FAQs

  1. What's new In ROSES this year? How does it differ from prior ROSES?
  2. What to do when ROSES and the Guidebook disagree
  3. I missed the dead line for the letter of intent, may I still propose?
  4. Letters of support from facilities that aren't under your control.
  5. The Two-Step proposal submission process.
  6. Why is my program officer bugging me about 'costing' funds by the end of the fiscal year, why doesn't he just send me my money now?
  7. I heard that it was OK to user a smaller font in the figure captions and tables, is that true?
  8. Are you redacting budgets again this year?
  9. Questions about the Science PI
  10. How do I get a No-Cost Extension (NCE) on my grant?
  11. When is my annual progress report due, and what should it look like?
  12. What about the final report for my grant? What does that look like and to whom should I send it?
  13. How do you find reviewers for proposals? May I be a reviewer? Does NASA pay people to do this?
  14. I have a foreign Co-investigator, can this person be supported via a NASA grant?
  15. I am switching to a new university in the fall but I have grants that I hold here that are already in progress, what should I do?
  16. Can a company make a profit from a grant?
  17. Questions about grant.gov
  18. Recommendations about making your PDF readable by reviewers: Embedded fonts and .PNG images.
  19. May I include in my ROSES proposal a link to my web page for more information for the benefit of the reviewers? What about reprints or preprints, may I include those as an appendix to my proposal?
  20. The NSSC keeps asking me for more budget detail. How much budget detail to I have to provide?
  21. When should I designate a team member as a collaborator vs. a Co-Investigator?
  22. Questions about travel?

 

  1. What's new in ROSES-2017? How does it differ from prior ROSES?

    These are the changes compared to last year:

    In Appendix A three new programs have been added: FIREChem (A.23 an airborne campaign biomass burning and air quality field study to be conducted in the continental U.S. from late June to mid-September 2018), Supporting UN sustainable development Goals 14 and 15 in the context of climate variability and change (A.8), and a science team for the EVI-2 ISS Instrument ECOSTRESS (A.9). Also, this year Land Cover/Land Use Change (A.2) is focused on multi-source land imaging and not using two-step process.

    Appendix C has added the Rosetta Data Analysis program (C.20) and an OSIRIS-REx Participating Scientist opportunity in program (C.22), and ROSES may solicit Instruments for Gondola for High-Altitude Planetary Science, which was released as draft text last year (C.24). Moreover, Planetary Science is has split its Early Career Fellowship Program into two ROSES program elements: applications to be named an Early Career Fellow will be made via program element C.23, and applications for start-up funds for those already named fellows are to be submitted in response to program element C.16.

    There have been three major changes in Appendix D: A new guest investigator program for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission has been added in program element D.11, Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship (RTF) program in Astrophysics (D.9) has been revamped, and the Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics Networks (TCAN) has returned after many years in program element D.12. Other changes will occur throughout the year announced by Amendments, corrections, and clarifications. Subscribe to the NSPIRES mailing lists and the ROSES-2017 RSS feed for updates.

    Awards deriving from ROSES-2017 will include terms and conditions requiring that as accepted manuscript versions of peer-reviewed publications (hereinafter "manuscripts") that result from ROSES awards must be uploaded into NASA’s part of the PubMed Central (PMC) repository called NASA PubSpace. It is my understanding that NASA Civil Servant authors and papers authored by contractors at NASA centers will use their normal DAA (1676) approval process and their manuscripts will be automatically uploaded for them.

    The ROSES summary of solicitation has been clarified and updated in a number of small ways including Section I(d) of the ROSES summary of solicitation on how to apply for high-end computing (HEC) time. Requests for HEC resources are submitted via the eBooks system at https://hec.reisys.com/hec/computing/index.do. The HEC eBooks system will send you PDF of your computing request which you will upload as an "Appendix" along with your proposal. NSPIRES will also prompt you for your HEC Request Number (specified in the email and on the PDF itself).

    For a list of all of the sections of the ROSES summary of solicitation that have been updated please see Section I(c) of the ROSES summary of solicitation.

    The 2017 version of the NASA Guidebook for Proposers, which should be posted soon, has been reorganized since last year.

    As a reminder to those who did not propose last year, these are significant changes made in recent years:

    Proposers to ROSES-17 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, see FAQ8 below for details.. 

    First, the NSPIRES cover pages. All costs, including salaries and overhead of NASA civil servants, must now be included in the web cover page budget.  This is different because, in recent years, NASA civil servant costs were not included on the cover pages. If your institution is not a NASA center, this means your NASA Co-Investigators must provide you with their full and total costs so that they may be included in your budget. (The funds to NASA centers will still be sent directly from NASA, and not sent as a subaward). Note that reviewers will not be able to see the salary and overhead numbers that you enter in the NSPIRES cover pages, but program officers will. You will too if you look at the proposal after submission. Don’t freak out, you are not seeing the redacted version for the reviewers, you are seeing the program officer’s version. 

    Second, The budget section of the main proposal document. This section is the detailed budget and its justification that you prepare for reviewers. The change in 2016 was that no salaries or benefits for any participant or overhead for any organization should be listed or mentioned in the budget section, or for that matter, anywhere else in the main body of the proposal. You should only tabulate the direct costs of your proposal, excluding salary and benefits. Budgets for all subawards or NASA centers presented in the main proposal document should be treated the same way as the budget for your own institution, i.e., do not list or mention salary, benefits, or overhead. The budget justification in the proposal should document and rationalize all costs other than salary/benefits and overhead costs. All proposals must include the Summary of Work effort (outside of the budget, see Table 1 of the ROSES summary of solicitation) which, along with any rationale of the time provided in the budget justification, will allow peer reviewers to evaluate whether the level of effort is appropriate. See Section IV(b)iii of the ROSES summary of solicitation and the Planetary Division templates for examples of these tables. The proposed time of the participants, not the costs of the time, will be seen by peer reviewers. Peer reviewers will still see and evaluate the costs of things other than time and overhead.

    Third, you will upload a separately version of the budget as the "Total Budget" PDF with a full budget consistent with the numbers you entered in the NSPIRES cover pages and, if needed, providing greater detail. This "Total Budget" includes everything, salary, fringe, benefits for all participants and overhead from all types of organizations, including NASA civil servants. It should contain any needed justification for the salary and overhead and overhead rates. This "Total Budget" PDF document will not be shown to reviewers.

    See http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/how-to-guide/nspires-CSlabor/ for more information including screen captures and details on how to handle sub awards and  Co-Is at government labs.

    In addition, a number of other changes have been made including:

    Data Management Plans (DMPs) 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 (Appendices A, B & D of ROSES) see http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/dmp-faq-roses/.

    Proposers to Planetary Science (all of Appendix C and E.4) must provide data management plan as part of the proposal PDF, see Section 3.5.1.of C.1 and this page with some instructions and a Planetary Division template for DMPs. PDART (program element C.7) evaluates DMPs as part of merit and has special requirements.

    The restrictions involving China persist in FY2017, please see http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/prc-faq-roses/

    If you are looking for the FAQ from last year you may view the archived 2016 FAQ at http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/archived-2016-faq/

  2. The NASA Guidebook for proposers and ROSES don’t agree about everything, what should proposers do when the solicitation is inconsistent with or contradicts the guidebook?


    Both the guidebook itself (in the preface) and the ROSES summary of solicitation (Section Ig) say that the solicitation takes precedence over the Guidebook for Proposers. Moreover, ROSES adds that individual program elements take precedence over the Summary of Solicitation. The NASA Guidebook for Proposers is an Agency document that we (in SMD) don’t control. We try to make them consistent but in 2017, ROSES was released prior to the guidebook, which had undergone a major revision, so we were not sure what the guidebook would say. The differences about which we are most common asked are the location of the mandatory Table of Personnel and Work Effort (ROSES requests it after the CVs) and Current and Pending Support. ROSES requires Current and Pending Support for funded Co-Is at or above, i.e., greater than or equal to (>) 10% of that person’s time, but the current guidebook just says greater than 10% of that person’s time. We were not aware of this inconsistency. If you have a Co-I just at 10% do include the Current and Pending Support. We will try to fix this inconsistency next year.

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  3. I missed the dead line for the letter of intent, may I still propose?


    A Notice of Intent (NOI) is merely desirable, not required. If you miss the deadline you can still send in your NOI via email to the program officer and you can still submit your final full proposal. An NOI may be submitted by an individual, it doesn't require that the organization approve or submit in NSPIRES. Appendix A, Earth Science, and Appendix D, Astrophysics, mostly use NOIs, though some program elements in those Appendices don't take NOIs (A.14 Cryospheric Science, A.15 IceBridge, D.5 Swift GI, D.6 Fermi) and a couple require a Step-1 proposal instead (A.2 LCLUC and D.7 K2 GO). See FAQ #5 on the two-step proposal submission process.

  4. Under what circumstances do I need a letters of support for a resource or facility?


    We were thinking primarily of a situation where a proposer wants to use a resource that is not a standard facility, e.g., an expensive microscope in someone else's lab where there is no reason to expect that the PI would necessarily be given free access, because the person who runs that instrument is not a named co-investigator or collaborator.

    In the case of a large shared telescope facility with a standard procedure for acquiring time it is probably adequate to simply write, for example, "I have been awarded four consecutive nights in late June on the IRTF", but if it were me I would include the email from the telescope if I had one. Often, at the time of proposal submission, the proposer has no guarantee of access to the telescope, in which case they should simply reassure the reviewers that they are likely to get the time and/or that the success of the proposal does not hinge on that time being awarded. Even if your proposal really depends on having that observing time, if the science is meritorious and getting the time of the telescope reasonable the NASA program officer could recommend the award contingent on the observing time. If the TAC awards you the time between submission and decision feel free to let the program officer know. They cannot tell the panel, but the knowledge may inform the decision of the selecting official.

  5. The Two-Step proposal submission process


    For some ROSES calls the NOI is replaced by a Step-1 proposal. A Step-1 proposal is a prerequisite to submit a full (Step-2) proposal, i.e., you must have submitted a Step-1 proposal or you cannot submit a full proposal later. Whereas an NOI may be submitted by a proposer alone, a Step-1 proposal must be submitted by an institution i.e., by the "AOR" for NSPIRES. All Proposals to Heliophysics (Appendix B), almost all to Planetary Science (Appendix C) and a few others (A.2 LCLUC, D.7 K2 GO, and E.3 XRP) use the 2-Step submission process. In some cases the Step-1 proposal will be just a few lines of text entered into a box on the NSPIRES cover pages for NASA to plan the review, but in other cases the Step-1 proposal will be an uploaded PDF file a few pages long and will be evaluated. Your first indication which program elements require a Step-1 proposal will be those for which it says "(Step-1)" and "(Step-2)" in the tables of due dates. Of course, whether a Step-1 proposal is required and what goes in it and whether team members can be changed between Step-1 and Step-2 proposals will be described in the text of the program element. For goodness sake read the call for proposals! For more information about the 2-Step process see Section IV(b)vii of the ROSES Summary of Solicitation and read the PDF documents on how to submit a Step-1 proposal that will appear under other documents on the NSPIRES page of the program element to which you are proposing.

    In the nonbinding two-step process which is most common in ROSES, Step-1 proposals are "encouraged" or "discouraged" but either way the Step-2 proposal may still be submitted. For the nonbinding process, only in rare cases, e.g., where the Step-1 proposal was not compliant or may not be funded due to policy, would a Step-1 proposal be declined, preventing the submission of a Step-2 proposal.

    For program elements that use the nonbinding two-step process in which Step-1 proposals are merely "discouraged" (and thus a Step-2 may be submitted anyway):

    1. Peer reviewers of Step-2 proposals are never told whether the Step-1 was encouraged or not, so as not to bias them.
    2. There is some evidence that proposals that were discouraged at Step-1 don’t do as well at Step-2 as those that were encouraged. For example, for H-GI in ROSES-2013 none of the proposals that were discouraged at Step-1 were selected at Step-2 and for HSR in ROSES-2014 those that were discouraged at Step-1 were half has likely to be selected at Step-2.
    3. Still, the fate of a Step-1 is far from a perfect predictor of the Step-2. Possible reasons for this include:
      • the proposer may not have polished the Step-1 because they didn’t have the time or it wasn’t required to do so,
      • the idea may not have been fully formulated at the time of the Step-1, but was later,
      • the Step-1 may have been too brief to evaluate properly,
      • proposers may have adjusted based on the discouragement at Step-1.
     

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  6. Why is my program officer bugging me about 'costing' funds by the end of the fiscal year, why doesn't he just send me my money now?


    If you have a grant you are used to the idea that your $ are good until the end date, and it doesn't matter when they arrive or how long they sit as long as they are spent by the end date. However, it looks bad to the congress if NASA has funds that are not spent by the end of the year. Here are the implications:

    1. You will get your money, we promise.
    2. When your progress report arrives that normally triggers the deliver of your next year of funds. Your program officer may check to see how much of last year's funds you have spent. If you have spent little or no funds from last year then your program officer may send you an email suggesting that the delivery of the next year of funds be put off until the year when you will actually spend them. In extreme cases, where nothing was spent in year 1, this may mean that the second year funds will skip a year; this year's funds are delayed until next year and so on. The result is that the last year's funds will arrive a year later than originally planned: your original grant that was 100K, 100K, and 100K has become 100K, 0 K, 100K, and 100K. Even in less extreme cases, it may be that part of the year 2 funds may be pushed off into year 4 e.g., 100K, 50 K, 100K, and 50K.
    3. If you feel that this is a mistake or are confident that you will really spend all of last year's funds and all of this year's funds by the end of the calendar year then reply to your program officer and let them know.
    4. What do you need to do?  If some or all of your funds are being pushed out till the end of the award then make sure that you write an email to nssc-contactcenter with your grant number in the subject line and ask for a no-cost extension.

     

  7. I heard that it was OK to user a smaller font in the figure captions and tables, is that true?

    No. The body text and captions must be no more than 15 characters per horizontal inch (including spaces) but the rules for text in figures and tables are more relaxed because we want to permit proposers to be able to insert figures or tables from elsewhere without having to recreate them, whereas captions are always under the control of the proposer. Also, text may not have more than 5.5 lines per vertical inch and expository text necessary for the proposal may not be located solely in figures, tables, or their captions.

  8. Are you redacting budgets again this year?

    Yes, the budget rules set in ROSES-2016 haven’t changed since then. See Section IV(b)iii of the ROSES summary of solicitation for this year’s description. Often, peer reviewers evaluate cost reasonableness of ROSES proposals, but SMD has been told to redact certain salaries, fringe and overhead from peer reviewer versions of proposals. In an attempt to balance NASA’s need to have all budget details, while redacting the peer review versions of ROSES proposals, SMD asks proposers to hide salary, fringe, overhead and totals from peer reviewers by omitting them from the main proposal PDF (only). Proposers still need to provide salaries, fringe, overhead, and totals to NASA only, via the NSPIRES cover page budget and a separately uploaded "Total Budget" file, which we will not share with peer reviewers. What follows is the longer version of this story. 

    Unless otherwise stated in the program element, there are three parts to the budgets of a (full or Step-2) ROSES proposal:

    First, the NSPIRES cover pages. All costs, including salaries, fringe, and overhead of NASA civil servants, must be included in the web cover page budget. This is true both for proposals from NASA labs and also proposal from external organizations with NASA civil servant Co-Is. This is a change from a few years ago when NASA civil servant costs were hidden. If you have NASA Co-Investigators (not from your organization) they must provide you with their full and total costs to include in the cover pages, probably in Section F lines 8 or 9. (BTW, the funds to NASA centers will still be sent directly from NASA, and not as a subaward through your org). Note that reviewers will not be able to see the salary and overhead numbers that you enter in the NSPIRES cover pages, but program officers will. You will too if you look at the proposal after submission. Don’t freak out, you are not seeing the redacted version for the reviewers, you are seeing the program officer’s version. See http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/how-to-guide/nspires-CSlabor/ for more information including screen captures and details on how to handle sub awards and Co-Is at government labs.

    Second, The budget information in the main proposal document. The proposal itself must contain budget justification and details for reviewers. These must address things and travel, but not the cost of people. No salaries or benefits for any participant or overhead for any organization should be listed or mentioned in the body of the proposal, nor should you give a total. Budgets for all subawards (or government labs) presented in the main proposal document should be treated the same way as the budget for your own institution, i.e., do not give salary, benefits, overhead or totals. Do list and rationalize all costs other than salary/benefits and overhead costs for all subawards the budget details and justification. Don’t give totals for the subwards or Co-I awards for those at Government labs. All proposals must include the Summary of Work effort (outside of the budget, see Table 1 of the ROSES summary of solicitation) that lists the time of all participants. See See Section IV(b)iii of the ROSES summary of solicitation for a simple example table of work effort and the Planetary Division templates web page for a more detailed example of one of these tables you are expected to use if you are responding to a program element in Appendix C of ROSES. In any case, the proposed time of the participants, but not the costs of the time, will be seen by peer reviewers. Peer reviewers will see and evaluate the costs of things and travel and evaluate whether the level of effort is appropriate.

    Third, you will separately upload the "Total Budget" PDF with a full budget consistent with the numbers you entered in the NSPIRES cover pages and, if needed, providing greater detail. This "Total Budget" includes everything, salary, fringe, benefits for all participants and overhead from all types of organizations, including NASA civil servants. It should contain any needed justification for the salary and overhead and overhead rates. This "Total Budget" PDF document will not be shown to reviewers. If you have Co-Is at other organizations tell them to provide you with a detailed budget and just stick that right into your "Total Budget" PDF. If you Co-I is at a NASA center invite them to phase their budget by fiscal year. See the bottom of the page at http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/how-to-guide/nspires-CSlabor/ for how to upload the "Total Budget" PDF.

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  9. What does the "Science PI" designation mean for eligibility and for any section, like the CV, for which the length is contingent on whether or not the person is the PI?


    When a proposal from a US organization has (in NSPIRES) a person assigned the role "Co-I/Science PI" then that person will be understood by NASA to be in charge of the scientific direction of the proposed work. This role is typically used in cases where the proposing organization does not permit that individual to formally serve as a PI, e.g., a postdoctoral fellow or soft $ scientist at an organization where only a civil servant or a professor may be PI. Such prohibitions or restrictions on who may server as PI originate with and are wholly in the hands of the proposing organization; NASA, NSPIRES and ROSES rules do not impose such restrictions. NSPIRES merely provides the "Co-I/Science PI" role as a work around.

    Because the Co-I/Science PI is understood by NASA to be in charge of the scientific direction of the proposed work, the proposing organization should understand the implications of granting this role. While awards are made to organizations and not individuals, when a PI moves, the organization nearly always relinquishes a research award that resulted from a proposal authored by the PI, or at least the part of the award that the PI was doing (that is, funds may remain to continue to support a Co-I still at the old organization). In as much as there is an expectation that a normal PI is likely to take a research award with them if that person moves to a new organization, there is exactly the same expectation for a person assigned the role "Co-I/Science PI" in NSPIRES.

    Similarly, any extra requirements or allowances for a PI (e.g., an extra page for the CV of the PI) are presumed to go to the person given the role "Co-I/Science PI" in NSPIRES.

  10. How do I get a No-Cost Extension (NCE) on my grant?


    Put in a request at https://www.nssc.nasa.gov/nocostextension. If its your first No-Cost Extension (NCE) then that’s it. If its not your first then you will need concurrence from your technical officer (whom you can find here ). If you are at a NASA center then you just write to your technical officer. If you are at a non-NASA US government lab with an interagency award from NASA then write to your technical officer but also cc laurie.a.friederich@nasa.gov.

  11. When is my annual progress report due, and what should it look like?


    If you have a grant (i.e., if you are at a university or a non-profit) you will get an email from the NSSC approximately two weeks before your annual progress report is due, asking you to send your progress report to NSSC-grant-report at mail.nasa.gov and to your program officer.  If you are at a NASA center your progress report should be sent to your program officer at the end of the fiscal year.  A progress report should include the following, preferably as a pdf::

    1. A statement that this is an annual progress report.
    2. Title of the grant.
    3. Name of the principal investigator.
    4. Period covered by the report.
    5. Name and address of the recipient's institution.
    6. Grant number.
    7. A few page summary of the accomplishments and a list of publications that have appeared over the past year as a result of the award. Of course all publications should acknowledge NASA support, including the name of the program, and the grant number(s).

     

  12. What about the final report for my grant? What does that look like and to whom should I send it?


    Send your final report to your program office and to nssc-closeout@mail.nasa.gov. The final report is high level summary of research or summary of work performed under the grant. There is no minimum or maximum length restrictions. The final report can follow the same format as the progress reports, it just needs to cover the entire period of performance of the award. On closeout of an award Technology reports should go to dale.l.clarke@nasa.gov.

  13. How do you find reviewers for proposals? May I be a reviewer? Does NASA pay people to do this


    NASA often recruits those who have been funded in the past as reviewers for proposals. We beg, beseech, implore, and entreat you all to review proposals each year. The health of the system rests on the quality of peer review, so we need YOU to review proposals. If you have not been asked to serve on a review panel recently and would like to volunteer to be considered, visit our volunteer reviewer page every couple/few months to see what kind of reviewers we are seeking. In general we are not able to pay peer reviewers. Sorry.

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  14. Can foreign team members be supported via a NASA grant?


    Short plain English answer: NASA funds research at US institutions and foreign agencies pay for research at foreign institutions. Thus the rules focus on the institution, not the individual. If your institution hires this foreign investigator, then you can pay him/her while they are in your employ. If the foreign investigator does not have a position at a US institution, then NASA funds cannot be used to support them, not even for travel.

    The longer answer more official version of this may be found in the NASA Guidebook for Proposers, Section 3.2 "Submission Requirements and Restrictions” which reads in part: "NASA’s policy welcomes the opportunity to conduct research with non-U.S. organizations on a cooperative, no-exchange-of-funds basis. Although Co-Is or collaborators employed by non-U.S. organizations may be identified as part of a proposal submitted by a U.S. organization, NASA funding may not support research efforts by non-U.S. organizations, collaborators or subcontracts at any level, including travel by foreign investigators. The direct purchase of supplies and/or services, which do not constitute research, from non-U.S. sources by U.S. award recipients is permitted." This derives from 1835.016-70 "Foreign participation under broad agency announcements", which may be found at https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/regs/1835.htm.

     
  15. I am switching to a new university in the fall but I have grants that I hold here that are already in progress, what should I do?


    If you have a grant that is already in progress which needs to be transferred to the new institution then please contact your program officer as soon as possible. If you have a grant pending then let your program officer know even if you are not certain when you are moving to the new institution (we will keep your secret). If you change organizations in between Step-1 and Step-2 proposals, please immediately get an NSPIRES Affiliation with your new organization and update your contact information and contact the point of contact listed at the bottom of your program element in the summary table of key information and cc sara@nasa.gov and skeddie@nasaprs.com. Bottom line: it is really hard to get money back once it has been sent to the first institution.

    Technically, grants belong to institutions not PIs. Since the grant belongs to the old institution, we have to get the old institution to agree in writing to give up the grant. Then, the new institution has to submit a proposal with a budget because they are getting a new grant, and this grant requires a proposal. The new proposal should be identical to the old proposal but with a budget and signature from the new institution for the work remaining. Finally the program officer must justify the acceptance of what is in effect an 'unsolicited' proposal from the new institution. Any grants you submit before you move should be submitted from the new institution if at all possible. If that cannot be done, the PI and the new institution should both send letters to the program officer stating that the research will be done at the new institution.

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  16. Can a company make a profit from a grant?


    Anybody can propose to ROSES, including a for-profit company. From some ROSES calls for some kinds of work proposers will receive a contract and that can include profit. On a grant NASA will not allow for profit. However, NASA will continue to pay management fees that are allowable costs within the guidelines established in OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Parts 200, 215, 220, 225, and 230). A flat rate applied to all costs of the grant should be included in indirect rate costs. One possible scenario where a management fee might be considered allowable is if it were a direct cost for an employee or subcontractor with a stated level of effort to manage a number of subawards.

  17. Questions about grants.gov

    You are very welcome to submit your proposal via Grants.gov. We post all of the solicitations that we possibly can on Grants.gov so those who prefer that interface can use it. Don’t worry if you have heard about “transcription”; no change is made to your proposal only to the blah blah header information. However, please take note of the following requirements and differences between grants,gov and NSPIRES:

    Prior to submission of proposals in Appendix A and Appendix D it is common for proposers to submit a notice of intent to propose (an NOI). Since grants.gov doesn't do that, you are encouraged to submit your NOI via NSPIRES

    Proposers via Grants.gov must download the "application instruction" document, in addition to the "application package" as this contains information about the new data management plan as well as important requirements about, for example, China and ITAR.

    NSPIRES enforces our 4000-character limit on the abstract. Grants.gov, which will let you put in a longer abstract, but it will get cut off when its ingested into NSPIRES, so make sure you are well under the 4000 character limit.

    Team members on a proposal submitted via NSPIRES must confirm participation on each proposal electronically and if they have more than one institutional affiliation can choose via which institution they receive the funds. We like this so we can do automatic conflict of interest checking. Since there is no way you to do this on grants.gov you will have to include letters of commitment for your team members and all team members must be registered in NSPIRES and we will do the team members confirmation step for them so that the proposal can go into our peer review system where conflict of interest data will be generated.

    Those who propose via grants.gov you may not be able to add a new section to accommodate the new requirement in the guidebook for proposers and ROSES for a table of personnel and work effort outside of the budget section. Please just insert this at the front of the current and pending section.

    When preparing a Grants.gov application package you are working offline and they do not track who downloads the application packages. Check for alerts regarding downtimes.

  18. Is NASA recommending/forcing/not worrying about whether people have embedded fonts in their PDFs? How does that come into play with the requirement that only Type 1 or TrueType fonts be utilized when proposing? Is there a list of specific fonts being recommended? Also, if we insert a copy of our internal budget as a .PNG as part of our budget justification, does that also need to be fully searchable and editable, as is required of the rest of the proposal?

    On occasion we have difficulty with certain reviewers being able to read certain proposals that were generated on unusual systems, but thus far we have deemed it wiser to deal with those rare inconveniences when they arise rather than forcing all proposers to do something. So I guess the more correct answer is not "not worrying' but rather that I worry but you should not have to. That said, I personally only use standard fonts and would only use an image like a .PNG if I absolutely had to: text is better because someone with poor sight can increase the fonts sizes easily, it always prints well etc. Thus, I am not going to tell you what to do but the guiding principle can be summarized as "Don't annoy the reviewer."
     
  19. May I include in my ROSES proposal a link to my web page for more information for the benefit of the reviewers? What about reprints or preprints, may I include those as an appendix to my proposal?

    Reprints and/or preprints are not permitted to be appended to a proposal unless they are accommodated within the proposal page limit. Proposals shall not rely upon material posted on a website. All information and material necessary for an informed peer review of the proposal must be included within the proposal in a manner that is compliant with the proposal page limit and permitted appendices. References to unpublished manuscripts should be avoided. Any information required to evaluate the proposal must be included within the proposal. If a proposal requires referenced material (not included within the proposal page limit) in order to be evaluated, this information will not be examined and the proposal may be judged noncompliant.

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  20. The NSSC keeps asking me for more budget detail. How much budget detail to I have to provide?


    The bad news is that sometimes the folks at the NSSC are going to ask you for more budget detail, (please be patient with them, its their job as procurement officers).  The good news is that we have come to agreement with them on a reasonable level of budget detail, and examples are provided below for the things that most commonly trigger a request for more info.    

    A) Publication costs: $2250 assuming $30 per Figure and or Table and $270 per 3500 words (see http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/0004-637X/page/Article charges)

    B) Travel costs: 1 domestic conference = $1555. Airfare ~ $500; hotel ~$750 for 5 days; M&IE ~ $305 @ $61/day see http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem

    Obviously, its best if you know where you are going and use the actual cost, but we recognize that you may not know where you are going years in advance. You will note that they don’t require a quote, but they want to know what you used to get your numbers (i.e.., the “basis of estimate”).  Thus, you can tell them from whom you got the quote and when, or give the web site, or you can assume the costs are the same last year (with inflation).  If you do something unusual, like go to Antarctica, or spend many times more than they have come to expect, then they will question you.  But if the amount you have budgeted passes the common sense test, then they should not bug you anymore.

  21. I’d like to add a team member who will be doing significant work on the project, but who doesn't need any funding. Would she be a Co-I, or a Collaborator?


    Funding is a factor, since collaborators are unfunded, but that's not the entirety of what determines if a team member is a Collaborator or a Co-I. The guidebook defines a Co-I in part as "…a critical “partner” for the conduct of the investigation through the contribution of unique expertise and/or capabilities…and may or may not receive funding through the award" vs. a collaborator who provides a "focused but unfunded contribution for a specific task". I have seen proposals viewed critically because someone is signed up to perform an essential role, but the person is merely a collaborator not a Co-I so the panelists questioned how committed that person really was to the effort.

  22. Questions about travel?


    In general, domestic allowable travel costs both for government travelers and for grantees is that found at http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem. If there no hotels available at per diem then if your organization has an "acceptable" written travel policy then that seems to allow you to charge those costs to the grant even though they are in excess of the normal per diem. I confess that I don't know what makes an organization's written travel policy  "acceptable", but perhaps the NSSC knows. If not, then NASA can authorize the extra expense, see the GSA per diem FAQ #17 at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104208#17. I have done this on at least one occasion.

    When traveling outside of the USA grantees are generally subject to the fly america act, which requires grantees to use U.S. Airlines when they are available. However, our grantees, always eager to stretch their dollar often want to use a local carrier if its cheaper. It turns out that thanks to our "Open Skies Agreements" our grantees may fly on foreign airlines if the cost is the same or less, when flying to or within certain countries. At the time of the writing of this FAQ these agreements cover the EU, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan. For more information and the latest updates please see http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/103191.

    Finally, some grantees are aware that NASA civil servants with whom they work have a special limit on days off associated with work travel. The NASA civil servants cannot take off more days than they are working, I.e., if they fly to Europe for a mission team meeting that lasts three days, they can add at most three days of vacation, even if it were to decrease the cost of the ticket. This rule does not apply to researchers on NASA Grants. Grantees are governed by their organization's travel policy.