Grant Proposal Guide 03-041
Grant Proposal Guide
Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Proposal Preparation Instructions
III. NSF Proposal Processing and Review
IV. WIthdrawals, Returns and Declinations
V. The Award and Continued Support
VI. Grant Administration Highlights
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F



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Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230

Dear Colleagues:

We have published a revision to the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 03-041) that is effective for proposals submitted on or after June 1, 2003. This revision implements:

  • Important Notice 128, dated January 24, 2003, entitled Revision of the NSF Cost Sharing Policy. This Important Notice reinforces the concept that, for unsolicited proposals, proposers should not include cost sharing amounts on Line M of the proposal budget. In cases where a program solicitation specifically requires cost sharing, proposers should not exceed the cost sharing level or amount identified in the solicitation;
  • Addition of a Proposal Preparation Checklist to aid in the conduct of an administrative review of proposals prior to submission for compliance with NSF proposal preparation guidelines. The appendices section has been rearranged and re-lettered to accommodate the addition of new documents;
  • Reminder to proposers that if both merit review criteria are not addressed separately within the one page Project Summary, the proposal will be returned without review; and
  • Modification of the NSF policy on Group proposals to state that, unless stipulated in a specific program solicitation, PIs who wish to exceed the 15 page Project Description limitation must request and receive a deviation in advance of proposal submission.

Other sections have been revised, as appropriate, to update the GPG to ensure consistency with current NSF policies, practices or procedures. A summary of significant changes is provided to assist the user in navigating through these changes.

The GPG is available electronically on the NSF Website. Organizations or individuals unable to access the GPG electronically may order paper copies (maximum of 5 per request) by either of the following means:

  • phoning the NSF Publications Clearinghouse at (301) 947-2722; or
  • sending a request to or the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 218, Jessup, MD 20794-0218.

Please address any questions or comments regarding the GPG to the Policy Office, Division of Grants & Agreements at (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to

Thomas N. Cooley
Chief Financial Officer &
Director, Office of Budget, Finance & Award Management