CAREER Proposal System-related FAQs

**REMINDER: Aim to submit your proposal in advance of the July 27th deadline to allow time to resolve any system errors. In addition, please stay informed about important updates by reviewing the advisories posted at the top of the Research.gov homepage.

Additional Research.gov proposal resources including FAQs by topic, how-to guides, and video tutorials are available on the Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission page using the left navigation menu. For example, the Uploading Documents FAQ topic includes document formatting FAQs, and the Proposal Sections FAQ topic includes Cover Sheet and budget FAQs.

Please also see the CAREER Proposal Submission Logistics Webinar resources:

  1. 1. Q:  I have an in-progress CAREER proposal in response to the previous CAREER Program Solicitation (NSF 20-525). Can I edit it for submission to the 2022 deadline?

A: No. Program Solicitation 20-525 has been archived and replaced by Program Solicitation 22-586.

You must start your proposal over in Research.gov or Grants.gov and select Program Solicitation 22-586 as the funding opportunity. FastLane is not a submission option for the 2022 CAREER competition.

  1. 2. Q:  How do I register for an NSF account and request a Principal Investigator (PI) role?

A:  Please see the CAREER proposal submission timeline for instructions and links to resources.

If you receive a "Multiple Accounts Found" pop-up alert message when you sign in to Research.gov, you must contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) to reconcile your accounts. Some issues require extended time to resolve. Please do not wait until the July 27th deadline to request NSF account reconciliation.

  1. 3. Q:  If a PI does not remember their NSF ID and their NSF account primary email is from their previous institution and no longer active, can they still access Research.gov?

A:  The PI should contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) as soon as possible for assistance to recover their login information and access their NSF account. Please keep in mind that the resolution may require some additional time to complete so please do not wait until the July 27th deadline to request a resolution.

  1. 4. Q: Can I add a user that is not a PI to work on the proposal?

A:  Yes. You can add an individual with the Other Authorized User (OAU) role to assist with proposal preparation or you can share the proposal with your Sponsored Project Office with edit access (not just view access). See the Adding or Removing an OAU guide and Sharing Proposal and Proposal File Update/Budget Revision Access with SPO/AOR guide for additional details.

  1. 5. Q:  Can I use LaTeX to create proposal documents?

A:  Yes. Please see the open-source repository of compliant LaTeX/TeX sample input/output files for LaTeX/TeX users to reference for their own documents available at https://github.com/nsf-open/nsf-proposal-latex-samples. The NSF Help Desk cannot troubleshoot LaTeX files or converting LaTeX files to PDF.

  1. 6. Q:  Can I submit a collaborative proposal?

A:  There are two types of collaborative proposals, a single proposal (with or without subawards) and a separately submitted collaborative proposal.  

For CAREER you can submit a single proposal (with or without subawards) but you cannot submit a separately submitted collaborate proposal.

  1. 7. Q:  How do I submit the Departmental Letter and Letters of Collaboration?

A:  Please see the guidance in CAREER solicitation 22-586 Section V.A. 

Grants.gov proposers should use the Proposal File Update module in FastLane to submit this information.

  1. 8. Q:  I’m trying to upload a Departmental Letter PDF to the Other Supplementary Documents section but I'm receiving an error message saying the system has encountered an error. What do I do?

A: Other supplementary documents such as Departmental Letters and Letters of Collaboration may fail the upload validations if the PDF is a certified signed document or is password protected. Open the file with any browser and print to "Adobe PDF" (do not print to "Save as PDF").

  1. 9. Q:  Why is the "Prepare New" button in the Prepare New tile grayed out?

A:  If the "Prepare New" button is grayed out in the Prepare New tile on the Letters of Intent and Proposals (Preliminary, Full, and Renewal) landing page, this means you must add an organization-approved PI role to initiate a new proposal. See the CAREER proposal submission timeline guidance for details and links to resources. Once the organization's Administrator approves the PI role, it typically takes 30 minutes for the PI role update to be effective in Research.gov. See the Initiating a New Proposal guide for additional information.

To view your active user roles, access the View My Roles page:

  • Open Research.gov
  • Click Sign In located at the top right of the screen.
  • Enter your credentials and click Sign In.
  • Click My Profile located at the top right of the screen.
  • Click View My Roles from the left navigation bar.
  1. 10. Q:  I have started my CAREER proposal but have selected the incorrect Division and Program for the CAREER solicitation. How can I update that?

A:  After the proposal is created, click on the "Manage Where to Apply" link on the proposal main page. Check the checkbox for "Limit selections to those identified in the funding opportunity" and select a new program. Once selected, use the arrow buttons to move selections up or down in priority or use the delete button to remove unwanted programs. You may find other programs by unselecting the checkbox for "Limit selections to those identified in the funding opportunity", however, not all of programs in this list are eligible to be the primary program for CAREER.

  1. 11. Q:  Research.gov allows me to enter a proposed duration other than 60 months for my CAREER proposal. Can I choose a proposed duration other than 60 months?

A:  As stated in the Faculty Early Career Development Program Solicitation (NSF 22-586), “The Project Description section should contain a well-argued and specific proposal for activities that will, over a 5-year period, build a firm foundation for a lifetime of contributions to research and education in the context of the Principal Investigator's organization.“ You are strongly encouraged to enter a proposed duration that aligns with the requirements of the solicitation. Proposals that are not compliant with solicitation requirements may be returned without review. 

  1. 12. Q:  I cannot see where I can add the BIO classification form. How can I upload this?

A. The BIO classification form is not required. BIO will accept a proposal without the classification form when the proposal is submitted through Research.gov, FastLane, or Grants.gov. If you are submitting through Grants.gov, you may still get a notification to submit the BIO classification form but please ignore this notification.

  1. 13. Q:  Do I need to submit a Project Data Form if I am applying to a DUE program?

A. The Project Data Form is not used in CAREER proposals but you are prompted to fill it out. Please follow this guidance for Program and Program Track selections:

Program --> Program Track

DUE - Advanced Tech Education Prog -->  Track 5: Applied Research on Technician Education

DUE - HSI - Hispanic Serving Institutions -->  Track 2: Implementation and Evaluation Project (IEP)

DUE - IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) -->  Engaged Student Learning: Level II

DUE - Robert Noyce Scholarship Pgm -->  Track 4: Noyce Research

  1. 14. Q:  Do uploaded Research.gov proposal documents need to be paginated?

A. No, Research.gov will paginate the proposal sections.

  1. 15. Q. Can the financials be uploaded using a standard format such as an Excel file rather than typed into individual fields in Research.gov?

A. No. You must enter the information in the Budget proposal section and cannot upload a budget document such as an Excel file. See the Entering Proposal Budgets guide for additional information.

  1. 16. Q. Can I trim the NSF fillable Current and Pending support format myself before uploading it?

A. No, Research.gov and Grants.gov will trim the uploaded Current and Pending Support document if you use the NSF fillable format. See the NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Fillable PDF Document FAQs and Using SciENcv Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

  1. 17. Q:  If I have more Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) information than the template allows, can I add rows?

A. Yes, you can add rows to the COA template. Please see the COA FAQ under the Uploading Documents topic on the Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission page and the Adding or Removing Collaborators and Other Affiliations guide for additional COA guidance.

  1. 18. Q:  On the COA template, what should I put for ongoing collaborations instead of "current" or "ongoing"?

A. Please leave that field blank on the COA template to indicate ongoing collaborations. See the COA FAQ under the Uploading Documents topic on the Research.gov About Proposal Preparation and Submission page and the Adding or Removing Collaborators and Other Affiliations guide for additional COA guidance.

  1. 19. Q: If I submit my CAREER proposal early, can I submit a proposal update?

A. Yes. Proposal file updates (PFUs) are automatically accepted before the deadline. We encourage proposers to submit in advance of the deadline per the CAREER proposal submission timeline guidance to resolve any system errors in advance of the deadline and avoid high volume delays at the NSF Help Desk. See Question 20 for PFU steps.

  1. 20. Q:  How do I update my submitted Research.gov proposal using a PFU?

A:  Below are the steps to change a submitted CAREER proposal in Research.gov using a PFU. PFUs are automatically accepted before the deadline.  

  • Sign in to Research.gov
  • Navigate to your list of Submitted Proposals
  • Click the title of the CAREER proposal to be updated
  • Click the Prepare Proposal File Update/Budget Revision button on the left navigation bar to start the PFU/Budget Revision
  • Click the section(s) you want to update and save updates or delete/upload a new file
  • Click the Proposal Update Justification link under the Proposal File Update Form section at the top
  • Add a justification and click Save
  • Click the PFU/Budget Revision button on the left navigation bar to return to the main proposal page
  • Click the Share Proposal with SPO/AOR button on the left navigation bar
  • Click the Change Proposal Access button
  • Set the access to Edit access and check the box for Allow proposal submission (AOR only)
  • Click the Save Proposal Access button

After completing these steps, your PFU/Budget Revision will be ready for submission to NSF by the AOR. Refer to the Submitting Proposal File Updates/Budget Revisions guide for PFU submission details.

  1. 21. Q:  I am using Chrome and trying to download the PDF of my proposal, but I am encountering an error. What can I do?

A: Individuals who are using Chrome will encounter a networking error when attempting to use the download file functionality. We recommend clicking on the Print icon and "Save as PDF" or using a different browser.

Questions?

For program-specific questions, please contact the Program Officer of the program to which you are interested in applying. For IT system-related questions or technical questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via rgov@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.