arrangements, and daily sign-in.
To access Fastlane, please use the following steps:

To log in, enter your Panel ID, your last name, and your password. This information was sent to you in a separate welcome email. As soon as you log in, FastLane will prompt you to change your password. Make it memorable and keep it safe. It is needed for submitting reviews, being reimbursed, and performing key functions during the panel meeting. NSF cannot access your password once you have changed it, and if you forget your password, we can reset it. To request a password reset, contact your administrative point of contact.

Once logged in, click on the Reviewer Information section. Make sure your Reviewer and Demographic Information within this section are up-to-date.
Next, click on the Travel and Reimbursement link and complete the Participant Registration Questionnaire. Verify your Social Security Number and provide personal contact and banking information. This information is vital to NSF's ability to reimburse you via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If you are unable to receive an EFT reimbursement, contact us as soon as possible. Assistance with the FastLane Travel and Reimbursement System can be found here; You may also send an email to; call FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188. Click on "FastLane Help" in the upper right-hand corner of the FastLane website.

Arranging Travel

NSF provides travel arrangements to and from the panel at no cost. Note: It is a federal travel regulation that ALL travel arrangements are made through NSF's travel agent CI Travel. CI Travel can be accessed through FastLane or by phone at 1-855-896-7941 or eMail:

Do not purchase your airline ticket because you will not be reimbursed. Provide CI TRAVEL with the NSF Panel ID provided to you above. NSF will pay for a roundtrip plane or rail ticket between your home or workplace and the Washington area. You must book or change non-refundable tickets through CI TRAVEL only; NSF will not reimburse you for any ticket, fee, or penalty if you purchase or change the ticket through any other means.
Please complete the following steps to make your travel and reimbursement arrangements:

  • Go to FastLane at
  • Click on "Panelist Functions" located toward the top middle of the screen.
  • Log in with your credentials.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Travel and Reimbursement."
  • Complete "Participant Registration Questions."
  • Complete "Personal Contact and Banking Information."
    • Enter Social Security Information (if applicable). If you do not have a Social Security Number, please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188.
  • Book your travel arrangements
    • If you are traveling by air or train:
      • Book your travel through CI TRAVEL using the FastLane "Travel Arrangement" link.
        • Use the "Email Reservation Request Form."
          • After receiving your itinerary from CI TRAVEL via email, you must respond to Concur before CI TRAVEL issues your electronic ticket. CI TRAVEL will email your e-ticket 3-5 days before your travel date.
      • Alternatively, contact CI TRAVEL by phone at 1-855-896-7941.
      • If you have any problems or do not receive an itinerary within 5-7 days, please contact CI TRAVEL with your panel ID number.
    • If you are driving a personally owned vehicle (POV):

Arranging Lodging

  • Panelists are responsible for making their own lodging/hotel reservations. You can make these arrangements when you make your travel arrangements with CI TRAVEL. Alternatively, you can contact Hotel Lobbyists for assistance in making your hotel reservation by calling 202-641-5580 or emailing
  • You will need to provide your travel dates and a credit card number with an expiration date to guarantee your reservation.
  • Please confirm your reservation with your credit card as soon as possible. Rooms will be within the per diem rate for the District of Columbia area (including Virginia and Maryland). For per diem rates, see
  • Please check the hotel's cancellation policy.

The GSA Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) has ruled that anyone traveling on Federal support is prohibited from reimbursing for lodging utilizing Airbnb or similar room-share services.
Below is a list of nearby hotels within walking distance of NSF:

Holiday Inn Alexandria at Carlyle (0.2 miles)
Telephone: (703) 960-2000

Residence Inn Alexandria (0.3 miles)
Telephone: (703) 549-1155

The Westin Alexandria (0.4 miles)
Telephone: (703) 253-8600

Courtyard Marriott Alexandria Eisenhower (0.5 miles)
Telephone: (703) 329-2323

SpringHill Suites Alexandria Eisenhower (1.1 miles)
Telephone: (703) 317-0013

Wyndham Old Town Alexandria (1.1 miles)
Telephone: (703) 837-3400

Hilton Garden Inn at King Street (1.1 miles)
Telephone: (703) 302-8300

Embassy Suites Alexandria (1.1 miles)
Telephone: (703) 684-5900

Hilton Alexandria Old Town (1.1 miles)
Telephone: (703) 837-0440

Residence Inn at Duke Street (1.2 miles)
Telephone: (703) 548-5474


After the panel, NSF will provide reimbursement by direct deposit to your personal bank account. Direct deposit information is provided via FastLane by completing the steps found in the Arranging Travel section of this message. Reimbursement will cover your expenses (lodging, meals, taxi, etc.)

Note: Federal government employees are not entitled to reimbursement by NSF.


Type 2- Local

Local participants are U.S. citizens and permanent residents not employed by the Federal government who report to the meeting location within 35 miles. Local participants receive a flat-rate reimbursement allowance as follows:

  • $280 for each meeting day.


Type 1- Non-Federal, Non-Local, Attending On-Site

Non-local participants are U.S. citizens and permanent residents not employed by the Federal government who report to the meeting location outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Non-local participants receive a flat-rate reimbursement allowance as follows:

  • $480 for each meeting day; and
  • $280 for each travel day.

The program office determines the number of travel days that will be reimbursed. A maximum of two travel days may be authorized.


Type 3- Remote/Virtual

Remote participants are U.S. citizens, and permanent residents not employed by the Federal government who will not travel to the meeting location will instead participate remotely. Remote participants receive a flat-rate reimbursement allowance as follows:

  • $200 for each meeting day.

This rate applies whether remote participants are local or non-local.


Type 4- US Federal or Type 5- Non-US Citizen, Non-Permanent Resident

Are you a Federal Employee or Special Visa Holder? If you are a foreign national living in the U.S. under an H1B, O-1, or J-1 visa, you will not receive flat-rate compensation, but NSF will cover your travel expenses. Notify the administrative contact for your panel at least FOUR weeks before the panel for assistance with your travel logistics.
Foreign participants are not U.S. citizens and not resident aliens (green card holders). Foreign participants will not receive flat-rate reimbursement. You will instead be reimbursed for transportation expenses and per diem. Per diem rates are computed using the Washington, D.C. area rate, found at A list of detailed expenses and receipts is required for reimbursement.


If a participant uses a personal vehicle instead of an airline or train, and if the roundtrip mileage is over 300 miles, the total reimbursement is limited to the average cost of the government-contracted airfare. GSA mileage rate is available here:


Please note that rental vehicles are not authorized or reimbursable. If a rental vehicle is obtained as the primary form of transportation, it will be considered a personal vehicle in which the mileage may be claimed. Additionally, local ground transportation (including parking) will not be reimbursed for any participant (including local participants).

Physically Visiting NSF

NSF is located at 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. Information about visiting NSF can be found at the NSF website here:

Declaring Conflicts of Interest

In reviewing proposals submitted to NSF, please be mindful of potential conflicts of interest relevant to our review process. Information about conflicts of interest may be found at the NSF website:
A "Conflict-of-Interests and Confidentiality Statement for NSF Panelists" form is attached to your panelist logistics email. Please complete that form and send it to the administrative contact listed in your panelist logistics email (and not to the program officer). This form must be submitted before the start of the panel meeting.

Arranging Electronic Access While at NSF

Please email your administrative contact at least two weeks before the panel if you wish to use an NSF laptop during the merit review panel. Laptops will only be made available to those who have requested one beforehand. NSF will provide wireless access. You will receive instruction upon arrival.

Updated on May 23, 2022