Program Solicitation
NSF 07-546

Replaces Document(s):
NSF 05-565

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Geosciences
     Division of Ocean Sciences
     Division of Earth Sciences

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

July 01, 2007

July 1, Annually Thereafter


A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 11-1, was issued on October 1, 2010 and is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 18, 2011. Please be advised that the guidelines contained in NSF 11-1 apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity. Proposers who opt to submit prior to January 18, 2011, must also follow the guidelines contained in NSF 11-1.

Cost Sharing: The PAPPG has been revised to implement the National Science Board's recommendations regarding cost sharing. Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited. In order to assess the scope of the project, all organizational resources necessary for the project must be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal. The description should be narrative in nature and must not include any quantifiable financial information. Mandatory cost sharing will only be required when explicitly authorized by the NSF Director. See the PAPP Guide Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Chapter II.C.2.g(xi) for further information about the implementation of these recommendations.

Data Management Plan: The PAPPG contains a clarification of NSF's long standing data policy. All proposals must describe plans for data management and sharing of the products of research, or assert the absence of the need for such plans. FastLane will not permit submission of a proposal that is missing a Data Management Plan. The Data Management Plan will be reviewed as part of the intellectual merit or broader impacts of the proposal, or both, as appropriate. Links to data management requirements and plans relevant to specific Directorates, Offices, Divisions, Programs, or other NSF units are available on the NSF website at: See Chapter II.C.2.j of the GPG for further information about the implementation of this requirement.

Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan: As a reminder, each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. Please be advised that if required, FastLane will not permit submission of a proposal that is missing a Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan. See Chapter II.C.2.j of the GPG for further information about the implementation of this requirement.


General Information

Program Title:


Synopsis of Program:

The MARGINS program was initiated by the scientific community and the National Science Foundation and has been designed to elevate our present largely descriptive and qualitative knowledge of continental margins to a level where theory, modeling and simulation, together with field observation and experiment, can yield a clearer understanding of the processes that control margin genesis and evolution. Although continental margins have been traditionally assigned to three distinct tectonic settings, i.e., convergent, divergent and translational, the approach used by the MARGINS program recognizes that a range of fundamental physical and chemical processes that form and deform the surface of the Earth operate at all margins. Tectonic setting may govern the specific expression of a particular process that may vary in different environments. However, a relatively small number of processes, i.e., lithospheric deformation, magmatism, other mass/energy fluxes, sedimentation, and fluid flow, are fundamental to the evolution of the margins. Study of these basic processes, wherever they are best expressed, provides a more logical line of inquiry for understanding the complex nature of continental margins.

This process-oriented approach to understanding the entire system of margin evolution requires broadly based interdisciplinary studies and a new class of major experiments. The MARGINS science plan, developed from a series of well attended workshops over the past decade, advocates concentration on several study areas (focus sites) targeted for intensive, multidisciplinary programs of research in which interaction between field experimentalists, numerical modelers and laboratory analysts would occur. MARGINS fosters the involvement of a broad cross-section of investigators in focused, multidisciplinary experiments at these focus sites, to achieve the objectives that could not be accomplished otherwise. Thus the MARGINS Program concentrates on four scientific initiatives at these focus sites - this list will be periodically reviewed and modified.

Rupturing Continental Lithosphere Experiment (RCL) – Gulf of California and Red Sea focus sites

Subduction Factory Experiment (SubFac) – Izu-Bonin-Marianas and Nicaragua-Costa Rica focus sites

Seismogenic Zone Experiment (SEIZE) – Nankai and Nicaragua-Costa Rica focus sites

Source-to-Sink Experiment (S2S) – Fly River/Gulf of Papua New Guinea and Waipaoa River New Zealand focus sites

Information and a science plan for the program detailing each initiative can be found on the MARGINS website at The expected level of funding will be approximately $6.0 million per year for the foreseeable future.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

  • Bilal U. Haq, telephone: (703) 292-8581, email:

  • William Leeman, Program Director, Tectonics, 785 S, telephone: (703) 292-7411, fax: (703) 292-9025, email:

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.050 --- Geosciences

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 10

Anticipated Funding Amount: $6,000,000 pending the availability of funds

Eligibility Information

Organization Limit:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
  • Proposals for postdoctoral fellowships must be submitted by a US academic institution. For all other proposals, the categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program solicitation.

PI Limit:

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI:

None Specified

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not Applicable
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not Applicable
  • Full Proposals:
    • Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Guidelines apply. The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at:
    • Full Proposals submitted via NSF Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at:

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.
  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: Not Applicable
  • Other Budgetary Limitations: Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

    July 01, 2007

    July 1, Annually Thereafter

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria: National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions: Standard NSF award conditions apply.

Reporting Requirements: Standard NSF reporting requirements apply.


Summary of Program Requirements

  1. Introduction

  2. Program Description

  3. Award Information

  4. Eligibility Information

  5. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Due Dates
    4. FastLane/ Requirements

  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. NSF Merit Review Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process

  7. Award Administration Information
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements

  8. Agency Contacts

  9. Other Information


The MARGINS research program has been formulated to understand the complex interplay of processes that govern continental margin evolution globally. Mechanical, chemical, biological and fluid processes act in concert to govern the initiation, evolution and eventual destruction of continental margins, as well as the accumulation of resources in these regions. The MARGINS Program is jointly supported by the Divisions of Earth and Ocean Sciences of the Directorate for Geosciences.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites proposals directed towards the program elements listed below in the special-focus section. NSF funding will be provided by the Divisions of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Proposals submitted to the MARGINS Program should also include a statement addressing the relevance of the proposed study to the overall goals of the MARGINS initiatives and their relationship to stated special-focus experiments at identified focus sites. Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with established Foundation procedures and the criteria described in the GPG ( Competition for MARGINS funding will take place once a year and proposals will be evaluated by a joint Earth and Ocean Sciences panel. The proposal deadline is July 1 of each year for funding in the following fiscal year. Proposals can be submitted to any of the three programs named below, depending on their degree of relevance to marine or onshore work. In addition, proposals submitted for support from the Ocean Drilling Program should contain a section that addresses the potential of the proposed research to enhance the effectiveness or planning of proposed drilling activities. Questions regarding proposal preparation and deadlines should be directed to the program officers listed in this solicitation for the following programs: Marine Geology and Geophysics, Ocean Drilling, and Tectonics.


The MARGINS objectives were established in the context of three basic criteria: scientific merit, societal relevance, and feasibility. MARGINS investigations must be aimed toward a comprehensive understanding of the observable system properties, together with self-consistent theory, models or experiment that relates these properties to processes that govern the evolution of the system. MARGINS projects should also enhance an understanding of the key processes relevant to societal concerns. For example, understanding fluid flow is critical to effectively managing the world's energy and water resources; sedimentary successions are permanent recorders of past history and climate change; and understanding active tectonics provides the basis for earthquake and volcanic hazard assessment. The MARGINS objectives must be achievable with existing technological capabilities or reasonable increments beyond present capabilities, even though a new class of integrative and interdisciplinary experiments will clearly be needed. Finally, broader impacts such as societal relevance, contribution within the discipline, and education and outreach are also important elements of the MARGINS program.


Subduction Factory Experiment (SubFac)

Subduction of oceanic plates causes earthquakes, tsunamis, and explosive volcanism, and also gives rise to ore deposits, geothermal energy, and the continental crust on which we live. The Subduction Factory Experiment focuses research on two contrasting subduction zones to address fundamental questions about forcing functions for magmatism and fluid flow, volatile cycles through convergent margins, and mass balance and growth of the continents. The MARGINS approach is to implement an interdisciplinary study of these problems, using the Izu-Bonin-Marianas and Costa Rica/Nicaragua subduction systems as focus sites, where optimum characteristics of volatile cycling and crustal growth occur, and where geological and geophysical measurements will constrain ongoing processes in real time.

Seismogenic Zone Experiment (SEIZE)

Subduction zones also generate the world's largest and most destructive earthquakes and tsunamis, and host much of the world's population. The Seismogenic Zone Experiment studies the shallow subduction plate interface that is locked and accumulates elastic strain, periodically released in large or great earthquakes. Questions focus on the controls on the distribution of seismic energy release, on the heterogeneities in the locking behavior of the interface, on the rate of propagation and slip rates of earthquakes, and on the nature of temporal changes in strain, fluid pressure and stress during the seismic cycle. This experiment represents an opportunity to address primary MARGINS objectives related to mechanics of seismic and aseismic faulting. A variety of linked objectives are being studied in both of the SEIZE focus sites, the Nankai Trough and the Costa Rica/Nicaragua subduction system. In concert with field data acquisition, investigators will conduct laboratory experiments and formulate testable quantitative models of how the seismogenic zone earthquake cycle works, including the complex interactions among various chemical and mechanical processes.

Source-to-Sink Experiment (S2S)

The Source-to-Sink Experiment is providing a comprehensive study of linked, terrestrial and marine dispersal systems over the range of time scales for which sedimentary processes operate. Observational, laboratory and theoretical studies are being integrated to allow the modeling of entire, linked sedimentary systems as opposed to only their components. Questions center around the role of changing tectonics, climate and sea level as forcing functions in the production, transport and storage of sediments and solutes; processes that initiate erosion and sediment transfer, and their interactions; and the interplay of sedimentary processes and forcing functions in creating the stratigraphic record. Understanding, quantifying and predicting these interactions is a major objective of the Source-to-Sink Experiment, which comprises interdisciplinary studies and fully integrated field, experimental and modeling studies to unravel the convolution of sediment flux, morphodynamics and stratigraphy. The various field programs will be based in Papua-New Guinea and New Zealand, the community-selected focus sites.

Rupturing Continental Lithosphere Experiment (RCL)

The initiation, evolution, and eventual destruction of continent-ocean margin involves the coupled interaction of mechanical, fluid, chemical, and biological processes. These processes result in the accumulation of most of the Earth's valuable resources and the focusing of the principle geologic hazards at margins, which are the locus of the greatest population density. The Rupturing Continental Lithosphere (and birth of an ocean) experiment is proceeding by focused investigations of the four-dimensional style, distribution, and depth partitioning of extension within continental lithosphere to determine the spatial and temporal variations in the rheology of the lithosphere, why rifts form where they do, and the forces required to sever continental lithosphere. Currently the two focus sites for the RCL Experiment are the Gulf of California and central/northern Red Sea. The MARGINS program will concentrate on a variety of linked objectives dealing with elucidating the driving forces responsible for the initiation and development of extensional margins as thermo-mechanical systems.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

In addition to funding work in the special focus experiments, MARGINS will accept proposals for a Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. One or two of the ten total awards made each year may be postdoctoral fellowships. All fellowship awards must be held at US academic institutions but there is no citizenship requirement. Fellowship proposals will be in the form of a standard proposal, submitted for the MARGINS’ proposal deadline by the fellow and a research mentor at a US institution, together with supplementary documents of letters of recommendation. Details of the program and applications procedures are available on the MARGINS web site (

Workshop, Theoretical Institute and Rapid Response Proposals

The MARGINS Program will also support science synthesis and planning workshops and Theoretical and Experimental Institutes, to facilitate integration within and between the initiatives. In addition, proposals that require rapid response to events that create opportunities for the study of extant processes at MARGINS focus sites and are compatible with MARGINS science plans will also be accepted. Proposals for Small Grants Exploratory Research (SGERs) may be submitted at any time.


Under this solicitation, the program expects to make approximately 10 standard or continuing awards for up to five years at an average award size of approximately $500,000. NSF anticipates having approximately $6 million in fiscal year 2007, and annually thereafter, pending the availability of funds.


Organization Limit:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
  • Proposals for postdoctoral fellowships must be submitted by a US academic institution. For all other proposals, the categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program solicitation.

PI Limit:

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI:

None Specified


A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via or via the NSF FastLane system.

  • Full proposals submitted via FastLane: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from Proposers are reminded to identify this program solicitation number in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
  • Full proposals submitted via Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via The complete text of the NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at: ( To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the site, then click on the Apply Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Application Instructions link and enter the funding opportunity number, (the program solicitation number without the NSF prefix) and press the Download Package button. Paper copies of the Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from

In determining which method to utilize in the electronic preparation and submission of the proposal, please note the following:

Collaborative Proposals. All collaborative proposals submitted as separate submissions from multiple organizations must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system. Chapter II, Section D.4 of the Grant Proposal Guide provides additional information on collaborative proposals.

In addition to the standard NSF guidelines, proposals submitted to the MARGINS program should also include a statement addressing the relevance of the proposed study to overall goals of the MARGINS initiative and their relationship to identified special-focus experiments. Proposals submitted for support from the Ocean Drilling Program should contain a section that addresses the potential of the proposed research to enhance the effectiveness or planning of proposed drilling activities.

Data Management Requirements: Proposals must include a section outlining how the project will comply with the MARGINS data management policy (see MARGINS web page for copy of the policy at

B. Budgetary Information

Cost Sharing: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

    July 01, 2007

    July 1, Annually Thereafter

D. FastLane/ Requirements

  • For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:

    Detailed technical instructions regarding the technical aspects of preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

    Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane Website at:

  • For Proposals Submitted Via

    Before using for the first time, each organization must register to create an institutional profile. Once registered, the applicant's organization can then apply for any federal grant on the website. Comprehensive information about using is available on the Applicant Resources webpage: In addition, the NSF Application Guide provides additional technical guidance regarding preparation of proposals via For user support, contact the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email: The Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this solicitation.

    Submitting the Proposal: Once all documents have been completed, the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must submit the application to and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.


Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program where they will be reviewed if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements. 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 who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. 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. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposal.

A. NSF Merit Review Criteria

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria: intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

The two NSB-approved merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which the reviewer is qualified to make judgements.

What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

Examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available electronically on the NSF website at:

Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

Proposals submitted to the MARGINS program will also be evaluated for relevance of the proposed study to overall goals of the MARGINS initiative and their relationship to identified special-focus experiments.

NSF staff also will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

Integration of Research and Education
One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

B. Review and Selection Process

Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

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.

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.


A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See Section VI.B. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1); * or Research Terms and Conditions * and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require more frequent project reports). Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report, and a project outcomes report for the general public.

Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports, or the project outcomes report will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational), publications, and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system. Submission of the report via FastLane constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete. The project outcomes report must be prepared and submitted using This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project. This report will be posted on the NSF website exactly as it is submitted by the PI.


Please note that the program contact information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

  • Bilal U. Haq, telephone: (703) 292-8581, email:

  • William Leeman, Program Director, Tectonics, 785 S, telephone: (703) 292-7411, fax: (703) 292-9025, email:

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

For questions relating to contact:

  • Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail:

July 1, 2009 is a deadline for submittal of MARGINS proposals for FY 2010 (which starts in October 2009). FY2010 is a period of transition for the MARGINS Program, while decision is being made for the continuation of a successor program. During this transition, for the next proposal submittal deadline (July 1, 2009) MARGINS program at NSF encourages the community to submit proposals for integrative/synthesis activities under the current MARGINS Program. Proposals for new data collection efforts should be limited to short-duration efforts for filling important gaps critical to the completion of such integration and synthesis goals.


The NSF Website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this Website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, National Science Foundation Update is a free e-mail subscription service designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Regional Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail when new publications are issued that match their identified interests. Users can subscribe to this service by clicking the "Get NSF Updates by Email" link on the NSF web site. provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on may be obtained at


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Arctic and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at

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4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230

  • For General Information
    (NSF Information Center):

(703) 292-5111

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(703) 292-5090

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Send an e-mail to:

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The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; and to another Federal agency, court, or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

Suzanne H. Plimpton
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Division of Administrative Services
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230


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