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Research.gov - Proposal Preparation Site FAQs

1. What is the Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site and what will be key benefits of using the new system?

The Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site will provide the ability to create, submit, track, and update proposals associated with active NSF funding opportunities (initially for Full, Research, non-collaborative proposals only). This furthers an NSF goal of providing quick access to proposal information and grants management services in one location in Research.gov. The goals of this system are to provide a modernized, intuitive environment for proposal preparation and submission, reduce administrative burden via real-time compliance checking; provide online help tips and notes; and incorporate a proposal wizard that walks users through the proposal setup process. 

2. What types of proposals will be enabled in the April 2018 release?

Only Full, Research, non-collaborative proposal functionality will be enabled for the April 2018 release. Future releases will support additional proposal and submission types such as collaborative proposals (i.e. separately submitted collaborative proposals or proposals that include the use of sub-awards), Conference, RAISE, RAPID, EAGER, CAREER, and others. 

3. What features are available in the April 2018 release?

The following document provides these details: April 2018 Release Timeline.pdf

4. Will I still be able to use FastLane to prepare proposals?

Yes. FastLane will continue to be available, and users will have the option to use either Research.gov or FastLane to prepare and submit proposals. If you prepare a proposal in Research.gov, you will not be able access or edit it in FastLane and vice versa. The proposal also must be submitted within the system that was used to create and prepare the proposal.

Research.gov is being developed incrementally. Features will expand with the goal of eventually transitioning all proposal preparation and submission functionality from FastLane to Research.gov.

5. How can I access the new system in Research.gov?

If you are in Research.gov and have not logged in, you can also click on the "Prepare New or Existing Proposals" link under the “Prepare & Submit Proposals” category. Selecting this link will direct you to the Research.gov login page. After logging in, you will be directed to the proposal preparation landing page.

If you have already logged in to Research.gov, click on the "New! Prepare Proposals (Limited Proposal Types)" link under the Prepare & Submit Proposals category. This will direct you to the proposal preparation landing page.

6. Will there be a demonstration site available with the April 2018 release?

A demonstration site is planned; however, it will not be available with the April 2018 release. 

7. Can other user roles (i.e., SPO, AOR, etc.,) initiate proposals in the April 2018 release?

Only a PI can initiate a proposal. The capability for other user roles to initiate proposals will be considered for future enhancements.

8. Can InCommon access login credentials be used by an organization for a user to access proposal preparation in Research.gov?

Yes, InCommon access login credentials can be used.

9. What file types are allowable for upload in required proposal sections?

Proposal sections must be uploaded in PDF format with the exception of the Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) document, which requires an .xlsx format. Complete information on COA is available at https://nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/coa.jsp

10. Can users upload a PDF document that does not adhere to Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) formatting requirements? 

No. PDF documents are compliance checked upon upload according to the policies and procedures outlined in the PAPPG. See the PAPPG, Chapter II for complete proposal preparation instructions. Draft work must be completed offline.

11. Why is there a margin error for the PDF I am uploading? My margins are set to one inch.

Remove page numbers:Be sure that the document has no text in the header or footer including page numbers. The system will automatically paginate and add page numbers for you whenever the proposal PDF is generated.

Review inserted images or shapes: Margins can be set to 1 inch but a stray image or shape can violate the margin rule. Setting the margin rule to 1 inch would not automatically correct the images or shapes back within margins.

12. How can I handle inserting of captions, labels, and equations into a document to make sure it passes the font size compliance check?

For font sizes that are less than the allowable size for mathematical formulas, equations, figures, tables, or diagrams, there are a couple of ways to handle in the initial upcoming release. For figures or diagrams, the captions can be embedded and inserted as part of the image even if they are less than the allowable font size but must still be legible. In addition, mathematical formulas or equations can also be inserted as images themselves also. The second option is to make the font size for these items the same as the minimum allowable font size as stated in the PAPPG.

13. Why do I receive a font error on upon document upload when the font was set to Times New Roman, 11-point using Select All?

Much depends on the particular word processor used because of how word processors export files to PDF. For example, MS Word and LibreOffice insert an unallowable font when the equation tool is used. So, if you use this tool, you could put the equation into an image, and paste that into the document for exporting to PDF.

For Microsoft office, “Select All” will not include inserted images, shapes, and numbered lists. Each object will have its own font and those would have to be updated to accepted fonts and sizes. Be mindful of images inserted into shapes, each image and shape can have its own font type.

14. I am getting an error that I do not have a required document section heading (i.e. Broader impacts) but it is included, what is causing this error?

A Section heading must be on itsown line without any other text in order for the validations to work.

15. Are there any other known issues that I should be aware of for unallowable fonts when exporting to PDF from a program?

  • OpenOffice inserts an unallowable font for superscript and subscript when exporting to PDF.
  • GoogleDocs has a PDF export issue with bullets.
  • Certain LaTeX conversions may not be supported.

Additional font types and resolutions to certain issues may become available in future releases. 

16. Will there be other fonts supported besides Times New Roman and Symbol in future based on the allowable fonts in the PAPPG?

Yes, in the future, there are plans to support other fonts in the PAPPG.

17. How does a PI or co-PI provide the SPO/AOR access to a proposal?

A PI or co-PI can share a proposal with the SPO/AOR even if required proposal data or sections are not complete. On the Proposal Forms page, click on Proposal Access for SPO/AOR. You can choose to proceed to provide access even if error(s)/warning(s) display. Continue past any error(s)/warning(s) and select the type of access to provide the SPO/AOR: No access, View only access, Edit access, or Edit access with Allow proposal submission (AOR only).

18. Where are the Academic and Summer months on the Budget?

Proposers need to provide only the total number of calendar months of support being requested per project year in the Budget section of the proposal. The PDF output when printing a proposal currently continues to match the FastLane print output but may be updated in the future to also remove academic and summer months.

19. Where can I find additional information about the Research.gov Proposal and Submission Site?

The About page in Research.gov contains additional information under the Proposal Preparation and Submission category at: About Research.gov Proposal Preparation and Submission Site.