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NSF Proposals

On this page:
Guidance by Proposal Section
RDS Assistance


The NSF released the 2019 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) 19-001, which is in effect for proposals submitted on or after January 28, 2019. The significant changes and clarifications relating to individual proposal sections are provided below. In addition, there are instructions, templates, best practices, and useful resources pertaining to the most common sections of an NSF research proposal. Consult your specific solicitation for a complete list of required sections.

Guidance by Proposal Section

The following guidance is organized by proposal section. Note that guidance is provided only for the most common sections. Consult your specific solicitation and/or application instructions for a complete list of required attachments.


  • Biosketch Instructions and Template
  • PAPPG changes and clarifications
    • Chapter II.C.2.f, Biographical Sketch(es), has been updated to specify that the biographical sketch must be uploaded in FastLane as a single PDF file, or other NSF-approved template.
  • What is a Biosketch?
    • Investigator Biographical Sketches (Biosketches) are required for most federal grant applications and provide an opportunity for the principal investigator and the investigators participating in a grant proposal to provide reviewers with a picture of their education, experience, publication record, and their seminal contributions to scientific discovery in their research field(s).

Broader Impacts

Budget and Budget Justification

  • PAPPG instructions for Budget and Budget Justification
  • PAPPG changes and clarifications
    • The number of pages allowed for the budget justification is increased to no more than five pages per proposal. This applies to budget justifications for both proposers and subawardees.
    • Regarding the Senior Personnel Salaries & Wages Policy, it is the proposing organization’s responsibility to define and apply the term “year” and include the definition in the budget justification.
    • The amounts for indirect costs should be specified in the budget justification.
  • See the Gateway’s Build a Budget section for additional guidance and consult your departmental/unit business office for assistance.

Collaborators and other Affiliations (COA) Information

Current and Pending Support

  • PAPPG instructions and template (coming soon)
  • PAPPG changes and clarifications
    • Chapter II.C.2.h, Current and Pending Support, has been updated to specify that Current and Pending Support must be uploaded in FastLane as a single PDF file, or other NSF-approved template.

Data Management Plan

Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources

Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan

Project Summary

Project Description

RDS Assistance

Research Development Services (RDS) staff are available to support the development of your NSF proposal. RDS support ranges from strategic planning to coordinating color-team reviews of proposal drafts. Visit How to Engage RDS to learn more about the scope of our services, and Large/Complex Proposals to learn more about how we support the strategic planning of large proposals.

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