Grant Proposal Guide 04-2
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 04-2) that is effective for proposals submitted on or after October 1, 2003. This revision implements an increase in the threshold for proposals submitted to the Small Grants for Exploratory Research (SGER) Program. Previously, the maximum SGER award amount was $100,000. The new maximum SGER award amount is now $200,000. Although the maximum award amount is $200,000, the award amount usually will be substantially less than a given program's average award amount. The project's duration will normally be one year, but may be up to two years.

In addition, two changes (shown in blue below) have been made to the types of research supported under the SGER program:

Proposals for small-scale, exploratory, high-risk research in the fields of science, engineering and education normally supported by NSF may be submitted to individual programs. Such research is characterized as:

  • preliminary work on untested and novel ideas;
  • ventures into emerging and potentially transformative research ideas;
  • application of new expertise or new approaches to "established" research topics;
  • having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events; or
  • efforts of similar character likely to catalyze rapid and innovative advances.

The complete description of the SGER program may be found in Chapter II, Section D.1.

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