Introducción

How to Complete an NSF Collaborative Proposal

This resource is a guide on how to link collaborative proposals on Fastlane.

How to Complete an NSF Collaborative Proposal

Date of last revision: November 11, 2020

Introduction

NSF has 3 categories for proposals

  • A collaborative proposal from one organization (see Chapter II.D.3.a);
  • A collaborative proposal from multiple organizations (see Chapter II.D.3.b); or
  • Not a collaborative proposal.

Note on “Special Information and Supplementary Documentation”

Simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals and proposals that include subawards are a single unified project and should include only one supplemental combined Data Management Plan, regardless of the number of non-lead collaborative proposals or subawards included.

Objective

The main objective of this resource is to explain how to link NSF collaborative proposals via Fastlane.

1 Definitions: Collaborative Proposals

A collaborative proposal is one in which investigators from two or more organizations wish to collaborate on a unified research project. Collaborative proposals may be submitted to NSF in one of two methods: as a single proposal, in which a single award is being requested (with subawards administered by the lead organization); or by simultaneous submission of proposals from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award. In either case, the lead organization’s proposal must contain all of the requisite sections as a single package to be provided to reviewers (that will happen automatically when procedures below are followed). All collaborative proposals must clearly describe the roles to be played by the other organizations, specify the managerial arrangements, and explain the advantages of the multi-organizational effort within the Project Description.

1.1 Submission of a collaborative proposal from one organization

The single proposal method allows investigators from two or more organizations who have developed an integrated research project to submit a single, focused proposal. A single investigator bears primary responsibility for the administration of the grant and discussions with NSF, and, at the discretion of the organizations involved, investigators from any of the participating organizations may be designated as co-PIs. Note, however, that if awarded, a single award would be made to the submitting organization, with any collaborators listed as subawards. (See Chapter II.C.2.g(vi)(e) for additional instructions on preparation of this type of proposal.)

If a proposed subaward includes funding to support postdoctoral researchers, the mentoring activities to be provided for such individuals must be incorporated in the supplemental mentoring plan outlined in Chapter II.C.2.j.

1.2 Submission of a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations

Simultaneous submission of proposals allows multiple organizations to submit a unified set of certain proposal sections, as well as information unique to each organization as specified below. All collaborative proposals arranged as separate submissions from multiple organizations must be submitted via FastLane. For these proposals, the project title must begin with the words «Collaborative Research:” If funded, each organization bears responsibility for a separate award.

2. The lead institution

The collaborative proposal mechanism requires that one institution be named the “lead” for the purpose of submitting the proposal. The lead institutions are typically those whose scientists are doing the bulk of the work in terms of writing the proposal and/or those that will manage the largest portio of the funds should the proposal be awarded.

2.1 Who does what

  • Both the lead and non-lead institutions must create a new proposal in Fastlane
  • In completing the proposal’s FastLane Cover Sheet, institutions should list only those PIs and co- PIs affiliated with their own institution
  • Additionally on the Cover Sheet, the proposal title must begin with “Collaborative Research:” and all titles, start dates, durations and NSF programs must be the same across the institutions

Required sections of the proposal differ based on the organization’s role. The following sections are required for a collaborative proposal submitted by:

Lead Institutions must upload/fill in the following:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Project Summary
  • Project Description
  • References
  • Biographical Sketches for the proposal’s senior personnel affiliated with their institution
  • Budget for the portion of the work to be managed by their institution
  • Budget Justification for the portion of the work to be managed by their institution
  • Facilities, Equipment & Other Resources for their institution
  • Current & Pending Support for the proposal’s senior personnel affiliated with their institution
  • Data Management Plan for the entire project (this includes all collaborators)
  • Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan (if required) for the entire project
  • All supplementary single copy documents (ie conflicts of interest, etc.)
  • Any other supplementary documents (ie letters of commitment, quotes, etc..) allowed by the program*
  • Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information for the proposal’s senior personnel affiliated with their institution

Non-Lead Institution must upload/fill in the following:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Biographical Sketches for the proposal’s senior personnel affiliated with their institution
  • Budget for the portion of the work to be managed by their institution
  • Budget Justification for the portion of the work to be managed by their institution
  • Facilities, Equipment & Other Resources for their institution
  • Current & Pending Support for the proposal’s senior personnel affiliated with their institution
  • Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information for the proposal’s senior personnel affiliated with their institution

* While it is acceptable for the non-lead institutions to upload their own supplementary documents, it is recommended that this only be done by the lead institution so that the order of the documents can be controlled.

2.2 Additional notes

See Chapter II.C.2.j for additional guidance on the mentoring and data management plan requirements for collaborative proposals. NSF will combine the proposal submission for printing or electronic viewing.

To submit the collaborative proposal, the following process must be completed:32

(i) Each non-lead organization must assign their proposal a proposal PIN. This proposal PIN and the temporary proposal ID generated by FastLane when the non-lead proposal is created must be provided to the lead organization before the lead organization submits its proposal to NSF.

(ii) The lead organization must then enter each non-lead organization(s) proposal PIN and temporary proposal ID into the FastLane lead proposal by using the «Link Collaborative Proposals» option found on the FastLane «Form Preparation» screen.

(iii) All components of the collaborative proposal must meet any established deadline date, and failure to do so may result in the entire collaborative proposal being returned without review.

(iv) If funded, both lead and non-lead organizations are required to submit separate annual and final project reports. These reports should reference the work of the collaborative, while focusing on the distinct work conducted at each funded organization.

3. How to Link NSF proposals

 Important: None of the proposal s should be submitted to NSF until they are all linked together so this should be done early.

Non-leads must:

  • Assign their proposal a PIN, which they can do via the “Proposal PIN” button on the “Proposal Actions»
  • Provide both the PIN and the Temporary Proposal ID to their contact at the lead

Leads must:

  • Use the “Link Collaborative Proposals” button on the “Form Preparation” page in FastLane to link the various proposals that comprise the overall project.

Each institution (lead and non-lead alike) then hits the “Allow SRO Access” button to submit their proposal to their respective OSPs.

3.1 Reviewing Linked Proposals

It is important to review the full proposal document that will be submitted. Both the lead and non-lead institutions can review the proposal when linked. To do this, simply click the “Print” button (next to the “Proposal PIN” button in the first image above) on the “Proposal Actions” page. Then click on the “Go” button next to “Print Entire Proposal”. All components of proposal that have been uploaded into FastLane will appear as a PDF file.

3.2 Submission Timing Reminder

All components of the collaborative proposal must meet any established deadline, and, failure to do so may result in the entire collaborative proposal being returned without review. NSF recommends that the lead and non-lead institutions submit their proposals within a reasonable time frame of one another. Therefore, it is recommended that collaborative proposals are all submitted to NSF within 24-48 hours of each other.

Conclusion

Working with collaborative proposals is simply put, more complex, since there are more parties involved. PIs should plan to allocate more time than normal to ensure a successful submission

Citation

To cite this resource, use the following format:

León, C. (2020, November 10). How to Complete an NSF Collaborative Proposal. Cristo León. https://www.cristoleon.com/project/how-to-link-nsf-proposals/

Resources

NSF. (2020). PAPPG Chapter II Proposal Preparation Instructions. https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappg18_1/pappg_2.jsp