Status Report

NSF: Just-in-Time Budget Pilot

By SpaceRef Editor
November 9, 2015
Filed under ,

In FY16, the DMS Infrastructure Program is participating in a pilot program that employs a streamlined initial budget process for proposals. The intent of this pilot is to allow NSF program staff and reviewers to focus on the science and to reduce the investigators’ administrative workload by requiring only a basic justification of the resources necessary to complete the project. If a proposal is recommended for award, NSF staff will request full budgets and budget justifications and will proceed as normally with the recommendation process.

Below, please find detailed instructions on how to prepare a streamlined initial budget and budget justification.

The budget itself should list zero dollars in FastLane and be blank. Since FastLane prepopulates fields for senior personnel, a work-around needs to be implemented to erase those fields. Please find details for this below.

The budget justification should be a narrative statement that provides detail about the resources required. The detail should be sufficient for program officers and reviewers to determine that resources are essential, adequate, and appropriate to support the project being proposed. Except for large equipment purchases, dollar amounts need not be included.

In the budget justification, information must be provided for the items listed below (if they are being requested):

– Total number of person-months of Senior Personnel salary for the entire project (such as 3 months, 6 months, etc.);
– Number of postdoctoral scholars, graduate or undergraduate students, administrative and clerical staff, and a brief overview of their respective roles in the project;
– Equipment purchases, including estimated cost;
– Number of domestic and foreign trips anticipated, their necessity for the project, as well as the number of travelers and the location of the trip, if available;
– Number of project participants for whom travel, stipend, etc., support is requested;
– Pertinent materials and supplies to be purchased, consultant services, etc.; and
– Any subawards, to whom, and a brief description of the work to be performed.

If a proposal is recommended for award, a full budget and budget justification must be submitted, and amounts must be included in all appropriate budget categories, including indirect costs and any other items not discussed in the original budget justification. Organizations that have proposals that are recommended for award will receive further instructions at that time.

Please note that some of NSF’s electronic compliance warning messages in FastLane will not be relevant for this streamlined proposal budgeting pilot and should be disregarded. For example, proposers will receive a warning that an insufficient amount is being requested in the budget; this, however, will not affect the ability to submit the proposal.

If postdoctoral researchers are anticipated and discussed in the budget justification, a Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan is required even though the absence of one will not prevent submission of the proposal.

It is expected that all proposers will comply with the guidance of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide and applicable program solicitations.

Work-around to erase senior personnel in streamlined budgets:

For the streamlined proposal budget process in the initial proposal submission stage, proposers will submit a zero proposal budget in the NSF Budget format. Since the senior personnel listed on the Cover Sheet are currently prepopulated on the budget, they will need to be removed from Section A of the budget for the purposes of submitting a streamlined proposal budget. To do this, proposers will:

– Go the Budget;
– Click Funds (or Add a Year, if appropriate, then click Funds);
– Delete the Senior Personnel from Budget Section A (by clicking on ‘Add/Remove Senior Personnel’) and then click Save; and
– Click to the Bottom of Page, click Calculate and Save and Go Back.

SpaceRef staff editor.