Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the
Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program
For Fiscal Years 2006, 2007, and 2008
(NSF 05-027; replaces NSF
Also includes information on the NSF component of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) Program
Proposals must be submitted via FastLane by 5:00 p.m., submitter's local time, on or before the applicable deadline date below:
July 19: BIO, CISE, EHR
July 20: ENG
July 21: GEO, MPS, SBE, OPP
July 18: BIO, CISE, EHR
July 19: ENG
July 20: GEO, MPS, SBE, OPP
July 17: BIO, CISE, EHR
July 18: ENG
July 19: GEO, MPS, SBE, OPP
The official guidelines for submission of CAREER proposals can be found in the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Solicitation (NSF 05-579), available on the NSF web site (https://www.nsf.gov/career). Step-by-step submission instructions are also available at that site. The following set of questions and answers refer to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the CAREER Program Solicitation. They are not intended to be a modification of the program Solicitation. If there are any inconsistencies between the CAREER Program Solicitation and these FAQs, the information in the program Solicitation prevails.
In addition to these CAREER FAQ’s, also refer to the NSF Grant Proposal Guide’s (GPG) FAQ’s. The GPG FAQ document can be found on the NSF Web page at: www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/faqs.pdf
The following sections of this document can be directly accessed by selecting the appropriate heading:
- PROPOSAL AND BUDGET PREPARATION AND FASTLANE SUBMISSION
- CAREER PROPOSAL REVIEW
- ANNOUNCEMENT OF CAREER AND PECASE AWARDS
- POST-AWARD ADMINISTRATION
- Question: My department (or organization) does not offer tenure, so I am not in a tenure-track appointment. How can I determine if my appointment would be considered a tenure-track-equivalent appointment?
Answer: For your appointment to be considered a tenure-track-equivalent appointment you must meet all of the following requirements: (1) your employing department or organization does not offer tenure; (2) you are engaged in research in an area of science or engineering supported by NSF; (3) your appointment is a continuing appointment; (4) your appointment has substantial educational responsibilities; and (5) your proposed project relates to the your career goals and job responsibilities as well as to the goals of the department/organization. No exemptions from these eligibility requirements will be granted.
"Research" and "Instructor" positions are typically not considered to be CAREER-eligible tenure-track-equivalent positions and individuals in soft-money appointments and/or visiting appointments are not considered to be in continuing appointments. You will be asked to certify that your position meets the CAREER-eligibility requirements at the time you prepare your proposal cover sheet. In addition, your Department Chair will be asked to verify this information. Because proposers self-certify their CAREER eligibility, NSF can provide guidance on what is considered a tenure-track equivalent appointment, but it is up to the proposer and the proposer's institution to determine whether or not the appointment meets the requirements for tenure-track equivalency. If you have any questions, contact the appropriate CAREER Directorate Contact. The "CAREER Contacts List" can be found on the CAREER Web page at: https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp
- Question: The CAREER Program Solicitation states that proposers must have the title of "assistant professor" or equivalent. I am in a tenure-track appointment, but my title is "associate professor." Can I apply?
Answer: No. Since the CAREER Program is intended for faculty members who are at or near the beginning of their careers, one eligibility requirement is that proposers hold the title of "assistant professor" or equivalent by the October 1st that follows their July proposal submission deadline. If you are currently an assistant professor and your title were to change to "associate professor" after October 1st, you would still be eligible for a CAREER award.
- Question: Although my organization offers tenure, the research institute that employs me does not. Am I eligible?
Answer: Yes, you can apply as long as your appointment meets the requirements for tenure-track equivalency and you meet all of the other CAREER eligibility criteria.
- Question: Am I eligible to apply if I work at a non-degree-granting organization such as a museum, observatory, or research lab?
Answer: Yes, but your appointment must be a tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent appointment and you must also meet all of the other CAREER eligibility requirements.
- Question: According to the CAREER Program Solicitation I am required to hold a doctoral degree by the July proposal submission deadline. I have defended my thesis but have not been awarded the diploma. Can I apply to the CAREER Program?
Answer: No. You are not eligible unless you receive the official, dated diploma, by your Directorate's/Office's July deadline for submission of CAREER proposals.
- Question: I have a Doctorate in Mathematics Education. Am I eligible to apply?
Answer: Yes. NSF supports educational research both through the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and also through all of the other Directorates. However, a person with a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in education will probably be conducting research that is more applicable to the EHR Directorate. If you are not sure where to submit your proposal, talk with the program director of the program you think is most closely related to your research or to one of the CAREER Contacts in the relevant Directorate. Telephone numbers and email addresses for NSF staff can be found through the NSF staff directory at http://staff.nsf.gov/. The CAREER contacts list is available at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp
- Question: There is an eligibility requirement that proposers can submit only one CAREER proposal per annual competition and may participate in a total of three CAREER competitions. I have applied three times, but one of my proposals was withdrawn (or was returned due to non-compliance with the proposal submission requirements) before it was reviewed. I did not have the benefit of reviewers' feedback. Does that proposal count against me?
Answer: No, since your withdrawn/returned proposal was not considered in the CAREER competition (you did not have the benefit of the reviewers' comments), that CAREER proposal does not count towards your eligibility and you will be eligible one more time.
- Question: I have just started in a tenure-track (or equivalent) position as an assistant professor (or equivalent). Since I can participate in three CAREER competitions, I am unsure as to whether I should apply now or wait until next year. What should I do?
Answer: The intent of limiting CAREER proposers to participation in three CAREER competitions is to encourage new faculty to think strategically about their readiness to compete in the CAREER Program. Some faculty who submit in the first year of their tenure-track appointments are competitive in the CAREER Program because of their own individual background and experience (such as post-docs and/or industry or other types of experience). Other new faculty will wait until they have served in a tenure-track appointment for a year or so in order to build a foundation of experience, knowledge, and work relationships and to develop proposal writing skills, mentor and collaborative relationships, and ideas for their proposed career development activities. Therefore, since the optimum time to submit a CAREER proposal can vary for each individual, it is suggested that you discuss with your Department Chair your own background and career development goals and plans in order to determine what would work best for you. You might also speak to your NSF program director for guidance.
- Question: Am I eligible if I hold an adjunct appointment at a university/college?
Answer: No. Adjunct appointments are not CAREER-eligible tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent appointments.
- Question: I held a tenured position at my former organization, but I am not in a tenured position now. Am I eligible to apply?
Answer: Yes, you are eligible to apply as long as you are untenured as of the relevant Directorate's July deadline for submission of CAREER proposals and you meet the other CAREER eligibility criteria.
- Question: Am I eligible if I work at a 2-year college or a community college?
Answer: Yes, if you meet all of the other CAREER eligibility criteria. These colleges are CAREER-eligible institutions if they award degrees in a field supported by NSF.
- Question: I am a new faculty member in a tenure-track appointment at a university that qualifies as an "undergraduate institution" under the provisions of the Research in Undergraduate Institutions Program Announcement (RUI), NSF 00-144. Can I submit to the CAREER Program and if so, is it possible to apply for the CAREER Program under the RUI provisions?
Answer: You can apply to the CAREER Program as long as you meet all of the CAREER eligibility requirements. However, you cannot submit your proposal to the CAREER Program and apply under the RUI Program Announcement. Therefore, you must choose to submit the proposal to RUI or to CAREER. NSF encourages CAREER proposals from new faculty members at all U.S. academic institutions that award degrees in a field supported by NSF. CAREER awardees will be selected on the basis of creative plans for their career development that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Predominantly undergraduate institutions play a critically important role in U.S. science and technology through their substantial contributions to research and education. Therefore, proposers from RUI institutions are encouraged to apply to the CAREER Program.
- Question: Am I eligible if I hold a shared tenure-track appointment at a university?
Answer: Yes. You do not need to be in a full-time tenure-track appointment. However, you must meet all the other CAREER eligibility requirements.
- Question: I do not currently hold a CAREER-eligible appointment but I hope to have one by October 1st. Can I apply?
Answer: No. To apply to the July deadline for submission of CAREER proposals you must be employed in a CAREER-eligible position at a CAREER-eligible organization or have a contractual agreement with a CAREER-eligible organization for you to begin a CAREER-eligible appointment by the October 1st deadline following your Directorate's/Office's July CAREER proposal submission deadline.
- Question: I am not a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or U.S. Permanent Resident. Can I still apply to the CAREER Program?
Answer: Yes, you may apply to the CAREER Program if you meet the CAREER eligibility criteria, including affiliation with a U.S. organization. However, you will not be eligible for an NSF PECASE award unless you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. National, or a U.S. Permanent Resident by your Directorate's July deadline for submission of proposals.
- Question: If I have received funds from the Federal Government to perform research, am I still eligible?
Answer: Yes, you may submit a CAREER proposal as long as those funds were not received from NSF in the CAREER Program and the proposed research activities of your CAREER proposal do not duplicate those concurrently supported through another source. However, you do need to meet all CAREER eligibility criteria.
B. PROPOSAL AND BUDGET PREPARATION AND FASTLANE SUBMISSION
- Question: What if my proposal is submitted after the relevant Directorate's (or Office's) deadline for proposal submissions?
Answer: Only proposals submitted electronically by your organization via FastLane before 5:00 p.m. (submitter's local time) on or before the primary Directorate/Office deadline will be accepted. Since NSF receives approximately 2,500 proposals in the CAREER Program each year, you are encouraged to start your FastLane proposal submission well before the CAREER deadline. Refer to the CAREER Program Solicitation and the FastLane Web page for more details. Any CAREER proposal received after the proposer's Directorate/Office deadline will be returned without review. If your proposal is multidisciplinary, and you have selected more than one Directorate/Office to consider your proposal, then the deadline for the primary (first) Directorate/Office that you have selected will apply. Note that it is very important that you select the most relevant program as the primary organization. NSF program directors are not authorized to grant extensions to the deadline for the CAREER Program.
- Question: I am having problems submitting my proposal in FastLane and the CAREER deadline is almost here. Who should I contact?
Answer: Issues and questions related to use of the NSF FastLane system should be directed to the FastLane User Support desk at (800) 673-6188 or (703) 292-8142 or by sending an e-mail message to email@example.com. In addition, for information on the availability of the NSF FastLane system, phone (800) 437-7408 for a recorded message. If FastLane is unable to resolve the problem and you will not be able to submit your proposal by the deadline, you should contact FastLane at the contact numbers given above. For NSF to consider a deadline extension you should be able to provide NSF with supporting documentation from FastLane of a FastLane problem at the time of submission. Note that a slow down of the system due to volume is not a valid reason for an extension. PIs are strongly encouraged to submit their CAREER proposals well in advance of their deadline to allow for any problems that may occur in the submission process.
- Question: I just noticed a major problem with my CAREER proposal. My CAREER deadline has not passed so can I fix the problem?
Answer: It is the responsibility of the proposing organization to thoroughly review each proposal prior to submission. On occasion, however, a problem is identified with a portion of the proposal after the proposal has been electronically submitted to NSF. The FastLane Proposal File Update Module allows the organization to request the replacement of files or revision of other Proposal Attributes, associated with a previously submitted proposal. For instructions and information on this module, refer to the GPG. Note that an automatic request for a proposal file update will be accepted only if submitted prior to your CAREER deadline. If your deadline has passed and your proposal is found to have technical problems due to PDF conversion, contact your disciplinary Program Director to discuss whether NSF will approve a proposal file update to fix the conversion problem.
- Question: I want to be sure my proposal is compliant with the NSF GPG and the CAREER Solicitation. Is there a checklist for the CAREER Program?
Answer: Yes, a link to the CAREER Submission Requirements Checklist can be found on the CAREER Web page at: https://www.nsf.gov/career. A “pre-submission checklist” can also be found within the CAREER Solicitation.
- Question: How do I decide to which program I should submit my CAREER proposal?
Answer: When determining where to submit your proposal, you should also consider if the proposed research project falls within the realm of research that NSF normally supports. If so, then you will need to identify a specific disciplinary program that is related to the research goals of the proposal, as CAREER proposals are submitted directly to disciplinary programs for review. In addition to identifying the CAREER Program Solicitation number (NSF 05-579) on the proposal cover sheet, you must specify a disciplinary program. The following resources can help you determine the appropriateness of your project for NSF (and simultaneously to identify the disciplinary program to which you should submit):
The NSF Guide to Programs. This document provides descriptions of NSF's research-supporting programs and is available at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=GP
Directorate Web pages also provide program information. You can access a Directorate's Web page by selecting the Directorate's heading on the CAREER contacts list at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp
- Talk with the program director of the program you think is most closely related to your research or to one of the CAREER Contacts in the relevant Directorate. Telephone numbers and email addresses for NSF staff can be found through the NSF staff directory at http://staff.nsf.gov/.The CAREER contacts list is available at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp
Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact the program director most closely related to the subject matter when preparing cross-disciplinary proposals. You may designate more than one program in FastLane if you think two or more disciplinary programs should jointly review your proposal. However, do not submit duplicate CAREER proposals to multiple NSF programs.
Note: If NSF determines that your proposal would be more appropriate for a different program than the primary one you selected, the proposal will be reassigned to the appropriate organizational unit. NSF will make the final determination of where your proposal will be assigned and considered.
- Question: I am not sure whether I should submit my proposal to the CAREER Program, to another special NSF Program, or as a regular proposal. To whom should I direct this question?
Answer: You should address your question to the program director of the program you think is most closely related to your research topic or to one of the CAREER Contacts (refer to the list on the CAREER Web page at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp
- Question: I have two possible projects. Can I submit two CAREER proposals?
Answer: No, only one proposal may be submitted to the CAREER Program per competition year. If the research topic of the second proposal is considerably different from that described in the CAREER proposal, you may submit an unsolicited proposal while the CAREER proposal is under consideration. NSF will return a second proposal on a closely related research topic without review.
- Question: I will have a collaborator on my proposal. Can I include the collaborator as a CO-PI or "other senior personnel" on my budget?
Answer: No. Your research project and/or educational activities can be collaborative, but a CAREER award is intended to enable an awardee to carry out his or her individual plans for career development. Therefore, no Co-Principal Investigator may be named and collaborators cannot be analogous to Co-PIs. No salary support for other senior personnel (as defined in the GPG) may be included in section A of the budget, either in the primary budget or within a sub award to a collaborating institution.
- Question: What documentation can I submit to show the collaborative effort I am proposing?
Answer: The planned collaborative effort(s) should be described in your project description. You may also submit a short letter from each collaborator to support the partnerships you have described in the proposal. Scan the signed and dated letter(s) into the Supplementary Documents section of your proposal. The letters should follow the departmental letter and should only describe the planned collaborative effort(s). Letters of recommendation are not permitted and will be removed from the proposal prior to review. Do not submit any other documentation such as biographical sketches or other NSF forms for any collaborator.
- Question: I am interested in adding an international dimension to my proposal. Is that allowed and, if so, how would I find out what kinds of activities are eligible for support?
Answer: Plans for international cooperative research and education activities are encouraged. The opportunity to collaborate with outstanding foreign researchers and educators, and to gain access to unique sites, equipment, or facilities, may provide substantial benefits to the research and education activities proposed. For information on the types of activities that are eligible for support in various countries, contact the Office of International Science and Engineering and refer to the Dear Colleague Letter, NSF 04-034: https://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?nsf04034. See the OISE homepage at https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?org=OISE for more information.
- Question: How many pages should I devote to describing research and how many to education?
Answer: No number is specified. Use the 15 pages allowed for proposal Section C, Project Description (including any results from prior NSF support) to your best advantage. A major objective of the CAREER Program is to encourage the integration of research and education. The research and educational activities do not need to be addressed separately, if the relationship between the two is such that the presentation of the integrated project is better served by interspersing the two throughout the Project Description.
While excellence in both education and research is expected, activity of an intensity that leads to an unreasonable workload is not. For instance, teaching additional courses or taking on additional duties is not expected. In fact, a justification for released time may be appropriate for extraordinary curriculum development or education innovation. What is expected is a well-argued and specific proposal for activities over a 5-year period that will build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education. Refer to the CAREER Program Solicitation for representative examples of educational activities. CAREER proposers may also find the document “Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: Representative Activities” useful in preparing their CAREER proposals. This document can be found at: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf
- Question: In the new CAREER Solicitation “Career-Development Plan” is replaced with “Project Description.” Why was this change made?
Answer: To align the CAREER Solicitation language more closely with the NSF GPG, the term “Career-Development Plan” was replaced with “Project Description.” Some of the language in Section 5.A of the Solicitation has been modified to describe what should be included and addressed in the project description section of the proposal.
- Question: What should I discuss with my department head? What should be addressed in the departmental letter?
Answer: You should discuss your individual plans for your career development and how they fit with your department's and organization's plans, your responsibilities to the department, and the support and commitment that the department will give you. The departmental letter will be included as part of the consideration of the overall merits of the proposal and must follow the format prescribed in the CAREER Solicitation. A letter that fails to acknowledge institutional commitment to the professional development and mentoring of the PI may disadvantage an otherwise outstanding proposal. It is recommended that the departmental letter be approximately one page in length.
Note that the instructions for the preparation of the Departmental Letter have changed from the FY 2003-2005 CAREER Program Solicitation (NSF 02-111). New language has been added to clarify that the departmental letter should demonstrate an understanding of, and a commitment to, the effective integration of research and education as a primary objective of the CAREER award, and acknowledges institutional commitment to the professional development and mentoring of the PI.
- Question: I would like to submit some additional tabular material that would exceed the 15-page limit on the length of the project description. Can I submit this as an appendix?
Answer: Prior to submission of the proposal, the appropriate NSF Assistant Director must approve in writing, inclusion of additional material that exceeds the 15-page project description limitation. Please note, however, that such approvals are rarely granted. (See the GPG for additional information.)
- Question: I have some additional information posted on my website I would like the reviewers to see. May Universal Resource Locators (URLs) be included within the Project Description?
Answer: PIs are advised that the project description must be self-contained and are cautioned that URLs (Internet addresses) that provide information related to the proposal should not be used because 1) the information could circumvent page limitations, 2) the reviewers are under no obligation to view the sites, and 3) the sites could be altered or abolished between the time of submission and the time of review.
- Question: I would like to be considered for a PECASE award. What is the process?
Answer: Each participating Federal agency has its own nomination procedures. To be eligible for a PECASE award through NSF, you must submit a CAREER proposal and have certified that you were PECASE eligible on the CAREER and PECASE Eligibility Certifications. In addition to meeting the CAREER eligibility requirements, PECASE nominees must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents who hold that status on or before their July deadline for submission of CAREER proposals. The most meritorious PECASE-eligible CAREER PIs who have indicated that they are "PECASE Eligible" may be asked to submit supplemental information. Each year NSF will select its PECASE nominees from among the most meritorious PECASE-eligible CAREER awardees who applied to that year's CAREER competition. The number of nominees allocated to each directorate is proportionate to the directorate’s level of participation in the CAREER Program.
- Question: I am preparing a CAREER proposal for submission to the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). What are considered acceptable research activities?
Answer: Research plans submitted to EHR should be oriented toward laying the conceptual foundations and expanding the knowledge base necessary to support the enhancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education at all levels. CAREER awards should address the research questions or areas of interest in EHR Divisions and programs. EHR programs that have a strong research component include:
Research, Evaluation and Communication Division (REC): The Research on Learning and Education (ROLE) and Evaluative Research and Evaluation Capacity Building (EREC).
Elementary, Secondary and Informal Science Division (ESIE): Informal Science Education (ISE); Teacher Professional Continuum (TPC); Instructional Materials Development (IMD); Centers for Learning and Teaching (CLT).
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE): Assessment of Student Achievement in Undergraduate Education (ASA); National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Digital Library (NSDL).
Division of Graduate Education (DGE): NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12); Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT).
Division of Human Resource Development (HRD): Gender Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (GDSE); Program for Persons with Disabilities (PPD).
- Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Research, Evaluation and Technical Assistance.
These programs can be found on the EHR Web page at: https://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=EHR.
Activities such as laboratory-equipment design, instructional-materials development, professional development for teachers and/or the creation of informal education programs may be cited as part of the education plan of the CAREER proposal. However, these activities do not satisfy the requirement for a research plan in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
- Question: To what program in EHR should I submit a CAREER proposal?
Answer: All proposals to EHR should be submitted to the Research, Evaluation and Communication Division (REC). REC will coordinate review of proposals among the other Divisions.
- Question: I am preparing a CAREER proposal for submission to the Office of Polar Programs. Whom should I contact?
Answer: For guidance on submitting information about fieldwork proposed in the Arctic or Antarctic, proposers should contact the program director in the Office of Polar Programs who is associated with the program most closely aligned with the research being proposed. The Office of Polar Programs Web page can be found at: http:www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=OPP.
- Question: I am at an undergraduate institution and because of my heavy teaching load, I want to know if I can request release time.
Answer: In some cases it may be appropriate for a PI to include academic year salary support on a CAREER budget. In addition to PIs who have heavy teaching loads, some PIs whose proposed activities may involve a limited period of fieldwork or other extraordinary career-development activity in research or education may be justified in requesting academic year salary support on their budgets. Before including any academic year salary support on your CAREER budget you should contact your disciplinary program director to discuss your individual case.
- Question: If I held an NSF postdoctoral fellowship, do I need to include a "Results from Prior Support" section as mentioned in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG)?
Answer: Yes, you must include a "Results from Prior Support" section whenever you have served as a PI or co-PI on any NSF grant within the last 5 years. This includes postdoctoral fellowships, grants in equipment programs such as Major Research Instrumentation, and educational grants. If you have received more than one prior award (excluding amendments), you must report on the award that is most closely related to the CAREER proposal. (See the GPG for the required information.)
- Question: My work is multidisciplinary and I want to request that two different programs review my CAREER proposal. One program is in the BIO Directorate and the other is in the MPS Directorate. To which program should I submit my proposal and how will my proposal be reviewed?
Answer: NSF encourages multidisciplinary proposals and every attempt is made to ensure the best fit for these proposals. Proposals with a multidisciplinary focus are commonly reviewed simultaneously by different programs, or by special multidisciplinary panels and/or ad-hoc reviewers. However, only one program can serve as the managing (primary) program. Do not submit duplicate proposals to more than one NSF Program. The primary organization you select on the cover page in FastLane should be the program that supports the main thrust of the research you are proposing. The deadline of the primary organization is the one in effect when submitting your proposal.
Proposers are strongly encouraged to contact the program director most closely related to the subject matter when preparing multidisciplinary proposals. Refer to the FAQ above, "How do I decide to which program I should submit my CAREER proposal," for more information on identifying the appropriate disciplinary program. Once your proposal is submitted, if NSF determines that your proposal would be more appropriate for a different program than the one you have selected, the proposal will be reassigned to the appropriate organizational unit and that program will be the reviewing and managing program.
- Question: I realize that my CAREER proposal will be evaluated according to the two NSF merit review criteria (intellectual merit and broader impact). Do CAREER proposals have any other considerations in the review process that I should be aware of?
Answer: Reviewers are asked to address to the two NSF merit review criteria, but they are also asked to note the effective integration of research and educational activities. Specifically they are asked to note how well the proposal addresses the following:
A description of the proposed research project, including preliminary supporting data where appropriate, specific objectives, methods and procedures to be used, and expected significance of the results;
A description of the proposed educational activities, including plans to evaluate their impact;
A description of how the research and educational activities are integrated with one another; and
Results from prior NSF support, if applicable.
A link to the “Note to Reviewers of CAREER Proposals” can be found on the CAREER Web page at: https://www.nsf.gov/career.
- Question: When will I be notified of the final decision on my CAREER proposal?
Answer: Most proposers will be notified by the February following their July Deadline. CAREER proposals are reviewed by different panels (and/or ad hoc reviewers) held at different times across the Foundation. Thus, award and declination letters will be issued at different times. You can check the status of your CAREER proposal by accessing the FastLane website. If you have not received notification of a decision on your proposal by February and your proposal status is shown as "pending" in FastLane, you can contact the program or division to which your proposal was assigned to inquire about the status of your proposal. Your proposal's NSF program assignment appears in the FastLane Proposal Inquiry module.
- Question: If I receive a CAREER award, how will I know whether I am being considered for a PECASE award? When will I hear something if I am to get a PECASE award?
Answer: All CAREER awardees who are eligible for PECASE and who have certified their eligibility by completing the CAREER and PECASE Eligibility Certifications will be considered. Each year, up to 20 of the most meritorious PECASE-eligible CAREER awardees will be recommended to the White House for consideration for PECASE awards. Recipients will be notified after the Presidential awardees have been selected and approved by the White House. It is anticipated that PECASE notification will be made approximately 15 months following each year's July CAREER proposal submission deadline. No information can be released until such time as the White House announces the awards.
- Question: If I receive a PECASE award, what will happen to my CAREER award? What would the PECASE award include?
Answer: NSF PECASE awards are entirely honorary and do not provide additional funds. NSF will convert your CAREER award to a PECASE award, however the award amount and duration will not be changed.
- Question: What is an appropriate level of funding to request?
Answer: The minimum CAREER award size is $400,000 for a 5-year period with the following exception -- proposers to the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) must submit budget requests for a minimum of $500,000 (approximately $100,000 per year) for the 5-year duration. There is no maximum award size. You should prepare your CAREER budget request according to the scope of the activities being proposed and the practices within your discipline. Before preparing your CAREER proposals, you are strongly encouraged to contact your disciplinary program director or your Division CAREER contact to discuss your budget request. The CAREER Contacts List can be found on the CAREER Web page at https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/career/contacts.jsp.
- Question: Are the reporting requirements for CAREER awards the same as for other NSF awards?
Answer: In addition to meeting all of the requirements for annual and final reports that apply to unsolicited NSF awards, the reports for CAREER awards should summarize the progress in both research and educational activities and indicate how well these activities are being integrated. Any collaborative activities should also be described. In addition, annual reports for CAREER awards must include a note from the PI's department head, or equivalent, indicating the department's continued commitment to mentor the PI and support the integrated research and educational activities. Instructions for preparing CAREER project reports and uploading departmental notes can be found on the CAREER webpage at https://www.nsf.gov/career.
- Question: What types of supplemental funds are available for CAREER awards?
Answer: CAREER awards are eligible for supplemental funding as described in the GPG. If you have any questions about supplemental funding for your CAREER award, contact your disciplinary program director.
- Question: What happens to my CAREER award if I leave my academic appointment?
Answer: CAREER awards must be relinquished if the principal investigator transfers any time prior to or during the duration of the award to a position that is not tenured, tenure-track, tenure-track equivalent and/or to an institution that is not CAREER-eligible.