Computer and Information Science and Engineering
To support investigator-initiated research and education in all areas of computer and information science and engineering; advance the development and use of cyberinfrastructure across the science and engineering enterprise; and contribute to the education and training of future generations of scientists and engineers who will dedicate their careers to advancing computing and information research and education as well as cyberinfrastructure.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Agency: National Science Foundation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Except where a program solicitation establishes more restrictive eligibility criteria, individuals and organizations in the following categories may submit proposals: Universities and colleges; Non-profit, non-academic organizations; For-profit organizations; State and local governments; and unaffiliated individuals. See the NSF Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter I.E., for a full description of eligibility requirements: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
Proposals must be signed electronically by an official authorized to commit the institution or organization in business and financial affairs and who can commit the organization to certain proposal certifications. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular Nos. A-21 (2 CFR Part 220) for educational institutions, No. A-87 (2 CFR Part 225) for State and local governments, and A-122 (2 CFR Part 230) for nonprofit organizations. Applicants for fellowship support must show evidence of ability such as academic records, letters of recommendation, graduate record examination scores, and grade point average. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination may be required. Environmental impact information may be required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. By electronic submission via FastLane or Grants.gov of a formal proposal, and in some programs, a preliminary proposal, describing the planned project and the proposed amount of the grant. For guidelines, see specific funding opportunities and the Grant Proposal Guide: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
NSF staff members review and evaluate all proposals based on a set of criteria established by the National Science Board and, if applicable, solicitation-specific review criteria. In most cases reviews are undertaken with the advice of scientists, engineers, educators, and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the fields covered by the proposals. NSF makes awards on a competitive basis. Notification of an award is transmitted electronically to the submitting organization by a NSF Grants and Agreements Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.
The principal investigator may request, in writing, within 90 days of a declination or return, that NSF reconsider its action in declining or returning any proposal application.
A renewal proposal competes with all other proposals and must be developed fully as though the proposer is applying for the first time. Renewal proposals must be submitted at least six months before additional funding is required or consistent with an established deadline, target date or submission window. Principal investigators are encouraged to discuss renewal proposals with the NSF Program Officer prior to submission.
How are proposals selected?
Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program for acknowledgement and, if they meet NSF requirements, for review. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF either as ad hoc reviewers, panelists, or both, who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. In addition, Program Officers may obtain comments from site visits before recommending final action on proposals. Senior NSF staff further review recommendations for awards. A flowchart that depicts the entire NSF proposal and award process (and associated timeline) is included as GPG Exhibit III-1.
A comprehensive description of the Foundation’s merit review process is available on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/meritreview/.
Proposal review is one step in the NSF program planning and implementation process. Embedded in this process are core strategies that are fundamental to the fulfillment of NSF’s mission. More information about NSF’s mission and strategies can be found in Empowering the Nation Through Discovery and Innovation: NSF Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2011-2016. NSF’s mission is particularly well-implemented through the integration of research and education and broadening participation in NSF programs, projects, and activities.
A. Merit Review Principles and Criteria
The National Science Foundation strives to invest in a robust and diverse portfolio of projects that creates new knowledge and enables breakthroughs in understanding across all areas of science and engineering research and education. To identify which projects to support, NSF relies on a merit review process that incorporates consideration of both the technical aspects of a proposed project and its potential to contribute more broadly to advancing NSF’s mission “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes.” NSF makes every effort to conduct a fair, competitive, transparent merit review process for the selection of projects.
1. Merit Review Principles
These principles are to be given due diligence by PIs and organizations when preparing proposals and managing projects, by reviewers when reading and evaluating proposals, and by NSF program staff when determining whether or not to recommend proposals for funding and while overseeing awards. Given that NSF is the primary federal agency charged with nurturing and supporting excellence in basic research and education, the following three principles apply:
•All NSF projects should be of the highest quality and have the potential to advance, if not transform, the frontiers of knowledge.
•NSF projects, in the aggregate, should contribute more broadly to achieving societal goals. These broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified.
•Meaningful assessment and evaluation of NSF funded projects should be based on appropriate metrics, keeping in mind the likely correlation between the effect of broader impacts and the resources provided to implement projects. If the size of the activity is limited, evaluation of that activity in isolation is not likely to be meaningful. Thus, assessing the effectiveness of these activities may best be done at a higher, more aggregated, level than the individual project.
With respect to the third principle, even if assessment of Broader Impacts outcomes for particular projects is done at an aggregated level, PIs are expected to be accountable for carrying out the activities described in the funded project. Thus, individual projects should include clearly stated goals, specific descriptions of the activities that the PI intends to do, and a plan in place to document the outputs of those activities.
These three merit review principles provide the basis for the merit review criteria, as well as a context within which the users of the criteria can better understand their intent.
2. Merit Review Criteria
All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of two National Science Board approved merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.
The two merit review criteria are listed below. Both criteria are to be given full consideration during the review and decision-making processes; each criterion is necessary but neither, by itself, is sufficient. Therefore, proposers must fully address both criteria. (GPG Chapter II.C.2.d.(i) contains additional information for use by proposers in development of the Project Description section of the proposal.) Reviewers are strongly encouraged to review the criteria, including GPG Chapter II.C.2.d.(i), prior to the review of a proposal.
When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. To that end, reviewers will be asked to evaluate all proposals against two criteria:
•Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
•Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.
The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:
1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to:
a. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
b. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?.
How may assistance be used?
Grant funds may be used to pay costs of conducting research, and obtaining access to advanced computing and networking capabilities, salaries and wages, equipment and supplies, travel, publication costs, other direct costs, and indirect costs. Primary responsibility for general supervision of all grant activities rests with the grantee institution; the principal investigator is responsible for the scientific work. Funds may not be used for purposes other than those specified in the proposal.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
No program reports are required. No cash reports are required. Unless otherwise specified in the award, Annual Project Reports should be submitted at least 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period. Within 90 days following the expiration of the award, a Final Project Report and a Project Outcomes Report for the General Public must be submitted. Grantees are required to report the status of funds received from NSF on a quarterly basis through the submission of a Federal Financial Report (FFR). Information about reporting requirements is contained in the Award and Administration Guide: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag. Grantees are required to report the status of funds received from NSF on a quarterly basis throug the submission of a Federal Financial Report (FFR). Information about reporting requirements is contained the Award and Administration Guide: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub summ.jsp?ods key=aag. No performance monitoring is required.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.
Records, supporting documents, statistical records, and other records pertinent to a grant must be retained by the grantee for a period of 3 years from submission of the Final Project Report. Special record keeping requirements may apply to fellowships.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. Mandatory cost sharing will only be required for NSF programs when explicitly authorized by the NSF Director, the National Science Board, or legislation. In those rare instances, cost sharing requirements will be clearly identified in the program solicitation. Inclusion of voluntary, committed cost sharing is prohibited.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Award durations of up to 5 years. Method of awarding assistance: Standard or continuing grant, fellowship, or cooperative agreement. . Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Carmen Whitson 4201 Wilson Blvd., Stafford I - Suite 1105, Arlington, Virginia 22230 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 7032928900 Fax: 7032929074
(Project Grants) FY 14 $892,726,270; FY 15 est $892,604,396; and FY 16 est $921,730,000 - 1) FY 2014 Obligation projections are the FY 2014 NSF Current Plan
2) FY 2014 Obligations are the FY 2014 NSF Appropriations Actual
3) FY 2015 Obligations estimates are the FY 2015 NSF Current Plan
4) FY 2016 Obligations estimates are the FY 2016 NSF Congressional Request.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Range Low $2,430
Range High $15,000,000
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
NSF Website: www.nsf.gov; 48 CFR Chapter 25; 45 CFR Chapter VI; Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub summ.jsp?ods key=papp), which incorporates the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG).
Examples of Funded Projects