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Research.gov Update

As you might be aware, NSF introduced a new platform for proposal submission in Research.gov in April 2018.  The intent of Research.gov is to modernize proposal submission capabilities.  The new system focuses on enhancing the user experience and reducing administrative burden with an intuitive interface and automated compliance checking.  The new system is being developed incrementally and, as more FastLane features become available in Research.gov, the system features will expand until it replaces FastLane for proposal preparation and submission.  The system is currently available for Full, Research, non-collaborative proposals ONLY.

OSP has not mandated use of one system or the other.  This allows the PI and/or departmental staff assisting with submission to determine the submission method.  OSP has submitted proposals using Research.gov and wanted to share feedback from those submissions.

The compliance check feature for each section and overall proposal in Research.gov has led to confusion in some proposals.  Compliance issues that have been encountered in some proposals are:

  • Research.gov displayed a warning indicating the PI’s biosketch did not include the proper headers. But, when the biosketch was reviewed against the PAPPG guidelines it was compliant
  • A warning was present for the project description’s font even though the document used a compliant font.
  • A budget justification initially did not generate warnings, but after a minor revision, a warning was given indicating a noncompliant font.

*Note that warnings in Research.gov do not prevent submission.

We have also experienced NSF not being able to properly view a proposal submitted in Research.gov.  After working with NSF to resolve the issue, NSF ultimately asked OSP to withdraw the proposal in Research.gov and resubmit the documents in FastLane.

As mentioned before, OSP is not mandating the use of one system or the other.  OSP will support either portal chosen by the PI and/or the departmental staff. OSP has submitted proposals in Research.gov with varying levels of success and wanted to share these experiences with faculty and staff.

If you have any questions about Research.gov, FastLane, or NSF questions in general, please feel free to contact Jennifer Benson at jennifer.benson@tennessee.edu