|Summary of Significant Changes to the NSF Grant Proposal Guide Submission Guidelines|
|Wednesday, 28 November 2012 17:32|
Please note: NSF is increasing its use of automatic compliance checks and manual compliance reviews. ANY variance from stated guidelines may result in return of a proposal without review. Early submission, 3 - 5 days before the posted deadline, may allow time to correct any problems.
Below is a summary of major changes to new GPG. The full GPG is at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf13001/gpg_index.jsp
These changes are effective for all proposals with due dates on or after January 14, 2013
1. The Grant Proposal Guide Introduction has been supplemented with information regarding the Foundation’s core strategies from the NSF 2011-2016 Strategic Plan. The purpose of this change is to help eliminate internal and external confusion regarding whether these two core strategies are additional review criteria, while at the same time, reiterating their importance. (Chapter II)
2. The Merit Review Criteria have been renamed Merit Review Principles and Criteria and revised to incorporate recommendations from the National Science Board. New language has been added on merit review principles, and revised merit review criteria language was inserted. (Chapter III.A)
The revision outlines the following for consideration when preparing the proposal:
Three review principles
Two review criteria:
When evaluating NSF proposals, reviewers will be instructed 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 would 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 are 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.
Five review elements:
The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:
1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to: a. advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and b. 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 institution to conduct the proposed activities?
5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home institution or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?
3. The Project Summary has been revised to omit language regarding the inclusion of separate headings to address the two merit review criteria. In lieu of this approach, FastLane has been modified to display three separate text boxes in which proposers must provide an Overview and address the “Intellectual Merit’ and “Broader Impacts” of the proposed activity. Because FastLane will enable the criteria to be separately addressed (still within one page - ~4600 characters including spaces), proposers will no longer need to include separate headings. Proposals that do not separately address the overview and both merit review criteria within the one-page Project Summary will be not be accepted or will be returned without review.
Please note: If (and only if) a Project Summary contains special characters, it should be uploaded as a PDF. (Chapter II.C.2.b)
4. The instructions for the Project Description have been revised. In the past, the Project Description needed to include a description of broader impacts as an integral part of the narrative. The Project Description must now contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a discussion of the broader impacts of the proposed activities. This section also was updated to indicate that Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact activities must be described in two separate sections in the summary of Results from Prior NSF Support. (Chapter II.C.2.d)
5. Biographical Sketches. The “Publications” section of of the Biosketch has been renamed “Products”.
This change makes clear that products may include, but are not limited to, publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights.
"Acceptable products must be citable and accessible including but not limited to publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights. Unacceptable products are unpublished documents not yet submitted for publication, invited lectures, and additional lists of products." - GPG, Chapter II.C.2.f.
References/Citations for data sets, software, patents and copyrights should follow industry/discipline standards.
6. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources. The GPG instructions have been modified to indicate that this section is an aggregated description of physical and personnel resources that will be provided to the project by the lead organization and collaborators. A new format will be available in fastlane for this section in January 2013.
This section should make no reference to the cost or value of the resources described.
If there are no resources to describe a statement to that effect should be uploaded into fastlane.
7. Changes Pertaining to Data and High Performance Computing
Another change that may be of interest is to Chapter II.D.13, regarding projects requiring high-performance computing resources, advanced visualization resources, or large amounts of data storage. NSF's XSEDE project (formerly TeraGrid) resources are available to PIs requiring this kind of infrastructure.