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Phase I: Proposal Preparation and Submission

NSF Announces Funding Opportunities

step 1There are various resources available to help you find sources of funding from NSF. The NSF website provides a comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. For complete information on this topic, see GPG Chapter I.B. NSF Programs and Funding Opportunities. Specific resources on finding funding include:

  • Find Funding is a tool on the NSF website that provides an electronic capability to search for funding opportunities via title, NSF organization, or NSF program area;
  • National Science Foundation Update is an information-delivery system designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities;
  • Grants.gov provides an electronic capability to search for Federal grant opportunities.

NSF uses the following mechanisms to announce funding opportunities and generate proposals. Detailed explanations of each are provided in GPG Chapter I.B. NSF Programs and Funding Opportunities.

  • Program Descriptions are posted on the NSF Directorate/Division websites to encourage the submission of proposals in specific program areas of interest to NSF. Proposals for a program description must follow the instructions in GPG Chapter II. Proposal Preparation Instructions;
  • Program Announcements are formal NSF publications that describe an NSF program. Proposals for a program announcement must follow the instructions in GPG, Chapter II. Proposal Preparation Instructions;
  • Program Solicitations are formal NSF publications that encourage the submission of proposals in specific program areas of interest to NSF. They generally are more focused than program announcements, and normally apply for a limited period of time. They also may include additional restrictions and/or requirements. Proposals must follow the instructions in the program solicitation; the instructions in the GPG apply unless otherwise stated in the solicitation;
  • Dear Colleague Letters are notifications of opportunities or special competitions for supplements to existing NSF awards.

View the Merit Review Process Illustration

Organization Prepares/Submits Proposal

step 2The GPG provides detailed information on pre-submission information (Chapter I.). Specifics include types of organizations who may submit proposals, when to submit, and how to submit. Information on proposal preparation and submission (including formatting and content requirements) is in Chapter II of the GPG.

Contact with NSF program personnel prior to proposal preparation and submission is encouraged. Some NSF programs have program solicitations that modify the general provisions of the GPG. In such cases, the guidelines provided in the solicitation must be followed.

View the Merit Review Process Illustration

NSF Receives Proposal

step 3The NSF Proposal Processing Unit receives all proposals that are submitted to NSF (via FastLane and Grants.gov). The Processing Unit then routes the proposal to the appropriate NSF Program Officer. For further information regarding the review process, see Phase II: Proposal Review and Processing

View the Merit Review Process Illustration