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

Proposal Preparation


Question: How many Letters of Intent should be submitted for each project and how do I submit one?

Answer: One Letter of Intent (LOI) is required from each project team this year. All senior personnel (above the level of post-doc) should be listed in this form regardless of whether they will be on the lead proposal, a collaborative proposal or any subaward submitted as part of a proposal.

Please submit your LOI using our web-based form located at by March 3, 2004. You must indicate the emphasis area(s) that best fit your project, one of which must be a topical emphasis area, the names and contact information for PIs and co-PIs, the activity type that best describes your project, a proposed title, a short project description, and well-chosen keywords to characterize your project, topics, and methodologies. You are also invited to submit names of potential reviewers for your proposal or individuals who might be suitable to review multiple proposals for the HSD competition this year. Do not submit anyone’s name more than once on this form. When you are finished entering all information, click on ”Submit Letter of Intent.” You will receive an automatic acknowledgement from NSF of your LOI submission almost immediately. If you do not receive an automatic acknowledgement, please, let us know at We will respond as soon as possible.

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Question: What needs to be included in the Project Summary?

Answer: The latest Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (available at specifies that proposers must clearly address, in separate statements within the one-page limit, both the broader impacts and the intellectual merit in the Project Summary. Proposals that do not address both merit review criteria in separate statements in the project summary will be returned without review. The GPG also states that the broader impacts must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative.

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Question: Will you enforce the page limits on proposals?

Answer: Yes. See the HSD solicitation (NSF 04-537) section V.A ”Full Proposal Instructions.”

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Question: Do citations and references count against the15-page project description limit?

Answer: No. They should be included in the References Cited section of the proposal.

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Question: May I submit the same proposal to HSD and to another NSF program?

Answer: No. A unique proposal can be submitted only once to NSF. If the proposal is a duplicate of or substantially similar to a proposal already under consideration by NSF, it will be returned without review.

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Question: Can I request an extension of time to submit the Letter of Intent?

Answer: No. The Letter of Intent web-form will be taken off-line after the deadline and will no longer be accessible.

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Question: Can I request an extension of time to submit a proposal?

Answer: No.

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Question: What if my university computer is unavailable on a submission deadline?

Answer: Please avoid this problem by submitting early. If you choose not to submit until the last minute, it is at your own risk.

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Question: What if there is an earthquake, fire or other disaster?

Answer: Please contact us at immediately. We will make determinations on a case-by-case basis.

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Question: Should proposals from non-profit research organizations address the broader impacts criterion and the integration of research and education along with the intellectual merit?

Answer: Yes. Every proposal regardless of where it was submitted will be evaluated on both NSF merit review criteria - the intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. Integrating research and education should be addressed as well. Non-profit research organizations should take special care to explain how their proposal will provide these benefits.

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Question: What if listing my five most recent relevant papers would take more than two pages because these papers have several hundred authors each?

Answer: The two-page limit dominates over the need o include the entire list of authors for your relevant publications. If your publications include large numbers of co-authors and you choose to list all of the co-authors, you likely will be able to list only a few papers. Instead, you may want to list only the first few authors and add text reference to additional authors, such as "Jane Doe, Soo Kim, and 26 other authors, including <Your Name>."

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Question: How do we submit supplementary documents, such as Acknowledgements to our Letters of Intent or letters of support?

Answer: Please scan them into the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section of the FastLane proposal.

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Question: Can I be a reviewer for HSD this year?

Answer: If you are on an HSD proposal submitted this year then you cannot be a reviewer. If you did not submit an HSD proposal this year in response to NSF 04-537, then, yes, you can volunteer to be a reviewer. In that case, contact the Program Officer in the solicitation that is closest to your field of research. Include a URL and a brief description of your research expertise in your email. The program officer will contact you if your area of expertise is relevant and we need reviewers in that area.

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Question: Why is the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) the only one to appear on the FastLane cover sheet? I normally apply to Geosciences and my proposal deals primarily with Geosciences?

Answer: The SBE Directorate is coordinating the management of all proposals submitted to the HSD Priority Area. Program Officers from all Directorates and Divisions will participate in the management of HSD proposals that fall into their areas of expertise. This allows flexibility in assignment of proposals to specific panels.

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Question: Why does NSF only allow 4 co-PIs to be listed on the cover sheet of the Full Proposal and on the LOI? I would like for our project to have five (or more) co-PIs.

Answer: NSF decided to limit the number of co-PIs that can be listed on the cover sheet of any Full Proposal to four. Thus, the LOI had the same limitation. However, one should remember that when the Full Proposals are submitted, a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations may be done through simultaneous submission of proposals from the different organizations. In this way, four co-PIs could be listed on the cover sheet of each proposal. Alternatively, one could request a change in senior personnel through FastLane after an award is made if effective management of a project required such a change.

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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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