NSF Spoke Proposal Reminders and Tips

In addition to the NSF BD Spokes FAQ, please note:
  • COLLABORATIVE PROPOSALS / FASTLANE SUBMISSION. Proposals fall under two categories: Regular or official “Collaborative Proposals”:
    • Collaborative Proposals example: Institutions X, Y, and Z each have PIs and each submit the SAME PROPOSAL separately through Fastlane and mark the proposal as a Collaborative Proposal.  In this case, Letters of Collaboration between the Institutions X, Y, and Z are not required.  Letters of Collaboration from other groups contributing to the effort are required, under the “Supplementary Documents”. 
    • Regular Proposals example:  Institutions X, Y, and Z are co-PIs and Institution X is the only institution submitting the proposal through Fastlane.  It is required that Institutions Y and Z submit Letters of Collaboration (in addition to any letters of collaboration that the overall co-PI team has gathered).
  • SUPPLEMENTARY DOCUMENTS. Supplementary documents are required (for $100K Planning Grants as well as Full $1M proposals)
    • Letter of Collaboration from a BD Hub
    • Letters of Collaboration
    • Data Management Plan
    • Software Sharing Plan – optional addendum if applicable
    • Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan – optional addendum if applicable
    • A list of Project Personnel and Partner Organizations
  • FASTLANE OPTION. When submitting the proposal via Fastlane, there will be a dropdown “FUNDING MECHANISM: select one” prompt.  The choices are RAPID, EAGER, research other than RAPID or EAGER , ideaslab, equipment, conference, international travel, fellowship, facility/center.  Please choose Research Other Than RAPID or EAGER to align with the NSF internal mechanisms for the Spokes grants.
  • BUDGET. It is recommended to make sure that the leadership of the project (Co-PIs) have some amount of funding for their time in order to ensure progress.  There are no stated minimums for %time, but if there are no personnel costs, it is recommended to explain in the budget where the funding for personnel time is coming from (e.g. other grants with similar mission, etc).
  • LOIs / REVIEW PANELS. There were nearly 100 Letters of Intent submitted nationally for this solicitation. The major categories for review panels, based on the Letters of Intent, include Metro Data Science, Health/ Medicine, Environment/Climate/Natural Hazards. If your proposal touches upon multiple topical areas, it may be useful to indicate a main topical area and consider that proposals across the nation will be reviewed together based on topical area.
  • LETTERS OF COLLABORATION VS. LETTERS OF SUPPORT.  Please note that Letters of Support (as described here) will be ignored; Letters of Collaboration (where the letter writer intends to participate in the activities — e.g., serve on an advisory committee, provide resources, attend a workshop/event) are required in the Supplementary Documents section.
    • It is preferred for clarity that the Letters of Collaboration be addressed to the Lead PI of the proposal, but letters addressed to Co-PIs, subaward institutions, the WBDIH, or NSF are acceptable.
    • If the Letter of Collaboration includes sentences of endorsement, please note that the reviewers will be instructed to ignore those sections.
    • A spoke proposal can be returned without review if it is missing the Letters of Collaboration section—i.e., if there are no letters or if only Letters of Support (which will be ignored) are submitted, as stated in the solicitation.
  • NEW 2016 BIOSKETCH GUIDELINES. Proposers must follow the guidance in the new PAPP Guide, as noted in the “Important Notes and Revisions” section at the beginning of the solicitation: “Full Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1) which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016.” The Collaborators and Other Affiliations information should be removed from the biographical sketch.  It should be submitted as a Single Copy Document, and the process is explained in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Chapter II.C.1.e.

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