University of Iowa

FastLane Updates Coming July 25

On July 25, 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will release updates to FastLane that may impact the way you work.

As part of NSF’s efforts to reduce the workload associated with manually compliance-checking proposals, NSF continues to focus on implementing automated proposal compliance checks. This series of automated proposal compliance checks will ensure that proposals submitted in response to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), Program Descriptions, Program Solicitations, or Program Announcements, comply with requirements specified in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (Chapter II.C.2 of the GPG).  The goals outlined in this release are to increase competitive fairness in the proposal process by ensuring that all required proposal elements are compliance checked in the same manner, and at the same time reduce burden on both NSF programs and the research community.

The new set of automated compliance checks will trigger warning or error messages depending on the funding opportunity type for each of the following rules:

  • Biographical Sketch(es) and Current and Pending Support files are required  for each Senior Personnel associated with a proposal.
  • Biographical Sketch(es) can only be uploaded as a file, must not exceed two pages and can no longer be entered as text.

Note About Proposal File Update (PFU): Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully with only one Biographical Sketch and/or Current & Pending Support file (rather than individual files for each senior personnel), a PFU performed on such proposals will be prevented from submission if it does not comply with the new compliance checks.  The automated compliance checks apply when a PFU is performed on a proposal. The checks will be run on all sections of the proposal regardless of which section was updated during the PFU.

Warning Messages vs. Error Messages: Warning messages will not prevent a proposal from being submitted.  However, proposals that receive error messages will not be able to be submitted.

Note About Grants.gov: Proposers submitting through Grants.gov should be aware that Grants.gov will allow a proposal to be submitted, even if it does not comply with these proposal preparation requirements. Should NSF receive a proposal from Grants.gov that is not compliant, it may be returned without review.

Please note that the new set of compliance checks are in addition to the compliance checks that currently exist in FastLane. You can view a complete list of FastLane auto-compliance checks, including these checks, by clicking here .  The list specifies which checks are run depending on funding opportunity type (GPG, Program Description, Program Announcement, or Program Solicitation) and type of proposal (Research, RAPID, EAGER, Ideas Lab, Conference, Equipment, International Travel, Facility/Center, or Fellowship). It also specifies whether the check triggers a “warning” or “error” message for non-compliant proposals.

For system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.