During FY 2000 NSF took action on 29,407 competitively reviewed proposals,
and provided funding to 9,762 of them. This resulted in an overall
funding rate of 33 percent. These numbers have changed very little
during the past five years. In FY 2000, Directorate funding rates
ranged from 25 to 39 percent.
In FY 2000, the number of awards to minority Principal Investigators
(PIs) increased from 422 to 482, a 14 percent increase over FY 1999.
Still, this is only about five percent of the total number of NSF
awards. The funding rate for minority PIs is 32 percent, very close
to NSF's overall rate of 33 percent.
During FY 2000, female PIs received 1,932 awards, a 16 percent increase
over FY 1999. The funding rate was 35 percent. Since 1993 the number
of proposals received from female PIs has increased by 18 percent
and the number of awards has increased by 32 percent.
There continues to be a wide disparity in the funding rates of "new
PIs" and "prior PIs" (24 percent and 40 percent, respectively
in FY 2000). In FY 2000 new PIs submitted 12,320 proposals, up slightly
from FY 1999 but down by 15 percent from FY 1993-94 levels.
The average annualized award amount in FY 2000 was $105,839, an increase
of 13 percent over FY 1999. The average amount for female PIs was
$95,987, compared to $108,825 for male PIs. The average amount for
minority PIs was $88,743. In NSF's FY 2001GPRA Performance Plan, a
specific goal is to increase the average award size for research projects
Since 1991 the percentage of NSF proposals reviewed by panel-only
has increased from 40 to 46 percent of all proposals. During the same
period, there has been a steady decline in the use of mail-only review
from 30 to 17 percent. The use of mail-plus-panel review increased
from 31 to 38 percent during the past ten years.
For proposal decisions in FY 2000, 46,897 external reviewers were
sent one or more proposals for mail review and 8,708 reviewers served
as panelists. In FY 2000, 60 percent of requests for mail reviews
produced responses, an increase from the 59 percent response rate
in FY 1999, although below the 64 percent response rate that prevailed
in the 1990s.
There is considerable overlap among the average reviewer ratings
of successful and unsuccessful proposals, most notably in the range
of "very good" average ratings. This is true for all three
proposal review methods (panel-only, mail-only, and mail plus panel).
Almost $2 billion of declined proposals are rated very good or better
and almost $1 billion are rated as high as the average NSF award.
The use of preliminary proposals has increased in frequency over
the past several years in NSF programs. In FY 2000, NSF acted on 1,281
official preliminary proposals that were logged into the proposal
processing system. (Almost all through FastLane.) Of these, NSF encouraged
the submission of full proposals in 236 cases and discouraged submission
in 1,045 cases.
Although NSF did not fully meet its FY 2000 GPRA goal of getting
reviewers and program officers to address both merit review criteria,
NSF is taking steps to assure that significant progress will be made.
In FY 2000, 54% of proposals were processed within six months, falling
short of NSF's GPRA Goal of 70%. In FY 2001, NSF staff will work cooperatively
to reduce overloads and bottlenecks.