NSF Policy on Brand Standards

The "Official Policy on Brand Standards of the U.S. National Science Foundation" outlines a unified framework to support the agency's written, verbal and visual identity.

The policy provides guidance to agency staff, award recipients, contractors, partners and the public regarding the use of the NSF logo and brand.

This page briefly overviews who can and cannot use the NSF logo and how NSF award recipients can properly acknowledge NSF support. Comprehensive guidance for all NSF communities can be found in the "NSF Brand Standards Manual."

Using the NSF logo

Seals and logos of the federal government are not in the public domain. As such, the NSF logo may only be used with authorized permission from the agency.

The NSF logo can be used:

  • By NSF award recipients for the sole purpose of acknowledging that support is consistent with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Chapter XI.E.4 and the "NSF Brand Standards Manual."
  • By institutions of higher education when promoting information related to NSF funding opportunities.
  • To link to an NSF website or acknowledge the agency's assistance or affiliation with NSF approval. Requests for approval may be submitted to NSFbranding@nsf.gov.
  • By NSF staff for brand application on official communications and materials.

The NSF logo cannot be used:

  • In a manner that falsely implies employment by or affiliation with NSF.
  • To promote or imply endorsement of a product, service or enterprise.

Use of the NSF logo on content that could require viewer discretion due to the inclusion of language, substances, nudity, sex, violence, political or controversial issues must be reviewed and approved by the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs by emailing NSFbranding@nsf.gov.

How to acknowledge your NSF award

Award recipients must follow the guidelines outlined in the "NSF Policy on Brand Standards" and in the "NSF Brand Standards Manual."

Award recipients must acknowledge NSF support in:

  • Any publication, including webpages, based on or developed under their project.
  • Any other material based on or developed under their project.
  • During all media interviews — including popular media such as radio, television, news magazines, podcasts and online media outlets — relating to their project.
  • In research papers in accordance with the publication guidelines while following NSF brand standards to the extent feasible.

Depending on the level of funds NSF provides, there may be additional requirements.

Key guidance on how to acknowledge NSF support visually, verbally and in text is provided below.

Award recipients must use the official NSF logo in printed and digital materials related to NSF-funded activities. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Property signage and markings such as on facilities/buildings, instrumentation and equipment if the purchase price is $150,000 or more.
  • Websites. 
  • Educational materials.
  • Press materials.
  • Exhibit, conference and event materials.
  • Other outreach materials (i.e., reports, press releases, infographics, social media, video, etc.)

On first mention, the agency name should be spelled out as "U.S. National Science Foundation" when space allows. References to the agency can be written as "NSF" on any subsequent mentions (e.g., "NSF Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure" or "NSF NHERI").

NSF support must be orally acknowledged during all news media interviews, including in popular media such as radio, television and news magazines. Use the agency’s full name on the first mention.

NSF-supported content on social media should be properly "tagged" with hashtags and NSF social media accounts. (Tagging is always preferred, but if it is not possible, award recipients must acknowledge NSF support with "U.S. National Science Foundation" spelled out.)

View a list of NSF's social media accounts.

How to contact NSF Brand Management

If you need to request a variation of the NSF logo to meet production specifications or have questions regarding NSF brand guidelines, please contact NSFbranding@nsf.gov.