Award & Continued Support

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A. Standard and Continuing Support

NSF awards two types of grants:

Standard Grants, in which NSF agrees to provide a specific level of support for a specified period of time with no statement of NSF intent to provide additional future support without submission of another proposal, and

Continuing Grants, in which NSF agrees to provide a specific level of support for an initial specified period of time, usually a year, with a statement of intent to provide additional support of the project for additional periods, provided funds are available and the results achieved warrant further support.

Notification of a NSF grant is by a letter signed by a NSF Grants Officer, addressed to the Grantee Organization. A NSF grant consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the grant 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 grant conditions{17}, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF GC-1) or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions and (5) any NSF brochure, program guide, announcement/solicitation or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF grants to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

Effective/Expiration Dates and Preaward Costs. The grant period begins on the effective date specified in the award letter or, in its absence, the date of the award letter and runs until the expiration date indicated. Expenditures incurred within the 90-day period preceding the effective date of the grant may be authorized by the grantee organization. Such expenditures, however, are made at the grantee’s risk. Expenditures after the scheduled expiration date of the grant may be made only to honor documented commitments made on or before the expiration date. PIs should consult their business offices for details.

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B. Additional Support

1. Incremental Funding

Incremental funding for continuing grants within the total duration of the project is based on NSF review of project reports and does not require submission of a new proposal. For each increment, an annual project report addressed to the cognizant program office, with a copy to the Authorized Organizational Representative, must be received by NSF at least three months before the end of the period currently being funded. For information on the new NSF electronic reporting system for submission of project reporting information, see Section VII.G.1.

2. Renewal Proposals

Renewal proposals are requests for additional funding for a support period subsequent to that provided by a standard or continuing grant. Renewal proposals compete with all other pending proposals and should be submitted at least six months before additional funding is required or consistent with an established deadline or target date. In preparing a renewal proposal, proposers should assume that reviewers will not have access to previous proposals.

All proposals for renewed support of research projects from academic institutions only must include, as part of Results from Prior NSF Support, information about any contribution of the completed project to the education and development of human resources in science and engineering at the postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate levels{18}. Non-academic organizations are exempt from this requirement. (See Section II.D.4. for more information.)

PIs are encouraged to discuss renewal proposals with the Program prior to submission of a proposal. Unless precluded by individual program requirements, PIs can choose either of the following two formats for preparation of a renewal proposal. Both of these formats can be submitted via FastLane.

  • Traditional Renewal. The "traditional" renewal proposal is developed as fully as though the proposer were applying for the first time. It covers all the information required in a proposal for a new project, including results from the prior work. The 15-page limitation on the project description applies.

  • Accomplishment-Based Renewal. In an "Accomplishment-Based Renewal" (ABR) proposal, the project description is replaced by copies of no more than six reprints of publications resulting from the research supported by NSF (including research supported by other sources that is closely related to the NSF-supported research) during the preceding three to five year period. Of the six publications, two preprints (accepted for publication) may be included. In addition, a brief summary (not to exceed four pages) of plans for the proposed support period must be submitted. All other information required for NSF proposal submission remains the same. It must be clearly indicated in the proposal and the box for "Accomplishment-Based Renewal" should be checked on the NSF Form 1207. ABR proposals may not be submitted for consecutive renewals.

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3. Two-Year Extensions for Special Creativity

A Program Officer may recommend the extension of funding for certain research grants beyond the initial period for which the grant was awarded for a period of up to two-years. The objective of such extensions is to offer the most creative investigators an extended opportunity to attack adventurous, "high-risk" opportunities in the same general research area, but not necessarily covered by the original/current proposal. Awards eligible for such an extension are generally three-year continuing grants.

Special Creativity Extensions are initiated by the NSF Program Officer based on progress during the first two years of a three-year grant; PIs will be informed of such action a year in advance of the expiration of the grant.

4. Supplemental Funding

In unusual circumstances, small amounts of supplemental funding and up to six months of additional support may be requested to assure adequate completion of the original scope of work. The grantee may submit a request for supplemental funding to the cognizant NSF Program Officer at least two months before funds are needed. Program Officers may make decisions regarding whether or not to recommend a small supplement without merit review of the supplemental request. Requests for larger supplements may require merit review. Such requests should include a brief justification and a budget signed by the PI and the Authorized Organizational Representative. Supplemental funding requests will not be approved for such purposes as defraying costs associated with increases in salaries or additional indirect cost reimbursement. Grantees should contact the cognizant Program Officer prior to submitting a request for supplemental funding. (See GPM 264 for additional information on Supplemental Funding requests.)

Requests for supplemental funding may be submitted electronically via the FastLane Notification and Request module. To submit supplemental funding requests via FastLane, PIs should select the "Other" Request Option, provide the requested information, and then forward to their Sponsored Projects Office (or equivalent) upon completion. Upon review and concurrence, the authorized organizational official will then submit the request to NSF for approval. A paper copy of the NSF Form 1030 (Summary Proposal Budget Form) signed by both the PI and Authorized Organizational Representative should be forwarded to NSF and postmarked within five working days following submission of the supplemental funding request. Please note that some NSF Directorates require electronic submission of supplemental funding requests. Please check the cognizant Directorate or FastLane Web site to see if submission via FastLane is required.

In addition, limited supplemental funds are available for special NSF programs, such as Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities, Research Opportunity Awards, and Research Experiences for Undergraduates. (See Sections V.G- I and the appropriate program brochures.)

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C. No-Cost Extensions

1. Grantee-Authorized Extension

Grantees may authorize a one-time extension of the expiration date of the grant of up to 12 months if additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to assure adequate completion of the original scope of work within the funds already made available. This one-time extension may not be exercised merely for the purpose of using the unliquidated balances. The grantee shall notify the NSF Grants Officer in writing, providing supporting reasons for the extension and the revised expiration date, at least ten days prior to the expiration date specified in the grant to ensure accuracy of NSF’s grant data. For extensions provided by organizations, no amendment will be issued. Effective January 1, 2000, all grantee-authorized extensions must be submitted via the FastLane system. In the interim, grantees are strongly encouraged to use FastLane to transmit their no-cost extension notifications to NSF. FastLane submission provides real-time data accuracy for grantees and NSF. Please note that some NSF Directorates already require electronic submission of notification of grantee-authorized extensions via FastLane. Please check the cognizant Directorate or FastLane Web site to see if submission via FastLane is required.

2. NSF-Approved Extension

If additional time beyond the extension provided by the grantee is required and exceptional circumstances warrant, a formal request must be submitted to NSF. The cognizant NSF program office must receive two copies of the request, signed by the PI and the Authorized Organizational Representative, at least 45 days before the expiration date of the grant. The request must explain the need for the extension and include an estimate of the unobligated funds remaining and a plan for their use. As indicated above, that unobligated funds may remain at the expiration of the grant is not in itself sufficient justification for an extension. The plan must adhere to the previously approved objectives of the project. Effective January 1, 2000, all requests for NSF-approved extensions must be submitted via the FastLane system. In the interim, grantees are strongly encouraged to use FastLane to transmit their no-cost extension requests to NSF. Please note that some NSF Directorates already require electronic submission of requests for NSF-approved no-cost extensions via FastLane. Please check the cognizant Directorate or FastLane Web site to see if submission via FastLane is required. Any NSF-approved no-cost extension will be issued by a NSF Grants Officer in the form of an amendment to the grant specifying a new expiration date. Grantees are cautioned not to make new commitments or incur new expenditures after the expiration date in anticipation of a no-cost extension.

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