Archived funding opportunity

This solicitation is archived.

NSF 06-500: Planetary Biodiversity Inventories (PBI)

Special Biennial Competition in Biodiversity Surveys and Inventories

Program Solicitation

Document Information

Document History

  • Posted: October 12, 2005

Program Solicitation NSF 06-500

Replaces Document(s):
NSF 02-186


NSF Logo

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Biological Sciences
     Division of Environmental Biology


Full Proposal Target Date(s):

January 10, 2006

January 12, 2008

January 14, 2010

Revision Notes

The previous program solicitation has been updated to reflect the biennial nature of this special competition (by adding a general date description), to delete external funding sources that are no longer available, and to reflect the Cluster structure in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB).

Please be advised that the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) includes revised guidelines to implement the mentoring provisions of the America COMPETES Act (ACA) (Pub. L. No. 110-69, Aug. 9, 2007.)   As specified in the ACA, each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals.  Proposals that do not comply with this requirement will be returned without review (see the PAPP Guide Part I: Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II for further information about the implementation of this new requirement).

As announced on May 21st, proposers must prepare and submit proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF) using the NSF FastLane system at This approach is being taken to support efficient operations during this busy workload period and in response to OMB direction guidance issued March 9, 2009. NSF will continue to post information about available funding opportunities to FIND and will continue to collaborate with institutions who have invested in system-to-system submission functionality as their preferred proposal submission method. NSF remains committed to the long-standing goal of streamlined grants processing and plans to provide a web services interface for those institutions that want to use their existing grants management systems to directly submit proposals to NSF.

Summary Of Program Requirements

General Information

Program Title: 

Planetary Biodiversity Inventories  (PBI)
Special Biennial Competition in Biodiversity Surveys and Inventories

Synopsis of Program:

To accelerate the discovery and study of the world’s biodiversity, proposals are invited from teams of investigators to conduct a worldwide, species-level systematic inventory of a major group of organisms. Each project should conduct fieldwork necessary to fill gaps in existing collections, produce descriptions, taxonomic revisions, web-searchable databases, and interactive keys (or other automated identification tools) for all new and known species in the targeted group, analyze their phylogenetic relationships, and establish predictive classifications for the group. Proposals may target any particular group of organisms, from terrestrial, fresh-water, or marine habitats, at any feasible level in the taxonomic hierarchy, but must be global in scope.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

  • Rafael O. de Sa, telephone: (703) 292-7836, email:

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

  • 47.074 --- Biological Sciences

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:  Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards:    3 to  5   Awards are contingent on availability of funds and quality of proposals in each competition.

Anticipated Funding Amount:   $2,500,000  available for PBI in Fiscal Year 2006 with individual awards not to exceed $3,000,000 over a 5-year duration.

Eligibility Information

Organization Limit: 

None Specified

PI Limit: 

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

None Specified

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 

None Specified

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not Applicable
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not Applicable
  • Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: This solicitation contains information that supplements the standard NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part I: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) proposal preparation guidelines. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements: Cost Sharing is not required under this solicitation.
  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:  Not Applicable
  • Other Budgetary Limitations: Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Target Date(s):

    January 10, 2006

    January 12, 2008

    January 14, 2010

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria:   National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions:   Additional award conditions apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Reporting Requirements:   Additional reporting requirements apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

  • Agency Contacts

  • Other Information
  • I. Introduction

    The Planetary Biodiversity Inventories (PBI) program empowers collaborating teams of scientists and institutions to inventory a major taxonomic group across geologic time and ecological space. Biodiversity characterization on a global scale provides a comprehensive framework for understanding biotic history and ecosystem function. Projects are invited that provide robust morphological and molecular data for conducting phylogenetic analyses, for constructing predictive classifications, and for establishing precise, informative language for biological communication. Combining information about both fossil and extant organisms can create a globally applicable taxonomic system within which the distribution of species, and their characteristics, can be charted across ecological space and through geological time. Global inventories produce comprehensive specimen databases, up-to-date nomenclators (compilations of all relevant names), phylogenies, interactive keys, or other automated identification tools, enabling non-specialists to identify species more accurately, and provide a taxonomic guide for all subsequent biodiversity research.

    II. Program Description

    Proposals are invited from teams of investigators to conduct a worldwide, species-level systematic inventory of a major group of organisms. Each project will be expected to conduct fieldwork necessary to fill gaps in existing collections; produce descriptions, revisions, web pages, and interactive keys (or other automated identification tools) for all new and known species in the targeted group; analyze their phylogenetic relationships; and establish predictive classifications for the group. Proposals may target any particular group of organisms, from terrestrial, fresh-water, or marine habitats, at any feasible level in the taxonomic hierarchy, but must be global in scope.

    Proposals for continental or global inventories of major taxonomic groups or clades should include the following information:

    • description of the taxonomic group to be inventoried with indications of evidence for monophyly (if such evidence is not available, provide evidence for a clear delimitation of the taxonomic scope of the project); the current state of knowledge about the diversity, phylogenetic interrelationships, and classification of the group, and notable gaps in that knowledge (including knowledge of fossil taxa, if appropriate); the availability of existing collections of specimens (broadly construed to include cultures, stocks, or other material samples) and notable gaps in the geographic coverage of those collections; the availability of Internet resources relevant to these organisms; and the justification for the proposed large-scale approach (i. e., why is it beyond the scope of current single-investigator or small-team projects, and why is it important to survey this particular group now?).
    • justification of new collecting efforts if needed, with comprehensive plans for sampling and data collection, including the intended geographic scale, the choice of sampling techniques, specimen preparation regimes, and types of data to be captured (morphological, behavioral, physiological, developmental, genomic, etc.). Include plans for databasing of all new locality information which must be fully georeferenced using GPS technology; retrospective locality data capture, including procedures for acquisition and quality control; methods to be used for judging the degree of completeness of sampling and for implementing "stop rules"; and the long-term preservation, curation, and vouchering of material (and extracts). Costs of specimen preparation and storage are eligible items for support (letters from curators of the relevant repositories must be included in the FastLane section on Supplementary Documentation).
    • discussion of descriptive and analytical work to be done, with plans for describing new taxa; archiving and disseminating all resulting datasets regarding specimens, localities, characters, matrices, images, phylogenetic trees, etc.; analyzing the phylogenetic interrelationships of the taxa and constructing predictive classifications reflecting the results of those analyses; and developing web products including interactive keys (or other automated identification tools).
    • a detailed Management Plan specifying the personnel responsible for all major tasks, with time-scheduling for all members of the team for the duration of the project; annual milestones for judging productivity and progress; training activities, including field, laboratory, and museum experience for trainees, with special attention to international training experiences for U.S. students as well as cooperation with foreign participants in training their students; plans for maintaining and enhancing leadership by the key team members (perhaps via an Executive Committee or Officer) and communication among all team members, as well as for expanding the group if that proves to be necessary or desirable, including plans for integration with colleagues not yet formally part of the group (both national and international); the curatorial, computational, and (where appropriate) sequencing facilities and resources available to the team; plans for coordination with other U.S. or foreign-based projects involving the same or related organisms, where appropriate, and details of the logistics of international, cooperative work with host country scientists and students. Describe concisely the database models and elements, as specified above, and plans for maintenance of databases beyond the duration of the grant, with identification of personnel charged with technical design and implementation. The data from the projects funded under this solicitation must be made accessible to, and usable by, the broad scientific and education communities through the Internet. To insure this, a data management plan must be submitted as part of the management plan. The plan should include the format for data and also address issues of maintenance. Images and other data should be included, along with a description of available tools.
    • development of outreach efforts to disseminate results to the public as well as to other scientific communities (the hosting of workshops and other service activities are encouraged to disseminate best-practices resulting from the project, new software, and other products). Activities designed to encourage participation of investigators at small institutions, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and secondary school teachers are also recommended.

    PBI projects are expected to be ambitious, large-scale efforts that are multi-investigator, multi-institutional, and multi-national in scope. Proposals should address the issues enumerated in the sections above regarding large-scale or long-term inventories, but all these topics are intended for guidance, and not as constraints on innovative PBI projects.

    III. Award Information

    • Anticipated Type of Award: Standard or Continuing Grant
    • Estimated Number of Awards: 3 to 5 - Awards are contingent on availability of funds and quality of proposals in each competition.
    • Anticipated Funding Amount: $2,500,000 available for PBI in Fiscal Year 2006 with individual awards not to exceed $3,000,000 over a 5-year duration.

    IV. Eligibility Information

    Organization Limit: 

    None Specified

    PI Limit: 

    None Specified

    Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 

    None Specified

    Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 

    None Specified

    Additional Eligibility Info:

    The categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program solicitation. In particular, institutions and organizations with personnel and interests in the broad field of biodiversity study such as academic institutions, natural history museums, marine and freshwater science institutes, field stations, and botanical gardens should consider research opportunities supportable through the PBI program.

    V. Proposal Preparation And Submission Instructions

    A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

    Full Proposal Instructions: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the guidelines specified in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-PUBS (7827) or by e-mail from  

    Titles of Proposals: Titles of proposals for Planetary Biodiversity Inventories should begin with "PBI:".

    Project Summary: Note that proposals must separately address, within the one-page Project Summary, both of the merit criteria approved by the National Science Board: what is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity and what are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? PBI projects must make substantial contributions to training, to broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in science, and to enhancing scientific infrastructure, particularly cyberinfrastructure and international partnerships, as well as to disseminate results broadly, to a wide variety of user communities.

    Results from Prior NSF Support: If any PI or co-PI on the project has received NSF funding in the past five years, information on prior award(s) is required. Each PI and co-PI who has received more than one prior award (excluding amendments) must report on the award most closely related to the proposal. The information required is described in the GPG. Reviewers will be asked to comment on the quality of the prior work described in this section of the proposal. Please note that the proposal may devote up to five pages to describe the results, within the maximum 15 pages of Project Description. Results may be summarized in fewer than five pages, which would leave the balance of the 15 pages for the Project Description.

    Management Plan for PBI: A Management Plan, up to 5 pages maximum, as described in Section II. Program Description, should be included in the Supplementary Documentation section of the FastLane proposal. This section is in addition to the 15 page limit of the Project Description.

    Coordination with Other Projects: If higher-level phylogenetic research on the chosen group of organisms is funded already by an NSF award (for example, through the Assembling the Tree of Life competition), the PI should provide a plan for coordinating activities with that funded project. If two or more PBI proposals with substantially overlapping or complementary goals and scope remain in consideration for funding after initial merit review, the PIs of those proposals may be asked to collaborate, and to submit a coordination plan prior to the final funding decision. Note that PBI projects are not required to include detailed phylogenetic analyses of the interrelationships of each constituent species, but are expected to provide phylogenetic analyses for genera and higher taxa. Knowledge of, contribution to, and explicit coordination with appropriate major global database and portal efforts to disseminate taxonomic data (such as Global Biodiversity Information Facility, GBIF, Census of Marine Life, CoML, or Ocean Biogeographic Information System, OBIS) are expected.

    International Opportunity: The PBI initiative encourages laboratory-to-laboratory interactions between U.S. and foreign institutions to address PBI goals. NSF funds may be requested to support foreign investigators and students to work in U.S. laboratories and for U.S. investigators to work in foreign laboratories. Foreign participants should be encouraged to seek additional support for their parts of the project from their own national programs.

    Vertebrate Animals: If the proposed research includes the collection of vertebrate animals, the Principal Investigator must respond to the NSF Grant Proposal Guide section on required documentation for proposals involving vertebrate animals. See Section II.D.5. of the Grant Proposal Guide.

    Special Information and Supplementary Documentation: Provide information such as letters of collaboration, collecting permits, environmental impact statement, and other allowed items as noted in the current issuance of the GPG. Include letters of support and other materials (such as the vertebrate animal care certificate, if applicable). A maximum of 5 pages for the Management Plan (as detailed above) should be included in the supplemental documents. This information must be added to the Supplementary Documentation section of FastLane to allow the full 15 pages to be used for the Project Description.

    Conflicts of Interest Document: A Conflicts of Interest document must be included in the Additional Single Copy Documents section of the FastLane proposal. Include a table that lists the names of persons with conflicts of interest for all senior personnel (PI and co-PIs) and any named personnel whose salary is requested in the project budgets. Conflicts to be identified are: (1) Ph.D. thesis advisor or advisee; (2) postdoctoral adviser or advisee for the previous 48 months; (3) collaborators or co-authors for the past 48 months; and (4) any other individual or institution with which the investigator has financial ties (please specify). Organize the information as shown in the sample table below: list full names in each column in alphabetical order.

    Last Name

    First Name


    Conflict Type


    Alison A.

    Reed College

    Ph.D. advisor for (Name)


    Barry B.

    Brown Institute

    Collaborator for (Name)


    Rudy R.

    White University

    Financial ties with co-PI (Name)

    Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF 06-500) in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

    B. Budgetary Information

    Cost Sharing:   Cost sharing is not required under this solicitation.

    C. Due Dates

    • Full Proposal Target Date(s):

      January 10, 2006

      January 12, 2008

      January 14, 2010

      January 10 biennially thereafter.

    D. FastLane Requirements

    Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this program solicitation through use of the NSF FastLane system. Detailed instructions regarding the technical aspects of proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

    Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane Website at:

    VI. NSF Proposal Processing And Review Procedures   

    Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program where they will be reviewed if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements. 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 who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the 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.

    A. NSF Merit Review Criteria

    All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria: intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

    The two NSB-approved merit review criteria are listed below. 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 the reviewer 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, original, or potentially transformative 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?

    Examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available electronically on the NSF website at:

    Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

    NSF staff also 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 excitement of discovery and enrich 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.

      Additional Review Criteria:

      Reviewers of PBI proposals will specifically consider the five bulleted issues described in Section II. Program Description and the Management Plan in their evaluation. In addition, reviewers will be asked to comment on the quality of the prior work described in the "Results from Prior NSF Support" section of the proposal. Moreover, preference will be given to projects with clear, convincing plans for Internet-accessible dissemination (for example, through GBIF) in interoperable formats of the results of PBI supported activity.

    B. Review and Selection Process

    Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

    Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. 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 is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later.  The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

    A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, 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.

    In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and 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.

    VII. Award Administration Information

    A. Notification of the Award

    Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. 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.)

    B. Award Conditions

    An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, 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 letter; (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 letter. 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 Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from

    More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at

    Special Award Conditions: 

    Special specimen collection conditions apply. The awardee shall ensure that award activities conducted inside and outside the US and its territories and possessions are coordinated, as necessary, with appropriate Government authorities, and that appropriate licenses, permits or approvals are obtained prior to undertaking proposed activities. NSF does not assume responsibility for awardee compliance with the laws and regulations of the country in which the work is to be conducted.

    C. Reporting Requirements

    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 at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require more frequent project reports). Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report.

    Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for that PI. 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 FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports.  Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational) publications; and, other specific products and contributions.  PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.  Submission of the report via FastLane constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete.  

    Special Reporting Requirements:

    The Principal Investigator shall provide a summary, in the "Special Requirements" section of each annual and final project report, of all permits, licenses or other necessary approvals associated with specimen collection. The information should include the names of all permits/licenses/necessary approvals, the granting authority, date acquired, duration, and the purpose of the permit/license/approval.

    VIII. Agency Contacts

    General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

    • Rafael O. de Sa, telephone: (703) 292-7836, email:

    For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

    IX. Other Information

    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, National Science Foundation Update is a free e-mail subscription service 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 Regional Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail when new publications are issued that match their identified interests. Users can subscribe to this service by clicking the "Get NSF Updates by Email" link on the NSF web site. provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on may be obtained at

    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 40,000 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 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 provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 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.

    The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

    To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at

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    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 Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records, " 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). 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
    Reports Clearance Officer
    Division of Administrative Services
    National Science Foundation
    Arlington, VA 22230