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

Proposal Preparation

Question: What needs to be included in the Project Summary?

Answer:The latest Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (available at specifies that the Project Summary must clearly address, in separate statements within the one-page limit, both the broader impacts and the intellectual merit. Proposals that do not address both merit review criteria in separate statements in the project summary will be returned without review. The GPG also states that the broader impacts must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative.

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Question: Will you enforce the page limits on proposals?

Answer: Yes. See the HSD solicitation (NSF 05-520) section V.A ”Full Proposal Instructions.”

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Question: Do citations and references count against the project description page limit?

Answer: No. They should be included in the References Cited section of the proposal

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Question: May I submit the same proposal to HSD and to another NSF program?

Answer: No. A unique proposal can be submitted only once to NSF. If the proposal is a duplicate of or substantially similar to a proposal already under consideration by NSF, it will be returned without review.

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Question: Can I request an extension of time to submit a proposal?

Answer: No.

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Question: What if FastLane or my university computer is unavailable on a submission deadline?

Answer: Please avoid this problem by submitting early. If you choose not to submit until the last minute, it is at your own risk.

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Question: What if there is an earthquake, fire or other disaster?

Answer: Please contact us at immediately. We will make determinations on a case-by-case basis.

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Question: Should proposals from non-profit research organizations address the broader impacts criterion and the integration of research and education?

Answer: Yes. Every proposal regardless of submitting institution will be evaluated on both NSF merit review criteria - the intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. Integrating research and education should be addressed as well. Non-profit research organizations should take special care to explain how their proposals will provide these benefits.

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Question: What if listing my five most recent relevant papers would take more than two pages because these papers have several hundred authors each?

Answer: The two-page limit dominates over the need to include the entire list of authors for your relevant publications. If your publications include large numbers of co-authors and you choose to list all of the co-authors, you likely will be able to list only a few papers. Instead, you may want to list only the first few authors and add text reference to additional authors, such as "Jane Doe, Soo Kim, and 26 other authors, including <Your Name>."

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Question: How do we submit supplementary documents?

Answer: Supplementary documents that are in accordance with the solicitation should be scanned into the Special Information and Supplementary Documentation section of the FastLane proposal.

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Question: Can I be a reviewer for HSD this year?

Answer: The HSD competition is split into two parts this year. The Exploratory Research proposals and the HSD Research Community Development proposals form one part. The Full Research proposals form the second part. If you are on an HSD proposal submitted this year then you cannot be a reviewer for that part of the competition, but you can volunteer to be a reviewer for the other part. If you did not submit an HSD proposal this year in response to NSF 05-520, then you can volunteer to be a reviewer for either part. If you want to volunteer, notify the Program Officer in the list of contacts who is closest to your field of research. Include a URL for your biosketch and a brief description of your research expertise in your email. The program officer will contact you if your area of expertise is relevant and we need reviewers in that area. If you don’t see anyone in the list of contacts who you feel is appropriate, send the information to

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Question: Why is the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) the only one to appear as an option on the NSF cover sheet in FastLane? I normally apply to Geosciences and my proposal deals primarily with Geosciences?

Answer: The SBE Directorate is coordinating the management of all proposals submitted to the HSD Priority Area. Program Officers from all Directorates and Divisions will participate in the management of HSD proposals that fall into their areas of expertise. This allows flexibility in assignment of proposals to specific panels.

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Question: Why does NSF only allow 4 co-PIs to be listed on the cover sheet of the Full Proposal? I would like for our project to have five (or more) co-PIs.

Answer: NSF policy limits the number of co-PIs that can be listed on the cover sheet of any Full Proposal to four. However, one should remember that when the Full Proposals are submitted, a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations may be done through simultaneous submission of proposals from the different organizations. In this way, four co-PIs could be listed on the cover sheet of each proposal. Alternatively, one could request a change in senior personnel through FastLane after an award is made if effective management of a project required such a change.

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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 an email to

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