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 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?
  30. Link to NASA Grants Policy and Compliance FAQ
  31. Export-Controlled Material (e.g., ITAR, EAR) in Proposals
  32. Does SMD have any rules about the use of LLMs like ChatGPT?

1. What's new in ROSES-2024? How does it differ from prior ROSES?

ROSES-2024 may be found at https://solicitation.nasaprs.com/ROSES2024 starting on February 14, 2024. The following significant changes occurred since last year's ROSES solicitation:

  • Currently, SMD does not prohibit the use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, or professional human writers in the preparation of proposals or required award reports. In general, though, SMD discourages the unacknowledged inclusion of any content in proposal materials or award reports that is not the creative product of the proposal team. NASA holds proposers and award recipients responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of their proposal submission and award reports, including content developed with the assistance of Generative AI tools or professional human writers.
    Any material contained in proposals or in reports to NASA that is not the product of the team must be cited in the references section, e.g., either the name of the professional writer and a statement describing to which portions of the document they contributed or, if AI is used, the name of the program, version number, the date and time, and a statement on how the Generative AI was used. For more information see https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/#faq-32.  
  • Last year, by amendment a new subsection (ii) "Collision Avoidance / Conjunction Assessment Requirements" was added to Section VIII(b) General Guidelines for Flight Proposals. This new requirement applies only to investigations for which all three bullets at the top of Section VIII(b)ii are true. See Section VIII(b)ii.
  • The use of Dual-Anonymous Peer Review (DAPR) continues and increases. We estimate that in ROSES-2024, more than 30 program elements will employ DAPR. Any program element that that uses DAPR will say so clearly in the program element text and provide instructions on how to prepare proposals for DAPR. See https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/dual-anonymous-peer-review for more information on DAPR.
  • Inclusion Plan pilot program: ROSES-2024 will continue the uniform and consistent approach to inclusion plan requirements, placing the instructions in Section IV(e)ii of the Summary of Solicitation. We estimate that more than a dozen programs in ROSES-2024 will require an Inclusion Plan. Inclusion plans will not contribute to the adjectival ratings or selection recommendations. Any program element that that requires an inclusion plan will say so clearly in the program element text.
  • We anticipate that the 2024 version of The NASA Proposer’s Guide will soon be posted at https://www.nasa.gov/offices/ocfo/gpc/regulations_and_guidance. Assuming it's released in advance of the first ROSES-24 due date, the 2024 version of the Guidebook will be the one that applies to all ROSES-2024 proposals. Until then, refer to the 2023 version.
  • F.2 Topical Workshops, Symposia, and Conferences (TWSC) became a stand-alone solicitation separate from ROSES in the summer of 2023, see NNH24ZDA002N.

Other things of note:

There have been changes to the program elements within ROSES:

In Appendix A (Earth Science), new program elements include: 1) A.21 Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) Science Team 2) A.31 Earth Science Imaging/Sounding Data Analysis from Earth Observing System to Earth System Observatory, that combines what was previously Terra/Aqua/S-NPP/JPSS, 3) A.32 that combines the previously separately solicited Precipitation Measurements Mission and Cloudsat/CALIPSO science team, and 4) A.59 New or Modified GLOBE Protocols. Some programs in Appendix A strongly encourage proposers to use the Earth Science standard templates for the Table of Work Effort and Current and Pending Support at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/templates-for-earth-science-division-appendix-a-roses-proposals.

In Appendix B (Heliophysics), this year one program element, B.15 Heliophysics Innovation in Technology and Science, accepts proposals at any time without any preliminary statement such as a Notice of Intent. Proposals will be evaluated quarterly. most program elements use a "binding" two-step proposal submission process, see Section IV(b)vii. Proposers are strongly encouraged to use the standard Heliophysics template for the Current and Pending Support and the Open Science and Data Management plan, see https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/templates-heliophysic-division-appendix-b-roses-proposals.

In Appendix C (Planetary Science) the new program elements is C.25 Lunar Mapping Program and Precursor Science Investigations for Europa is returning as C.22. C.4 PDART and C.11 DDAP now place the Open Science and Data Management Plan (OSDMP) in a separate two-page section, following the ROSES default. C.11 Discovery Data Analysis (DDAP) does not request budgets with the proposal, just cost category (small, medium, or large); budgets will be requested later for selectable proposals. C.12 PICASSO will be implementing DAPR for the first time in ROSES-24. All proposals to Appendix C are strongly encouraged to use the planetary science template for Table of Personnel and Work Effort and proposals requiring an OSDMP are strongly encouraged to use the PSD OSDMP template. Both templates may be downloaded from: https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/templates-planetary-science-division-appendix-c-roses-proposals. Additionally, to increase clarity and accessibility, information pertaining to the majority of the programs in Appendix C has been moved into C.1 Planetary Science Research Program Overview. Proposers are advised to read C.1 in its entirety to ensure that they have the necessary information to be compliant with their proposal submission. Additionally, to increase clarity and accessibility, information pertaining to the majority of the programs in Appendix C has been moved into C.1 Planetary Science Research Program Overview. Proposers are advised to read C.1 in its entirety to ensure that they have the necessary information to be compliant with their proposal submission.

In Appendix D (Astrophysics), two new TBD program elements that may be solicited this year include D.18, Euclid General Investigator (GI) program and D.19 Astrophysics Habitable Worlds Observatory System Technologies. The latter is related to but distinct from ROSES-2023 D.19 Critical Technologies for Large Telescopes, which has proposals due April 3, 2024. In a change from prior years, D.2 ADAP does not request budgets with the proposal, just cost category (small, medium, or large); budgets will be requested later for selectable proposals.

In Appendix E (Biological and Physical Sciences), the Decadal Survey released in the Summer of 2023 has resulted in some changes. At the time of release of ROSES, NASA plans that at least two program elements will evaluate proposals using DAPR. Space Biology plans to solicit animal and plant research as two separate program elements and, other than E.8 Physical Sciences Informatics (PSI), the details of the other programs will depend on the BPS response to the recently released decadal survey. PSI will be released in the fall.

Appendix F (Cross-Division) the new program element is Economic, Social and Policy Analyses of Lunar Surface Sustainability in F.21. There are several other changes: Supplement for Scientific Software Platforms has been merged into F.8 Supplement for Open-Source Science. Transform to Open-Science Training has been retired, but requests for development of training material may be submitted to F.14 High Priority Open-Source Science. F.3 Exoplanets Research now places the OSDMP in a separate two-page section, following the ROSES default.

Keeping Track of Changes to ROSES:

ROSES has ~100 active program elements in any given year and many start as drafts or TBD placeholders and final text and due dates are released later in the year. Sometimes unanticipated programs are added, and corrections and clarifications of existing program elements are not unusual. To learn of the addition of new program elements and all amendments to this NRA, proposers may:

  1. Subscribe to the SMD mailing lists (by logging in at https://nspires.nasaprs.com/ and checking the appropriate boxes under "Account Management" and "Email Subscriptions").
  2. Get automatic updates of due dates using the ROSES-2024 due date Google calendar. Instructions will be available shortly after release at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/library-and-useful-links (link from the words due date calendar).
  3. Check the ROSES-2024 Blog at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/grant-solicitations/roses-2024/

Finally, if you are looking for the FAQ for ROSES-2023 (e.g., because you are preparing a proposal for one of the ROSES-2023 program elements due in early calendar 2024) you may view the archived ROSES-2023 FAQ at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/archived-2023-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 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.

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.7 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 you may be able to get an NCE depending on whether the award is assisted or unassisted. Write to your technical officer but also cc sara@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 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 NASA PubSpace, so provide the ID that indicates submission.
  9. Provide a list of any datasets or code archived. Please note any significant differences from what was proposed in the Data Management Plan or Software Development Plan.

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. For more information about closeout please see the NASA Award Closeout Training at https://youtu.be/IRuxuWEyUDk?si=eTtAoX2AbUVBKDjK

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.

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.

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.

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

Any organization may propose to ROSES, including a for-profit. Rarely ROSES program elements 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.

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. 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:
https://nspires.nasaprs.com/tutorials/PDF_Guidelines.pdf.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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, see https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/work-life-balance.

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.

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.

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

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, Earth Science solicits its "Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program" every few years (next anticipated in ROSES-2024) and the rest of SMD solicited for citizen science via the cross-division "Citizen Science Seed Funding Program" (See program element F.9). For more information about Citizen Science please see the fact sheet on Citizen Science for researchers at https://science.nasa.gov/science-pink/s3fs-public/atoms/files/CitSci_For_Researchers%20%20-%20%20Read-Only.pdf

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.

30. Link to NASA Grants Policy and Compliance FAQ:

31. Export-Controlled Material in Proposals

Under U.S. law and regulations, spacecraft and their specifically designed, modified, or configured systems, components, and parts are generally either considered "Defense Articles" on the United States Munitions List and are, therefore, subject to the provisions of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR parts 120–130; or otherwise controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), 15 CFR parts 730–774, issued by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security under laws relating to the control of certain exports, reexports, and activities.

The NSPIRES electronic cover page for all proposals includes mandatory Program Specific Data (PSD) questions regarding the presence of export-controlled information in the proposal. Failure to answer these PSD questions will prevent a proposal’s submission. While inclusion of export-controlled material in proposals is not prohibited, proposers are advised that the inclusion of such material in proposals may complicate NASA’s ability to evaluate proposals, as NASA may employ the services of those who are not U.S. persons to review proposals submitted in response to this AO. In order to enable proper evaluation of proposals, any export-controlled information subject to ITAR or EAR must be marked with a notice to that effect.

If the proposal contains export-controlled material, the material shall be presented in a red font or enclosed in a red-bordered box, and the following statement shall be prominently displayed on a cover page on the front page of the uploaded proposal document.

  • “The information (data) contained in [insert page numbers or other identification] of this proposal is (are) subject to U.S. export laws and regulations. It is furnished to the Government with the understanding that it will not be exported without the prior approval of the proposer under the terms of an applicable export license or technical assistance agreement. The identified information (data) is (are) printed in a red font and figure(s) and table(s) containing the identified information (data) is (are) placed in a red-bordered box.”

Note that it is the proposer’s responsibility to determine whether any proposal information is subject to the provisions of ITAR or EAR. Information about U.S. export regulations is available at http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/ and at https://www.bis.doc.gov/.

32. Does SMD have any rules about the use of LLMs like ChatGPT?

Currently, SMD does not prohibit the use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, or professional human writers in the preparation of proposals or required award reports. In general, though, SMD discourages the unacknowledged inclusion of any content in proposal materials or award reports that is not the creative product of the proposal team. NASA holds proposers and award recipients responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of their proposal submission and award reports, including content developed with the assistance of Generative AI tools or professional human writers.

NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 1920.1A, "Scientific and Research Integrity" addresses fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing or performing NASA-funded research, or in reporting results funded by NASA. At present, Generative AI tools may create these research misconduct risks, and proposers and awardees are responsible for ensuring the integrity of their proposal and reporting of research results.

Additionally, SMD notes that anything given to a Generative AI tool as a prompt will often be stored and may be used by others who use that Generative AI system in the future. Proposers should consider carefully any information used to prompt a Generative AI keeping in mind that this information may aid a potential competitor. Proposal material that is subject to the restrictions of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or Export Administration Regulations (EAR) must not be uploaded to a website accessible to non-US persons.  

Any material contained in SMD proposals or in reports of NASA-funded research results that is not the product of the proposal or awarded team must be acknowledged. If Generative AI is used in the preparation of SMD proposals or progress reporting to NASA, then that use shall be cited in the references section. The citation shall include (1) the name of the program used, (2) the version number of the Generative AI used, (3) the date and time the Generative AI was used to generate proposal text, and (4) a statement on how the Generative AI was used. If a professional human writer contributed to any of the material in a proposal or report, then they must be cited in the references section. The citation shall include (1) the name of the writer, and (2) a statement describing to which portions of the document they contributed.

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