NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, Public Law 107-368, 42 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.
To strengthen and enhance the national scientific enterprise through the expansion of fundamental knowledge and increased understanding of the integrated Earth system through the support of basic research in the atmospheric, earth and ocean sciences. Major objectives include the discovery of new knowledge of the atmosphere from the sun to the Earth's surface over the entire spectrum of physical and chemical phenomena; a better understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological character of the Earth and the processes that govern its evolution; and increased insight into the world's oceans, their composition, structure, behavior, and tectonics. Support is also provided for science and technology centers, undergraduate Student research, facility enhancement, instrumentation, and laboratory equipment; and for research opportunities for women, minority, and disabled scientists and engineers.
Types of Assistance
Uses and Use Restrictions
Grant funds may be used for paying costs necessary to conduct research or studies such as salaries and wages, permanent equipment and supplies, computer services, travel, publication costs, and other direct and indirect costs. Primary responsibility for general supervision of all grant activities rests with the grantee institution; the principal investigator is responsible for the scientific work. Funds may not be used for purposes other than those specified in the proposal.
Public and private colleges and universities; Non-profit, non-academic organizations; For-profit organizations; State and Local Governments; and unaffiliated scientists under special circumstances. See the Grant Proposal Guide for a full description of eligibility requirements.
See the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.E. for a full description of eligibility requirements.
Proposals must be signed electronically by an official authorized to commit the institution or organization in business and financial affairs and who can commit the organization to certain proposal certifications. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular Nos. A-21 for colleges and universities and A-122 for nonprofit organizations. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
Application and Award Process
None required, but preliminary discussions with the relevant National Science Foundation program officer are encouraged, particularly for projects requiring logistic or facility support or involving coordination with other projects and programs. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
By electronic submission via FastLane of a formal proposal describing the research or study to be undertaken. Guidelines are contained in publication, "Grant Proposal Guide," and "Guide to Programs Fiscal Year 2004," NSF 04-009. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102.
NSF staff members review and evaluate all proposals, usually with the assistance and advice of other qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Awards are made based on merit and program relevance to the extent permitted by available funds. States will be notified of Federal assistance awards through the Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS).
Many NSF programs accept proposals at any time. Other programs, however, establish due dates for submission of proposals. NSF utilizes Target Dates, Deadline Dates, and Submission Windows. Consult the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.F. for a further description of these types of due dates.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
From 90 to 180 days.
The Principal Investigator whose proposal for support has been declined may request, in writing, and receive from the cognizant program officer the reasons for declination. The applicant may also obtain verbatim copies of reviews of his/her proposals, though not the names of reviewers. If not satisfied, the Principal Investigator may request the NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences to reconsider the procedural aspects of the declination action. Request for reconsideration must be received within 90 days of the declination letter.
Formula and Matching Requirements
The Grant Proposal Guide (GPG)(Chapter II) and the Grant Policy Manual (Sec. 330) provide additional information on the general NSF policy on cost-sharing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Normally 1 to 5 years.
Post Assistance Requirements
For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant program office at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. Within 90 days after the expiration of a grant, the PI is required to submit a final project report. Quarterly Federal Cash Transaction Reports are required. Other reporting requirements may be imposed via the grant instrument.
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.
Grantees are expected to maintain separate records for each grant to insure that funds are used for the general purpose for which the grant was made. Records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and for three years thereafter.
(Grants) FY 07 $745,850,000; FY 08 est $752,660,000; and FY 09 est not reported.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$1,000 to $60,000,000; $147,857.
In fiscal year 2007, 4,373 proposals were received and 1,347 awards were made, and in fiscal year 2008 approximately 4,500 proposals are expected to be received and approximately 1,400 awards will be made.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
48 CFR Chapter 25; 45 CFR Chapter VI; "Guide to Programs, fiscal year 2004," NSF 04-009 http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf04009 "Grant Proposal Guide," http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf0423 In addition, information is made available on the World Wide Web at http://www.nsf.gov/ and http://www.geo.nsf.gov/
Regional or Local Office
National Science Foundation; 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Atmospheric Sciences: Dr. Jarvis Moyers, Telephone: (703) 292-8520; Fax: (703) 292-9022; Earth Sciences: Dr. Arthur Goldstein Telephone: (703) 292-8550; Fax: (703) 292-9025; Ocean Sciences: Dr. Julie Morris, Telephone: (703) 292-8580; Fax (703) 292-9085.
Web Site Address
NSF World Wide Web site URL:
Geosciences World Wide Web site URL:
11.417, Sea Grant Support
11.430, Undersea Research
47.041, Engineering Grants
47.049, Mathematical And Physical Sciences
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
47.078, Polar Programs
47.079, International Science And Engineering (Oise)
47.080, Office Of Cyberinfrastructure
Examples of Funded Projects
Atmospheric Sciences: Research on meteorology, climate, paleoclimate, chemistry and physics of the lower and upper atmosphere; and solar-terrestrial relationships. Earth Sciences: Research on structure, composition, history, and the physical, chemical, and biological processes affecting the Earth. Ocean Sciences: Research on physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes in the ocean.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
The National Science Board approved revised criteria for evaluating proposals at its meeting on March 28, 1997 (NSB 97-72). All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities. On July 8, 2002, the NSF Director issued Important Notice 127, Implementation of new Grant Proposal Guide Requirements Related to the Broader Impacts Criterion. This Important Notice reinforces the importance of addressing both criteria in the preparation and review of all proposals submitted to NSF. NSF continues to strengthen its internal processes to ensure that both of the merit review criteria are addressed when making funding decisions. In an effort to increase compliance with these requirements, the January 2002 issuance of the GPG incorporated revised proposal preparation guidelines relating to the development of the Project Summary and Project Description. Chapter II of the GPG specifies that Principal Investigators (PIs) must address both merit review criteria in separate statements within the one-page Project Summary. This chapter also reiterates that broader impacts resulting from the proposed project must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative. Effective October 1, 2002, NSF will return without review proposals that do not separately address both merit review criteria within the Project Summary. It is believed that these changes to NSF proposal preparation and processing guidelines will more clearly articulate the importance of broader impacts to NSF-funded projects. The two National Science Board approved merit review criteria are listed below (see the Grant Proposal Guide Chapter III.A for further information). 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 he/she 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 and original 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? NSF staff 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 excitementofdiscoveryandenrich 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.