National Science Foundation Makes Major Changes To Funding Proposals

A series of information sessions have been scheduled to go over changes and answer any questions.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is making major changes that will affect how researchers will prepare and submit proposals for funding.  There also is a change to the way proposals are reported upon. All changes will go into effect Jan. 14.

Failure to follow the new guidelines could result in a faculty member’s proposal not being accepted or in a report being lost.

To help researchers understand the changes, the Texas Tech University Office of Research Services has prepared a series of training videos.

A series of information sessions also have been scheduled to go over changes and to answer any questions. All sessions will be held in room 153 of the Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center, first floor of the University Library. The sessions are set for:

  • Dec. 20, 2-3 p.m.
  • Jan. 4, 9:30-11 a.m.
  • Jan. 10, 2-3 p.m.

A significant change is that FastLane will reject proposal submissions if key elements of a proposal are not completed correctly. The rejection will be marked “Proposal Not Accepted.” The new NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedure Guide (PAPP) states if the proposal, “does not contain the project summary, including an overview, and separate statements on intellectual merit and broader impacts it will not be accepted by FastLane.” This new non-award category will also apply to data management plans as well as postdoctoral mentoring plans.

Because of FastLane’s new ability to block submissions of non-compliant proposals, NSF strongly suggests submitting proposals several hours before the deadline to allow time to correct errors.

For the first time in 13 years, the National Science Board has made changes in the merit review criteria that will affect the way in which proposals will be reviewed and scored. There also are significant changes to many proposal elements including biosketches and proposal summaries.

NSF also has clarified the appropriate use of indirect costs, or facilities and administrative costs, as well as cost sharing and conflict of interest polices.

Within the next few months NSF will shut down FastLane for reporting functions only and will use FastLane will still be used for proposals submissions.

The new NSF PAPP Guide can be found at Please direct questions to the pre-award analyst who covers your department.


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