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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about the Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE)
(NSF 10-010)



BRIGE proposals must be submitted via FastLane by 5:00 p.m., proposer’s local time, on or before February 25, 2010.

 The following set of questions and answers refer to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE) .

Before preparing your BRIGE proposal, please read the BRIGE solicitation at, this FAQ document, and refer to the general information about NSF proposal submissions including the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) submission guidelines available at:

If you have questions about submitting your BRIGE proposal in FastLane, the NSF FastLane FAQ’s can be found at:

The following sections of this document can be directly accessed by selecting the appropriate heading:









Question: Whom should I contact if I have questions about my BRIGE proposal?

Answer: For questions or information on submission of a BRIGE proposal, contact the Diversity and Outreach Director or the Program Coordinator designated for each engineering discipline as follows:

    • Dr. Omnia El-Hakim, Program Director, Diversity and Outreach, Office of the Assistant Director for Engineering, telephone:(703) 292-2149,
    • Dr. Ted Conway, BRIGE Coordinator for CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7091,email :
    • Dr. Juan Figueroa, BRIGE Coordinator for IIP, telephone: (703) 292-7054, email :
    • Dr. Mary Toney, BRIGE Coordinator for CMMI, telephone: (703) 292-7008, email:
    • Dr. Larry Goldberg, BRIGE Coordinator for ECCS, telephone: (703) 292-5373, email:
    • Dr. Sally L. Wood, BRIGE Coordinator for EEC, telephone: (703) 292-7107, email:

For questions related to the use of FastLane to submit the supplement contact:




Question: Is there a limit on the number of Principal Investigators that I can include in my proposal?

Answer:Yes, there is a limit. Only one PI is allowed on the BRIGE proposal. Co-principal Investigators or Senior Personnel are not permitted.

Question: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident?


Answer: Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent U.S. resident.


Question: I am expecting my permanent residency in a few months. Am I eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal?


Answer: BRIGE candidates must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent U.S. residents by the BRIGE award time.


Question: I am affiliated with the Computer Science Department and would like to apply for BRIGE. Am I eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal?


Answer: BRIGE candidates must be affiliated with a department that is in a College of Engineering or a College of Engineering and Science.


Question: I have a Master’s Degree in Engineering and will obtain my Ph.D. next semester. Am I eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal?


Answer:No, you must hold a doctoral degree in an engineering supported discipline on the date of the proposal submission.


Question: I currently hold a post-doctoral appointment. Am I eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal?


Answer: No. You are not eligible to apply if you hold a post-doctoral appointment. You must hold an active full time, tenure track faculty position or equivalent research appointment for less than three years regardless of how many U.S. colleges or universities in which you have served on the date of proposal submission to be eligible to receive support.


Question: I served on a previous research grant as Co-PI for an amount of $55,000. Am I eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal?


Answer: No, you must not have previously served as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, or Senior Personnel on any research grants of which the total exceeds $50,000. Previous federal support through a doctoral dissertation improvement award, as a Fellow (post-doctoral or graduate), or through a fellowship research starter grant is not a disqualifying criterion.


Question: What is the Broadening Participation Plan mentioned in the solicitation? Is it different from the broader impact?


Answer: The Broadening Participation Plan is one of several conditions that satisfy the general Broader Impact criterion. For the BRIGE program, you must include a 2-3 page plan that shows how the proposed activities will increase: 1) the participation of engineers from underrepresented groups, and 2) the numbers of such individuals that serve as role models for the scientific workforce of the future.


Question I am a new investigator serving as a tenure track faculty member for three years at my current institution, but I served in a previous institution for two years and never served on any grants exceeding $50,000. Am I eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal? How many years are considered for a new investigator in a current institution?


Answer:No, you are not eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal if you have more than three years in the tenure track regardless of how many years you have served at your present institution. You are only eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal within your first three years in the tenure track regardless of how many institutions in which you have served.


Question: I am a new investigator and have exceeded the three years of eligibility because of maternity leave. Am I still eligible to submit a BRIGE proposal?


Answer:Yes, you can apply for the BRIGE award. Maternity leave time or time lost for a major illness does not count towards the three years of eligibility.

Question: My award is less than $50,000 and expiring in two months, and I have requested a one-year no-cost extension. Can I still submit a BRIGE proposal?

Answer: Yes.




Question: What are the supplementary documents that I must provide with my proposal in the “Supplementary Documents” section?


Answer: The following are required and must be submitted in the “Supplementary Documents” section:


  1. A letter from the institution (department chair or dean) must be supplied to address the following:

    1. Certification that the proposer has not previously served as the PI or CO-PI on any research grants the total of which exceeds $50,000, regardless of how much funding the proposer received on the grant.
    2. The proposer has served in his/her current position less than 3 years from the date of proposal submission.
    3. The availability of facilities and support for the research. The letter should be submitted in the Supplementary Documents section.

  2. A Post-Doc Mentoring Plan if post-docs will be supported.
  3. Any letters describing collaborative arrangements and commitments, if applicable.


Question: I have a collaborator from a foreign country who will assist me with the research. Can I provide funds to support his/her travel and compensation for his/her time?


Answer: No. You can only request funds for yourself and your students. NSF funds are not allowed for a collaborator or consultant on this award.





Question: How will my BRIGE proposal be reviewed?


Answer: After the annual submission deadline for BRIGE proposals, the proposals are reviewed by external panels comprised of experts with the necessary discipline specializations to adequately critique the full complement of proposals. Each panel may include reviewers from the previous panels; however, the make up of the panel is different from one year to the next. Funding recommendations are made by the cognizant Program Director based on the individual reviewer ratings, panel discussion and recommendation, funding availability, and the desire to balance the portfolio among sub-fields within the program.


Question: Are there any other review criteria for BRIGE awards that will be of interest to the reviewers?


Answer: Yes. In addition to the Intellectual Merit and the general Broader Impacts criteria, BRIGE proposals will be evaluated on their Broadening Participation Plans and on the potential of the research initiation activities to produce sufficient preliminary results to serve as the basis for a future competitive research proposal to the Directorate for Engineering. The PI should elaborate on her/his long-term goals of interest.


Question: When will I be notified if my BRIGE proposal is being recommended for award?


Answer: It is standard NSF practice to process all proposals within six months from the submission deadline; therefore, you will be notified of the status of your BRIGE proposal within six months from the BRIGE submission deadline.