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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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Proposal Guidance

For instructions on proposal submission, please refer to the solicitation and NASA’s Guidebook for Proposers.  When there is conflicting guidance, please follow the instructions in the solicitation.

Submission System

NASA uses the NSPIRES web based application for proposal submissions. MSU submits directly through NSPIRES rather than through Grants.gov.

Some solicitations use a two-step submission process: The Step 1 proposal is a prerequisite to submit a full (Step-2) proposal. Step 1 proposals must be submitted by the institution (not the individual proposer).

Bilateral Activity with China or Chinese Owned Companies Is NOT Allowed

NASA is restricted from collaborating with, or issuing a subaward to China or a Chinese-owned company. This includes funded collaborations and no-exchange of funds arrangements. The restriction does not restrict individual involvement based on citizenship or nationality, rather individuals are subject to restriction if they are affiliated with institutions of People’s Republic of China or Chinese-owned companies. To ensure compliance with this restriction, NASA requires institutions to complete an assurance form accepting this restriction.

Proposal Cover Page

Proposers submitting through NSPIRES will use the proposal cover page that is available within the NSPIRES proposal.  Once completed by the PI, the proposal cover page must be accessed in the NSPIRES system and submitted electronically by an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR).  Your OSP Proposal Team representative has access to submit on behalf of MSU as an AOR.

Proposal Summary/Abstract

The proposal summary (or abstract) must provide an overview of the proposed investigation that is suitable for release through a publicly accessible archive if the proposal is funded. The proposal summary should be concise, and should not contain any special characters or formatting. The proposal summary must be attached as a pdf document, and labeled "proposalsummary.pdf". The proposal summary document is limited to 4000 characters (including spaces).

Data Management Plan

Proposals must include a Data Management Plan (DMP). Proposals for work that will not generate any data or qualify for an exemption, as defined in the NASA Plan, must demonstrate this in the DMP. Unless otherwise instructed in the solicitation, the DMP is part of the NSPIRES cover page. Refer to the solicitation for any specific DMP requirements and for information on how the plan will be evaluated.

Table of Contents

Proposers should include a table of contents that provides a guide to the organization and contents of the proposal.

Scientific/Technical/Management Plan

As the main body of the proposal, this plan must cover the following topics within the specified page limit. Additional and/or more-specific requirements may be stipulated in the solicitation. The plan must address:

  1. The goals and expected significance of the proposed research, especially as related to the objectives given in the solicitation;
  2. The perceived impact of the proposed work to the state of knowledge in the field. If the proposal is offered as a successor to an existing NASA award, this includes how the proposed work is expected to build on and otherwise extend previous accomplishments supported by NASA;
  3. The relevance of the proposed work to the specific objectives given in the solicitation;
  4. The technical approach and methodology to be employed in conducting the proposed research, including:
    • Proposed experimental designs, methods, techniques, and approaches for achieving the proposed goals and objectives of the solicitation
    • A description of any hardware or software development, construction or fabrication required in order to carry out the research
    • Sources of error and uncertainties and what effect they may have on the robustness of potential results or conclusions
    • The resilience of the approach and methodology, e.g., complimentary measurements, confirming tests, and likely pitfalls
    • Any special capabilities and advantages of facilities and equipment
  5. The flow of the different tasks and how they feed into one another
  6. A general implementation plan, including:
    • A project schedule that identifies anticipated key milestones for accomplishments and dependencies between tasks;
    • The management structure for the proposal personnel;
    • Any substantial collaboration(s);
    • Any proposed use of consultant(s); and
    • A description of the expected contribution to the proposed effort, by task and sub-task, by the PI and each person(s) identified in one of the additional categories found in, https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nasa_2018_strategic_plan.pdf, regardless of whether or not they derive support from the proposed budget, but not including the information required in the table of personnel and work effort.
  7. The Scientific/Technical/Management plan may contain illustrations and figures that amplify and demonstrate key points of the proposal (including milestone schedules, as appropriate). However, they must be of an easily viewed size and resolution and have self-contained captions that do not contain critical information not provided elsewhere in the proposal. No links to web pages for more information.  Proposals shall not rely upon information posted in a website.

References and Citations

All references and citations given in the Scientific/Technical/Management plan must be provided using easily understood, standard abbreviations for journals and complete names for books. It is highly preferred, but not required that these references include the full title of the cited paper or report.

Biographical Sketch(es)

The proposal should demonstrate that the participants who will have critical management or technical roles have the appropriate qualifications, capabilities, and experience to provide confidence that the proposed objectives will be achieved.

  • PIs, Co-PIs, and any Co-I also serving in one of the three special Co-I categories must include a biographical sketch (not to exceed two pages) that includes professional experience and a bibliography of publications. Co-Is proposing to spend 10% or more of their time on the project are limited to a one-page bio sketch.

Current and Pending Support

(not required for contract proposals)

  1. PIs and Co-PIs must provide all ongoing and pending projects and proposals (regardless of salary support) in which they are performing or will perform any part of the work. Co-Is proposing to spend 10% or more of their time to the proposed project must also submit Current and Pending Support. Proposals need not include the current proposal on the list of pending proposals unless it was also submitted to another funding opportunity (whether at NASA or another sponsor).
  2. For those investigators for whom it is required (see above), the proposal should include the following information for each current and pending project:
    • Title of funded project or proposal title;
    • Name of PI on award or proposal;
    • Program name (if appropriate) and sponsoring agency or organization, including a point of contact with their telephone number and email address;
    • Performance period;
    • Total amount received by that investigator (including indirect costs) or the amount per year if uniform (e.g., $50 k/year); and
    • Time commitment by the investigator for each year of the period of performance.
  3. The proposing PI must immediately notify the NASA Program Officer identified for the solicitation of any successful proposals that are awarded for substantially the same research as proposed to NASA, any time after the proposal due date and until the time that NASA’s selections are announced.
  4. Current and pending support is not required for students or Co-Is at non-U.S. institutions.

Statements of Commitment and Letters of Resource Support

Every Co-PI, Co-I, and Collaborator identified as a participant on the proposal’s cover page and/or in the proposal’s Scientific/Technical/Management plan must acknowledge their intended participation in the proposed effort. This acknowledgement of commitment is done through NSPIRES.

  1. Proposers should include the participant statements in the body of the proposal only if:
    • Team members are unable to confirm participation through NSPIRES, or if directed to do so by the solicitation.
  2. Each written statement must be addressed to the PI, may be a facsimile of an original statement or the copy of an email (the latter must have sufficient information to unambiguously identify the sender), and is required even if the Co-PI, Co-I, or Collaborator is from the proposing organization.
  3. Letters of resource support are only required if there is a facility or resource essential to the proposal not under the control of a Proposal Team member. Submitting the statement of commitment, confirms that any facilities or resources needed for the proposal are readily available for the proposal team members(s) requiring its use.
  4. Statements of commitment and letters of resource support do not include "letters of affirmation" (i.e., letters that endorse the Intrinsic Merit, including significance or impact, of a proposal). NASA neither solicits nor evaluates such endorsements for proposals.

Budget Guidelines

The guidelines listed here are generally applicable to this sponsor. Please refer to the solicitation for any deviation to standard guidelines or specific requirements for a program.

Personnel

Salary
Salaries should be based on KC values unless a known increase/decrease is expected, for example due to a change in title/rank; salaries are usually escalated in the out years by 2-3%
Fringe
Fringe must be based on KC values
Research Associate (Post Doc) Salary
Salaries should be based on KC values if a current employee; the current minimum salary for a Post Doc can be found at this link
Research Associate (Post Doc) Fringe
Fringe should be based on KC values; Post Docs are eligible for retirement in the 4th year of employment or immediately if they had participated in a retirement plan at a previous employer that made employer contributions. Please contact HR for more information.
Graduate Student Stipend
Stipend amounts should be based on standard/published college/department levels or HR levels
Graduate Student Fringe
Appropriate health benefits should be applied based on the current Grad Fringe Chart; 7.65% for summer hourly work
Undergraduate Labor
Usually based on hourly rates; see HR standard rates
Undergraduate Fringe
Fringe of 7.65% applied during the summer; fringe only applied during AY if student is not expected to be enrolled full time
Administrative Staff
Allowable per UG if justified and necessary for the project; salaries and fringes should be based on KC values

Equipment

Allowable if item is to be used for the proposed research and approved by the NASA grant officer; include the equipment description, explanation how of the item will be used, and a written certification that the equipment will be used exclusively for the proposed research

Travel

Domestic
Allowable for employees who travel on business related to the award; provide destination (if known), number of travelers, number of days, conference fees, air fare, per diem, and miscellaneous expenses
Foreign
Generally allowable for employees who travel on business related to the award; provide destination (if known), number of travelers, number of days, conference fees, air fare, per diem, and miscellaneous expenses

Other Direct Costs

Communications
Usually allowable; provide explanation and need for the costs within the budget justification
Computer Services/ADP
Rates for internal (i.e. MSU) services must be approved by Financial Analysis; quotes or other justification can be provided to OSP, or the PI/research administrator should keep quotes/documentation on file
Conferences
Refer to the solicitation for guidelines
Consultant Services
Provide the consultant name, service to be provided, hourly or daily fee, and estimated time devoted to the project; consulting expenses (travel, meals, lodging) may be allowable and should be itemized
Equipment/Facility Rental
May be allowable; provide rates
Graduate Student Tuition & Fees
Should match the graduate student tuition chart; tuition should be prorated based on project dates; KC will apply appropriate inflation
Honoraria
Unallowable
Materials & Supplies
Provide general categories, method of acquisition, and estimated cost
Meals/Refreshments
Refer to the solicitation for guidelines
Publication/Dissemination
Generally allowable
Service Charges/CORE Services
Rates for internal services must be based on Financial Analysis approved rates; quotes or other justification can be provided to OSP, or the PI/research administrator should keep quotes/documentation on file
Subaward
Include attachments describing the work to be performed, the budget, and the reason for subcontracting; subaward budget, budget justification, scope of work, and commitment form must be on file internally

Contingency
/Misc.

Unallowable

F&A

NICRA rates should be used based on project nature unless otherwise limited by the solicitation or sponsor guidelines; F&A is not permitted on fellowships/scholarships

Cost Share

Only include if required by the solicitation; provide description in the budget narrative; if cost sharing is based on specific items, identify each item and amount in the budget detail with a full explanation provided in the budget narrative

Compliance

Export Control

All NASA grant and contract proposals require an Export Control & Open Research Review Worksheet (ECORRW) completed prior to execution of the award. For some contract solicitations, OSP may require the ECORRW completed prior to proposal submission. Information about Export Control policies can be found on the Export Control & Trade Sanctions website

Human Subjects

If the project includes human subject’s research, IRB approval will be required prior to account set-up.

Animal Subjects

If the project includes animal subjects, IACUC approval will be required prior to account set-up.

Conflict of Interest

Project-based Conflict of Interest disclosures are required for all key personnel prior to account set-up.

Award Guidance

NASA is committed to the goal of issuing award notices as soon as possible after the selections are announced to the proposers.  However, delays may be caused by:

  • The need for additional materials from the proposer (e.g. revised budgets, and/or budget details) before NASA may legally obligate federal money; and
  • A delay in approving NASA’s appropriation for the year. 

Subawards

Required Documents

At the time of proposal submission, the detailed budget, justification, scope of work, and signed subrecipient commitment form are required.

Drafting Subawards

NASA participates in the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). Subawards issued under a Prime agreement from an FDP-participating Federal Agency are drafted by Contract and Grant Administration (CGA), unless the subrecipient is a for-profit entity or a national lab, in which case the subaward is drafted by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).

Prior Approvals

The guidelines listed here are generally applicable to this sponsor. Please refer to the award for any deviation to standard guidelines or specific requirements.

For detailed information on prior approvals, please refer to the Prior Approval Matrix.  The following items require prior approval:

Reporting

Progress Reports

Annually, 60 days prior to the anniversary date of the grant/cooperative agreement (except final year). (Ref. 1800.902)

Financial Reports

Quarterly Federal Cash Transactions Reports
Within 30 days following the end of each quarter of the Federal fiscal year. (Ref. 1800.906)
Properly Certified Final Federal Financial Report, SF 425
Within 90 days after the expiration date of the grant/cooperative agreement. (Ref. 1800.906)

Other Reports

Interim New Technology Summary Report (NTSR)
Every 12 months from the date of the grant/cooperative agreement. (Note: Negative reports are required.) (Ref. 1800.908, 1800.923 and 1800.924)
Final New Technology Summary Report (NTSR)
Within 90 days after the expiration date of the grant/cooperative agreement. (Note: Negative reports are required.) (Ref. 1800.908, 1800.923and 1800.924)
Summary of Research / Education Activity Report
Within 90 days after the expiration date of the grant/cooperative agreement. (Ref. 1800.902)
Annual Inventory Report of Federally-Owned Property in Custody of the Recipient
No later than October 15 of each year. NOTE: Negative reports are not required.(Ref. 1800.907)
Disclosure of Subject Inventions/Reportable Items (New Technology Report (NTR)
Within 2 months after inventor discloses it to recipient. (Ref. 1800.908 1800.923 and 1800.924)
Election of Title to a Subject Invention
Within 2 years of disclosure of a subject invention being elected, except in any case where publication, on sale or public use of the subject invention being elected has initiated the one year statutory period wherein valid patent protection can still be obtained in the United States, at least 60 days prior to the end of the statutory period. (Ref. 1800.908 and 1800.923)
Notification of Decision to Forego Patent Protection
As applicable, not less than 30 days before the expiration of the response period required by the relevant patent office. (Ref. 1800.908 and 1800.923)
Utilization of Subject Invention/Reportable Items
Every 12 months from the date a subject invention is elected. Note: Negative reports are required. (Ref. 1800.908 and 1800.923)

Effort Reporting / Cost Share

The guidelines listed here are generally applicable to this sponsor. Please refer to the award for any deviation to standard guidelines or specific requirements.

Cost Sharing or Matching

All contributions, including cash and third party in-kind, shall be accepted as part of the recipient's cost sharing or matching when such contributions meet all of the following criteria:

  1. are verifiable from the recipient's records;
  2. are not included as contributions for any other federally-assisted project or program;
  3. are necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment of project or program objectives;
  4. are allowable under the applicable cost principles;
  5. are not paid by the Federal Government under another award, except where authorized by Federal statute to be used for cost sharing or matching; and
  6. are provided for in the approved budget when required by NASA

Unrecovered indirect costs may be included as part of cost sharing or matching only with the prior approval of the cognizant NASA grant officer.

Additional information on cost share can be found on the Sponsored Program Administration website at the following link: https://www.cga.msu.edu/PL/Portal/249/CostSharePolicy

In cases where salaried cost share has been committed, MSU uses the effort reporting system for tracking and documentation.  Non-salary cost share is documented through PI certified operating statements.

Effort Reporting

MSU effort reporting overview and FAQ’s can be found on the Sponsored Program Administration website at the following link: https://www.cga.msu.edu/PL/Effort/EffortReportingTools.aspx

Effort reporting instructions can also be located on the Sponsored Program Administration website: https://www.cga.msu.edu/PL/Portal/231/EffortReportingInstructionsEffortAdministrators

For additional questions and information, please contact the CGA Effort Reporting inbox at effortreporting@cga.msu.edu

Record Retention

Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to an award shall be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, for awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, as authorized by NASA. See Agreement terms and conditions for any exceptions. 

Sponsor Resources

Links to sponsor resources

Forms and Templates

None at this time

Archives

  • NASA has increased the “Micro-purchase Threshold” for grantees from the prior $3K value (2CFR §200.67) to $10K, which means that competitive quotes are not required for items or services costing up to $10K if management at the organization receiving the grant determines that the price is reasonable.
  • Awards from ROSES 2018 will continue to include terms and conditions that accepted manuscript versions of peer-reviewed publications that result from ROSES awards must be archived.
  • Proposers to ROSES 2018 need to omit salaries, fringe, overhead and total cost from the main proposal PDF but include them in the NSPIRES cover page budget and the separately uploaded Total Budget PDF.
  • Data Management Plans are still required for most proposals and in most cases the DMP will be collected in a plain text box on the NSPIRES cover page.  For those proposing to Astrophysics, Earth Science and Heliophysics (Appendix A, B, & D of ROSES) see http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/dmp-faq-roses/
Category:     Subcategories: OSP, Policy, Proposal, Research

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