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This Guide provides guidance for the preparation of unsolicited proposals to NSF. Some NSF programs have specific program solicitations that may modify the general provisions of this Guide. Contact with NSF program personnel prior to proposal preparation is encouraged.

Information in this Guide applies to all programs listed in Appendix A and related activities, such as foreign travel, conferences, symposia, equipment and facilities. Sources of additional information on these related activities are noted in the text or are available from appropriate Foundation programs.

General information about NSF programs may be found in the NSF Guide to Programs. Additional information about special requirements of individual NSF programs may be obtained from the appropriate Foundation program offices. Information about most program deadlines and target dates for proposals appears in the NSF Bulletin, an electronic publication available at: <>. Program deadline and target date information also appears in individual program announcements and solicitations and on relevant NSF Division Web sites. A complete listing of all upcoming deadlines, sorted by date and by program area is available on the NSF Web site at: <>.

NSF generally utilizes grants in support of research and education in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. In cases where assistance projects require substantial NSF technical or managerial involvement during the performance period, NSF uses cooperative agreements. While this Guide is generally applicable to both types of assistance awards, cooperative agreements may include different or additional requirements.

Informal information about NSF activities can be obtained on the Grants Bulletin Board. To make arrangements to access the bulletin board, send your electronic mail address along with your complete name, address and telephone number to: <>.

For detailed information about the award and administration of NSF grants and cooperative agreements, proposers and grantees may refer to the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) (NSF 95-26) or to Chapter VI of title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Manual is a compendium of basic NSF policies and procedures for use by the grantee community and NSF staff and is available by subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web site at: <>.

The NSF documents and manuals referenced above, including all forms contained in the GPG, may also be accessed electronically.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

NSF programs fall under the following categories in the latest Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration:

47.041 – Engineering Grants
47.049 – Mathematical and Physical Sciences
47.050 – Geosciences
47.070 – Computer and Information Science and Engineering
47.074 – Biological Sciences
47.075 – Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
47.076 – Education and Human Resources
47.078 – Office of Polar Programs

A listing of NSF Divisions, by CFDA number, is available on the NSF Web site at: <>.

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