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This document has been archived and replaced by NSF 20-094.

NSF 17-120

Dear Colleague Letter: Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under National Science Foundation (NSF) and US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Research Opportunities

August 18, 2017

Dear Colleague:


The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Research Cooperation. The MOU provides an overarching framework to encourage collaboration between US and Israeli research communities and sets out the principles by which jointly supported activities might be developed. The MOU provides for an international collaboration arrangement whereby US researchers may receive funding from the NSF and Israeli researchers may receive funding from the BSF.

The goal of this US-Israel collaborative research opportunity is to help reduce some of the current barriers to working internationally. Through a lead agency model, NSF and BSF will address these issues by allowing US and Israeli researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process at NSF, which will be the lead agency.

Collaborative research proposals will be accepted to the NSF programs listed on the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage. Note that deadlines and application windows vary by program.

Israeli researchers are invited to read the BSF solicitations. The BSF website indicates the funding limits and award durations allowed for the Israeli partners in an NSF-BSF collaborative proposal.

Proposals are expected to adhere to the areas of science, funding limits, and grant durations for the NSF and BSF program from which the funding is sought. Proposals must represent an integrated collaborative effort. This document provides guidelines for the preparation, submission, review, and award of NSF-BSF collaborative research proposals.

Proposers are advised that all documents submitted to NSF or BSF may be shared with the other agency in order to implement the two-way agency activities.


Proposals will be submitted to NSF, with a separate copy submitted within one week after the NSF submission deadline by the Israeli applicants to the BSF. The proposals will be reviewed in competition with other proposals received for the same funding round by NSF using NSF's merit review process. BSF will check that the Israeli investigator has an active and appropriate role and confirm his/her eligibility at the onset of the process, but will not conduct a parallel review and will not rank proposals. BSF is likely to support the Israeli effort for those projects whose US research partner is funded by NSF.

There are no separate NSF funds available for these efforts; proposals must compete with all other proposals within the relevant NSF program and must succeed on the strengths of their intellectual merit and broader impacts.


Proposals are due at NSF by the submission dates indicated in the program solicitation or program description published on the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage. The same proposal must be provided to BSF within one week of the NSF deadline. Proposals may be submitted at any time to programs without submission target dates or deadlines.


  1. The proposed work submitted under an NSF-BSF collaboration must represent an integrated collaborative effort. The project description must include a description of the collaboration, including an explanation of the role(s) of the Israeli collaborator(s) and an explanation of how the team will work together.
  2. The proposal must describe the intellectual merits of the proposed research, including the value of the international collaboration, and describe the anticipated societal benefits (broader impacts) of the effort. Broader impacts are an NSF review requirement, so the proposal should include societal benefits relevant to the US and may also include benefits in Israel.
  3. The proposal should describe the full proposed research program, including the total US and Israeli resources that will be part of the project. NSF proposers should only indicate the US expenses on the NSF budget form. BSF proposers should only indicate the Israeli research expenses on the BSF budget form. The Israeli budget must be included in the NSF proposal as a supplementary document. The Budget Justification section of the NSF proposal should clearly differentiate and justify the full US and Israeli project budgets. Proposals that request duplicative funding may be returned without review.
  4. Prior to submission, NSF proposers should contact the program director for the relevant participating program listed on the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage to discuss the research focus of the international project and verify that the research that will be proposed is appropriate for that program. For programs without a deadline, the proposers may want to discuss the best time for submission to accommodate a timely review process. Email addresses can be found at the links provided for each program.
  5. The collaborative proposal must be submitted to a participating NSF program by a U.S. institution, using the NSF FastLane system ( or the U.S. government system ( Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the standard requirements described in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and comply with requirements in the relevant programs solicitation or program description provided on the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage. Where programs have a solicitation, the requirements in the solicitation take precedence over those listed in the PAPPG. The Israeli institution submits the same proposal with any required additional information to the BSF via the BSF submission system.
  6. By submitting, PIs and their institutions agree that NSF may share reviews and other documents pertaining to the review process with the BSF.
  7. For those programs with limits on the number of proposals that an individual may submit in a year, involvement in a joint international proposal will count towards the limit on number of submissions in which an individual may participate as a PI, Co-PI, or senior lead investigator of a sub-award.
  8. The title of the proposal should be prefixed with "NSF-BSF:" to indicate that the document is to be considered by both NSF and BSF. Title instructions in the relevant solicitation or program description on the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage take precedence over this announcement.
  9. Do NOT check "collaborative" proposal unless another US institution will be submitting the same proposal for separate funding (i.e. the "collaborative" check box only applies if there is more than one collaborating institution on the U.S. side, each submitting the same proposal).
  10. Israeli investigators should NOT be listed as co-PIs on the NSF Cover Sheet. Israeli personnel should instead be listed as other Senior Personnel. Listing Israeli partners as Senior Personnel will help ensure that FastLane automatically requests additional documents that are required. Information on "current and pending support" is required for all personnel listed as "senior personnel" but "N/A" may be inserted into that field for Israeli personnel who have not received or applied for US government support. An Israeli participant in an NSF-BSF proposal does not receive US government support.
  11. Biographical sketches should be provided for Israeli partners and for the US investigators and should be prepared in accordance with the standard biographical sketch format described in the relevant solicitation (see the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage) or, if the solicitation provides no additional guidance, as described in the PAPPG. The NSF FastLane system should automatically request a biographical sketch for all Senior Personnel.
  12. For projects involving human subjects/participants or vertebrate animals, proposers should follow both NSF and BSF policies, submitting documentation to each as appropriate.


  1. The NSF proposal must include the documents requested in the solicitation or program description to which the proposal will be submitted on the NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage and as described in the PAPPG. In addition, the following documents must be included in NSF-BSF proposals.
  2. Provide as a Supplementary Document a copy of the proposed Israeli budget requested from BSF in English using US Dollars, and a budget justification that explains the request.
  3. Provide a list, as a Single Copy Document, of collaborators and other affiliations for each Senior Personnel included in a proposal, including Israeli partners. This list of persons with whom there is an affiliation is required for Israeli and U.S. partners to assist in the selection of reviewers. See PAPPG chapter II.C.1.e.
  4. Letters of collaboration or support that do not comply with NSF requirements in Chapter II.C.2.j of the PAPPG, should NOT be included in the NSF proposal.


Awardees will be required to acknowledge both NSF and BSF in any reports or publications resulting from the award. Requests for changes in awards (for example, for changes in scope) will be discussed by NSF and BSF before a joint decision is made.

NSF-BSF Participating NSF Programs webpage:

Office of International Science and Engineering (OD/OISE)

OISE helps to coordinate the overall engagement between NSF and BSF.

Contact email: Lara Campbell,