Significant Changes and Clarifications to NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedure Guide

UPDATE: These changes will go into effect Feb. 25. The delay is due to the recent partial government shutdown.

(Jan. 15, 2019) -- The new National Science Foundation Proposal and Award Policies and Procedure Guide (PAPPG) will go into effect on January 28, 2019. Below is a list of major changes from the previous version.

  • Increase in the use of Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) (Chapter I.C.4): NSF will be increasing the use of DCLs to announce its interest in receiving proposals in specified topical areas such as Rapid Response Research (RAPID), Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE), and conference grants.
  • Biosketch (Ch II.f.d): Synergistic Activities-Examples should be specific and singular. Examples with multiple components are not permitted.
    1. The PI has supervised many students in directed study and research, introducing them to cutting-edge research in their field.
    2. The PI involves his research in his teaching by including new research results in course development.
    3. The PI has been involved in proposing new graduate degrees in their field at Kennesaw State University.
    4. The PI has frequent interactions with members of (insert collegiate association or group here) to enhance and promote his field of study.
    5. The PI chaired a search committee at KSU that hired an assistant professor in his field.
  • Subawards (Ch. II.E): If a proposal includes subawards, a (distinctive) description of the work to be performed by the subaward must be included in the project description.
  • Participant Support (Chapter II.C.2.g(v)): This section has been updated to clarify when an individual should be classified as a conference participant as opposed to a speaker. The section also has been updated to clarify that participant support costs may not be budgeted to cover room rental fees, catering costs, supplies, etc., related to an NSF-sponsored conference. These costs should be budgeted as non-participant support costs, such as supplies or other direct costs. Human subject payments should be included on line G6 of the NSF budget under "Other Direct Costs", and indirect costs should be calculated on the payments in accordance with the organization’s federally negotiated indirect cost rate.
  • Equipment Proposals (MRI) (Chapter II.E.8): has been updated to specify that equipment proposals must include the Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information in the proposal submission.
  • Resubmission (CH IV.E.): A declined proposal may be submitted but only after it has undergone substantial revision. If NSF program officers deem a proposal too similar to a previously rejected proposal, NSF will return the proposal without review. NSF programs that accept proposals at any time may have established guidelines that stipulate that a declined proposal is ineligible for resubmission for a specified period of time.
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (Ch. IX. B): NSF now encourages faculty to be trained in the Responsible Conduct of Research. (See link for KSU Resources:
  • NSF Policy on Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Harassment or Sexual Assault (Ch. XI.A.1.g): NSF Important Notice No. 144. This policy articulates that NSF will not tolerate sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault within awardee organizations, or anywhere NSF-funded science and science education are conducted. Awardees must notify NSF about any findings or actions taken against PIs/co-PIs regarding harassment or sexual assault. PIs/co-PIs should be aware of this.