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Summary of NSF PAPPG 20-1 Changes Effective June 1, 2020

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a revised version of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), version 20-1, on January 24. Below are some notable policy changes related to proposals that we want to draw your attention to. Please contact your OSP Proposal Team with any questions.

Update regarding October 1, 2020 June 1, 2020 NSF Changes for Current and Pending and Biographical Sketch Formats

Based on feedback from the research community, NSF has made several improvements to the NSF-approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support forms required for all senior personnel included in a proposal.  As a reminder, in accordance with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), these PDF-fillable/SciENcv online formats will be required for proposals submitted or due on or after October 1, 2020 June 1, 2020. Specific details can be found on the NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites.  Please contact your OSP Proposal Team if you need further assistance.

Biographical Sketch Updates and MSU Library Support

  • NSF implemented the following improvements:
    • Permit use of “et al” for publication citations in the Products section if listing multiple authors makes it difficult to fit the information into the allotted space.
    • Increased space for the Products section by removing instructional text.
    • Links added to relevant PAPPG sections.
    • Removed the requirement to include the NSF ID.
    • Added a version date to the document (NSF fillable PDF format form).
  • MSU Libraries recently completed a guide on using SciENcv for biosketches -
    • The guide is meant to provide guidance for both NIH and NSF biosketch requirements and is therefore general in some sections.
    • This is a useful reference tool for using SciENcv and some of the more frequently asked questions.
    • Please contact Ericka Weir if you have any questions or feedback on the guide, | 517-884-0907.

Current and Pending Support Updates:

  • NSF implemented the following improvements:
    • Increased the number of Project/Proposal entries from 10 to 15 to support most proposals submitted to NSF (NSF fillable PDF form).
    • Updated the Award Number field to allow entry of both numbers and letters.
    • Replaced the “Calendar Year” label with “Year” to be consistent with PAPPG guidance.
    • Removed the requirement to include the NSF ID.
    • Added a version date to the document (NSF fillable PDF form).
  • Additional guidance on what to include on Current and Pending Support forms can be found on the Current and Pending / Other Support Requirements by Sponsor web page.
  • For assistance with creating a Current and Pending Support form on SciENcv see the SciENcv Help, which includes step-by-step instructions and screenshots for the two required sections (this is a subsection of the guidance at SciENcv Help).


  • NSF requires Biographical Sketches and Current and Pending Support forms to be submitted using one of two approved formats; either through SciENcv or NSF’s PDF fillable form.
  • Proposals that do not use these NSF-approved formats will be blocked from submission.
  • Creating a PDF from a Word document will not be compliant with NSF policy.
  • Starting October 1, 2020 June 1, 2020, proposers will receive an error message from FastLane or if they prepare documents in a non-approved format.
  • Please see the FAQs on using NSF Fillable PDF documents.
  • If you have technical or IT system-related questions regarding the approved formats, please contact your OSP Proposal Team or the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via

Data Storage Cost options clarified

  • Data deposit and data curation costs are allowable costs
    • Data deposit cost is a one-time charge paid at the time a data set is deposited into a data repository
    • Data curation costs are expenses associated with preparing data into a form that others can use
  • Use the Publication/Documentation/Dissemination line of the proposal budget (Line G.2)
  • NSF Data Management and Sharing FAQs can be found at:
  • MSU Library provides a guide and support (see

Project Description has been revised

  • NSF removed the requirement for the Project Description to contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a section labeled "Intellectual Merit".
  • Another example has been added to the list of societally relevant outcomes in the broader impacts paragraph. The list is not meant to be either comprehensive or prescriptive; the proposal may include appropriate outcomes not covered by the examples.

Collaborators & Other Affiliations (COA) Information has been clarified

  • The instructions at the top of the template may be deleted, and rows may be inserted as needed to provide additional names.  To accommodate long names or other information, the font size may be reduced to fit data within the cell
  • The template has been developed to be fillable, however, the content and format requirements must not be altered by the user; specifically, when completing the template, do not change the column sizes or the font type.

NSF-Sponsored Conference costs have been clarified

  • Costs related to an NSF-sponsored conference (e.g., venue rental fees, catering costs, supplies, etc.) that will be secured through a service agreement/contract should be budgeted on line G.6., "Other Direct Costs" to ensure appropriate allocation of indirect costs.  Such costs are not considered Participant Support Costs.

Rapid Response Research (RAPID) Proposal and EArly-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposal language clarified

  • The guide clarifies that RAPID and EAGER proposals may not be used for:
    • Projects that are appropriate for submission as "regular" NSF proposals;
    • Events that are unanticipated due to lack of awareness of timelines; or
    • Collection of only non-perishable data.
  • A new requirement has been added indicating that email documentation from a cognizant NSF Program Officer approving submission of a RAPID or EAGER must be uploaded to the proposal.

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