Quarterly Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 1

Policy Office Launches eNewsletter

This issue marks the first eNewsletter from the Policy Office. The goal of the newsletter is to apprise NSF’s proposer and awardee community of new or revised policies and procedures, upcoming events where NSF staff will be in attendance, and any other relevant information that impacts the community.

The eNewsletter will be issued quarterly and will be distributed via MyNSF, NSF’s free, customized subscription service. To sign up with MyNSF and receive this quarterly newsletter as well as other NSF announcements, go to: www.nsf.gov/mynsf/, or send an e-mail to outreach@nsf.gov. We hope that you find the publication informative and welcome any feedback that you may have. For information or comments, contact the Policy Office in the Division of Institution and Award Support at: policy@nsf.gov.

NSF to Consolidate Policy and Procedure Documents

The Policy Office is working to consolidate NSF’s proposal preparation and award administration guidance into one policy framework. Previously, these documents were issued as the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Grant Policy Manual (GPM). The new document will be titled, the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide. “The restructuring of these documents has been in discussion for years,” commented Ms. Jean Feldman, Head of the Policy Office. “The impetus for change was the need to present a complete, comprehensive and transparent description of NSF’s process for proposal submission, evaluation, and award monitoring requirements to the research community,” she added.

In the current draft of the new guide, Part l contains the contents of the Grant Proposal Guide; Part II contains the contents of the Grant Policy Manual, now referred to as the Award and Administration Guide. Text has been revised, moved, and in some cases, deleted. In other areas, policy and procedure information has been significantly supplemented to provide more transparency to the NSF proposal process. Redundancies between the GPG and GPM have been greatly reduced. And, in some cases, important information about proposal preparation, previously in the GPM, was moved to a more logical location in Part l, Proposal Preparation. All of these changes strive to help the research community to better understand the lifecycle of the award process at NSF from proposal preparation through award administration and the closeout process. “The more clearly we articulate our requirements, the better it is for everyone,” commented Ms. Feldman.

When the new guide is released, the research community will be able to access it on the NSF website. Each section will also be available as a separate download, giving the flexibility of downloading only what is needed. Future revisions to the document will include the addition of the Grants.gov Application Guide.

The Policy Office has submitted the document to NSF senior management for review, as well as to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance. The anticipated release date for the new guide is January 2007. As with all other documents issued by the Policy Office, the new guide will contain a comprehensive list of changes. Upon the document’s release, NSF welcomes feedback and suggestions for improvement. For further information regarding this new policy framework, contact the Policy Office at: policy@nsf.gov.

NSF Implementation of Grants.gov Strategy in FY07

In continuing support of the President’s Management Agenda, NSF will publish application packages for all of its funding opportunities on Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) in FY07. In FY06, NSF posted application packages for seventy-nine percent of its programs on Grants.gov. As in FY06, a limited number of NSF funding opportunities will require submission via Grants.gov. As in FY06, collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations will still require submission via NSF’s FastLane system. A list of the required programs is posted on the NSF website at: www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovlisting306.pdf.

Applicants who have not applied for a NSF grant using Grants.gov are encouraged to review the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov that can be downloaded from www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/. This document provides detailed instructions on how to apply.

Before using Grants.gov to apply for the first time, each organization must register and create an institutional profile on Grants.gov (www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp). Applicants are encouraged to allow three weeks for completion of the registration process. Once registered, the applicant’s organization can then apply for federal grants from all federal grant-making agencies using Grants.gov.

For Grants.gov user support, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email at support@grants.gov. The Contact Center answers general technical questions related to Grants.gov. Program-specific questions should be referred to NSF program staff contacts identified in the funding opportunity.

University of Maryland Hosts NSF Regional Grants Conference

University of Maryland Seal

The University of Maryland hosted the first National Science Foundation Regional Grants Conference of FY07 in College Park, Maryland on October 23-24, 2006, with optional FastLane sessions on October 22.

NSF Director, Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., was the featured speaker on Monday, October 23, 2006.

These two-day conferences are a must for new faculty, researchers and administrators to gain key insight into a wide range of current issues at NSF, including the state of current funding; new and current policies and procedures; and pertinent administrative issues. NSF program officers representing each NSF directorate will be on hand to provide up-to-date information about specific funding opportunities and answer your questions.

For additional information (including future conference dates and presentation materials), visit the Policy Office website at: www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/index.jsp.

For additional information regarding program content, contact the Policy Office, Division of Institution and Award Support at (703) 292-8243, or via e-mail at policy@nsf.gov.

Hosting a Regional Grants Conference

Since 1994, NSF has worked with institutions around the country to hold the NSF Regional Grants Conference. Twenty-five institutions in eighteen states and the District of Columbia have served as host of this biannual conference. Each year the Policy Office, which coordinates these conferences on behalf of the Foundation, receives numerous requests from institutions volunteering to host the conference.

Over the years NSF has tried to ensure that the conferences are held in geographically accessible locations and are distributed equally throughout the United States. However, we have been limited to those institutions that have volunteered to serve as a host. As a result, NSF has not been able to hold the conferences in as many locations as desired.

In order to eliminate the financial and administrative burden that host institutions incur, and to allow NSF to hold the conference in geographically diverse areas of the country, NSF now has contractor support for all conference organization and logistics. This will now allow institutions to serve as host of the conference without the financial costs associated with organizing it.

The new requirements for hosting the NSF Regional Grants Conference are outlined below.

For further information about hosting an NSF Regional Grants Conference please contact the Policy Office at policy@nsf.gov.