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FAQs for Domestic Nuclear Detection Office/National Science Foundation Academic Research Initiative (ARI) Solicitation NSF 09-532


  1. What is meant by multi-disciplinary?

The intent of the solicitation is to encourage broad multidisciplinary work, with any proposals incorporating two or more disciplines considered to be multi-disciplinary.  The two disciplines can be within a single academic department, but the case must be made very clear that the disciplines are truly distinct.

  1. Does a proposal between a university and a national laboratory count as a multi-institutional proposal?

No NSF funding may be provided to a national laboratory.  If a proposal makes the case that the national laboratory can be an effective partner without such funding, the collaboration meets the intent of the solicitation.  In this case, the national laboratory personnel may be listed as co-PIs or senior personnel, even though they are receiving no funds.

  1. Are there constraints on the participation of foreign nationals in the project?

PIs are advised to check with their university's office of export control or general counsel. All students supported with award funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., its territories, or its possessions. This does not apply to post-doctoral fellows who are not students.

  1. Are there citizenship requirements for Principal Investigators or other senior personnel?

PIs and other senior personnel who are legally employed by a U.S. university can submit a proposal. These PIs and other senior personnel do not necessarily need to be permanent residents or citizens of the U.S.

  1. Can Federal employees serve as investigators on the proposal?


  1. Can national laboratory personnel who have joint appointments with a university receive salary for the university portion of the work?

Yes, as long as no funds are exchanged between the university and the laboratory.

  1. What can I request as a starting date for the grant?

Start dates should be no later than September 1, 2009.

  1. The solicitation says that I have to declare any work on related topics.  My work is classified.  What shall I do?

Declare that you have a grant that is classified. As a reminder, no classified work may be supported under this solicitation.

  1. What sort of international activities is NSF looking for in proposals with an international component?

The design of each project is based on the opportunities at hand, but NSF welcomes proposals in which the U.S. research team is complemented and enhanced through meaningful collaboration with researchers overseas. The international dimension should be well-justified in terms of the counterpart's unique skills, expertise and/or facilities, and efforts should be made to involve U.S. students and junior researchers in the international collaboration.

  1. Can foreign faculty or postdoctoral fellows be supported?

Individuals legally employed by a U.S. university can be supported.

  1. Are students supported by ARI funds considered trainees?

Yes, students supported by ARI funds are considered trainees.  A principal objective of the ARI solicitation is the building of academic workforce capabilities.

  1. Can foreign students receive award funds?

No, the DNDO-ARI solicitation states, “all students supported with award funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., its territories, or its possessions.”  This does not apply to post-doctoral fellows who are not students.

  1. If there are foreign collaborators, can travel funds be requested for them? Consulting funds?

The intent of the solicitations is to fund personnel at U.S. universities.  Travel support is permitted. 

  1. Can a small business submit a proposal?

This solicitation is an academic initiative and no funds can go for salaries of individuals from government laboratories or industry. Members of these groups can participate in research, but cannot receive salaries.

  1. Will there be any restriction on publication of results obtained under this program?

NSF supports unclassified research and has no publication restrictions.  If the PI collaborates with an outside laboratory, it is possible that the outside laboratory may impose restrictions.

  1. Can I submit more than one proposal? Can I be a part of more than one proposal?

An individual researcher may not be named as a participant on more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation. This limitation includes participation as a PI, co-PI, senior researcher, consultant, or any other role for which financial remuneration is requested.