Division of Ocean Sciences - Spring 2001 Newsletter

Avoid Glitches in Proposal/Award Processing!

Final/Annual Project Reports: If you are in a hurry to have your award processed and begin the research, do not neglect to submit final reports for previous awards. We cannot complete processing of award recommendations while a PI or co-PI on the award has an overdue final report. Overdue annual reports cause the same problem on continuing awards by blocking the continuing grant increments. When the award processing stalls out, jackets can sit for days or weeks while we contact the PIs or co-PIs to submit the overdue document. If the report is due to another Directorate, Division, or Program it may take days before the appropriate Program Officer reads and approves the report. It may be even longer before we find out about the approval. You can see where this is headed! From our perspective, we have a goal for timely processing of proposals and missing reports are a source of significant delay. The bottom line is that submitting timely progress and final reports will help us all.

Proposal Guidelines: Although things have become considerably more efficient with the new electronic proposal system, there seem to be an increasing number of proposals that do not conform to NSF guidelines provided in the Grant Proposal Guide. These deficiencies include:

  • Incomplete Biographical Sketches: Per NSF guidelines, we need complete biographical sketches for all senior project personnel. We need a full specification of recent collaborators to identify conflicts of interest. We do not need your history of grant support, cruises, courses taught, etc. Please read the guidelines carefully and follow them.

  • Improper format (usually fonts, margins, and line spacing that are too small): We have received numerous complaints from reviewers regarding proposal readability, including those who have declined to review proposals for that reason. We expect proposers to meet the guidelines published by the NSF. Proposal margin and spacing requirements are specified in the Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 01-2) in Chapter II Section B.2 and include the following:

    Proposals must have 2.5 cm margins at the top, bottom and on each side. The type size must be clear, readily legible, and conform to the following three requirements: 1) the height of the letters must not be smaller than 10 point; 2) type density must be no more than 15 characters per 2.5 cm; (for proportional spacing, the average for any representative section of text must not exceed 15 characters per 2.5 cm); and 3) no more than 6 lines must be within a vertical space of 2.5 cm. [Note: Although 10 pt height is mentioned, not all 10 pt fonts will meet the 15 characters per 2.5 cm spacing requirement.]

  • Incomplete Budget Information, particularly missing or incomplete subcontracts: Subcontract budgets, similar to the Institutional budgets, are needed to indicate where and how funds will be spent. This information is needed before the proposal is reviewed.

We will redouble efforts to check compliance and send proposals back to the institutions and investigators for complete resubmission following correction.

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