How To Guide
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How to Keep up With Changes to ROSES & NSPIRES
ROSES, our omnibus solicitation for proposals, is constantly being amended, clarified, and updated. To learn of new program elements that are added and keep up with amendments to existing ones proposers are strongly encouraged to subscribe to:
- The SMD mailing lists (by logging in at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ and checking the appropriate boxes under "Account Management" and "Email Subscriptions"),
- The ROSES-2021 blog for amendments, clarifications, and corrections to http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/grant-solicitations/ROSES-2021/ and
- The ROSES due date Google calendar. Instructions are at https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/library-and-useful-links (link from the words due date calendar).
Finally, please review the frequently asked questions about ROSES at http://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/.
How to Avoid Grant Delays
The NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) is the NASA organization that issues grants to non-governmental PIs. The NSSC reports that the number one cause of grant delays is a failure on the part of the proposer to submit accurate budget rates from their institution including approved indirect rates and appropriate justification for expenditures (see the budget details FAQ and the Guidebook for Proposers for instructions). This is one YOU can fix. Also, the more detail in your budget justification (or narrative) the less likely your grant will be delayed. Try to explain procurements in a manner that would be understood by a non-scientist, but with enough detail that they know what will be purchased.
How to Become a Reviewer
NASA seeks to have each review panel staffed with members of the scientific community that represent the right expertise for the topic at hand. NASA Program Officers work very hard to ensure that is the case, but the combination of so many proposals, often with multiple co-investigators per proposal and an overworked community make it increasingly difficult to put panels together in short order. You can help. If you are not one of those frequently called upon to serve and feel you could contribute, please let us know. We will follow up with a request for more information. Volunteering does not guarantee you will be called, but it serves to increase the pool of reviewers which can only help. Also, please say yes when you are called. We realize the impact on your time, but this is really the best way to keep our programs strong. To sign up as a volunteer reviewer visit the Volunteer for Review Panels web page. If you don't immediately see anything relevant there, keep in mind that the volunteer page is updated a few times a year as due dates comes and go, so check back. Also, not all programs have volunteer web forms, so you may write to the program officer who runs the program that most closely aligns with your expertise. You can find contact information for all of them at the Program Officers List.
A note on Submitting proposals via Grants.gov
The vast majority of proposals to NASA's Science Mission Directorate are submitted via the NSPIRES web page. Proposals to ROSES program elements that result in grants and cooperative agreements can also be submitted through Grants.gov. However, opportunities that award contracts to non-governmental organizations are not in grants.gov. Such opportunities typically include Announcements of Opportunity (for large flight projects). Most prefer NSPIRES because it automatically checks that a submission complies with the submission rules in the NRA, for instance it limits the length of the abstract and other parts of the proposal, in keeping with SMD instructions, whereas Grants.gov does not. In addition, even if you submit via Grants.gov you will still have to register with NSPIRES since we use that information for automatic conflict of interest checking. For more information see http://nasascience.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/faqs/#17.
How to submit progress reports
Annual standardized electronic progress reports are now required before the Program Officers can release second and third year funding. Progress reports should be submitted in any easily readable electronic format (such as a PDF). If you have a grant from the NSSC then the PI (and the AOR) will get a reminder email from NSSC. The PI will be asked to send in the progress report as PDF file. In case you deleted it, or the reminder email got filtered, the NSSC address to which you should send your progress report is: NSSC-Grant-Report@mail.nasa.gov and please also send a copy to your program officer, who's email address you can find here. If you are at a NASA center or another government lab then you don't have a grant and will not get a reminder from the NSSC, nor do you need to send your report to them. instead please send in your progress report to your program officer by September first so that your funds can be requested at the start of the fiscal year.
Annual progress reports shall include the following on the first page:
- Title of the grant.
- Type of report.
- Name of the principal investigator.
- Period covered by the report.
- Name and address of the recipient's institution.
- Grant number.
By default SMD uses the mandatory minimum Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) format for the annual progress reports so, unless you were told otherwise by your program manager it should contain the following three parts:
- Accomplishments: Start by reminding us what are the major goals and objectives of the project and What did you achieve towards those goals? At first the emphasis will be on reporting activities but as the project progresses you will be reporting specific accomplishments. For example, describe major activities; significant results, major findings, developments, or conclusions (both positive and negative); and key outcomes or other achievements. Include a discussion of stated goals not met.
- How have the results been disseminated: For example, a list of publications that have appeared as a result of the award. Of course all publications should acknowledge NASA support, including the name of the program, and the grant number(s). As part of your reporting on dissemination of results, please provide information on the archiving of as-accepted manuscripts of peer reviewed publications in NIH PMC/Pubspace and on the archiving of data vs. what you promised in your data management plan. Even if a DMP was not required as a part of a proposal, the information needed to validate the scientific conclusions of peer-reviewed publications resulting from an award, must be made public at the time of publication in a place where it can be found and it is likely to persist, e.g., in the supplemental material of the article, a community-endorsed repository, a NASA repository such as data.nasa.gov or a repository supported by a division, or a combination of different resources as would be most appropriate to the data being shared. Similarly, please report on code, if applicable. Code developed under grants should be made publicly available when it is practical and feasible to do so, and when there is scientific utility in doing so.
- Future plans: if this is not your final report, what are you planning to do next? Is it different than what was in the original proposal? That's OK, but please explain a bit.
How to handle PI sponsoring institution transfers smoothly
The process of transferring your grants from one institution to another when you move currently takes a very long time because funds must be returned from the old institution before they can be sent to the new one (technically, NASA issues grants to institutions, not individuals, so it is not "yours" to take). We realize that science research suffers when the funds are not transferred in a timely fashion, and that a PI spends a lot of time getting the institutions to exchange information, so we are seeking improvements in this system. For now, please tell us (both your program officer and SARA) as soon as you know you are moving to a new institution. We will help as much as possible now, and work to repair the system for the long run.
Even if you are submitting your proposal via grants.gov the PI still must be a registered user of NSPIRES so we have a way to track it after submission. Please register for NSPIRES as soon as possible if you will be submitting a proposal.
How to get a no-cost extension
Its easy! In most cases (of a grant or a cooperative agreement with a nonprofit entity) you can get your first no-cost extension of the award's expiration date for up to 12 months automatically by just asking for it before the end of the period of performance. For the vast majority of you have grants with numbers that begin "NNX.." (those that got your awards since ~2008 via the NSSC) all you have to do is go to this web page: https://www.nssc.nasa.gov/nocostextension.