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Agency Specific Help
National Science Foundation (NSF)

This page provides information and helpful links pertaining to NSF funding.

Useful NSF Links:

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Submitting an application to the National Science Foundation (NSF) - What's Next?

1) Familiarize yourself with the variety of Funding Opportunities Announcements offered by NSF.

2) Types of Funding Opportunities

Program Descriptions Proposals for a Program Description must follow the instruction in the GPG
Program Announcements Proposals for a Program Announcement must follow the instructions in the GPG
Program Solicitations Proposals must follow the instructions in the Program Solicitation; the instructions in the GPG apply unless otherwise stated in the solicitation
Dear Colleague Letters Dear Colleague Letters are notifications of opportunities or special competitions for supplements to existing NSF awards

3) Types of Proposal Submissions

No Deadlines Proposals may be submitted at any time
Target Dates Dates after which proposals will still be accepted, although they may miss a particular panel or committee meeting
Deadline Dates Dates after which proposals will not be accepted for review by NSF. The deadline date will be waived only in extenuating circumstances. Such a deviation only may be authorized in accordance with GPG Chapter II.A.
Submission Windows Designated periods of time during which proposals will be accepted for review by NSF. It is NSF's policy that the end date of a submission window converts to, and is subject to, the same policies as a deadline date.
Letters of Intent Some NSF program solicitations require or request submissions of a letter of intent (LOI) in advance of a submission of a full proposal. A LOI is not binding and must be submitted through FastLane.
Preliminary Proposal Some NSF program solicitations require or request submission of a preliminary proposal in advance of a full proposal, to be submitted through FastLane.

4) Find what resources are available to you.

5) Frequently Asked Questions:

Data Management Plan

You may already be aware that starting in January 2011, the National Science Foundation began requiring submission of a mandatory data management plan with all funding proposals. As of January 18, 2011, each proposal must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled Data Management Plan. This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. Proposals which do not include the DMP as a supplemental document in FastLane will be returned without review.

What is a Data Management Plan and why do I need one?
A data management plan (DMP) is a clear description of the kinds of data you expect to collect through your studies, a description of how you will make that data available to others (and under what conditions), and how you will archive that data to safeguard it for future users.

Following are some resources gathered from NSF and other applicant institutions which should help you to comply with the requirement:

NSF General Statement:

NSF Frequently Asked Questions and links to directorate-specific requirements:

Links to data management requirements and plans relevant to specific Directorates, Offices, Divisions, Programs, or other NSF units, are provided below:

Data Management Plan Tool

The Library is pleased to announce that the online data management plan tool, DMP Tool, is now live for our institution. Visit  and click "Get Started" to select James Madison University and log in with your JMU e-ID and password. Currently, DMP Tool supports templates for over 15 funding agencies, including humanities and science agencies.  JMU has provided customized "suggested response text" to each template, relating to data storage options on campus.  Researchers can then copy and paste the relevant institutional information to their plan.  Visit  for tips on how to use the interface.

If you have any questions please contact Yasmeen Shorish, the Science Librarian, at Questions regarding data management? Check out the library website: for answers and links to additional information.

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Cost-sharing Policy

The National Science Foundation has posted a series of seven frequently-asked-questions concerning its revised cost-sharing policy, which went into effect for proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011. Changes affect committed support on the part of principal investigators, as Jean Feldman, NSF policy director, described at the recent annual meeting of the National Council of Research Administrations. Questions posted on NSF's website include the following: "If a PI already is charging two months of salary support per year on their active NSF award(s), should they not request support on any new proposals that are submitted? If they are not requesting salary support, would that constitute cost sharing?" and "If an institution addresses voluntary committed cost sharing in the proposal narrative, how will NSF proposal reviewers respond?"

Voluntary Committed Cost Sharing
Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited and Line M on the proposal budget will not be available for use by the proposer. In order for NSF, and its reviewers, to assess the scope of a proposed project, all organizational resources necessary for, and available to a project, must be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal (see GPG Chapter II.C.2.i for further information). NSF Program Officers may not impose or encourage cost sharing unless such requirements are explicitly included in the program solicitation.

Mandatory Cost Sharing
Mandatory cost sharing will only be required for NSF programs when explicitly authorized by the NSF Director, the National Science Board, or legislation. In those rare instances, cost sharing requirements will be clearly identified in the solicitation and must be included on Line M of the proposed budget. Such cost sharing will be an eligibility, rather than a review criterion. Proposers are advised not to exceed the mandatory cost sharing level or amount specified in the solicitation.

When mandatory cost sharing is included on Line M, and accepted by the Foundation, the commitment of funds becomes legally binding and is subject to audit. When applicable, the estimated value of any in-kind contributions also should be included on Line M. An explanation of the source, nature, amount and availability of any proposed cost sharing must be provided in the budget justification. It should be noted that contributions derived from other Federal funds or counted as cost sharing toward projects of another Federal agency may not be counted towards meeting the specific cost sharing requirements of the NSF award.
Failure to provide the level of cost sharing required by the NSF solicitation and reflected in the approved award budget may result in termination of the NSF award, disallowance of award costs and/or refund of award funds to NSF by the awardee.


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