ANNOUNCEMENT - Significant Changes and Clarifications to the NSF Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), (NSF 18-1) has been issued. 

A webinar to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on December 8 at 2 PM EST. Registration is now available at: The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018.  Significant changes include: 

  • Addition of a new eligibility subcategory on international branch campuses of U.S. Institutions of Higher Education;
  • Revision of eligibility standards for foreign organizations;
  • Implementation of the standard Collaborators and Other Affiliations (COA) template that has been in pilot phase since April;
  • Increase in the Budget Justification page limitation from three pages to five pages;
  • Restructuring of coverage on grantee notifications to and requests for approval from NSF, including referral to the Prior Approval Matrix available on the NSF website; and
  • Numerous clarifications and other changes throughout the document.

You are encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG. 
While this version of the PAPPG becomes effective on January 29, 2018, in the interim, the guidelines contained in the current PAPPG (NSF 17-1) continue to apply.  We will ensure that the current version of the PAPPG remains on the NSF website, with a notation to proposers that specifies when the new PAPPG (including a link to the new Guide) will become effective. See below for a detailed summary of the significant changes to the PAPPG:


  • Editorial changes have been made to either clarify or enhance the intended meaning of a sentence or section. The document has been updated to ensure consistency with data contained in NSF systems or guidance located in other NSF or Federal policy documents. Throughout the PAPPG, website, address and document references and organizational names have been updated to reflect current information.


  • Chapter I.E, Who May Submit Proposals, incorporates new coverage on the eligibility of international branch campuses of US institutions of higher education. The definition of colleges and universities in Chapter I.E.1 has been updated to now refer to institutions of higher education, for consistency with 2 CFR § 200. In addition, changes have been made to the eligibility requirements for foreign organizations.
  • Chapter II.C.1.e, Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information, has been significantly revised to request information regarding collaborators and other affiliations (COA) be provided through use of a standard NSF COA template. Footnotes also have been added to address frequently asked questions relating to the new COA template.
  • Chapter II.C.2.d, Project Description, has been modified to reflect that the Project Description must now contain a separate section specifically identified as "Intellectual Merit".
  • Chapter II.C.2.g, Budget and Budget Justification, has been revised to increase the number of pages allowed for the budget justification to no more than five pages per proposal. This change applies to budget justifications for both proposers and subawardees.
  • Chapter VII.A.2, Grantee Notifications to NSF, has been restructured to remove information on requests for NSF approval. In addition, Exhibit VII-1 has been deleted, as coverage on grantee requests for approval from NSF is contained in the Research Terms and Conditions Appendix A and Chapter X.A.3.
  • Chapter X.A.3, Prior Written Approvals, has been updated to reference the Research Terms and Conditions Appendix A, which is the authoritative source of NSF prior approval requirements.


  • Section B, Foreword, has been modified to refer to the applicable standard grant conditions, instead of solely the NSF Grant General Conditions, now that the Research Terms and Conditions have been implemented.
  • Section D, Definitions & NSF-Grantee Relationships, provides additional guidance on the types of cooperative agreements awarded by NSF.
  • Section E, NSF Organizations, has been revised to reflect the current responsibilities of the organizations that are normally of most direct interest to the NSF proposer and grantee community.
  • Chapter II.C.1.f, Submission of Proposals by Former NSF Staff, incorporates new coverage to address submission of proposals from former NSF staff and the procedures that must be followed in such circumstances.
  • Chapter II.C.2.d(iii), Results from Prior NSF Support, clarifies the timeframe during which any PI or co-PI that has received NSF support must report on such funding. Chapter II.E.7 on conference proposals, II.E.8 on equipment proposals, II.E.9 on travel proposals and Exhibit II-1, the Proposal Preparation Checklist, also have been updated with this guidance.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(i)(a), Senior Personnel Salaries & Wages Policy, has been supplemented with guidance that reflects it is the proposing organization’s responsibility to define and apply the term "year" and include the definition in the budget justification.
  • Chapter II.C.2.g(viii), Indirect Costs, has been updated to state that amounts for indirect costs should be specified in the budget justification.
  • Chapter II.C.2.j, Special Information and Supplementary Documentation, includes additional guidance on the content for data management plans that involve collaborative activities.
  • Chapter II.D.4, Proposals Involving Vertebrate Animals, has been revised to enhance the clarity of guidance on the use of vertebrate animals for research or education on NSF supported projects. For projects at an international organization that involve the use of vertebrate animals, a statement from the international organization will need to be provided.
  • Chapter II.D.5, Proposals Involving Human Subjects, has been supplemented with additional language regarding international projects.
  • Chapters II.D.6 and XI.B.5, Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC), include new coverage regarding NSF’s funding of research that would be considered to lead to a gain of function of agents. The title of these sections also has been changed for consistency with the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern.
  • Chapter II.E.11, Research Infrastructure Proposal, has been revised to reflect current practices and provide greater clarity in the description of these types of proposals.
  • Exhibit II-1, Proposal Preparation Checklist, has been updated to reflect relevant changes made to Chapter II of the PAPPG. Additional checklist components also have been added to assist proposers in the pre-submission administrative review of proposals to NSF.
  • Chapter V, Renewal Proposals, has been modified to update reference information regarding recompetition of expiring awards. Section B on Accomplishment-Based Renewals has been updated to provide greater clarity regarding the submission of reprints.
  • Chapter VII.B.2.e, Substitute (Change) PI/PD or co-PI/co-PD, has been supplemented with guidance on the reappointment of prior NSF staff as PI.
  • Chapter VII.B,3, Subawarding or Transferring Part of an NSF Award (Subaward), has been modified for consistency with terminology in 2 CFR § 200.
  • Chapter VII.D.2, Final Project Report, has been updated to reflect that when PIs submit the report, they are indicating that the scope of work is complete and no further administrative actions are anticipated on the grant.
  • Chapter VIII.E.6, Award Financial Reporting Requirements and Final Disbursements, has been supplemented to clarify the intent of NSF notifications regarding canceling appropriations.
  • Chapter X.B, Direct Costs and X.C, Other Direct Costs, have been modified to remove coverage that is redundant with 2 CFR § 200 and other sections of the PAPPG. Terminology on rearrangement and reconversion costs has been updated for consistency with 2 CFR § 200.462.
  • Chapter XI.A, Non-Discrimination Statutes and Regulations, has been revised to provide current information on NSF grantee obligations to comply with civil rights laws and regulations. These changes provide NSF grantees and applicants for NSF grants with an overview of relevant civil rights regulatory obligations and compliance mechanisms. Information also has been included on how grantee program participants can file complaints with NSF alleging discrimination in an NSF grantee’s programs.
  • Chapter XI.B.1, Human Subjects and XI.B.3, Vertebrate Animals, include the relevant new award-specific condition on organizational responsibilities. In addition, language has been added on post-award responsibilities.
  • Chapter XI.D.1.d, Intellectual Property, has been updated to specify that grantees are required to use iEdison to disclose NSF subject inventions. In addition, NSF now reserves the option to request an Annual Utilization Report or a Final Invention Statement and Certification.
  • Chapter XI.M.4, Executive Order 13788, Buy American and Hire American, is a new section which serves as NSF’s implementation of Executive Order 13788.