NSF 22-628: Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF)
- Posted: August 24, 2022
- Replaces: NSF 21-538
Program Solicitation NSF 22-628
Full Proposal Target Date(s):
November 15, 2022
November 14, 2023
November 08, 2024
Second Friday in November, Annually Thereafter
Important Information And Revision Notes
Innovating and migrating proposal preparation and submission capabilities from FastLane to Research.gov is part of the ongoing NSF information technology modernization efforts, as described in Important Notice No. 147. In support of these efforts, research proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation must be prepared and submitted via Research.gov or via Grants.gov, and may not be prepared or submitted via FastLane. Proposal preparation and submission through Research.gov is strongly encouraged because these Fellowships contain unique requirements.
This program solicitation has been updated to encourage multiple mentors for postdoctoral Fellows.
Any proposal submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021.
Synopsis of Program:
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):
Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: 15
Total of approximately 15 awards each year are anticipated, subject to availability of funds and the quality of proposals received. Each award has a two-year duration.
Anticipated Funding Amount: $4,000,000
Subject to availability of funds and the quality of proposals received.
Who May Submit Proposals:
Who May Serve as PI:
Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:
Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or co-PI: 1
Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
A. Proposal Preparation Instructions
B. Budgetary Information
C. Due Dates
Proposal Review Information Criteria
Merit Review Criteria:
National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review criteria apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
Award Administration Information
Additional award conditions apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
Standard NSF reporting requirements apply.
The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) offers postdoctoral research fellowships (PRF) to provide opportunities for scientists early in their careers to work within and across traditional disciplinary lines, develop partnerships, and avail themselves of unique research resources, sites and facilities. The fellowship program is intended to provide beginning investigators of significant potential with experiences that will establish them in positions of leadership in the scientific community. During tenure, Fellows affiliate with an appropriate research organization(s) and conduct research on topics supported by OCE or other ocean-related NSF programs. Fellowships will include participation in a professional development program that emphasizes development of mentoring skills and that coordinates the involvement of Fellows in conferences and activities that are focused on increasing the engagement of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Principal Investigators who are women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in STEM, or who have attended community colleges and minority-serving institutions (e.g. Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Alaska Native Serving Institutions, and Hawaiian Native and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions) are especially encouraged to apply.
The OCE PRF emphasizes strong scientific merit in a field of science supported by the Division of Ocean Sciences (see https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=OCE) or other ocean-related NSF programs and requires letter(s) of support from the identified mentor(s). The purview of OCE includes a diversity of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary areas. Projects that make use of data and samples from OCE-supported data and sample repositories are encouraged. Examples of open data facilities and repositories are the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS) and EarthChem (both hosted by the Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance, IEDA). Sample repositories include those for the International Ocean Discovery Program and OCE-supported deep sea sample repositories.
The National Science Foundation is charged with ensuring the vitality of the nation's scientific and technological enterprise. OCE offers postdoctoral research fellowships intended to increase the number of scientists from under-represented groups pursuing research careers in the ocean sciences.
A. Appropriateness for OCE Priorities
Fellowship projects must fall within the purview of OCE, which includes a diversity of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary areas. OCE programs include Biological Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography, Physical Oceanography, Marine Geology and Geophysics, and Ocean Science and Technology. All proposals must include an ocean science research effort; proposals that are solely focused on education will not be considered. Fellowship awards are limited to the funding levels indicated and do not allow for additional NSF facility support, such as ship time requested through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratories System's (UNOLS) Shiptime Request System. Principal Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the Program Director in their area of science (see https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=OCE) to discuss the appropriateness of their research for funding, particularly if they are interested in topics not clearly within the core OCE disciplinary focus.
B. Host Organizations
The Fellow must affiliate with a primary host organization. Appropriate primary organizations include U.S. IHEs, non-profit, non-academic organizations, or for-profit research organizations that are eligible to receive NSF funding. Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) and NSF-funded FFRDCs, are ineligible as primary host organizations. Government agencies and national centers, facilities or institutes funded by other federal agencies, such as NASA, NOAA, EPA or the U.S. Department of Energy, and foreign organizations are also ineligible as primary host organizations. Multiple host organizations are permitted, and may be particularly appropriate to pursue interdisciplinary work, collaborative opportunities, and activities related to broadening participation. Regardless of the number of host organizations proposed, a primary U.S. host organization, which will receive and administer the award, must be identified
In general, NSF expects that the fellowship will support work at an organization(s) other than the Fellow's graduate institution or organization of current affiliation because the Fellowship objectives include broadening the perspectives and experiences of the Fellows and promoting interdisciplinary research careers. Consequently, candidates proposing to be hosted by their graduate/current organization must present strong justification and must clearly explain the benefits of this choice to their research and to their professional development goals. Such proposals will be evaluated in the context of the potential benefits of this choice versus benefits that might be expected from expanding professional contacts and diversifying professional experience at a new organization.
Documentation required from host organizations is described in Section V below. It is important that the primary host organization's letter(s) specifically acknowledge that the organization will accept responsibility for administering the award and that the Fellow will be named as the PI on the award and receive salary and benefits as an organizational employee.
C. Scientific Mentor(s)
In addition to affiliation with a host organization(s), the candidate must identify a scientific mentor(s) who will provide mentoring and guidance for the research and broader fellowship goals. PIs are strongly encouraged to identify at least one additional scientific mentor and/or a career mentor. Career mentors are scientists who can guide the Fellow with career advice as well as related scientific advice. The mentor(s) must provide a letter of collaboration and a list of "Collaborators & Other Affiliations (COA)", as described in Section V below. The support of the mentor(s) and their plan for mentoring the Fellow will be part of the evaluation of the proposal.
If more than one scientific mentor is proposed, one must be named lead mentor and the roles of the other mentors must be clearly stated in the project description. The candidate is responsible for making all arrangements with the host organization(s) and the mentor(s).
Duration and Tenure: Up to 24 full-time-equivalent months of support may be requested. Fellows must begin their Fellowship between July 1 to December 1 in the year following the submission target date.
Within the fellowship period, one month per year of fellowship duration may be used for paid leave, including parental or family leave. Additional leave may be provided as part of the institutional benefits. The paid leave cannot be used to increase the level of NSF support beyond the duration of the fellowship. NSF enables career-life balance through a variety of mechanisms. For more information, please see https://www.nsf.gov/career-life-balance/.
Candidates selected to receive fellowships will be contacted by NSF and asked to provide additional information, such as forms required for a pre-award transfer to the initial (primary) host organization. Successful candidates who have not completed the PhD at the time of proposal submission must provide certification of the completion of all PhD degree requirements before the start date of the award. Normally fellowships will be held at the primary host organization specified in the proposal, but under certain circumstances and with suitable justification, fellows may transfer the award during the tenure of the fellowship to a new organization upon approval by NSF.
Fellowships are not renewable and are subject to availability of funds.
During the period of the fellowship, no additional appointment or fellowship may be held without prior permission of the cognizant NSF program officer.
If a Fellow chooses to accept employment (i.e. a tenure-track position) during the first year of the Fellowship, the fellowship award will be terminated upon the start of the new position. In such cases, the primary host organization is responsible for initiating procedures for a termination by mutual agreement in accordance with Chapter XII of the NSF PAPPG. Fellows who wish to accept a new position in Year 2 of the award must contact the OCE PRF program officer to discuss disposition of any remaining funds in the PRF grant.
Salary and Allowances:
The annual fellowship amount of $82,800 in Year 1 and $85,000 in Year 2 consists of two types of direct costs:
Fellowship budgets can be increased to include a Facilitation Award for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED). When requesting FASED funding, PIs should contact the OCE-PRF program officer prior to applying.
OCE would like to encourage a close partnership between the Fellow and the primary host organization, allow the Fellow access to organizational benefits such as healthcare, and decrease the burden of grant management that is placed on the Fellow when an award is made directly to an individual. Therefore, OCE will review proposals as submitted by individuals, but all awards will be made to the primary host organization, using the Pre-award Transfer Process, after the review process is complete. Budgets and award documents will be adjusted to include organizational fringe benefits and overhead costs as part of the Pre-award Transfer Process described below. The Fellow must be listed as the project PI.
Pre-Award Transfer Process: To process the Pre-award Proposal Transfer, the Fellow, acting as the original proposing organization's Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), must submit to the cognizant OCE PRF Program Officer (PO) an e-mail concurring with the transfer of the proposal to the primary host organization. This documentation will be added to the files by the PO as correspondence associated with the proposal. The cognizant PO then will request that the host organization's Sponsored Projects Office submit to NSF a revised:
The PO will update the proposal system with the new organizational and budget data so that processing of the proposal award to the primary host organization can proceed. The Fellow's original Cover Sheet and Certification pages will not be modified and will be retained for the historical record of how the proposal was submitted to NSF.
Who May Submit Proposals:
Who May Serve as PI:
Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:
Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or co-PI: 1
Additional Eligibility Info:
A. Proposal Preparation Instructions
Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Research.gov or Grants.gov.
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.
Proposals submitted to the OCE Postdoctoral Fellowships program must be submitted electronically through either Research.gov or Grants.gov. Only one proposal is permitted per individual per year. A full proposal consists of many parts and requires input from the fellowship candidate, the proposed scientific mentor(s) and the proposed host institution(s). Proposers are advised to begin the proposal well in advance of the submission deadline and to submit as early as possible. Partially completed proposals may be saved for future completion and submission. The submission of incomplete or late proposals is not permitted.
Proposal preparation and submission through Research.gov is strongly encouraged because these Fellowships contain unique requirements. If the proposer elects to submit through Grants.gov, confirmation that ALL required documents have been successfully uploaded into NSF systems by the deadline date is recommended. Otherwise, the proposal will be considered incomplete or late and will be returned without review.
Before starting proposal preparation, the proposer must be registered as an individual. To register as a new individual in Research.gov, access the Research.gov New Account Management System. To register as a new individual in Grants.gov, access Grants.gov Applicant Registration. Please note that if submitting via Grants.gov, you must also obtain an NSF ID in Research.gov.
Fellowship proposals must be submitted by the Fellowship candidate, not by the Fellowship candidate's current or proposed organizational Sponsored Projects Office (SPO). The Fellowship candidate serves as his/her own SPO and Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) for the purposes of any research administration functions in Research.gov or Grants.gov.
Proposals must include all of the required sections of a full research proposal submitted to NSF as specified in Chapter II.C.2 of the PAPPG. In cases where requirements given in this document supplement or deviate from the instructions provided in the PAPPG or the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide, this solicitation takes precedence. All page limitations include pictures, figures, tables, graphics, etc. Proposers are urged to take special care to strictly adhere to page limitations. Proposals that do not conform to the requirements will not be accepted or will be returned without review.
Proposal Set-Up: Select "Prepare New Full Proposal" in Research.gov. The Fellowship Candidate/PI must select the "I am a Postdoctoral Scholar (Postdoctoral Fellowship Proposals)" option to initiate a postdoctoral fellowship proposal.
Search for and select this solicitation title in Step 1 of the Full Proposal wizard. In Step 2, "Where to Apply", select the most appropriate Program to consider your proposal. Step 3 is pre-populated by the system.
In Step 4, add a descriptive title of the research following the prepended text "Postdoctoral Fellowship: OCE-PRF".
Personnel Documents: The fellowship candidate is automatically designated as the PI in Research.gov. When preparing the Current and Pending Support section, please include current support for research and training. Under pending support, include this proposal, as well as pending and planned applications to other fellowship or research programs. The project submitted to this solicitation should not be concurrently under review by another program.
The scientific mentor must be identified on the proposal. If using Research.gov, this is done by going to the Personnel Documents section, clicking on the "Add Mentor/Advisor" tab and entering the individual's NSF ID or Email or Personnel name and Organization. For each mentor, please submit a Biographical Sketch and COA Information. Current & Pending Support documents are not required for the mentor(s). Research.gov contains sections to upload the Biographical Sketch and COA for the scientific mentor(s). For Grants.gov, the mentor(s) Biographical Sketch can be uploaded to "Other Supplementary Documents" and COA(s) to "Collaborators & Other Affiliations (COA)" as Single Copy Documents.
The following instructions supplement or deviate from the guidance in the NSF PAPPG or the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide:
Cover Sheet: A requested start date must be entered. The proposed duration for a postdoctoral fellowship proposal is pre-populated, read-only (i.e., not editable), and aligns with the program solicitation selected when initiating the proposal in Research.gov. No co-PIs are permitted on the Cover Sheet.
In the Primary Place of Performance section enter host institution information. Complete any other sections as appropriate/applicable.
Grants.gov Users: The program solicitation number will be pre-populated by Grants.gov on the NSF Grant Proposer Cover Sheet. The title must start with "Postdoctoral Fellowship: OCE-PRF:" followed by the descriptive title of the research.
Project Summary: not more than one page in length, that includes an overview of the project and separate statements that clearly address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activity. In addition, the Project Summary must also identify (in the overview section):
Project Description: Please note this section must include a separate section header labeled Broader Impacts and the heading must be on its own line with no other text on that line. The Project Description must not to exceed 10 single-spaced pages (including any figures, pictures and tables), which must include the following:
Special certifications and permits may be required when projects involve human subjects, vertebrate animals, endangered species, hazardous materials, collecting in foreign countries, or other elements. The research plan should provide general information on these matters and address feasibility. If selected, candidates must submit required documentation to the NSF program officer before an award can be made.
Budget and Budget Justification: In Research.gov, the budget section includes the pre-populated stipend and fellowship allowance based on the requirements of this solicitation. The budget section does not display on the proposal main page after the proposal has been created but can be viewed by clicking Print Proposal. When the Postdoctoral Scholar/PI submits the proposal, the budget will display as read-only and will be accessible from the proposal main page. The budget section is editable during a proposal file update/budget revision.
Grants.gov users: The stipend and fellowship allowance should be entered in Participant Support Costs (enter the $67,800 for Year 1 and $70,000 for Year 2 stipend on line E.2 and the $15,000/year fellowship allowance on line E.5). Enter (1) as the total number of participants. No other budget lines should be used for fellowship proposals. An annual budget must be submitted for each of the two years of the fellowship support.
A budget justification of no more than two pages must list and justify estimated expenditures under the annual fellowship allowance.
Pre-Award Transfer: Should a proposal be recommended for award, the primary host organization will be required to submit a revised budget and budget justification that allocates the proposed direct costs to the appropriate NSF budget line item(s). Organizational fringe benefits and indirect costs will also be added to the budget prior to award in accordance with the guidance provided in Section III above.
Data Management Plan: not to exceed two pages, that describes plans for data management and sharing of the products of research, or asserts the absence of the need for such plans. See OCE guidelines at https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf17037.
Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources, as applicable. Insert text or upload a document that states: "See Letter(s) of Collaboration from the prospective host organization(s)."
Other Required Sections
PhD Abstract: Abstract of the candidate's PhD thesis (limited to one page).
Host Institution Letter(s) from the prospective host organization(s), signed by the department chair (or equivalent) and the Sponsored Research Office, certifying that adequate facilities and support will be provided for the Fellow to accommodate the proposed activities and certifying plans to appoint the Fellow as project PI if an award is recommended. Should the Principal Investigator propose to hold the fellowship concurrently or sequentially at more than one organization during the two-year tenure, letters of collaboration must be provided from all organizations. The primary host organization's letter must specifically acknowledge that 1) the organization is aware that award recommendations will require a pre-award transfer of the proposal to the primary host organization, 2) the organization will submit all documents required for a pre-award transfer, including a new cover page that lists the Fellow as the PI and a budget that adds funding for organizational fringe and overhead costs to support the Fellow's benefits, and 3) the organization will administer the award to provide the Fellow's salary, benefits and proposed research activities. If a host organization is not the primary host organization and if the organization is eligible to receive NSF funding, the letter must acknowledge that the organization is willing to administer the award if the Fellow transfers to the organization. Awards cannot be transferred to foreign organizations or government agencies. If the host organization has not received prior NSF funding, the organization will need to submit "New Awardee" documentation, which will be subject to NSF's evaluation before an award can be made or transferred.
Other Supplementary Documents:
Letters of recommendation will not be considered. Letters from the proposed host organization(s), scientific mentors(s) and career mentors, as needed, the candidate's current graduate advisor, should not reflect a letter of recommendation and should make no subjective statements regarding either the candidate or their proposed activities.
Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.
Other Budgetary Limitations:
Other budgetary limitations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
For Proposals Submitted Via Research.gov:
For Proposals Submitted Via Grants.gov:
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 Leading the World in Discovery and Innovation, STEM Talent Development and the Delivery of Benefits from Research - NSF Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022 - 2026. 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.
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:
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:
The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:
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 other underrepresented groups 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 standard NSF review criteria for 1) Intellectual Merit and 2) Broader Impacts, the following review criteria will be used in evaluation of the fellowship proposals:
Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.
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 or the Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support 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.
Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer. 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.)
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) 292-8134 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
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.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Build America, Buy America
As expressed in Executive Order 14005, Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of America's Workers (86 FR 7475), it is the policy of the executive branch to use terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards to maximize, consistent with law, the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States.
Consistent with the requirements of the Build America, Buy America Act (Pub. L. 117-58, Division G, Title IX, Subtitle A, November 15, 2021), no funding made available through this funding opportunity may be obligated for an award unless all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States. For additional information, visit NSF's Build America, Buy America webpage.
Special Award Conditions:
Co-PIs and other senior personnel are not allowed in OCE PRF proposals.
A Fellow may transfer to another eligible host organization at any time during the award period. The primary host organization will facilitate the transfer of the award using NSF's standard PI Transfer process. Before such a transfer will be approved by NSF, the Fellow's new organization must supply to the cognizant NSF Program Officer documentation required of a primary host organization that is detailed in Section V of this solicitation. Transfer of an award issued under this solicitation to a substitute PI is not permissible, and the awardee cannot terminate the award without NSF's concurrence.
If a Fellow chooses to accept employment (i.e. a tenure-track position) during the first year of the Fellowship, the fellowship award will be terminated upon the start of the new position. In such cases, the primary host organization is responsible for initiating procedures for a termination by mutual agreement in accordance with Chapter XII of the NSF PAPPG. Fellows who wish to accept a new position during Year 2 of the award should contact the OCE PRF Program Officer to discuss disposition of any remaining funds in the PRF grant.
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.
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 or Research.gov, contact:
For questions relating to Grants.gov contact:
For questions about the OCE Postdoctoral Fellowship program, please send a message to: OCE_PRF@nsf.gov.
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 https://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.
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 System of Record Notices, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records." 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