The Next Phase of FASTLANE

Fastlane is designed to improve and automate the NSF's interactions with the research and educational communities. The Fastlane project uses the World Wide Web to facilitate exchange of information between the NSF and its client community. These interactions include proposal and project report submission, proposal review, processing status of proposals, cash transactions with the institutions, and information regarding NSF funding actions. Much information included in proposal submissions is repetitive. Fastlane allows us to collect this information once, permitting the user to change it as necessary, and have the information available for all subsequent proposals and reports.

OCE is committed to our role in making this project a success. Our first step was to encourage our reviewer community to utilize Fastlane as the primary means to return reviews. This has been a successful learning experience for the Fastlane developers, OCE, and our reviewers. As you can see, the experiment caused greater than a doubling of the reviews submitted via Fastlane.

The next step toward the integration of Fastlane with our community is the electronic cover-page submission. This function allows the Principal Investigator to prepare and submit the cover-page to the NSF with "smart forms" capability. This function pulls in all individual and institutional information available in the NSF mainframe database thereby minimizing the amount of information that must be typed in.

Benefits to you:

  • update your mailing & email address on-line;
  • quick routing of your proposal to the correct division and program;
  • reduction in the amount of repetitive data preparation and submission for NSF proposals;
  • reduction in amount of time needed for institutional approval; and
  • insurance that your proposal will utilize the most recent versions of NSF forms;
  • Benefits to NSF:

  • timely and accurate transfer of your proposal data to our corporate database;
  • reduction in staff time performing redundant data entry; and
  • more rapid review response.
  • Currently, electronic submission of the cover-page is optional for the unsolicited programs. However, several special programs require this function as part of the announcement of opportunity. Of relevance to ocean sciences community is the upcoming Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. We encourage you to experiment and utilize this function of Fastlane.

    It is hoped that the oceanographic community will support OCE in this effort to improved efficiencies within the system. Please contact Mike Reeve, Head of the Ocean Sciences Research Section, with any concerns or comments you may have.