Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES)
NSF INCLUDES Alliances

Program Solicitation
NSF 18-529

NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Biological Sciences

Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering

Directorate for Education & Human Resources

Directorate for Engineering

Directorate for Geosciences

Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences

Office of Integrative Activities

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

     April 04, 2018

     April 02, 2019

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

This solicitation is a call for NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals only.

All NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals must be built upon a foundation developed by one or more NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot project(s). The integration of the Design and Development Launch Pilot's broadening participation goals and collaborative change strategies must be clearly evident in the Alliance proposal. Partnerships based on more than one Launch Pilot are especially encouraged. Additionally:

  • At least one Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator from an NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot must be included as a PI/Co-PI on the Alliance proposal.
  • While the NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot PI's organization does not have to be the lead organization for the Alliance proposal, nor does the individual have to be the lead PI, the choice of lead institution or PI should be fully explained in the proposal.
  • Design and Development Launch Pilots may be a part of more than one Alliance proposal. However, they may be the lead institution on only one Alliance proposal.
  • In instances where a group of two or more of the same Design and Development Launch Pilots come together to submit an Alliance proposal, they are limited to one Alliance proposal submission representing that group.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: An organization may serve as the lead institution on only one Alliance proposal. Organizations that serve as the lead institution on an Alliance proposal may still participate in other Alliance proposals as a collaborating institution. In the event that an organization exceeds the limit of one proposal as lead, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: An individual may serve as a PI or Co-PI on only two (2) NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals. Proposals that exceed the PI or Co-PI limit will be returned without review. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Any proposal submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1), which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title:

Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES)
NSF INCLUDES Alliances

Synopsis of Program:

NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations by focusing on broadening participation in these fields at scale. The vision of NSF INCLUDES is to catalyze the STEM enterprise to collaboratively work for inclusive change, which will result in a STEM workforce that reflects the population of the Nation. The initiative is developing a National Network composed of NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots, NSF INCLUDES Alliances, an NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub, NSF-funded broadening participation projects, other relevant NSF-funded projects, scholars engaged in broadening participation research, and other organizations that support the development of talent from all sectors of society to build an inclusive STEM workforce. The successful implementation of NSF INCLUDES will result in substantial advances toward a diverse, innovative, and well-prepared STEM workforce to support our Nation’s economy and continued U.S. leadership in the global STEM enterprise. It is anticipated that NSF’s investment will contribute to new and improved STEM career pathways, policies, opportunities to learn, and practices for equity and inclusion. The initiative will be supported by the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub (NSF 17-591) that will provide a framework for communication and networking, network assistance and reinforcement, and visibility and expansion for the NSF INCLUDES National Network as a whole.

This solicitation offers opportunities for NSF INCLUDES Alliances. The critical functions of each NSF INCLUDES Alliance are to:

  1. Develop a vision and strategy (e.g., problem statement and theory of change) for broadening participation in STEM along with relevant metrics of success and key milestones/goals to be achieved during the project’s lifecycle;
  2. Contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through broadening participation and implementation research, sharing project evaluations, data, new scientific findings/discoveries, and promising practices;
  3. Develop multi-stakeholder partnerships and build infrastructure among them to decrease social distance and achieve progress on common goals targeted by the Alliance;
  4. Establish a "backbone" or support organization that provides a framework for communication and networking, network assistance and reinforcement, visibility and expansion of the Alliance and its partners, that will collaborate with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub;
  5. Advance a logic model or other heuristic that identifies Alliance outcomes that reflect implementation of change at scale and progress toward developing an inclusive STEM enterprise.

Collectively, the set of NSF INCLUDES Alliances are to:

  1. Participate in a network of peer alliances to achieve long-term goals of the NSF INCLUDES program;
  2. Collaborate with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub to build critical knowledge that shows measurable progress toward long-term goals; and
  3. Work to build on-ramps for other organizations and broadening participation stakeholders to join in and expand the NSF National Network.

All NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals should describe the results they expect to achieve in broadening participation in STEM. Each proposal must explain how they will build the infrastructure to foster collaboration and achieve impact by emphasizing the following five characteristics of the NSF INCLUDES Program: a) Vision, b) Partnerships, c) Goals and Metrics, d) Leadership and Communication, and e) the Potential for Expansion, Sustainability and Scale.

Vision: Every NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposal should describe the vision of what the Alliance aspires to achieve. What will be different in the landscape of broadening participation in STEM as a result of the efforts of this Alliance?

Partnerships: Partnerships and networks are at the heart of the NSF INCLUDES National Network, and Alliance proposals should include a plan for creating a platform for partnerships and collaborative action that includes a "backbone" or support organization. How will the Alliance partners engage an expansive community in a shared vision of the importance and power of broadening participation for scientific innovation? Why is the partnership that is being developed the right partnership to achieve the vision?

Goals and Metrics: Alliance proposals should delineate how the partnerships and networks will develop and be driven by shared goals, available evidence from research that forms the basis for the plans, and the metrics and milestones that define the pathway to achieving the vision. Robust data collection plans and implementation research will need to be included, to facilitate evidence-based decision making and adjustments as the Alliance matures.

Leadership and Communication: Alliance proposals should provide details for how the Alliance will build and strengthen capacity for leadership and communication among collaborating organizations and individuals to create opportunities and enact inclusion in STEM.

Expansion, Sustainability and Scale: Finally, Alliance proposals should discuss how the collaborative infrastructure building process will ultimately lead to: expansion (more partners joining the movement), sustainability (more long-term connections being made), and implementation of change at scale (a likelihood for collaborative change to lead to change on a broad scale).

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.

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

  • 47.041 --- Engineering
  • 47.049 --- Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • 47.050 --- Geosciences
  • 47.070 --- Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • 47.074 --- Biological Sciences
  • 47.075 --- Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences
  • 47.076 --- Education and Human Resources
  • 47.079 --- Office of International Science and Engineering
  • 47.083 --- Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards: 1 to 3

In FY 2018, up to three (3) NSF INCLUDES Alliance awards will be made pending the availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $8,500,000

In FY 2018, approximately $8.5 million is available to fund new NSF INCLUDES Alliance awards.

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E.

Who May Serve as PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

An organization may serve as the lead institution on only one Alliance proposal. Organizations that serve as the lead institution on an Alliance proposal may still participate in other Alliance proposals as a collaborating institution. In the event that an organization exceeds the limit of one proposal as lead, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:

An individual may serve as a PI or Co-PI on only two (2) NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals. Proposals that exceed the PI or Co-PI limit will be returned without review. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required

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. submitter's local time):

         April 04, 2018

         April 02, 2019

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:

Additional award conditions apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Reporting Requirements:

Additional reporting requirements apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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/Grants.gov Requirements

  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. Merit Review Principles and 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

I. INTRODUCTION

Diversity – of perspectives, backgrounds and approaches – is essential for excellence in research and innovation in science and engineering.1 Full participation of all of America's STEM talent is critical to the advancement of science and engineering for national security, health, and prosperity. Women, persons with disabilities, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds have been historically under-engaged in various fields of science and engineering across all levels, from preK-12 to long-term workforce participation.2,3 Inclusion of talent from all sectors of American society is necessary for the health and vitality of the science and engineering community and its societal relevance.

To broaden participation in STEM, NSF is investing in the development of the NSF INCLUDES National Network composed of NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots, NSF INCLUDES Alliances, the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub, NSF-funded broadening participation projects, other large-scale NSF-funded projects (such as centers, facilities and networks, and other projects with broadening participation components), scholars engaged in broadening participation research, and other organizations that support the goals of NSF INCLUDES. New networks, systems, and partnerships, approaches to using data for change, and a focus on communicating about impact and results at scale are hallmarks of NSF INCLUDES. The initiative will foster the creation of a collection of exemplars over time for designing, implementing, studying, and refining collaborative change models that are based on collective impact-style approaches, and on networks that support adoption and adaptation at scale. 6,7,8,9

Currently, NSF INCLUDES has three essential components, two of which have already been launched through previous solicitations:

  1. NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilots: In FY2016 (NSF NSF 16-544) and FY2017 (NSF 17-522) NSF funded two-year pilot projects that are exploring the feasibility of using collaborative change strategies in bold, innovative ways on a limited scale to solve broadening participation challenges in STEM.
  2. NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub: In FY2018, NSF anticipates funding the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub (NSF 17-591) to provide support for communication and networking, network assistance and reinforcement, implementation research and evaluation, and visibility and expansion for the NSF INCLUDES National Network as a whole.10
  3. NSF INCLUDES Alliances: With this solicitation, NSF is introducing opportunities for successful Design and Development Launch Pilots to build upon their achievements and propose an NSF INCLUDES Alliance that has the potential to substantially broaden participation in STEM fields. 4,5 Alliances will use lessons learned, promising practices, and evidence-based mechanisms from the Design and Development Launch Pilots; the science of broadening participation literature; and the research and evaluations from past and present efforts related to broadening participation in STEM. Alliances will bring together programs, people, organizations, technologies, and institutions to achieve results at scale, provide new research, and leverage NSF’s broadening participation investments. Each Alliance will be committed to collectively achieving common goals through a well-defined set of common objectives. Alliances will take the collaborative change strategies started through the Design and Development Launch Pilots and employ them at a larger scale.

The NSF INCLUDES approach requires that each Alliance focus not only on its own vision and goals, but also work with other organizations within the NSF INCLUDES National Network. This is a shift from current practice, which often involves highly successful but locally concentrated efforts. NSF INCLUDES aims to systematically build a network that will mobilize communities with evidence-based strategies for broadening participation in STEM opportunities, bringing renewed emphasis and resources to increase diversity across and within STEM fields at scale.

The purpose of the NSF INCLUDES program is to broaden participation in STEM fields through a National Network that will inspire collaborative efforts aimed at increasing the active participation of those who have been traditionally underserved and underrepresented in particular STEM fields or across all fields of STEM.


  1. Page, S. E. (2007). The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton University Press.
  2. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2011). Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. National Academies Press. Washington, DC.
  3. Malcom, S., & Feder, M. (Eds.). (2016). Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees: Systemic Change to Support Students' Diverse Pathways. National Academies Press. Washington, DC doi: 10.17226/21739.
  4. Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE). (2015). Broadening Participation in America's STEM Workforce (p. 28). Arlington, VA.
  5. NSF Broadening Participation Portfolio. Retrieved from https://www.nsf.gov/od/broadeningparticipation/bp_portfolio_dynamic.jsp
  6. Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2011). Collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter, 36-41. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact
  7. Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L. M., & Grunow, A. (2011). Getting ideas into action: Building networked improvement communities in education. In Frontiers in sociology of education (pp. 127-162). Springer Netherlands.
  8. Waitzer, J. M., & Paul, R. (2011). Scaling social impact: When everybody contributes, everybody wins. innovations, 6(2), 143-155. Retrieved from https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/INOV_a_00074
  9. Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE). (2013). 2011-2012 Biennial Report to Congress: Broadening Participation in America's STEM Workforce. Arlington, VA. Retrieved from https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/activities/ceose/reports/Full_2011-2012_CEOSE_Report_to_Congress_Final_03-04-2014.pdf
  10. Turner, S., Merchant, K., Kania, J., & Martin, E. (2012). Understanding the value of backbone organizations in collective impact: Part 1. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 25-32. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/understanding_the_value_of_backbone_organizations_in_collective_impact_1

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

With this solicitation, NSF invites proposals for NSF INCLUDES Alliances, which form the central parts of the NSF INCLUDES National Network. The NSF National Network aims to change the national landscape for broadening participation in STEM fields.

The critical functions of each NSF INCLUDES Alliance are to:

  1. Develop a vision and strategy (e.g., problem statement and theory of change) for broadening participation in STEM along with relevant metrics of success and key milestones/goals to be achieved during the project’s lifecycle;
  2. Contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through broadening participation and implementation research, sharing project evaluations, data, new scientific findings/discoveries, and promising practices;
  3. Develop multi-stakeholder partnerships and build infrastructure among them to decrease social distance and achieve progress on common goals targeted by the Alliance;
  4. Establish a "backbone" or support organization that provides a framework for communication and networking, network assistance and reinforcement, visibility and expansion of the Alliance and its partners, that will collaborate with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub;
  5. Advance a logic model or other heuristic that identifies Alliance outcomes that reflect implementation of change at scale and progress toward developing an inclusive STEM enterprise.

Collectively, the set of NSF INCLUDES Alliances are to:

  1. Participate in a network of peer alliances to achieve long-term goals of the NSF INCLUDES program;
  2. Collaborate with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub to build critical knowledge that shows measurable progress toward long-term goals; and
  3. Work to build on-ramps for other organizations and broadening participation stakeholders to join in and expand the NSF National Network.
  4. Researchers and practitioners at minority serving institutions are strongly encouraged to participate in this activity given their experience and expertise in broadening participation.

III. AWARD INFORMATION

NSF anticipates making up to three Alliance awards with a duration of five years, contingent on availability of funds and receipt of competitive proposals. Awards will range from $1 million to $2.5 million per year for five years depending on the goals, objectives and the size of the communities affected. Awards will be made as Cooperative Agreements, with ongoing support contingent upon satisfactory performance as assessed through reviews of annual progress reports, annual site (or reverse site) visits, and annual reviews of the NSF INCLUDES Alliances' development plans, as well as the availability of funds. The total amount of NSF's investment in any one NSF INCLUDES Alliance will depend upon the needs, plans, and opportunities offered by the Alliance, as well as the availability of NSF funds.

In reviewing an NSF INCLUDES Alliance's progress and assessing future plans, NSF will emphasize the NSF INCLUDES Alliance's performance in the following areas: 1) establishing an Alliance-wide shared broadening participation agenda and coordinating the Alliance's collaborative change activities and infrastructure, including the establishment of a “backbone” or support organization; 2) effectively managing the Alliance's shared goals and metrics; 3) facilitating the Alliance's ability to work collectively; 4) demonstrating leadership across all Alliance partners and collaborating with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub to engage with the broader NSF INCLUDES National Network; and 5) enhancing the potential for the Alliance to expand, sustain activities over time, and have an impact on a broad scale. Oversight of the NSF INCLUDES Alliances is the responsibility of all the NSF Directorates and Offices supporting NSF INCLUDES.

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Who May Submit Proposals:

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E.

Who May Serve as PI:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

An organization may serve as the lead institution on only one Alliance proposal. Organizations that serve as the lead institution on an Alliance proposal may still participate in other Alliance proposals as a collaborating institution. In the event that an organization exceeds the limit of one proposal as lead, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:

An individual may serve as a PI or Co-PI on only two (2) NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals. Proposals that exceed the PI or Co-PI limit will be returned without review. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. No exceptions will be made.

Additional Eligibility Info:

All NSF INCLUDES Alliance proposals must be built upon a foundation developed by one or more NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot project(s). The integration of the Design and Development Launch Pilot's broadening participation goals and collaborative change strategies must be clearly evident in the Alliance proposal. Partnerships based on more than one Launch Pilot are especially encouraged. Additionally:

  • At least one Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator from an NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot must be included as a PI/Co-PI on the Alliance proposal.
  • While the NSF INCLUDES Design and Development Launch Pilot PI's organization does not have to be the organization for the Alliance proposal, nor does the individual have to be the lead PI, the choice of lead institution or PI should be fully explained in the proposal.
  • Design and Development Launch Pilots may be a part of more than one Alliance proposal. However, they may be the lead institution on only one Alliance proposal.
  • In instances where a group of two or more of the same Design and Development Launch Pilots come together to submit an Alliance proposal, they are limited to one Alliance proposal submission representing that group.

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov 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 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg. Paper copies of the PAPPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov. 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 Grants.gov: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation via Grants.gov should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov. The complete text of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide). To obtain copies of the Application Guide and Application Forms Package, click on the Apply tab on the Grants.gov 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 Grants.gov Application Guide also may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

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. PAPPG Chapter II.D.3 provides additional information on collaborative proposals.

See PAPPG Chapter II.C.2 for guidance on the required sections of a full research proposal submitted to NSF. Please note that the proposal preparation instructions provided in this program solicitation may deviate from the PAPPG instructions.

Cover Sheet: Entries on the Cover Sheet are described in the PAPPG and NSF Grants.gov Application Guide. For planning purposes, September 3, 2018, or September 2, 2019, should be shown as the start date. Projects are limited to one Principal Investigator and a maximum of four co-Principal Investigators.

Title of Proposed Project: The title of the proposed project should begin with the term: "NSF INCLUDES Alliance:"

Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information: Proposers should follow the guidance specified in Chapter II.C.1.e of the NSF PAPPG.

Project Summary (1 page): Provide an overview of the proposed NSF INCLUDES Alliance and separately address the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts. The summary should be written in the third person, informative to those working in the same or related field(s), and insofar as possible, understandable to a broad audience within the scientific domain. Provide a clear and concise description of the NSF INCLUDES Alliance's vision and its plans for partnerships; shared goals and metrics; leadership and communication; and expansion, sustainability and scale. Note: Do not submit the Project Summary as a supplementary document unless first securing permission from the program officer. Proposals that include Project Summaries in the Supplementary Document Section without program officer permission will be returned without review.

Project Description. The project description should provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken and must include the objectives for the period of the proposed work and expected significance. Proposals should discuss 1) objectives and significance of the proposed activity; 2) the suitability of the methods to be used; 3) the qualifications of the investigators and the participating organizations; and 4) the effect of the effort on collaborative infrastructure for broadening participation. Project descriptions are a maximum of 20 pages and must contain separate sections within the narrative labeled "Intellectual Merit" and "Broader Impacts." Results of prior NSF support must be discussed if applicable (see PAPPG for guidelines). This solicitation also has additional review criteria outlined in Section VI below. The most competitive proposals will also consider the following suggestions in developing their proposals:

  1. Vision: What broadening participation challenge(s) will be addressed and what is the broader vision of the Alliance for effecting change? What innovative strategies will be used by the Alliance partnership? What strategies will build upon the previous expertise and efforts of the Alliance partners? How will the NSF INCLUDES Alliance provide support to the various broadening participation challenges addressed by the partners in the Alliance through a "backbone" or support organization?

Proposers should:

    • Identify a common agenda that reflects a collective understanding of the broadening participation challenge and links to existing research, promising practices and/or to the previous and ongoing activities of Alliance partners.
    • Develop an integrated and coordinated strategic plan to address the broadening participation challenges, including technical infrastructure, which facilitates collaborative activities and the accomplishment and implementation of a set of specified activities and targeted outcomes.
    • Integrate into the overall strategic plan the notion of the "backbone" or support organization's functions as a separate, objective organization that facilitates the collaboration, communication and data collection among the Alliance partners.
  1. Partnerships: Which institutions are the proposed partners in the NSF INCLUDES Alliance and what is the evidence that the partnership will be able to use collaborative change frameworks (such as collective impact or networked improvement communities) to achieve the broadening participation goals of the Alliance? What expertise do the Alliance partners bring to the effort? How will the Alliance incorporate the work of a "backbone" or support organization to support the Alliance and the partners in their work?

Proposers should:

    • Describe the set of partners that will participate in the Alliance; teams might come together locally, regionally, nationally, by disciplinary focus, or by other multisector categories. Explain why this set of partners is the right set to undertake the collaborative activities and work together to effect the vision described above.
    • Identify the leading partners (organizations and leaders) who have the demonstrated capacity and vision to develop, manage, and lead the Alliance. Describe these partners' long-term commitment to the Alliance, including the commitment of organizational leaders.
    • Present a management plan that includes the administrative infrastructure for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance, including the "backbone" or support organization that will help coordinate activities. A comprehensive list of organizations and personnel and a description of each organization's and staff position's roles and responsibilities should be included in the supplementary document section as specified below.
    • Describe how the Alliance will contribute to the success of the NSF INCLUDES National Network and work with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub (once in place).

Note: Competitive proposals will include diverse teams of organizations with complementary areas of expertise. The roles for each partner should be clearly identified and justified. Partnering organizations may include academic institutions, professional organizations, businesses, industry groups, government organizations, non-profit companies, community-based organizations, informal science education organizations, and science- or industry-focused organizations. Proposers should indicate support from the upper levels of organizational leadership of the main collaborating organizations by including letters of support in the supplementary document section. Please see below for more information about letters of support. Competitive Alliance proposals will also include a plan to incorporate a support organization or “backbone” (i.e., a separate, objective organization that provides a framework for communication and networking, network assistance and reinforcement, and visibility and expansion for the Alliance and its partners).

  1. Goals and Metrics: What is the strategic plan for accomplishing the work of the NSF INCLUDES Alliance and to address the broadening participation challenge(s) identified above, including goals and measurable objectives? How will progress be documented for the diverse groups of activities and partners described above? What types of data will be collected and how will data be used? How will successfully addressing these objectives position the NSF INCLUDES Alliance for expansion, sustainability and scale? What role will the "backbone" or support organization play in collecting and coordinating data on outcomes from the partner institutions?

Proposers should:

    • Define the Alliance's goals, mutually reinforcing activities, and measurable objectives and outcomes including progress indicators.
    • Describe agreed-upon ways to measure and report progress, including the designation of an external evaluator and the involvement of the "backbone" or support organization and the external evaluator.
    • Describe what success looks like and evidence for its accomplishment.
    • Detail an evaluation plan including benchmarks, indicators, logic models, road-maps, or other evaluative methods to document progress toward goals, objectives, and outcomes defined in the proposal for the Alliance as a whole, as well as for each of the partners. The evaluation plan should focus on the evidence needed to improve the work of the Alliance in real time. In addition, it should describe metrics and feedback mechanisms for formative processes and outcome assessments of the collaborative change strategies and broadening participation goals of the NSF INCLUDES Alliance as a part of the overall NSF INCLUDES National Network.
    • Outline a process to develop appropriate ways to collect and analyze data from multiple sites and multiple projects including the use of technology and the "backbone" or support organization for data and information sharing. Proposals should address the complex data collection, data management, and data sharing necessary to build and expand the NSF INCLUDES Alliance. This should include plans for coordinating metrics and feedback measures with the ongoing work of the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub as it manages the NSF INCLUDES National Network.
  1. Leadership and Communication: How will the Alliance build capacity for leadership within and among all partnering organizations? How will the Alliance provide for collective leadership among the partnering organizations? How will project activities and outcomes be broadly shared with the communities of interest? What role will the "backbone" or support organization play in these efforts?

Proposers should:

    • Outline a strategy for engaging Alliance partners in collaborative change management. Describe the NSF INCLUDES Alliance partners and the "backbone" or support organization's expertise in collaborative change and broadening participation in STEM. Explain how the Alliance will leverage the "backbone" or support organization and technology to facilitate connectivity among the partners.
    • Describe a strategy for engaging organizations in a larger network including a strategy to promote leadership development across the Alliance partners.
    • Include a plan to incorporate rigorous and innovative research studies into Alliance activities that contribute to the knowledge base about broadening participation in STEM. This research may be based in the methods and theories from the science of broadening participation and include the social, behavioral, learning, economic, or data sciences.
    • Outline a plan for providing new and creative ways to communicate the Alliance’s progress, activities, and achievements and how results will be shared with research communities. This plan should include sharing Alliance research, evaluation, and knowledge synthesis with the NSF INCLUDES National Network, the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub, and other interested stakeholders.
  1. Potential for Expansion, Sustainability and Scale: How will the Alliance’s activities contribute to next steps for a research agenda and development plan to expand the Alliance's network of organizations and activities? What strategies will be used to support sustainability of the Alliance and the scaling of promising practices? What will be the overall contribution to broadening participation in the nation's scientific workforce? How will the "backbone" or support organization facilitate these efforts and how will sustainability include long-term engagement of the "backbone" or support organization?

Proposers should:

    • Describe a strategy for building and managing an ecosystem for sustainable change across the Alliance including communicating the discoveries of and generating enthusiasm for the broadening participation challenge.
    • Outline a plan for advancing the expansion and scale of the Alliance by connecting expertise from multiple sectors and other private and public funders.
    • Chart a vision for flexibility across the Alliance and the "backbone" or support organization to respond to changes over time as the program evolves and new partners join over time with different levels of experience in collaborative change strategies and broadening participation in STEM.

References Cited: All references cited in the Project Summary and Project Description should be listed in this section.

Biosketches: Biosketches for the PI, Co-PI(s) and senior project personnel are required. Biosketches should follow the NSF guidelines outlined in the NSF PAPPG or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide and may not be longer than two pages.

Budget and Budget Justification: Budgets should be in NSF format and include up to five pages of budget justification. The budget justification should be in narrative form and include detailed explanations for each line item with budget resources listed in the budget. Information about what may or may not be included in the budget or budget justification is outlined in the NSF PAPPG or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide. For proposals with subawards, each subaward must include a separate budget and budget justification of no more than five pages.

Current and Pending Support: Current and Pending Support documents are required for all PIs, Co-PIs and Senior Personnel listed in the Lead Organization Budget. Follow the Current and Pending Support format outlined in the NSF PAPPG or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide.

Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources: A list of current facilities and equipment to be used in the implementation of the project activities should be included in this section. Further information is available in the NSF PAPPG or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide. In this section, institutions may list other partnering organizations that are not receiving substantial funds in the project budget but will be contributing to project activities.

Supplementary Documents: Supplementary documents listed in the PAPPG or NSF Grants.gov Application Guide as required should be appended in the Supplementary Document section.

In addition, please provide the following:

  • A list of all project personnel who have a role in the Alliance including their first and last names and their organizational affiliations along with a one-sentence description of what their role will be.
  • Up to five additional biosketches (using NSF Format, no longer than two pages) for any key personnel listed who did not include biosketches in the Biosketch section.
  • A separate list of all institutions and organizations that will participate as partners in the Alliance. Outline the Alliance roles and functions each institution will perform.
  • Letters of Support from the leadership of the major collaborating organizations in the Alliance indicating awareness of and high-level support for and commitment to the NSF INCLUDES Alliance's efforts. Major collaborating organizations include those organizations that will be contributing project personnel and will receive significant budgetary resources from the Alliance award. Note: Letters of Collaboration are not asked for or allowed.

Data Management Plan: Proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan." This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of project results. See Chapter II.C.2.j of the PAPPG for full policy implementation. For additional information on the Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results, see: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp. For specific guidance for Data Management Plans please consult https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp.

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. submitter's local time):

         April 04, 2018

         April 02, 2019

D. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements

For Proposals Submitted Via FastLane:

To prepare and submit a proposal via FastLane, see detailed technical instructions available at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. 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.

For Proposals Submitted Via Grants.gov:

Before using Grants.gov 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 Grants.gov website. Comprehensive information about using Grants.gov is available on the Grants.gov Applicant Resources webpage: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants.html. In addition, the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide (see link in Section V.A) provides instructions regarding the technical preparation of proposals via Grants.gov. For Grants.gov user support, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or by email: support@grants.gov. The Grants.gov Contact Center answers general technical questions related to the use of Grants.gov. 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 Grants.gov and verify the desired funding opportunity and agency to which the application is submitted. The AOR must then sign and submit the application to Grants.gov. The completed application will be transferred to the NSF FastLane system for further processing.

Proposers that submitted via FastLane are strongly encouraged to use FastLane to verify the status of their submission to NSF. For proposers that submitted via Grants.gov, until an application has been received and validated by NSF, the Authorized Organizational Representative may check the status of an application on Grants.gov. After proposers have received an e-mail notification from NSF, Research.gov should be used to check the status of an application.

VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES

Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program for acknowledgement and, if they meet NSF requirements, for review. 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 either as ad hoc reviewers, panelists, or both, who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with 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. In addition, Program Officers may obtain comments from site visits before recommending final action on proposals. Senior NSF staff further review recommendations for awards. A flowchart that depicts the entire NSF proposal and award process (and associated timeline) is included in PAPPG Exhibit III-1.

A comprehensive description of the Foundation's merit review process is available on the NSF website at: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/merit_review/.

Proposers should also be aware of core strategies that are essential to the fulfillment of NSF's mission, as articulated in Investing in Science, Engineering, and Education for the Nation's Future: NSF Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. These strategies are integrated in the program planning and implementation process, of which proposal review is one part. NSF's mission is particularly well-implemented through the integration of research and education and broadening participation in NSF programs, projects, and activities.

One of the strategic objectives in support of NSF's mission is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions must recruit, train, and prepare a diverse STEM workforce to advance the frontiers of science and participate in the U.S. technology-based economy. NSF's contribution to the national innovation ecosystem is to provide cutting-edge research under the guidance of the Nation's most creative scientists and engineers. NSF also supports development of a strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce by investing in building the knowledge that informs improvements in STEM teaching and learning.

NSF's mission calls for the broadening of opportunities and expanding participation of groups, institutions, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in STEM disciplines, which 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.

A. Merit Review Principles and Criteria

The National Science Foundation strives to invest in a robust and diverse portfolio of projects that creates new knowledge and enables breakthroughs in understanding across all areas of science and engineering research and education. To identify which projects to support, NSF relies on a merit review process that incorporates consideration of both the technical aspects of a proposed project and its potential to contribute more broadly to advancing NSF's mission "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes." NSF makes every effort to conduct a fair, competitive, transparent merit review process for the selection of projects.

1. Merit Review Principles

These principles are to be given due diligence by PIs and organizations when preparing proposals and managing projects, by reviewers when reading and evaluating proposals, and by NSF program staff when determining whether or not to recommend proposals for funding and while overseeing awards. Given that NSF is the primary federal agency charged with nurturing and supporting excellence in basic research and education, the following three principles apply:

  • All NSF projects should be of the highest quality and have the potential to advance, if not transform, the frontiers of knowledge.
  • NSF projects, in the aggregate, should contribute more broadly to achieving societal goals. These "Broader Impacts" may be accomplished through the research itself, through activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified.
  • Meaningful assessment and evaluation of NSF funded projects should be based on appropriate metrics, keeping in mind the likely correlation between the effect of broader impacts and the resources provided to implement projects. If the size of the activity is limited, evaluation of that activity in isolation is not likely to be meaningful. Thus, assessing the effectiveness of these activities may best be done at a higher, more aggregated, level than the individual project.

With respect to the third principle, even if assessment of Broader Impacts outcomes for particular projects is done at an aggregated level, PIs are expected to be accountable for carrying out the activities described in the funded project. Thus, individual projects should include clearly stated goals, specific descriptions of the activities that the PI intends to do, and a plan in place to document the outputs of those activities.

These three merit review principles provide the basis for the merit review criteria, as well as a context within which the users of the criteria can better understand their intent.

2. Merit Review Criteria

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board approved merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. Both criteria are to be given full consideration during the review and decision-making processes; each criterion is necessary but neither, by itself, is sufficient. Therefore, proposers must fully address both criteria. (PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.d(i). contains additional information for use by proposers in development of the Project Description section of the proposal). Reviewers are strongly encouraged to review the criteria, including PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.d(i), prior to the review of a proposal.

When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be asked to consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits could accrue if the project is successful. These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions. To that end, reviewers will be asked to evaluate all proposals against two criteria:

  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to, the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

Proposers are reminded that reviewers will also be asked to review the Data Management Plan and the Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan, as appropriate.

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

In addition to the NSF Merit Review Criteria, reviewers will be asked to consider the ability of the proposed NSF INCLUDES Alliance to provide the collaborative infrastructure necessary to support the Alliance's partners and activities. Questions to be considered include:

  1. Vision: Is the vision for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance sufficiently compelling, ambitious and comprehensive to justify the resources requested?
  2. Partnerships: Is the team of partners and personnel proposed for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance appropriate? Does the partnership have the capacity to act as both a fiscal agent and a team to accomplish the proposed work? Do the partners have the expertise necessary both in broadening participation in STEM and collaborative change strategies? Are all members of the organizational and personnel team meaningfully integrated into an NSF INCLUDES Alliance that is more than just the sum of its parts? Does the Alliance have a viable plan to create and incorporate a "backbone" or support organization into the Alliance?
  3. Goals and Metrics: Is the strategic plan for shaping a common agenda and shared measurement systems appropriate and convincing? Does the proposal include a robust evaluation plan appropriate for informing program management and establishing the NSF INCLUDES Alliance's outcomes and/or impacts? Will the Alliance effectively use a "backbone" or support organization to coordinate shared goals and metrics? Does the Alliance have a plan for integrating data with the NSF INCLUDES National Network through the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub?
  4. Leadership and Communication: Does the proposal include a promising plan to promote the development of leadership for the Alliance and within each Alliance partner? Does it incorporate rigorous and innovative research studies into Alliance activities that contribute to the knowledge base about broadening participation in STEM? Is there a credible communication strategy to share knowledge and promising practices both across the Alliance and with the NSF INCLUDES National Network and Coordination Hub? Does the leadership and communication plan effectively use the "backbone" or support organization?
  5. Potential for Expansion, Sustainability and Scale: Does the proposal have a promising plan to support the expansion of the Alliance, provide for long-term sustainability and impact, and manage Alliance scaling? Does the sustainability plan include provisions to maintain the "backbone" or support organization over time?

B. Review and Selection Process

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

Proposals submitted in response to the NSF INCLUDES Alliance program solicitation may be reviewed in two phases including 1) the review of proposals by panel (and potentially ad hoc review), and 2) potentially a reverse site visit, upon invitation.

Reviewers will be asked to evaluate proposals using two National Science Board approved merit review criteria and, if applicable, additional program specific criteria. A summary rating and accompanying narrative will generally be completed and submitted by each reviewer and/or panel. 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 strives to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. Large or particularly complex proposals or proposals from new awardees may require additional review and processing time. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director acts upon the Program Officer's recommendation.

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. After an administrative review has occurred, Grants and Agreements Officers perform 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.

Once an award or declination decision has been made, Principal Investigators are provided feedback about their proposals. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers or any reviewer-identifying information, 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.

VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

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 notice, 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 notice; (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 notice. 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 https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/award_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter VII, available electronically on the NSF Website at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg.

Special Award Conditions:

NSF INCLUDES Alliance awards will be made in the form of Cooperative Agreements. The Cooperative Agreement will have an extensive section of Special Conditions relating to the period of performance, detailed work description, awardee responsibilities, NSF responsibilities, joint NSF awardee responsibilities, funding and funding schedule, reporting and evaluation requirements, key personnel, and other conditions. NSF will provide general oversight and monitoring of the NSF INCLUDES Alliances and external evaluation of the NSF INCLUDES program and National Network, to help assure effective performance and administration, as well as facilitating any coordination necessary to further the objectives of the NSF INCLUDES initiative. Within the first 60 days of the award, the lead organization of the Alliance should submit a strategic plan for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance for review by NSF.

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 no later than 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require submission of more frequent project reports). No later than 120 days following 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 all identified PIs and co-PIs on a given award. 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 Research.gov, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on accomplishments, project participants (individual and organizational), publications, and other specific products and impacts of the project. Submission of the report via Research.gov constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete. The project outcomes report also must be prepared and submitted using Research.gov. 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.

More comprehensive information on NSF Reporting Requirements and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) Chapter VII, available electronically on the NSF Website at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg.

The NSF INCLUDES Alliance will be required to submit annual reports on progress and plans, which will be used as a basis for performance review and determining the obligation of continuing grant increments. Annual reviews of progress will also take the form of site visit(s) or reverse site visit(s). The NSF INCLUDES Alliance will also be required to develop a set of management and performance indicators for submission annually to NSF. Part of this reporting will include adding to a database that will be kept by the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub. This database will contain the selected monitoring and formative evaluation data identified as common measures for the Coordination Hub, Launch Pilots and Alliances. These data will capture the information required to demonstrate progress towards achieving the goals of the NSF INCLUDES National Network.

VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

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:

For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:

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

IX. OTHER INFORMATION

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, "NSF Update" is an information-delivery system 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 Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail or the user's Web browser each time new publications are issued that match their identified interests. "NSF Update" also is available on NSF's website.

Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

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 55,000 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 (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide Chapter II.E.6 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 https://www.nsf.gov

  • Location:

2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314

  • For General Information
    (NSF Information Center):

(703) 292-5111

  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):

(703) 292-5090

  • To Order Publications or Forms:

Send an e-mail to:

nsfpubs@nsf.gov

or telephone:

(703) 292-7827

  • To Locate NSF Employees:

(703) 292-5111

PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

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
Reports Clearance Officer
Office of the General Counsel
National Science Foundation
Alexandria, VA 22314

Policies and Important Links

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