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 deadline for the notice of intent (NOI), 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?
  7. I heard that it was OK to use 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. Questions and recommendations about making your proposal PDF
  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?
  23. Questions about leave for family and medical reasons?
  24. "Work Package" (ISFM) / directed work vs. participating on ROSES proposals
  25. Guidance on archiving manuscripts in NASA PubSpace (PubMed Central)
  26. Questions regarding overlap and duplication of proposals
  27. Under what conditions may a grantee direct charge a computer to a grant? There used to be some rule that this was allowed if the computer was used only for the grant.
  28. Questions about citizen science
  29. When do I need to get prior approval, e.g., to purchase a piece of equipment or make a (significant) change to my project?

+ top


  1. What's new in ROSES-2021? How does it differ from prior ROSES?

    The Division of Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS), formerly of HEOMD, is now part of SMD and the BPS calls for proposals appear in Appendix E of ROSES-2021. The cross-division programs that in prior years were in Appendix E are now in Appendix F.

    Seven programs in Planetary Science will accept proposals at any time without any preliminary statement such as a Notice of Intent or Step-1 proposal. This approach has been used successfully in the past for programs such as Rapid Response and Novel Research in Earth Science and Topical Workshops, Symposia, and Conferences. Though the NSPIRES page for those programs display a "Proposals Due" date, that is simply the end date for the current ROSES, after which proposals may be submitted to the program element with the same name in the next ROSES. The programs with No Due Date (NoDD) will review proposals throughout the year with a cadence that will depend on the rate at which proposals are submitted. The seven programs in Planetary Science with no due date are: C.2 Emerging Worlds, C.3 Solar System Workings, C.4 Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools, C.5 Exobiology, C.6 Solar System Observations, C.12 Planetary Instrument Concepts for the Advancement of Solar System Observations, and C.16 Laboratory Analysis of Returned Samples. For more information see C.1, the Planetary Science Research Program Overview and https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/NoDD.

    The requirements regarding letters of resource support from facilities have been modified. ROSES no longer requires that a facility or resource be under the "control" of the team member. For any facility required for the proposed effort, the proposal must state which team member has access or provide a letter of resource support from the facility or resource confirming that it is available for the proposed use during the proposed period.

    The previously separated Budget Narrative and Details sections have been united in a single section, making it consistent with the Guidebook for Proposers.

    The order of some sections of this Summary of Solicitation have changed, most notably flight-based research investigations are now in Section VIII.

    ROSES continues to employ the "dual-anonymous peer review" for the evaluation of proposals submitted to select program elements. Proposals to those program elements must be anonymized, see https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/dual-anonymous-peer-review and the detailed instructions for the preparation of proposals posted under "Other documents" on the NSPIRES pages for these ROSES elements.

    In keeping with SMD's interest in identifying potential interdivisional gaps and having information to improve the review process, proposers will have an opportunity to indicate on the NSPIRES cover page whether a proposal would advance the strategic objectives of more than one SMD Division.

    There have been many changes to the program elements within ROSES. Examples include:

    In Appendix A (Earth Science), the Atmospheric Composition Radiation Sciences Program will be soliciting in 2021 for a specific field campaign (Arctic Radiation-Cloud-Aerosol-Surface Interaction Experiment) as A.17 and a number of programs are returning after a hiatus, including Remote Sensing of Water Quality as A.21 and Health & Air Quality as A.37. Moreover, A.15 Cryospheric Sciences will evaluate proposals using dual-anonymous peer review. Finally, a number of programs in Appendix A are requiring that proposers use the Earth Science standard templates for the Table of Work Effort and Current and Pending Support. Any programs that require the use of these templates will say so clearly and they may be downloaded from the "SARA" web page at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/templates-for-earth-science-division-appendix-a-roses-proposals.

    In Appendix B there are three new program elements have been introduced in ROSE-2021: B.15 Geospace Dynamics Constellation Interdisciplinary Scientists (will award contracts to non-govt. orgs), B.16 Heliophysics Mission Concept Studies and, added by amendment: B.18 Heliophysics Living With a Star Tools and Methods. Also added by amendment Interdisciplinary Science for Eclipse is back as B.17.

    In Appendix C (Planetary Science) a new participating scientist program for JAXA's Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) Mission will be solicited. In addition to the no due date programs mentioned above in Section I(d)(i) starting this year, all of the data analysis programs, i.e., C.7 NFDAP, C.8 LDAP, C.9 MDAP, C.10 CDAP, and C.11 DDAP, will evaluate proposals using dual-anonymous peer review. Moreover, DDAP will not request NSPIRES cover page budgets or total budgets with the technical proposal. Budgets will be requested later only for selectable proposals.

    In Appendix D (Astrophysics), a new program element for Guest Scientists for the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) is planned for this year in D.12, and Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope Research and Support Participation Opportunities is planned for this year as D.16. Finally, all Astrophysics GO/GI programs, D.2 Astrophysics Data Analysis and D.4 Astrophysics Theory will evaluate proposals using dual-anonymous peer review.

    Appendix E is now devoted to the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS), formerly of HEOMD, which is new to SMD.

    Appendix F is now the Cross-Division Appendix. Program element F.3, Exoplanets, will evaluate proposals using dual-anonymous peer review. Program elements F.4 Habitable Worlds and F.7 Support for Open Source Software Tools, Frameworks, and Libraries will not be solicited in ROSES-2021.

    Other changes will occur throughout the year announced by Amendments, corrections, and clarifications. Please consider subscribing to:

    The 2021 version of the NASA Guidebook for proposers was released in early 2021. Thus, the 2021 version of the Guidebook is the one that applies to all proposals ROSES-2021 unless otherwise specified.

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

    If you are looking for the FAQ for ROSES-2020 (e.g., because you are preparing a proposal for one of the few ROSES-2020 program elements due in early calendar 2021) you may view the archived ROSES-2020 FAQ at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/archived-2020-faq/

    + top

  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 subsection I(g) note 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 sometimes ROSES is released prior to the guidebook, so we don’t know exactly what the guidebook will say, and sometimes they differ for a good reason (like redaction). Please follow the instructions in the program element. If the program element is silent on something, then the rules in ROSES apply. If ROSES is silent then the rules in the guidebook apply.

    + top

  3. I missed the deadline for the notice of intent (NOI), may I still propose?

    The Notice of Intent (NOI) to propose is a brief summary of the planned work by the prospective PI that may be submitted by an individual, it doesn't require that the organization approve or submit in NSPIRES (as opposed to a Step-1 proposal). Usually, an NOI is merely desirable, not required, so if you miss the deadline you can usually still send in your NOI via email to the program officer and still submit your final full proposal later. However, for a few programs an NOI is a required prerequisite for submission of a full proposal. For example, D.3 Astrophysics Research and Analysis and D.8 Strategic Astrophysics Technology require the submission of the NOI. For those program elements where the NOI is mandatory, that will be stated clearly in the program element and in the Tables 2 and 3 of ROSES that list the due dates there will be a parenthetical (mandatory) below the due date. Where NOIs are mandatory proposers should presume that the due dates will be enforced just as they are for proposal due dates. For more information about NOIs vs Step-1 (and Phase-1) proposals see Section IV(b) of the ROSES Summary of Solicitation, subsections vi, vii and viii.

    + top

  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. Starting with ROSES-2021 the requirements regarding letters of resource support from facilities have been modified. ROSES no longer requires that a facility or resource be under the "control" of a team member. For any facility required for the proposed effort, the proposal must state which team member has "access" (e.g., as the result of a standard arrangement whereby anyone may sign out the instrument and pay by the hour). If no team member has access, then the proposal must include a letter of resource support from the facility or resource confirming that it is available for the proposed use during the proposed period.

    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.

    + top

  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), many Planetary Science (Appendix C) and a few others (A.2 LCLUC, E.3 XRP and E.4 HW) 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 and in the SARA Library.

    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.

    + top

  6. Why is my program officer bugging me about 'costing' funds by the end of the fiscal year?

    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.

    + top

  7. I heard that it was OK to use 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.

    + top

  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 the costs of things (e.g., equipment, materials, and supplies) 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.

    + top

  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 serve 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.

    + top

  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.

    + top

  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 months 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 (including JPL) or another government lab (i.e., funded by an interagency agreement) the default is that your progress report be sent to your program officer 30 days in advance of the end of the fiscal year.  A progress report must include the following:

    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 pages summarizing the accomplishments from the past year compared to what was proposed. Include any changes in personnel or direction of the research, if applicable.
    8. Provide a list of abstracts, papers, patents, presentations, reports, or other delivered products that might serve as measures of productivity. Of course, all publications must acknowledge NASA support, including the name of the program, and the specific award number(s). As accepted manuscript versions of peer reviewed publications must be archived in in the NASA PubSpace section of the PubMed Central (PMC) repository, so provide the PMCID that indicates submission to PubMed Central. The PMCID will be an alphanumeric consisting of the prefix, PMC, followed by a seven-digit number (e.g. PMC6799999).
    9. Provide a list of any datasets archived compared to what was proposed.

    + top

  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.

    + top

  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. We provide a trivial honorarium to those who serve on review panels but, in general, external reviewers get only our thanks.

    + top

  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/NFS.pdf#page=273.

    + top

  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 already in progress that 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.

    + top

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

    Any organization may propose to ROSES, including a for-profit. Rarely ROSES program elements (e.g., this year B.15 GDC IDS) solicit work that results in a contract, and that may include profit. However, the default for ROSES is federal assistance (e.g., grants). 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.

    + top

  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.

    + top

  18. We have some recommendations regarding the format of your proposal PDF to decrease the likelihood of errors that prevent submission or review of your proposal.

    When a proposal is submitted, NSPIRES must create a single file with cover page information and (for NASA only) budget information so the NSPIRES help folks have some Guidelines about formatting your PDF at:

    Here's the gist:

    (1) ensure that your PDF file is unlocked and that edit permission is enabled
    (2) ensure that all fonts are embedded in the PDF file and that only Type 1 or TrueType fonts are used.
    (3) In addition, we recommend that you should convert your PDF file to a Postscript file, and then create new PDF file from your Postscript file. This will fix any embedded images that sometimes cause the PDF file to be incompatible.
    (4) If you are converting a Word Document into a PDF file in a PC, make sure that the ISO compliant PDF check box is check in the Options menu.  

    If you have any questions please feel free to contact the NSPIRES Help Desk at 202-479-9376 from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday, or send us an email at NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com.

    + top

  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?

    Proposals should include references to published papers and other products to demonstrate, for example, that the methodology has passed peer review, but proposals may not require reviewers read them to get details essential for peer review. Anything needed to understand and assess the proposal must be in the proposal. The situation is the same with URLs, i.e., it's fine to point to a web page for additional information or context just as one would cite a paper, but don't assume that the reviewer will follow it, so no essential information may be relegated to a web page.

    Reprints and/or preprints may not be appended to a proposal. Any information in those reprints and/or preprints essential for the evaluation of the proposal must be accommodated within the page-limited Scientific/Technical/Management Section of the proposal. 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.

    + top

  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 $36 per Figure and or Table and $340 per 3500 words (see https://journals.aas.org/article-charges-and-copyright/)

    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.

    + top

  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.

    + top

  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 NASA can authorize the extra expense, see the GSA per diem FAQ #18. I have done this on more than 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 it's 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. Remember, if you are planning to travel outside of the USA and the trip was not in your original proposal, concurrence from NASA is required. Yes, travel to Canada and Mexico are considered "foreign" travel.

    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 may not 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. This aspect of grantee travel is governed by their organization's travel policy.

    + top

  23. Questions about leave for family and medical reasons?

    We strive to manage our grants in a family-friendly manner that permits a balance between work and personal life.

    NASA policy allows grantee-initiated first time no-cost extensions (NCEs) of up to 12 months. Grantees may use the form at https://www.nssc.nasa.gov/nocostextension to request NCEs. PIs at Government labs should contact their program officer directly.

    A PI may either designate another person to conduct work while the PI is out or may put the grant on hold. We accommodate all reasonable requests from the PI or Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) to "rephase" ROSES awards (reschedule when the funds will be delivered). This is designed to accommodate a PI’s need to take off time for family or medical leave (for example but not limited to maternity or paternity leave, to care for family, or deal with health issues) but the PI need not disclose the reason. NASA reserves the right to assess the qualifications and capabilities of anyone designated to conduct work on a NASA grant in the absence of the PI.

    In the case of contracts, delaying and or rephasing will be permitted as long as it does not compromise previously agreed upon project goals, timelines, or deliverables associated with a NASA requirement described in the contract (e.g., flight hardware for a NASA mission).

    In any case, whatever kind of award you have, please don’t hesitate to contact your program officer to arrange this.

    + top

  24. How do you want proposer to handle proposals that involve scientists at NASA centers when the work to be conducted by the center scientist is related to "work package" (a.k.a. ISFM or directed) funding? I am a NASA civil servant who has been invited to be on a Step-1 proposal for the extension/continuation of a project on which I have participated previously. In the past I would have happily agreed and asked for a modest amount of funding. But, since this related to directed work, I don’t know. Should I be asking for funds on this proposal or use the funding that has already been sent to my team or what?

    First, NASA civil servants: please note that you shouldn’t assume that a directed "Work Package" will automatically cover you for all research, even on a related topic. Please always communicate with your program officer. The terms of some of these allow for /require that one have time covered through other work, either competitively awarded ROSES proposals (for work that wouldn’t meet the ISFM requirements), mission work, or other NASA duties.

    In this particular case, since the work is related but does not overlap with what the civil servant is already funded to do, we merely need to ask two key questions:

    1. Will you be providing major intellectual input to the proposed work?
    2. Are you already funded full time?

    • If the answers are (1) Yes, (2) No, then you need to request some support in the proposal as a funded Co-I.
    • If the answers are (1) Yes, (2) Yes, then you serve as an unfunded Co-I and will need a letter stating that you seek no funding because you’re already fully-funded.
    • If the answers are (1) No, (2) No, then you shouldn’t request support as a Co-I but serve as a collaborator.
    • If the answers are (1) No, (2) Yes, then you shouldn’t request support as a Co-I but serve as a collaborator.

    + top

  25. The award says that the final manuscript should be submitted to PubMed Central. Would you be able to please provide guidance on this process?

    Yes, all awards from NASA now require that as accepted manuscript versions of peer-reviewed publications 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. NASA Civil Servants and (most) on-site contractors will do the 1676 via https://strives.nasa.gov/. Grantees (and those funded by cooperative agreements) submit their as accepted manuscripts via https://sti.nasa.gov/submit-to-pubspace, and JPL uses their "Unlimited Release System". Need help? STI Information Desk = https://sti.nasa.gov/contact-us

    + top

  26. Regarding overlap and duplication of proposals:

    We recognize that only a minority of proposals submitted will be selected, so many researchers must submit more than one proposal per year, often on related subjects or using related methods. However, as stated in Section I(f) of the ROSES Summary of Solicitation, some Appendices and/or program elements in ROSES limit submissions of duplicate proposals or limit the number of proposals that maybe submitted to a program element with the same PI. The first limitation on submission bars "multiple" proposals to a given program element. Some program elements in Appendix B (Heliophysics), e.g., B.2 H-SR, do not allow an individual to be the PI on more than one proposal to those program elements. In such cases, the first proposal identifying a particular PI will be evaluated, but any subsequent proposal to the same program element that identifies the same PI will not be evaluated or considered. Please read the program element carefully because individual program elements may also have additional special restrictions e.g., B.2 H-SR also says: "Proposals addressing the magnetospheres or the ionospheres of other planets are permitted, but must not duplicate proposals to other programs." Speaking of bans on duplication, Planetary Science will not accept duplicate proposals submitted to any of its program elements. See C.1, the Planetary Science Research Program Overview for what is meant by "duplicate" and to what programs are covered. Those proposing to No Due Date (NoDD) programs are very strongly encouraged to read the updated version of the planetary science duplicate proposal rules, which now take into account the fact that proposals to NoDD programs may be submitted at anytime. See the NoDD informational document and any NoDD FAQs that will be posted at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/NoDD and on the NSPIRES page of any NoDD program.

    Such restrictions in ROSES generally apply only to ROSES, the Appendix (Division) or only to the individual program element so unless otherwise noted, these do not apply to other solicitations, like FINESST, so a PI could legitimately have overlapping FINESST and ROSES proposals in the running at the same time. However, even when there are no limits on the number of proposals or overlap or duplication, one may not be funded more than once for the same work. Thus, if you are to perform the same task on more than one award you must alert the funding agency as soon as you are aware that both have been funded. Proposals that overlap with previously submitted proposals still under consideration should acknowledge, e.g., in the budget justification, that funds have been requested twice for whatever it is and, if both are selected, the org/PI will inform the program managers so that budget negotiations/adjustments may ensue.

  27. Under what conditions may a grantee direct charge a computer to a grant? There used to be some rule that this was allowed if the computer was used only for the grant.

    Computers are allowable and that old rule no longer applies. The uniform guidance, specifically § 200.453 Materials and supplies costs, including costs of computing devices says: "In the specific case of computing devices, charging as direct costs is allowable for devices that are essential and allocable, but not solely dedicated, to the performance of a Federal award." I read "but not" to mean "need not be" solely dedicated to the grant, rather than requiring that it be used for another purpose. So, the test for peer reviewers will be: Is this essential for the proposed research?

  28. Regarding Citizen Science and ROSES proposals

    SMD continues a long-standing policy of allowing citizen science as an approach in any ROSES proposal and Section 1(i) of the ROSES summary of solicitation links to an SMD policy and other citizen science resources. In addition in some years ROSES has specific program elements directed at citizen science. For example, in ROSES-2020 Earth Science solicited its "Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program" and the rest of SMD solicited for citizen science via the cross division Citizen Science Seed Funding Program. Each year check the ROSES summary of solicitation and the list of program elements for citizen science opportunities.

  29. When do I need to get prior approval, e.g., to purchase a piece of equipment or make a (significant) change to my project?

    Significant changes to (e.g., the budget of) your project must be approved by the grant officer at the NSSC, but if the change involves something technical, like a significant change in direction, especially that would involve moving funds from one category to another (like from salary to equipment) write first to your technical officer to get an email from them saying it's OK and then follow up with the NSSC at NSSC-Grant-Administration nssc-grant-administration@mail.nasa.gov. For a full listing of when you need approval (not just for NASA but for many govt Agencies) see https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/fedrtc/appendix_a.pdf.

+ top

Please direct questions or corrections on this page to SARA@nasa.gov