National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.” NSF is the University of Illinois’ leading funder, and we have received more NSF funding than any other university in the nation for six consecutive years.
FastLane is an interactive real-time system used to conduct NSF business with researchers and potential researchers, reviewers, and research administrators and their organizations. In collaboration with NSF, more than 400,000 people use FastLane each year.
Research.gov provides grants management for the research community. Research.gov will eventually become the replacement for FastLane, providing quick access to research information and grants management services, all in one location.
Sponsor Specific Guidance
The Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) contains policies and guidance relating to the Foundation's proposal and award process for the assistance programs of NSF. The PAPPG, in conjunction with NSF’s Grant General Conditions, serves as the Foundation’s implementation of 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
- Create a Research.gov account
Below is a step-by-step video tutorial on how to create a Research.gov account.
- Submit a Proposal via FastLane
You must electronically prepare and submit a proposal to the NSF through either FastLane or Grants.gov. For instructions on submitting via Grants.gov, see the Grants.gov Application Guide. For all instructions on the contents of a proposal, see the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter II.
Who Prepares and Submits Proposals?
These individuals may have roles in preparing and submitting a proposal:
- Principal Investigator (PI)
- Other Authorized Users (OAUs)
- Sponsored Programs Administration Representative
- Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)
If you are a PI, you may take these actions in preparing and submitting a proposal:
- Create a proposal
- Edit a proposal
- Give SPA access to view and edit the proposal
- Give your AOR access to view, edit and submit the proposal
- Request a No-Cost Extension
Grantees may authorize a one-time extension of the expiration date of the grant of up to 12 months if additional time beyond the established expiration date is required to assure adequate completion of the original scope of work within the funds already made available. This one-time extension may not be exercised merely for the purpose of using the unliquidated balances. Grantees are not authorized to extend an award that contains a zero balance. The grantee shall notify NSF, providing supporting reasons for the extension and the revised expiration date, at least ten days prior to the expiration date specified in the grant to ensure accuracy of NSF’s grant data. All grantee-approved extension notifications must be submitted via the FastLane system. For grantee-approved extensions, no amendment will be issued.
If additional time beyond the awarded period of performance end date is necessary to complete the statement of work, and exceptional circumstances warrant, a formal request must be submitted to NSF via FastLane. The request must be submitted to NSF at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the grant. The request must explain the need for the extension and include an estimate of the unobligated funds remaining and a plan for their use. As indicated above, that unobligated funds may remain at the expiration of the grant is not in itself sufficient justification for an extension. The plan must adhere to the previously approved objectives of the project. All requests for NSF-approved extensions must be submitted via the Research.gov system. Grantees are not authorized to extend an award that contains a zero balance. NSF program officers are authorized to approve the first no cost extension request on current active awards.
The first no-cost extension request will be subject to the approval of the cognizant NSF Program Officer. The sponsored projects office and PI will be electronically notified of the disposition of this request by the cognizant NSF Program Officer. The second no-cost extension will continue to be subject to the approval of an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer, and, if approved, will be in the form of an amendment to the grant specifying a new expiration date. Grantees are cautioned not to make new commitments or incur new expenditures after the expiration date in anticipation of a no-cost extension.
Grantees are not authorized to extend an award that contains a zero balance.
- Request a PI Transfer
For a PI who is retiring, a Change in PI/Co-PI request can be submitted through FastLane by the PI. Additionally, please notify SPA about this change in project personnel.
For a PI that is transferring institutions, a decision needs to be made if they are willing and able to take their award with them to the new institution. If they would like to take the award with them, a PI Transfer Request must be submitted in NSF's FastLane system. If the award will stay at the University of Illinois, a Change in PI/Co-PI request must be submitted in FastLane. Contact the SPA Post Award Administrator for step-by-step instructions for these requests. Additionally, please notify SPA staff of this change in project personnel.