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Digital Government (Dig Gov)

Program Solicitation



November 7, 2002. Target due dates for subsequent years are the second Wednesday in October.




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Program Title: Digital Government (Dig Gov)

Synopsis of Program: Government is a major collector and provider of data and information, provider of information–based services and user of information technologies. The research goals of the Digital Government Program are to support:
1) multi-disciplinary and multi-sector partnerships of researchers in information technologies and government agencies at all levels in order to foster collaboration among societal sectors, and
2) research on the relationships between the design and use of information technologies on : i) forms, processes, and outcomes of democracy, ii) government organizational forms, learning, and adaptation, iii) new forms of government-government collaboration, iv) citizen/government interaction, and v) other social/political science research related to IT and government. Academic/government collaborations are expected to contribute to government strategic planning for information technologies and services (external and internal) while providing interesting and unique new research problems and data sets for the academic research community.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):




A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements





    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements


The Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) announces a multi-disciplinary, multi-sector research program on government information services and technologies. Two classes of proposals are sought:

Class 1 - Technically based computer and information science research (IT) on emergent technologies. These proposals will demonstrate a strong partnership between academic researchers and one or more government agencies in the design and execution of the research. Research in this area is expected to inform government strategic planning, but is not expected to result in technologies that can be deployed immediately in production environments. Any technical discipline funded by NSF’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering ( is appropriate.

Class 2 – Social, political, and behavioral research on the effect of information technologies on the forms, processes, impact and outcomes of IT within government, both from the standpoint of government agencies and from the standpoint of the public at large. Included here would be research on, for example, topics of digital democracy and new forms of IT-enabled civic interaction, exploration of governmental organization design, the relationship between IT design/adoption and inequality of access and use, and the impact of information-based networks on government agencies.

Proposals which include elements of both Classes are particularly welcome; i.e. collaboration of social, policy, and information sciences to help technical scientists understand the impact of their work on society, and to help social scientists develop a better understanding of future IT trends.


The emergence of the Internet and its applications has fundamentally altered the environment in which government agencies at all levels conduct their missions and deliver services. Affected as well are the underlying mechanisms of democracy and civic discourse. Concurrently, expectations of the public for government are being driven by their experience of the private sector’s rapid uptake and use of these information technologies in business-critical applications. In the arena of information technologies, government is unique in a number of ways. Among these are:

The goal of the Digital Government Program is to fund research at the intersections of the computer and information sciences research communities, related social, political, and behavioral science research communities, and the problems and missions of government agencies. The Program is predicated on three viewpoints:

  1. The government sector can usefully inform its strategic vision through academic research collaborations, thus speeding the innovation, development, deployment, and application of more advanced technologies, methods, policies and processes into usable systems.
  2. The uniqueness of the government arena presents new opportunities for academic researchers to gain access to important problems and data in real-world large-scale contexts.
  3. It is critical to understand and predict the impact of these technologies on government agencies and services, governance, and the democratic process.


Class 1 example topic areas:

Class 2 example topic areas:

Examples of cross-agency domain areas include:

On-line information on NSF programs in general may be found at
Further information and context for Digital Government research can be obtained from the following reports:

NSF expects to make grants in the following categories:

  1. Standard NSF research projects.
  2. Centers – proposers must demonstrate why a center is necessary, as opposed to other modes of support. Center activities might be focused around a particular government domain, a particular technical or social science discipline, a shared infrastructure, and/or other activities which are normally not supported under standard research grants.
  3. Workshops – primarily to develop research agendas for various government-related domains.
  4. Planning grants - preparatory to submission of full proposals the Digital Government program will support planning grants up to one year and $20,000. These are one-time awards that may be used for preliminary work to determine the feasibility of a proposed partnership or line of inquiry.
  5. Human development activities.
  6. Supplements of current NSF/CISE awards (not current awards under the Digital Government Program) to develop new government partnerships. Supplements may be up to 10% of the total award amount, or $100,000, whichever is lesser.
  7. Supplements of current Digital Government awards to develop more completely systems and software preparatory to full-time operation or commercial productization. These supplements are limited to 10% of the total award amount, or $100,000, whichever is lesser.
  8. Small Grants for Exploratory Research under NSF rules - see

Specifically, NSF expects to fund approximately:


The categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program announcement/solicitation.


Under this announcement/solicitation, proposals may be submitted for any funding amount up to $500,000 per year for up to three years. In exceptional cases, awards for up to five years may be considered if the justification and promise are compelling. Approximately $8 million will be available for this initiative in FY 2003, pending availability of funds. This amount may be supplemented by funds from other government agencies. Funding decisions/recommendations are anticipated six months after the target submission date.


A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal:

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). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from

Project elements might include a collaboration with one or more government agencies at any level (local, state, regional, tribal, Federal, international). The government agency will be a partner in the definition and execution of the proposed work. Such a partnership may not be necessary in Class 2 projects indicated above. Agencies are encouraged to partner through sharing of facilities, data, and personnel, as well as either direct funding for researchers or joint funding with the National Science Foundation, for support of non-government project costs. Participation by other sectors (vendors, industry, private research laboratories, foundations, other non-profit organizations) as appropriate, is encouraged.

As appropriate, proposals should also include:

NSF funds may not be used to support costs incurred by other agencies directly related to carrying out their missions, such as staff, travel, and cost of facilities. Inasmuch as NSF does not intend to supplement the budgets of other government agencies, NSF will support only the research elements of the work proposed. For the non-research parts of the project, other sources of support must be identified. Proposers are responsible for identifying and addressing in the proposal any constraints by law or regulation on the collection, creation, dissemination or disposition of data; in particular as related to their government partner agencies.

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-156) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.

Other Budgetary Limitations: Award amounts are limited to no more than $500,000/year for proposals submitted in response to this announcement

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):

Full Proposals:

November 7, 2002. Target due dates for subsequent years are the second Wednesday in October.

D. FastLane Requirements

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: For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this Program Solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this announcement/solicitation.

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Proposers are no longer required to provide a paper copy of the signed Proposal Cover Sheet to NSF. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at:


A. NSF Proposal Review Process

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.

The two National Science Board approved merit review criteria are listed below (see the Grant Proposal Guide Chapter III.A for further information). The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

NSF may initiate an additional round of discussions for those proposals which are considered fundable, to allow proposers to: 1) address review comments and 2) to strengthen their government partnerships.

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

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.

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the identities of reviewers, are sent 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.

In most cases, proposers will be contacted by the Program Officer after his or her recommendation to award or decline funding has been approved by the Division Director. This informal notification is not a guarantee of an eventual award.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the closing date of an announcement/solicitation or the date of proposal receipt (whichever is later). 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 one's own risk.


A. Notification of the Award

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.)

B. Award Conditions

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 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 Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site at 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

C. Reporting Requirements

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 regarding  Digital Government  should be made to: For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:


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 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. 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, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service ( to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.


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


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.

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