How To Guide
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How to Keep up With Changes to ROSES & NSPIRES
ROSES, our omnibus solicitation for proposals, is constantly being Amended, clarified, and updated. We have a web page and an RSS feed for all of these so you can keep up to date with the changes to ROSES. NSPIRES, the web page through which proposals are submitted, is also changing. This year instituted to a procedure where all team members (e.g., Co-Investigators, Collaborators, etc.) officially agree to participate on a proposal online through the NSPIRES web page. For more information on this and other changes see FAQ#1
How to Avoid Grant Delays
The NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) is the NASA organization that issues grants to non-civil servant PI's. They report the number one cause of grant delays is a failure on the part of the proposer to submit accurate budget rates from their institution including approved indirect rates and appropriate justification for expenditures (see the budget details FAQ and the Guidebook for Proposers for instructions). This is one YOU can fix. Also, the more detail in your budget justification (or narrative) the less likely your grant will be delayed. Try to explain procurements in a manner that would be understood by a non-scientist, but with enough detail that they know what will be purchased.
How to Become a Reviewer
NASA seeks to have each review panel staffed with members of the scientific community that represent the right expertise for the topic at hand. NASA Program Officers work very hard to ensure that is the case, but the combination of so many proposals, often with multiple co-investigators per proposal and an overworked community make it increasingly difficult to put panels together in short order. You can help. If you are not one of those frequently called upon to serve and feel you could contribute, please let us know. We will follow up with a request for more information. Volunteering does not guarantee you will be called, but it serves to increase the pool of reviewers which can only help. Also, please say yes when you are called. We realize the impact on your time, but this is really the best way to keep our programs strong. To sign up as a volunteer reviewer visit the Volunteer for Review Panels web page. If you don't see anything relevant there then write to the program officer who runs the program that most closely aligns with your expertise. You can find contact information for all of them at the Program Officers List.
A note on Submitting proposals via Grants.gov
The vast majority of proposals to NASA's Science Mission Directorate are submitted via the NSPIRES web page. However, proposals can also be submitted through through Grants.gov for ROSES and most other NASA Research Announcements (NRAs) but not for most Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) or Cooperative Agreement Notices (CANs). Most prefer NSPIRES because it automatically checks that a submission complies with the submission rules in the NRA, for instance it limits the length of the abstract and other parts of the proposal, in keeping with SMD instructions, whereas Grants.gov does not. In addition, even if you submit via Grants.gov you will still have to register with NSPIRES since we will use that information in 2009 for automatic conflict of interest checking. For more information see http://nasascience.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/#17.
How to submit progress reports
Annual standardized electronic progress reports are now required before the Program Officers can release second and third year funding. Progress reports should be submitted in any easily readable electronic format (such as a PDF). If you have a grant from the NSSC then the PI (and the AOR) will get a reminder email from NSSC. If you have a grant from the NSSC then the PI (and the AOR) will get a reminder email from NSSC. The PI will be asked to send in the progress report as PDF file. In case you deleted it, or the reminder email got filtered, the NSSC address to which you should send your progress report is: NSSC-Grant-Report@mail.nasa.gov and please also send a copy to your program officer, who's email address you can find here. If you are at a NASA center or another government lab then you don't have a grant and will not get a reminder from the NSSC, nor do you need to send your report to them. instead please send in your progress report to your program officer by September first so that your funds can be requested at the start of the fiscal year.
The Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook (1260.22 b and c and 1260.151d) notes that "Reports shall be in the English language, informal in nature, and ordinarily not exceed three pages (not counting bibliographies, abstracts, and lists of other media)." and that "Progress Reports, Summaries of Research, and Educational Activity Reports shall include the following on the first page:
- Title of the grant.
- Type of report.
- Name of the principal investigator.
- Period covered by the report.
- Name and address of the recipient's institution.
- Grant number.
According to the new cross agency Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) format annual progress reports should contain the following three parts:
- Accomplishments: Start by reminding us what are the major goals and objectives of the project and What did you achieve towards those goals? At first the emphasis will be on reporting activities but as the project progresses you will be reporting specific accomplishments. For example, describe major activities; significant results, major findings, developments, or conclusions (both positive and negative); and key outcomes or other achievements. Include a discussion of stated goals not met.
- How have the results been disseminated: For example, a list of publications that have appeared 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).
- Future plans: if this is not your final report, what are you planning to do next? Is it different than what was in the original proposal? That's OK, but please explain a bit.
How to handle PI sponsoring institution transfers smoothly
The process of transferring your grants from one institution to another when you move currently takes a very long time because funds must be returned from the old institution before they can be sent to the new one (technically, NASA issues grants to institutions, not individuals, so it is not "yours" to take). We realize that science research suffers when the funds are not transferred in a timely fashion, and that a PI spends a lot of time getting the institutions to exchange information, so we are seeking improvements in this system. For now, please tell us (both your program officer and SARA) as soon as you know you are moving to a new institution. We will help as much as possible now, and work to repair the system for the long run.
Even if you are submitting your proposal via grants.gov the PI still must be a registered user of NSPIRES so we have a way to track it after submission. Please register for NSPIRES as soon as possible if you will be submitting a proposal.
How to get a no-cost extension
Its easy! In most cases (of a grant or a cooperative agreement with a nonprofit entity) you can get your first no-cost extension of the award's expiration date for up to 12 months automatically by just asking for it before the end of the period of performance. For the vast majority of you have grants with numbers that begin "NNX.." (those that got your awards since ~2008 via the NSSC) all you have to do is go to this web page: https://www.nssc.nasa.gov/nocostextension
If your grant was awarded prior to FY 2007 or for some other reason was done by HGAO, first verify online then send an email to Ellen Harden and as a courtesy please inform the Program Officer as well. If you do not know who that is you can find them on the Program Officers page.