Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) (NSF 04-537)



Question: What type(s) of inter-institutional collaborations is NSF encouraging?

Answer: While the HSD Program expects that proposers will put together the best team possible to carry out the project, HSD simultaneously encourages research-intensive universities to partner with other types of colleges and universities, especially ones serving underrepresented minority populations. Research-intensive universities have an opportunity to expand and enrich research and education in Human and Social Dynamics beyond their institutions.

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Question: If multiple institutions are cooperating in the proposed project, should we submit a collaborative proposal with one organization as the lead or a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations?

Answer: A collaborative proposal is one in which investigators from two or more organizations wish to collaborate on a unified research project. Collaborative proposals may be submitted to NSF in one of two methods: as a single proposal, in which a single award is being requested (with subawards administered by the lead organization); or by simultaneous submission of proposals from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award. All collaborative proposals must clearly describe the roles to be played by the other organizations, specify the managerial arrangements, and explain the advantages of the multi-organizational effort within the project description.

The single proposal method allows investigators from two or more organizations who have developed an integrated research and education project to submit a single, focused proposal. A single investigator bears primary responsibility for the administration of the grant and discussions with NSF, and, at the discretion of the organizations involved, investigators from any of the participating organizations may be designated as co-PIs. In some instances, however, simultaneous submission of proposals from multiple organizations that contain the same project description from each organization might be appropriate. The decision of which collaborative proposal method to use must be made internally by the proposing organization.

Please follow the guidelines for Collaborative Proposals in the Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 04-2) If you submit a collaborative proposal to HSD by simultaneous submission of proposals from different organizations, the title of each proposal should begin with “COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH:” Using such a title allows NSF staff to easily identify those proposals which are intended to be linked with other proposals. Only one Letter of Intent (LOI) should be submitted, regardless of whether the Full Proposal will be submitted from one organization or multiple organizations.

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Question: Does EPSCoR certification interact with the choice between a collaborative proposal from one organization (with subawards administered by the lead organization) or from multiple organizations?

Answer: Yes. You cannot get an EPSCoR certification for a university or college located in an EPSCoR state when the organization participates as a subaward on a proposal that comes from a university in a non-EPSCoR state (i.e., when the lead university is not in an EPSCoR state). Proposers in institutions in EPSCoR states may prefer to submit a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations so that certification can be obtained. For more information on EPSCoR go to

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Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send an email to

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