Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) (NSF 05-520)


Question: How will the HSD funds be divided across the NSF directorates and different subject areas of the solicitation?

Answer: We do not make a priori funding decisions across the areas even though each Directorate knows (once we get our budget from Congress) how much it is likely to spend on new HSD awards this year. HSD is an interdisciplinary, Foundation-wide activity and many awards receive funds from several Directorates. Decisions about funding are made after the proposals are reviewed, and after all Directorates have a chance to determine which proposals are the most interesting and promising to them. If the proposals in some particular area are of unusually high quality, that area may attract more money than expected in advance.

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Question: May faculty request academic year salary in addition to or instead of summer salary?

Answer: NSF typically allows summer salary on its grants. (As stated in the Grant Proposal Guide, summer salary for faculty members on academic-year appointments is limited to no more than two-ninths of their regular academic-year salary.) However, in some cases academic year salary is allowed, either in addition to or instead of summer salary. Requests for academic year salary need to be justified in the proposal.

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Question: What kinds of administrative costs may be included in the budget?

Answer: Many universities and colleges consider certain kinds of administrative costs, such as lab space and secretary salary, to be included in the indirect cost portion of the budget. Thus, they typically cannot be included as direct costs. If you have a question about what is allowable at your university or college, please check with your Sponsored Research Office. It is best situated to answer this question.

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Question: May HSD proposal budgets include equipment?

Answer: Yes. Equipment that is necessary to carry out the proposed project may be requested and should be justified in the budget justification.

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Question: How might the requested budget affect chances of success? Are there budgets that would be inappropriate because they are too large or too small?

Answer: HSD is an interdisciplinary, Foundation-wide activity. A high-quality, innovative proposal that addresses the substance of the HSD solicitation and has high societal value or impact has the best chance of being funded. Proposers should request the funding amounts necessary to carry out the work. Since there are maximum award amounts, investigators should take care to construct a project that is feasible within those budgetary limits. Please refer to “Section IV. Award Information” of the solicitation NSF 05-520, which provides information about maximum total awards based on type of project activity. NOTE: Proposals that exceed the maximum for their type will be returned without review.

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Question: My question is not in this list and is not answered in the solicitation. What should I do?

Answer: Send email

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