Email Print Share
NSF 05-131 July 2005

Chapter VIII - Other Proposal and Award Considerations

The chapter discusses other proposal and award considerations not addressed in the preceding chapters. Topics covered are:



  1. The Foundation’s regulation on Intergovernmental Review of National Science Foundation Programs and Activities is published in 45 CFR Part 660.

  2. The Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS) notifies the States of Federal assistance awards. FAADS is a computer-based management information system that provides information on assistance awards, including NSF grants, on a quarterly basis. These reports are distributed to the States, and meet the objective of 6502 of Title 31 of the USC.


811 Questionnaires: Data Collection Under NSF Grants

811.1 Paperwork Control

Under the OMB regulation, Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public (5 CFR §1320), a grantee’s obtaining of information from ten or more persons by means of identical questions is considered to be “sponsored” by NSF only if:

  1. the grantee is collecting the information at the specific request of NSF; or

  2. the terms of the grant require specific approval by NSF of the collection or its procedures. If either of these conditions is met, OMB approval of the data collection is generally required and grantees should obtain the necessary control number from the cognizant NSF Program Officer.

811.2 NSF Policy

Data collection activities of NSF grantees are the responsibility of grantees, and NSF support of a project does not constitute NSF approval of the survey design, questionnaire content or data collection procedures. No representation may be made to respondents that such data are being collected for, or in association with, NSF or the government. However, this requirement is not intended to preclude mention of NSF support of the project in response to an inquiry or acknowledgment of such support in any publication of this data (see GPM 744, "Grantee Obligations").

812 Release of Information by NSF

812.1 Press Releases

Grants for projects which appear to be of special interest to the general public may be made the subject of an NSF or joint NSF/grantee organization press release to the news media. (See GPM 622, "News Release Costs.")

812.2 Open Government Legislation

  1. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 USC §552), NSF will provide agency records, with certain exceptions, if the request is in writing, includes the requester's name and mailing address, is clearly identified as a FOIA request, and describes the records sought with sufficient specificity to permit identification. The requester must also agree to pay fees that are chargeable under the NSF regulations. Detailed procedures are contained in 45 CFR §612. Further information is available at

  2. The Government in the Sunshine Act (5 USC §552b) requires that all meetings of the National Science Board be open to public observation unless the subject falls within one of ten exemptions. NSF's Sunshine Act regulations are contained in 45 CFR §614. The Sunshine Act and the FOIA cited above, may require NSF to release to the public information, correspondence and documents received by NSF from grantees, unless they fall within the Acts' limited exceptions.

812.3 Release of Project Reports

NSF expects significant findings from research it supports to be promptly submitted for publication. To the extent permitted by law, NSF will honor requests from grantees that release of Annual and Final Project Reports be delayed to permit orderly dissemination of significant findings through refereed channels. Unless such a request is received or material is marked as proprietary, such reports may be made available to others without notice to the grantee. Information, the disclosure of which might invade personal privacy, will be redacted before release.


Determination of the tax status of an organization or person receiving compensation in any form as a result of an NSF grant is the responsibility of the IRS, State and local tax authorities and the courts.

  1. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 USC §4332) requires that Federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

  2. If a proposed project might have an environmental impact, the proposal should furnish sufficient information to assist Foundation officials in assessing the environmental consequences of supporting the project. NSF will determine:

    1. the adequacy of the information submitted;

    2. whether or not additional information is needed; and

    3. whether or not an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement will be necessary.

  3. NSF regulations governing compliance with NEPA are found at 45 CFR §640. NSF regulations supplement the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations, published at 40 CFR §§1500-1508. Categories of activities for which an NSF Program Officer may be required to prepare an environmental assessment are set forth at 45 CFR §640.3(b).


NSF is required by 16 USC §470f to take into account the effect of grant activities on properties included in the National Register of Historic Places. Occasionally, an NSF grant may involve activities that require mitigation or other actions under the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (36 CFR §800). In such cases, as deemed appropriate by NSF, conditions executing the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act may be included in the grant and grantees or prospective grantees may be required to coordinate with State or local historical preservation officers.


  1. NSF does not have original classification authority and does not normally support classified projects. It therefore does not expect that results of NSF-supported research projects will be classifiable. Under certain circumstances, however, a classification review of information originated under an award may be required. NSF may review research work generated under this award at any time to determine if it requires classification.

  2. Executive Order 12958 (60 Fed. Reg. 19,825 (1995)), as amended by Executive Order 13292 (68 Fed. Reg. 15315 (2003)) states that basic research information not clearly related to the national security may not be classified. Nevertheless, some information concerning, among other things, scientific, technological or economic matters relating to the national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism, or cryptology may require classification. If a recipient originates information during the course of an award that it believes requires classification under the Executive orders mentioned above, the recipient must promptly:

  3. Notify the appropriate NSF Program Officer or the person identified in the Agency Specific Requirements.

  4. In such a case, the grantee has the responsibility to promptly:

    1. Notify the appropriate NSF Program Officer or the person identified in the Agency Specific Requirements.

    2. Submit the information for classification review as directed by the program official or by registered mail directly to the address specified in the Agency Specific Requirements.

    3. Restrict access to the information to the maximum extent possible until the recipient is informed that the information is not classified, but no longer than thirty (30) days after receipt by the Federal agency performing the classification review.

  5. If the agency performing the classification review determines any of the information requires classification, the recipient agrees that NSF may terminate the award by mutual agreement in accordance with the termination provisions of the award, or otherwise amend it. All material deemed to be classified must be handled in accordance with agency instructions.

  6. If the agency performing the classification review does not respond within the specified time periods, the recipient is under no further obligation to restrict access to the information.

  7. The Executive Order requires the agency with appropriate subject matter interest and classification authority to decide within 30 days whether to classify the material. If it determines the information will require classification, the grantee shall cooperate with that agency, NSF or other appropriate agencies in securing all related project notes and papers.

  8. If the information is determined to require classification, the performing organization may wish or need to discontinue the project. (See GPM 913, "Termination by Mutual Agreement.")


861 Liabilities and Losses

NSF assumes no liability with respect to accidents, bodily injury, illness, breach of contract, any other damages or loss, or with respect to any claims arising out of any activities undertaken with the financial support of an NSF grant, whether with respect to persons or property of the grantee or third parties. The grantee is advised to insure or otherwise protect itself or others, as it may deem desirable.

862 Pre-College Students and Experimental Curriculum Development Projects

As required by 42 USC §1869 a and b, grantees of projects which involve pre-college students in research or development, or pilot-testing, evaluation or revision of, experimental or innovative curriculum development projects will:

  1. provide to the school board, or comparable authority responsible for the schools considering participation in the project, information concerning the need for and purposes of, the particular education project, the proposed content of the material to be used, the expected benefits to be derived and other information to assist the jurisdiction in arriving at a decision on participation;

  2. obtain written approval for participation in the project activities after the responsible authority has carried out its procedures;

  3. provide information and materials to the responsible school authority to assist it in carrying out its own established procedures regarding the participation of students in project activities;

  4. provide information to NSF describing compliance with the above provisions; and

  5. provide in every publication, testing or distribution agreement involving instructional material developed under a grant (including but not limited to teacher’s manuals, textbooks, films, tapes or other supplementary material) that such material will be made available within the school district using such material, for inspection by parents or guardians of children engaged in educational programs or projects of that school district.

863 Use of Metric Measurements

The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (15 USC §§205a-k) and E.O. 12770 (3 CFR, 1991 comp.) encourage Federal agencies to use the Metric System in procurement, grants and other business-related activities. The NSF grant will contain a provision encouraging PI/PDs to submit project reports, final reports, other reports and publications produced under grants that employ the metric system of measurements.