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NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF)
Revisions and Updates
Effective May 24, 2001, this program solicitation has been updated to reflect a change in the Full Proposal Deadline(s) date.
1) The text that was added to the Full Proposal
October 10, 2001 -- In following years, the deadline will be the 2nd Wednesday in October.
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 Web Site at:
Program Title: NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF)
Synopsis of Program: The NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships provide an opportunity for highly qualified young investigators within 3 years of obtaining their PhD to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. Fellows may engage in research of observational, instrumental, or theoretical nature, 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 can be taken to the institution or national facility of their choice. The program is intended to recognize young investigators of significant potential, and 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):
Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:
PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
A. Proposal Preparation Guidelines
B. Budgetary Information
C. Deadline/Target Dates
D. FastLane Requirements
PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION
AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
The NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships provide an opportunity for highly qualified young investigators within 3 years of obtaining their PhD to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. Fellows may engage in research of observational, instrumental, or theoretical nature, 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 can be taken to the institution or national facility of their choice. The program is intended to recognize young investigators of significant potential, and provide them with experience in research and education that will establish them in positions of distinction and leadership in the community.
NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF) are available for the support of highly qualified young investigators 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, 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 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 capability 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 applicants must present a coherent program of educational activities as part of their proposal. Examples of such activities include teaching one course each year of the fellowship at their host institution or an academic institution with ties to their host institution, or engaging in a significant, coordinated program of outreach or general education. 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.
Fellows may propose to hold the fellowships at any US institution of higher education, NSF-funded national centers, facilities, or institutes, such as the national observatories or the Institute for Theoretical Physics, and non-profit organizations with research and educational missions. Tenure of fellowships at international sites that are operated by US organizations, such as Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory or Gemini South, is allowed. Fellows are expected to be fully integrated into the educational and research activities of their host institution.
The applicant 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. Normally changes of institution would be sequential, in moving from one institution to another during the duration of the fellowship, but 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 single institution must be designated by the applicant to receive the institutional allowance. In any case, the justification of the choice of institutions must be made clearly and compellingly.
Eligibility is limited to citizens or permanent residents of the United States who have earned a doctoral degree within 3 years of the proposal deadline date or expect to receive the doctoral degree by 1 September of the award year. Fellowships are awarded to individuals, and proposals must be submitted directly by the applicant to NSF. Individuals who have not yet received their doctoral degrees 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 their fellowships at their host institutions.
Support may be requested for periods of up to 3 years, at a level of $60,000 per year. NSF anticipates up to 10 awards annually, subject to availability of funds. Fellowship stipends of $45,000 annually, are paid directly to the Fellow on a monthly schedule. A research allowance of $10,000 per year is provided to the Fellow for expenses directly related to the conduct of research, such as computing, travel, publication charges, and other research needs. An institutional allowance of $5,000 per year is paid to the host institution for the purposes of providing fringe benefits, including health insurance for the Fellow, and for expenses incurred in support of the Fellow, such as general purpose supplies and use of equipment and facilities. No additional stipend, salary, or other remuneration may be accepted from any other appointment, fellowship, or grant during the period of the fellowship. 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 March following the year of the 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 their 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.
Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 00-2). The complete text of the GPG (including electronic forms) is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf002/start.htm. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
Before starting proposal preparation in FastLane, the applicant must be registered as an awardee institution. Detailed instructions are available at : https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm#individualregistration.
Proposals must include all of the following items in the order given below. In cases where requirements given in this document differ from those given in Part II of the Grant Proposal Guide, the former takes precedence.
(a) NSF Cover Page - NSF Standard FastLane Form 1207
(b) Information about Principal Investigators/Project Directors - NSF Standard FastLane Form 1225. This form will be generated automatically by FastLane.
(c) Table of Contents - NSF FastLane Form 1359. This form will be generated automatically by FastLane.
(d) Project Summary, up to 250 words - NSF Standard FastLane Form
(e) Project description, not to exceed ten single-spaced pages, which must include the following information :
i. A detailed plan for research and education;
ii. A detailed justification for the choice of the host institution, identifying collaborating scientist(s) and educational mentors, relating the proposed work to current research and educational efforts at the host institution, and describing facilities and resources available and the suitability of the host institution;
iii. A description of the long term career goals of the applicant and the role of this postdoctoral experience in achieving them.
(f) References cited. Use the NSF Standard FastLane Form.
(g) Biographical Sketch and list of publications with full title and complete references - please do not send reprints or abstracts. Use NSF Standard FastLane Form.
(h) NSF Budget Page - NSF Standard FastLane Form 1030 (see section below for allowable costs).
(i) Current and Pending Support - NSF Form 1239. Indicate applications to other fellowship programs.
The following item is considered to be Supplementary Documentation and is the only item permitted as supplementary documentation or appendices. Supplementary documentation should be saved as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file and uploaded into the supplementary documentation form.
(j) A letter of endorsement from the prospective host institution, which indicates that the applicant's proposal has been read and approved by at least one faculty or staff member of the host institution and endorsed by an official of the host institution. The letter should indicate that adequate facilities and support will be provided for the fellow, 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 considered a full participating member of the scientific and teaching faculty of the institution. The letter should include a discussion of the role the faculty or staff member will play in the professional development of the fellow, and of the opportunities for training and research at the host institution that will be of particular benefit to the fellow. Should the applicant propose to hold the fellowship at more than one institution through the 3-year tenure, letters of endorsement must be provided for all institutions involved.
Since this program relies on reviewed proposals rather than applications, letters of recommendation will not be considered.
Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement/solicitation number (NSF 00-136) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207). Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
Cost Sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation .
Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: Not applicable.
Other Budgetary Limitations: Award amounts are $60,000 annually.
Proposals submitted in response
to this announcement/solicitation must be submitted by
5:00 PM, local time on the following date(s):
Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call 1-800-673-6188.
Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. The signed copy of the proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207) must be postmarked (or contain a legible proof of mailing date assigned by the carrier) within five working days following proposal submission and be forwarded to the following address:
Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.
Proposals will be reviewed against the following general review criteria established by the National Science Board. Following each criterion are potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the evaluation. These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Each reviewer will be asked to address only those that are relevant to the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.
Principal Investigators should address the following elements in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both of the above-described NSF merit review criteria. NSF staff will give these elements careful consideration in making funding decisions.
A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and signed by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are mailed to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.
All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Mail 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.
NSF will be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months for 95 percent of proposals. The time interval begins on the proposal deadline or target date or from the date of receipt, if deadlines or target dates are not used by the program. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.
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 its own risk.
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 Division 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. A, for additional information on the review process.)
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 (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions * and (5) any NSF brochure, program guide, announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.
*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's web site at https://www.nsf.gov/home/grants/grants_gac.htm. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, (NSF 95-26) available electronically on the NSF web site at https://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpm. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO web site at http://www.gpo.gov.
For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.
Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.
NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on: project participants (individual and organizational); activities and findings; 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.
General inquiries should be made to the NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships Program:
The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at https://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gp. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.
Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices listed in Appendix A of the GPG. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at https://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service (https://www.nsf.gov/home/cns/start.htm) to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.
There are a number of other NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities including the following:
NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science and Engineering
Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships and Supporting Activities
International Research Fellow Awards
Information on the above activities and other postdoctoral fellowships may be found through the NSF Web site at : http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/DGE/postdoc.pdf
ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Awardees 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/solicitation for further information.
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, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.
The National Science Foundation is committed to making all of the information we publish easy to understand. If you have a suggestion about how to improve the clarity of this document or other NSF-published materials, please contact us at email@example.com.
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; 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 applicant 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 needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; 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," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.
Pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Information Dissemination Branch, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, or to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation (3145-0058), 725 - 17th Street, N.W. Room 10235, Washington, D.C. 20503.