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National Science Foundation
Significant Changes and Clarifications
PAPPG - Introduction
A. About the NSF
B. Foreword
C. Acronym List
D. Definitions
E. NSF Organizations
Table of Contents
Part I: Proposal Preparation and Submission Guidelines
I. Pre-Submission Information
II. Proposal Preparation Instructions
III. NSF Proposal Processing and Review
IV. Non-Award Decisions and Transactions
V. Renewal Proposals
Part II: Award, Administration and Monitoring of Grants and Cooperative Agreements
VI. NSF Awards
VII. Grant Administration
VIII. Financial Requirements and Payments
IX. Grantee Standards
X. Allowability of Costs
XI. Other Post Award Requirements and Considerations
XII. Grant Administration Disputes and Misconduct
Subject Index
Privacy Act and Public Burden Statements

NSF 20-1 June 1, 2020
Significant Changes and Clarifications to the PAPPG

Overall Document

  • Editorial changes have been made throughout to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section. References to the Large Facilities Manual have been updated to the new title of Major Facilities Guide.

Significant Changes

  • Chapters I.G, How to Submit Proposals, II.C.1.d, Proposal Certifications and XI.A, Non-Discrimination Statutes and Regulations have been updated to implement Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-18-24, "Strategies to Reduce Grant Recipient Reporting Burden". Proposing organizations must submit government-wide representations and certifications in the System for Award Management (SAM). These certifications must be re-certified annually. NSF-specific proposal certifications must still be provided via the Authorized Organizational Representative function in NSF’s electronic systems. Prior exhibits in Chapter II on the Drug Free Workplace Certification, Debarment and Suspension, Lobbying and Nondiscrimination have been deleted. Reference to the Certification of Compliance/Civil Rights Certifications in Chapter XI.A.2 has been removed as Nondiscrimination Certifications will now be provided in SAM.
  • Chapter II.C.2.f, Biographical Sketches, has been modified to require use of an NSF-approved format in submission of the biographical sketch. NSF will only accept PDFs that are generated through use of an NSF-approved format.
  • Chapter II.C.2.h, Current and Pending Support, has been modified to require use of an NSF-approved format in submission of current and pending support information. NSF will only accept PDFs that are generated through use of an NSF-approved format.
  • Chapter II.E.1 and 2, Rapid Response Research (RAPID) Proposal and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) Proposal, have been supplemented with language which clarifies how RAPID and EAGER proposals may not be used. A new requirement that email documentation from a cognizant NSF Program Officer approving submission of a RAPID or EAGER be uploaded to the proposal also has been added.

Clarifications and Other Changes

  • Introduction Section A, About the National Science Foundation, has been supplemented with expanded language on NSF support of small businesses, industrial partnerships and product innovations.
  • Chapter I.A, NSF Proposal Preparation and Submission, has been updated to specify that Research.gov is being incrementally enhanced to support additional proposal and submission types. Proposers should check the Research.gov website for the latest list of capabilities.
  • Chapter II.C.1.b, List of Suggested Reviewers or Reviewers Not to Include, has been updated to remove the requirement to indicate why the proposer prefers someone not review their proposal.
  • Chapter II.C.1.e, Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information, has been updated to remove language requiring the user to save the format in .xlsx, as well as deletion of coverage on the conversion of the file by FastLane to PDF. Guidance has been added to clarify that the instructions at the top of the template may be deleted and rows may be inserted as needed to provide additional names.
  • Chapter II.C.2.a(4)(e)(ii), Cover Sheet, provides clarification on the project/performance site instructions for research infrastructure projects.
  • Chapter II.C.2.d(i), Project Description, has been revised to remove the requirement for the Project Description to contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Intellectual Merit". In addition, another example has been added to the list of societally relevant outcomes in the broader impacts paragraph. The list is not meant to be either comprehensive or prescriptive; proposers may include appropriate outcomes not covered by the examples.
  • Chapter II.C.2.f, Biographical Sketches, has been supplemented with additional language to the Appointments section, to increase clarity regarding the information that must be provided. Appointments should include any titled academic, professional, or institutional position, whether or not remuneration is received.
  • Chapter II.C.2.f(i)(d), Synergistic Activities, has been updated to clarify that synergistic activities should be specific and must not include multiple examples to further describe the activity.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g, Budget and Budget Justification, has been supplemented with a reminder that proposers should check solicitations for additional budgetary preparation requirements for mid-scale and major facilities proposals. In section II.C.2.g.(v) on Participant Support, language on costs related to service agreements/contracts has been revised to improve clarity. A similar change has been made to section II.E.7, Meals and Coffee Breaks. In addition, section II.C.2.g.(vi)(b) has been supplemented with additional types of costs that may appear under "Publication/Documentation/Dissemination" on Line G.2 of the NSF budget. Definitions for each of the categories are provided via footnote.
  • Chapter II.C.2.h, Current and Pending Support, has been revised to clarify NSF’s longstanding requirements regarding submission of current and pending support information.
  • Chapter II.D.3.b, Submission of a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations, has been updated to reflect that for these proposals, the project title must begin with the words "Collaborative Research:"
  • Chapters II.D.5, Proposals Involving Human Subjects and XI.B.1.a, Human Subjects, have been updated to improve clarity and for consistency with current practice.
  • Chapter II.D.7, Projects Requiring High-Performance Computing Resources, Data Infrastructure, or Advanced Visualization Resources, incorporates updated information on this topic.
  • Chapter II.E.7, Conference Proposal, requires that information on the complaint submission and resolution process be included in the policy or code-of-conduct proposers disseminate to conference participants. It also requires that a plan for recruitment of, and support for, speakers and other attendees, that includes participation of groups underrepresented in science and engineering must be included in the proposal. In addition, a description of plans to identify resources for child care and other types of family care at the conference site must be included as well.
  • Chapter II.E.11, Research Infrastructure Proposal, has been supplemented with a definition of research infrastructure.
  • Chapter V, Renewal Proposals, incorporates a reaffirmation of the National Science Board principle on recompetition.
  • Chapter VII.B.2.b and d, Changes in Person-Months Devoted to the Project and Withdrawal of PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD, have been updated to reflect that such requests must be submitted at least 30 days before the proposed change, or as soon as practicable after the prospective change/withdrawal is known.
  • Chapter IX.B, Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RECR), has been supplemented with explanatory text regarding organization’s RECR responsibilities. In addition, new language has been added that references several National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reports, which NSF encourages organizations to consider in meeting RECR requirements.
  • Chapter IX.D, Property Management Standards, has been revised to specify that for IHEs or other non-profit organizations, small businesses or other for-profit organizations, and foreign public entities or foreign organizations, title to equipment purchased with NSF funds will normally vest in the grantee organization upon acquisition. Use of updated terminology (e.g., Federally-owned property) is incorporated to align with the Uniform Guidance. A new section on Property Management Requirements for Federally-Owned Property has been included and the due date for submission of the required annual inventory report for Federally-owned property has been updated to reflect October 15 each year.
  • Chapter XI.A, Non-Discrimination Statutes and Regulations, incorporates an email address that should be used to communicate an allegation of discrimination to NSF. The website address where information on the compliant process can be found has been updated.
  • Chapter XII.C.3, Reporting Possible Misconduct, has been supplemented with a website address where possible misconduct in activities funded by NSF can be reported.



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