Home | Resources | NSF Checklist

The following checklist is provided as a quick reference, but does not replace review of the full PAPPG and applicable NSF solicitations.

NSF PAPPF 23-1 Checklist (for proposals due on or after January 30, 2023)


Chapter I.G.3

  • Determine if the individuals currently have NSF IDs.
  • Users may not have multiple NSF IDs
  • Users requiring an NSF ID must register in Research.gov, affiliate their account with ASU, and request the PI role. RAs cannot add users.


Chapter I.A.

  • Research.gov – Unless specified in an NSF program solicitation, proposals submitted to NSF must be submitted via use of Research.gov, Grants.gov, or the Broad Agency Announcement Management (BAAM) System.


Chapter I.A.

  • BAAM may be used for submission of some NSF BAAs. Always review the FOA/BAA for instructions on submission portals 
  • RAs and PIs should login using their individual Login.gov account


Chapter I.D.1.

  • ProSPCT is used to submit Concept Outlines 
  • PI’s should utilize their Login.gov accounts  

Known research.gov quirks

  • Use extreme caution, Research.gov does not allow for the change of FOA/Program and/or Directorate once the proposal is created 
  • Research.gov will generate errors if a header does not match the PAPPG header exactly
  • In some versions of Microsoft Word, Arial 10 and Courier New 10 will produce line spacing errors. If that happens, try changing the line spacing to 1.05 as a workaround.
  • Warnings and errors may arise when uploading LaTeX-generated documents. An open-source repository provides samples and troubleshooting tips.
  • Information will not generate correctly unless the most up to date Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template is used
  • Review Proposal FAQs by utilizing the left hand navigation bar items (e.g., “Uploading Documents”) on NSF’s About Proposal Preparation and Submission page. 
  • View Research.gov compliance checks 


Chapter II.C.1

  • The Research.gov system will paginate, do not add page numbers 

Font, margins, spacing, and formatting

Chapter II.C.2 – II.C.3

  • Fonts: Arial, Courier New, or Palatino Linotype font size of 10 points or larger; Times New Roman font size of 11 points or larger; or Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 11 points or larger
    • In some versions of Microsoft Word, Arial 10 and Courier New 10 will produce line spacing errors. If that happens, try changing the line spacing to 1.05 as a workaround.
  • A font size of less than 10 points or other fonts not specified, such as Cambria Math, may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figures, table or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters. PIs are cautioned, however, that the text must still be readable
  • Margins: Must be at least an inch in all directions, no proposer-supplied information in margins
  • Paper size: 8.5” x 11”
  • Single-column format should be used

Cover sheet

Chapter II.D.2.a

  • Enter ASU’s Standard Institutional Info.
  • Choose the Funding Announcement #, NSF Unit of Consideration, and fill out remaining items
  • Choose the type of proposal being submitted … i.e. Research, EAGER, Conference, etc.
  • Requested start date should allow at least 6 months for NSF review, processing, and decision
  • If foreign travel is budgeted, check the “International Activities” box and list the activity country names   
  • If foreign country is unknown, use the “worldwide” option
  • If foreign organizations are involved, in addition to providing justification in project description, the box for “Funding of a Foreign Organization, including through use of a subaward or consultant arrangement” must be checked on the cover sheet
  • If funding is budgeted for an international branch campus of a U.S. IHE, the box for “Funding of an International Branch Campus of a U.S. IHE, including through use of a subaward or consultant arrangement” must be checked on the Cover Sheet.
  • Do not list more than 5 countries in Activity Country Names section
  • If off-campus or off-site research is proposed, check the “Off Campus or Off-Site Research” box; provide a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments as a supplemental document, if required by solicitation. Refer to the funding announcement for details on what the plan is required to include.

Project summary

Chapter II.D.2.b

  • Limited to 1 page
  • Three separate, distinct sections with headers:
    • Overview
    • Intellectual merit
    • Broader impacts

Project description

Chapter II.D.2.d

  • Limited to 15 pages, unless otherwise noted in the solicitation
  • Should provide a clear statement of work
  • URLS must not be used in the Project Description
  • The Project Description must include a separate section within the narrative entitled “Broader Impacts”. Do not deviate from this header title
  • The Project Description must include a separate section within the narrative entitled “Results from Prior NSF Support”:
    • Results from Prior Support must include distinct headers for separate sections on “Intellectual Merit” and “Broader Impacts”
    • May use up to 5 pages to discuss results of prior PI/Co-PI, NSF-funded work with an award end date in the past five years; or any current funding, including no cost extensions. (Unless otherwise stipulated in solicitation)
    • No more than 1 award from each PI/Co PI can be listed. If a PI/ Co PI has not had NSF support in the last 5 years, that must be stated
    • If using the same prior award for PI and co-PI, separate sections must be provided for each
    • Prior NSF results should always be described from the individual’s role on the prior project  
    • Include Prior NSF results for each PI/co-PI who has filled any sort of role on an NSF-funded project that began within the last 5 years (regardless of whether they were a PI or co-PI)
    • Publications resulting from each award must be included. A complete bibliographic citation for each publication must be provided either in this section or in the References Cited section of the proposal
    • Referencing back to the reference cited page is the suggested method as it saves the most space. Example: 7 publications were produced under this award 50-57.
    • If there we no publications under the award listed, state “No publications were produced under this award”
  • Include a description of the work to be performed by any sub-recipients
  • If funding to an International Branch Campus of a U.S. IHE or to a foreign organization (including subaward or consultant), justification for why project cannot be performed in the US must be provided in project description

References cited

Chapter II.D.2. e

  • This section must include bibliographic citations only
  • No page limits, unless otherwise noted

Biographical sketches

Chapter II.D.2.h.i

  • Limited to three pages, senior personnel, NSF-approved Format
  • Refer to the “NSF Pre-Award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support” as needed
  • Personal information should not be listed (home address, home phone #, SSN, etc.)
  • Do not include awards, invited talks, personal statements, etc.
  • Limited to 5 related products, 5 other products, and 5 distinct synergistic activities (do not include multiple examples)
  • Must include the location of undergrad, grad, and postdoc institution(s)
  • Biographical sketches must be uploaded separately for each individual listed on the proposal as senior personnel
  • Biographical sketches for other personnel should be uploaded as a single pdf to the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal
  • Biographical sketches for auxiliary users on Equipment Proposals should be uploaded as a single pdf to the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal
  • Do NOT include Collaborators and Co-Editors in Biographical Sketch  
  • Appointments should include any titled academic, professional, or institutional position, whether or not renumeration was received
  • If using the NSF Fillable PDF form – Investigator must “sign” by typing out their full name in the designated Signature field at the bottom of the biosketch form 

Collaborators and other affiliations

Chapter II.D.2.h.iii

  • Must use NSF Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) Template
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations information must be provided for each individual identified as senior project personnel
  • Both the lead and non-lead institution(s) must separately provide Collaborators and Other Affiliations documents
  • Do not list Postdoctoral Scholar sponsors
  • COA required for conference proposals in excess of $50,000
  • Instructions at the top of the COA template can be removed
  • Rows may be added
  • Do not change the column size or the font type


Chapter II.D.2.f

Human subject incentives (payments) must be listed on line G6 of the NSF Budget and should be included in the calculation of F&A
  • If no person/months and no salary are requested for any individual listed as senior personnel, that individual should not be listed on the budget in Research,gov
  • Budget must be consistent with the proposing organization’s (ASU’s) policies and cost accounting practices
  • In rare situations, when you want to include any form of construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of infrastructure in the U.S. using Federal funds, please refer to the Build America, Buy America section in the PAPPG and your specific FOA. 

Budget justification

Chapter II.D.2.f

  • Justifies the inclusion of all items listed in the budget
  • ASU’s budget justification is limited to 5 pages
  • For proposals that contain subaward(s): each sub must include a separate budget justification of no more than 5 pages
  • URLs are allowed to be included in the budget justification
  • If requesting compensation in excess of 2 months for senior personnel, justification must be included acknowledging this in the budget justification
  • In the Senior Personnel section of NSF budget justifications, include the following statement: To meet the NSF PAPPG requirement  “Defining of a Year”, ASU has defined a “year” as a calendar year for senior personnel and will apply this term “year” consistently across all NSF-funded grants.
  • Unless otherwise stipulated in the solicitation, travel is allowable if it is necessary to the proposal objectives or to disseminate results
  • All travel (both domestic and foreign) must be itemized and justified
  • Computer equipment under $5k may be budgeted under materials and supplies. The computers must be essential and allocable
  • Neither voluntary committed cost sharing nor voluntary uncommitted cost sharing should be included in the budget justification
  • The F&A rate(s) applied, approved base(s), and total amount of F&A must each be specified in the budget justification
  • Speakers and trainers are not considered participants
  • Participant Support cost cannot be used to cover room rental fees/catering costs/supplies related to NSF-sponsored conference or incentive payments to research subjects
  • Justification for consultants must include the individuals expertise, primary organization affiliation, normal daily compensation rate, and number of days of expected service to the project.
  • When costs typically considered as entertainment are necessary to accomplish the proposed objectives, they must be included in the budget and justified in the budget justification.

Current and pending support

Chapter II.D.2.h.ii 

  • Include for all senior personnel
  • Current and pending includes all project support, including internal funds, allocated toward specific projects
  • Use NSF-approved format and C&P Tool User Guide to assist with reporting, as well as the PAPPG NSF Pre-Award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support table (best in Google Chrome
  • Include current proposal in the current and pending support.
  • Ensure that the dollar amount entered on the current and pending form (for the proposal in development) matches the requested amount on the cover page 
  • Current and pending support must be uploaded separately for each individual identified as senior personnel 
  • Current and pending support also includes any in-kind contributions whether or not they are intended for use on the proposed project 
  • Current and pending support must contain information on objectives and overlap with other projects
  • The new fillable format requires PIs to certify by typing their name into the first page of the form after data from the ERA Current and Pending Tool is manually transferred to the NSF compliant format.  

Dual use research of concern

Chapter II.E.6

  • This section of the proposal implements the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern
  • PIs/Units are responsible for identifying NSF-funded life sciences proposals that could potentially be considered dual use research of concern

Facilities, equipment and other resources

Chapter II.D.2.g 

  • Narrative of ASU and Collaborator resources. Does not include any quantifiable financial information
  • Any substantial collaboration with individuals not included in the budget should be described in the Facilities, equipment, and other resources section of the proposal
  • Facilities, equipment and resources should be uploaded as one document 
  • If no facilities will be applicable, a statement(s) to this effect must be uploaded 

Data management plan

Chapter II.D.2.i.ii

  • Limited to 2 pages. Address the 5 points specified by NSF
  • Refer PIs to the ASU Library Researcher Support
  • Detail how the proposal will conform to NSF’s policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results
  • Data Management requirements specific to the directorate, office, division, program, or other NSF unit should be considered 
  • Simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals, and proposals that include subawards, are a single unified project and should include only one supplemental, combined Data Management Plan 
  • May include only a statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as it has a clear justification

Postdoctoral mentoring plan (if applicable)

Chapter II.D.2.i.i

  • Limited to 1 page. Details of mentoring plan, when applicable
  • Must be included if either the submitting or any subaward institutions request funding for a Post-Doctoral researcher

Single copy docs, special information and supplementary documentation

Chapter II.D.1

  • If submission will be late due to nature or anthropogenic cause, a single copy document must be attached explain the nature of the event
  • Authorization to Deviate from NSF Proposal Preparation Requirements (if applicable)
  • Letters of collaboration should not contain endorsements or evaluation of the proposed project, unless specifically required by the solicitation (see unfunded collaborators)
    • Letters of collaboration should follow the NSF-given language
  • Lists of suggested reviewers should include the email address and organization affiliation of persons who it is believed are well qualified to review the proposal
  • Proposers may designate persons they would prefer not to review the proposal, indicating why
  • Special Information and Supplementary Documentation, if requested by the solicitation
  • Rationale for performing all of part of the project off-campus

Collaborative proposals

Chapter II.E.3

  • Collaborative proposals may be submitted in 2 different methods:
    • Single proposal, single award request (subawards will be distributed)
    • Simultaneous proposals from organizations, separate award requests
  • Either way proposal is submitted, lead organization must contain all the requisite sections as a single package
  • Title must begin with “Collaborative Research:” for collaborative proposal from multiple organizations

Conference proposals

Chapter II.F.9

  • Requires information on the complaint submission and resolution process to be included in the code-of-conduct that proposers disseminate to the conference participants
  • Inclusion of plan for recruitment of, and support for, speakers and other attendees
    • Must include participation of groups underrepresented in science and engineering
  • Must include description of plans to identify resources for child/family care at the conference site
  • Meals/coffee breaks shouldn’t be listed as participant support if they are being catered, as that is a contractual cost/service
  • Submitted at least 1 year in advance of scheduled date