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NSF Proposals Refused for Non-Compliance


Avoid the pain of having your NSF proposal rejected without review for non-compliance with new proposal standards.  New changes in the grant submission process through NSF Fastlane will render proposals non-reviewable if not fully compliant.  New automated proposal guidelines became effective January 14, 2013 and allow for no exceptions.  Key changes include:


Significant Changes to the GPG include:


Project Summary:

  • Requires 3 separate text boxes for 1) the Overview, 2) Intellectual Merit, and 3) Broader Impacts of the proposed activity. Proposals that do not separately address the overview and both merit review criteria will not be accepted or will be returned without review.
  • Special Characters – Proposals requiring special characters, such as mathematical symbols or Greek letters, must upload the project summary as a Supplementary Document and check the appropriate box.  The Project Summary may only be uploaded as a Supplementary Document if the use of special characters is necessary.  Even if the Project Summary is uploaded as a Supplemental Document, it must still distinctly provide separate statements for 1) Overview, 2) Intellectual Merit, and 3) Broader Impacts.


Biographical Sketch(es) – The “Publications” section has been renamed “Products”. Products may include, but are not limited to, publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights.


Personnel – If no salary is being requested for a Senior Personnel, the name(s) should be removed from the Budget and Budget Justification. HOWEVER, the name(s) will remain on the Cover Sheet and the role(s) on the project should be described in the Facilities, Equipment and other Resources section of the proposal.


Results from Prior NSF Support – should include current NSF funding.


Letters of Support – Letters of support to NSF are distinct from most other sponsors. In most NSF applications, letters should not exceed one page and should be limited to the nature of the collaboration and commitments by the collaborator. Letters than include results are not allowed and can cause the proposal to be returned without review.