Recorded Webinar: Technical Guidance for ExLENT Proposals
Hi! I'm, Mary Crowe i'm a program officer within the Directorate for STEM education. I'm here today i'm joined with my colleagues. who are in the directorate for STEM Education, and also the directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. during this presentation, though you're only going to see here and see me i'm gonna be giving the presentation and the rest of my awesome team is gonna be in the background. If we are going to be recording this session, and we will be posting it to the excellent website.
Please know there will be a time delay from when we record it to when it's posted, because we need to go through and and clear up any issues with respect to accessibility I wanna welcome you to our technical webinar and during this technical webinar. we're gonna walk you through the process of creating a proposal package by a research. Gov. If, during this presentation you have any questions that come up, feel free to post them in the Q. A like, I said. my colleagues my in excellent will do their best to answer questions that you might have.
And when i'm done presenting if there's time we'll do a live Q. A. For some of the questions that have come in so again, welcome thanks for coming. We're excited about moving forward with our program and receiving your proposals. Before I actually go into the nuts and bolts related to research.gov I want to remind you that every organization involved in your project is going to have to have a system award management, a Sam and a unique identity.
Unique identity identification. We know that many of you who are here right now are members of higher institutions, of higher education, colleges, community colleges for your institutions. But we you might be working with some partners for the first time on the excellent program. Know that in order for you to provide any funds to your partnering organizations, they are going to have to have their own.
Sam, and there's a little highlighted in yellow on the NSF. Site that right now I can take weeks for a Sam to be issued. We wanted to bring this to your attention right. Now so that you could reach out to your partners to ensure that they complete the paperwork so that they're able to get those we want to make sure that you keep these 2 items.
Close at hand as you develop your proposal. On the left hand side of the slide is, and Nsf. PAPPG. the proposal and award policies and procedures guideline. You can think of the PAPPG. as a roadmap to the United States, and on the right hand side is the roadmap to is our solicitation, our ExLENT solicitation. And that's going to give you directions specifically related to our program. And so the PAPPG has an awful lot of information.
Be sure that you're referring to the most recent copy, which is 23, one on hand. And when you go to the PAPPG, when you log in and you can actually download this onto your computer, an electronic copy of it what you want to focus on is chapter 2 the proposal preparation instructions. You'll see that the PAPPG has other chapters devoted to different aspects of the grant review, and also the award process. But today's webinar is going to focus on the proposal preparation. We figured that that's probably what folks are most interested in at this point in time.
Showing right now on this slide is a screenshot of the research. Gov. homepage. This is where everything starts for nsf what you'll also see on the right hand side of this is that Nsf. Has a whole series of video tutorials that you can watch.
This is the first time you've ever submitted or created an account through research, dot com. There are lots of Demos and videos that are going to walk you through the process. We record that there are 2 ways to submit your excellent proposal. One way is through Grant stock go, and the other is through this site. Research, dot com in order to keep things simple and to not confuse folks.
We've chosen just this mechanism research dot com to walk everybody through so that if any questions come up you know how to put in your proposal through research documents We're also assuming that anybody who's attended this who's attending this webinar have already taken the steps to register for an in common, so that you can indeed begin the process of creating a proposal and again, as I said, many of the folks who've signed up to be here. Look like they're at institutions of higher education and so your institution probably already has this information. But if they don't know that if you're brand new to Nsf and working in research, Dot com you'll have to take this step first. If your institution or organization has already gotten an account through research, go, you need to make sure that you are a user assigned a user. So your Grants officer or the off person in your Budget office will have to add you to as a user to your organization's account. And again, Nsf staff have created a number of videos and documents that help describe this process.
And so, if there are folks in your business office who are a little confused on how to do this, know that there are lots of tutorials that you can click on that describe the process. So now we're gonna assume that you have nsf Id and what you're gonna do and an account through your organization. you're gonna sign in with your email address and your password. you're gonna be given a temporary Password to begin with and the first thing you're gonna do is create a new task work once you're in to research, Dot com you're gonna see this screen. And you have 3 options on the screen you're You're gonna be able to prepare a new proposal.
You're gonna be able to look at proposals that are in progress either through the review process or in you creating them. And also a little tab that you could look at what's going on with your submitted proposal. Right now. you're gonna prepare a new proposal Please note you do not have to finish your proposal all in one setting that you can begin your and it will likely take you a long time to put your proposal together. And the second time you log in you'll click on this box in process, instead of preparing a new proposal When you click on preparing the new proposal you're going to see the screen, and it's got 4 steps, and then the funding opportunity where to apply the proposal type and the proposal details what i'm gonna do is i'm gonna walk through each one of these steps you'll notice when you first log in that there's gonna be a whole long list hundreds, thousands of Nsf programs that you could apply to for funding. And what you want to make sure as you create your new proposal is that you've identified the excellent program as the program in which you're going to be submitting the proposal. So in the search bar you can just type E. X. and our solicitation nsf, 23, d, 5 O.
7 pops up at the top. You can also type in experiential learning for emerging, and it will pop up at the top. You can also type in our solicitation number, but in a nutshell. What you want to make sure is clicking on this number, and Sf. 23, 5, o 7. That means this new proposal is what you're going to be submitting your project and your narration for the second step of this is where to apply this page. You don't have to do anything on this page is south populated by research. Gov. And basically all you have to do on this page is fit next.
So you'll just come down and hit next the third step out of the 4 steps to creating a new full proposal is to identify the proposal type, and all the proposals that will be submitted to excellent you should click on the very first box research that's the type of proposal that you'll be submitting to excellent The last step to creating the your brand new full proposal is You have to decide what type of proposal are you submitting. If you're going to be submitting a single proposal where you're working with your partners and sub awards, you'll click on this box, if if you're gonna be selecting to submit a collaborative proposal you'll click on the box below we again. are making an assumption here that you will be submitting a single proposal with or without sub awards and on the screen you're going to be asked to type in a potential title for your proposal please note that you can change your proposal title at any point in the process until you hit the submit button to Nsf. And you'll know this, I kind of made a mistake one of the instructions that is in our solicitation. It says when you create your proposal and the proposal title you have to identify what track you're gonna be submitting for, and you'll see that you can edit these things because in the next slide up at the top you'll see i've now identified this as a pivots track. So I went in, and I changed the title it's it's very easy to do.
You'll also see that it's identified the you can double check that the right solicitation is there 23507. Where to apply is all here. All of this is here. Note that in the upper right hand corner there are going to be 2 dates that are listed for you to apply, for we have a September Deadline and we also have the March deadline. You want to make sure we're assuming You're here because you're going to be applying to the March deadline. So you're gonna wanna make sure you click on the march second 2023 deadline once you do that.
What pops up is what your entire Grant package looks like. And so these are all parts of the grant proposal There's also some instructions related to sharing your proposal with your business office or your sponsored research. office. We'll talk a little bit about that and then, this little tab over here. initiate proposal submission.
You won't be doing anything related to that what we're gonna do today? Is We're going to walk you through each part of the proposal package. Please note that in your proposal for this proposal. Package. The reviewers are gonna see all everything that you submit So it's not just the project summary, and it's not just the project description. Every thing that is part of your proposal Package will be seen by reviewers. The first part of your proposal package is the commerce sheet. and so we're, we're going, you know, march our way down through the proposal package here. Most of the cover sheet is self-populated by information. You provided elsewhere, and research dot com. So once you complete your budget that will be uploaded into the cover page you saw I already created a title that gets populated into your cover page.
The solicitation number is automatically put in, as is your organization. There are a couple things that you'll need to enter in on the cover page. You'll have to enter a potential start date and the number of months in which you're requesting support. Please note that it can take up to 6 months for Nsf to make a decision on your proposal. So you're not gonna want to put in a start date of April, or May.
If You're submitting to the March deadline you you want't hear back from Nsf. Whether or not your proposal was funded that early. Please also note that the number of months can vary the excellent solicitation says that you can ask for up to 3 years of funding. so 36 months of funding. But let's say your excellent proposal or your project is only 2 years.
You would put 24 months there. You do not have to ask for 3 years of funding. We anticipate many of you will but we wanted to let you know that you don't necessarily have to. So that's the cover page. The next part of the proposal is your project summary, and this is up to one page in in length. Remember when I said to have a copy of the solicitation handy, This is why I said to do so.
This wording right here on this slide that time talks about the project summary that it consists of 3 parts, a project overview a statement on the intellectual merit of the proposed activity and a statement on the broader impacts of the pro pros and activity that the first sentence, so the overview must indicate the track, the excellent project being submitted, and that you need to describe the emerging technology, feel the learning experiences to be in implemented and evaluated the project Partners description of the intended participants, including the expected number of participants that will be supported. So this narrative that's found on this slide is actually found in the excellent solicitation So we're giving you, step by step, instructions as to what you need to put in the different sections of your proposal The project description you can use up to 15 pages of narrative. Please note that we've asked for 10 different items to your proposal, and you have just 15 pages.
It's up to you to determine how much narrative you use in each section. So we're not anticipating that section a will be a half a page in Section B will have to be a half a page, or section, C will be a half a page. It's entirely up to you to use the 15 pages in the manner in which you need to use your narrative. Please also note that if you don't have any prior nsf support you, don't you won't have a section J in your proposal, the pack G that roadmap that I talked about earlier has instructions on allowable fonts what the margins need to be. Single spacing and other formatting requirements of every proposal.
The solicitation, and i'm going to go into this in a minute provides instructions about what we're viewers will be expected to see on each of these 6 these sections One note that I wanted to point out to you is when you're developing your project description. Please do not put links where you're expecting reviewers to go to an outside website to find information. Many of our reviewers well actually print out the proposal package and read a hard copy of it. They will not click on links. Many of our proposals reviewers who are reading an electronic copy of your pro proposal will also not click on those links. Everything that you need. Reviewers to know about your program needs to be found in the narrative, not on, not in an appendix, and not in a link to another document. So when we talk about these 10 parts to your project description, which is 15 pages long, please note that we provided some details in the excellent solicitation for what belongs in each of those sections.
So, for example, if you look at experiential learning activities, part B of your narrative, the solicitation says that the proposal should include how the activities will use proven practices to inform the design of the activities immersed participants, and those experiences provide for career and self exploration and result in participants developing the interest, motivation, skills, knowledge and professional competencies to pervert, pursue a career and emerging. Technology feel. So again, we provided you, in the solicitation some pretty specific details of what reviewers are going to be expecting to see within your project description. Another example of this, and i'm not going to go through all of these. But I wanted to highlight just a couple, so that you remember you're gonna have to go back to your solicitation, and in the solicitation look for the details for what's expected in these different sections so on partnerships. The proposals should include a collaboration plan that defines the vision and goals of the partnerships, and that delineates the roles and responsibilities of those partnerships should provide a communication plan that, and a general schedule that talks a little bit about how and when partners are gonna communicate with each other, and then also tells us a little bit about what benefit the participants get from having all these different partners involved in your project.
The third section of your proposal is a references cited section. This is a Pdf document that you're going to upload into the application package. Any literature cited. okay should specifically relate to the motivation or does of the proposed project. This references cited should only include the references that you've cited within your narrative. If you include, do not include references that are not cited within your proposal.
I'm gonna take a little time to talk, about the Budget section, because a lot goes into this. If this is the first time that you are creating a budget by research. Gov: Please, please, please take the time to click on this video on how to work on a proposed budget within Nsl: Unlike other aspects of the proposal package. You will not be uploading a Pdf. you will be directly inputting numbers into this form in the budget section of the proposal package as a former Pi. and as a program officer I am going to really encourage you to use, excel, to create, tweak and finalize your budget.
Once. this is done. you can then type in the numbers into this 4 that's found out on research dot com it's very cumbersome to play around with a budget in research. Dot com. If you're new to nsf know that you can Google Nsf budget template and a whole bunch of different excel files will pop up from different organizations that will have expect excel spreadsheets and workbooks that are formalized for nsf. You might want to download one of those onto your computer and use that as you start to play around with.
And create your budget We're making an assumption that you are going to have sub awards. So if you're submitting a proposal and you're working with partners, and they excellent program expects that you will be working with partners, you are gonna have some sub awards associated with your budget I am a rotating program officer. So this is why Florida Southern College shows up. This is my home institution. this subaward organization is just a hypothetical.
It's just here to be used as an example and again I want to remind you that each partner that you're working with that is going to receive any of the Nsf funds will be considered a sub awardy and they must have a Sam, Sl. U. I. e. please also note yeah even though the budget for Florida State University is a sub award. you will be entering an information for the civil war ease as well as yours so it's not like a sub award. he's gonna have access to your proposal and Fast Lane. They're gonna provide you the information and Then you're gonna enter that in for them directly. In addition to your budget you're gonna have a budget justification, and what the budget justification is is a short description of each light. I know. Please note that every budget that gets submitted either through you, your organization or the sub awards. There's a budget and a budget justification for each, for example, let's say you wanted to provide your participants stipend of $8,000.
So in your proposal you would have $8,000 listed as right up here a stipend per participant in the budget justification, which can be up to 5 pages long. You would say what this $8,000 is so you might say our program is gonna be our internship or co-op, or whatever it is you're doing with your participants is going to be 10 weeks in duration and participants are going to be spending 40 h a week and the Boeing rate for a competitive compensated experiential education. We have to pay our participants. $20 an hour that's what you would put in your budget justification that describes each of these line at us. You'll notice also here that the sub award so if my total drop costs right down here.
It's 8,500 that was because we said Florida State had $500. So your sub award automatically gets pulled in to your overall budget. But again, you're gonna be creating this budget in research Gov. And you will be hand entering in this information you again, free your budget in excel. Get it down to the dollar amount that you want, and then you're gonna hand. Enter this into research, dot, com.
We have another document in your proposal that's called facilities, equipment, and other resources, much like the other proposals. This will be a narrative, and what this is gonna do is it's gonna describe the facilities and equipment and other resources that you have available to perform the project. So what equipment might your participants have at the workplace provider? Is there a meeting space where you're anticipating pulling all of your participants and their mentors together at it? Is there specific or special stuff that your institution or organization will be used to create community amongst all your stakeholders? Please know that cost sharing is not allowed by and Nsf: So you can in this document, though. Talk about the resources that are available For example, let's say you have a full-time internship coordinator at your organization, and that they are going to be helping the participants in your programs as part of their normal duties this is where you'll describe this so it's not a cost share but it's using available resources in support of your project For those of you new to Nsf. the following 3 parts are gonna be kinda what this is crazy. We didn't know we needed to do this these are called personnel forms that we need for every pi copi and anybody who's listed as a senior personnel on your project.
So if you have a pi a copi and a second copi so it's you 2 copies with your partners. That's 3 of you there's a form for each of you So that's going to be 9 total forms related to the senior personnel on your project. Let's say you have a total of 5 a pi a copi and 3 senior person out. you're gonna have 15 forms that you're gonna need to create the first form is called the bio sketch and for each person that bile sketch can be up to 3 pages and it's gonna describe the professional preparation the job in which the person is inhabiting any products. And what we mean by products are publications websites training manuals.
Anything that you've done that is related to your project that is published and is available to the public to look at. And then d synergistic activities. there is an nsfillable form, so you can download this form where you will, can fill in the information for a given Pi Copi or senior personnel. Please know that if you are working with an external evaluator for your program, that person will be have their bio sketches uploaded into other supplementary documents. The second form that you're gonna have for all your senior personnel is something related to what's called current impending support. And again, this is a nsf fillable form that you can download through research.
Go, but in in a nutshell for every single grant that you're person is involved in whether it's a federal grant, a State, a local or private foundation. You're gonna have to enter in this information the title of the of the project that they're working on whether or not the support is current pending you're planning on submitting it with the next year How much should, for where the work is being done, what's most important is the person months that your senior personnel are devoted to that project, please know that the very first entry on this form should be the excellent grant that you are applying for you'll click the box as penny and add in the information here. So the very first and entry for each of your senior personnel will be the excellent proposal that in which you're submitting to the third form that you'll be submitting for each senior personnel that's involved in your proposal is called collaborators and other affiliations. This information helps Nsf identify potential conflicts of interest prior to the review process.
As you well know, or maybe you don't know but you're gonna find out nsf relies on the external reviewers as part of the review process, and we take conflicts of interest very very seriously you'll notice that this collaborators and other affiliator forms has 5 items for each of your senior personnel. Please note that there is an nsf fillable form that you will fill in for each one of these sections. There's a template you'll fill in for each person, and then you'll upload that form into research, dot com, but in a nutshell. It's going to be asking an individual's name who they work for Whether or not they they have family or personal or business relationships with organizations that potentially could be a conflict.
If the senior personnel has received a PHD you'll enter the information about the PHD. Advisor in that section, if they've advised students and for Phds themselves. That information will be on Section 3 if your senior personnel does not have a PHD. You'll leave this section of the form blank Sorry need to take a little set Another document or the next document in your proposal Package is called the Data management plan, and this can be up to 2 pages long. The Pat G. describes what goes into the data management plan, but in a nutshell the data management plan needs to cover 5 different categories. The types of data that might be produced, the standards in which this data is going to be held, policies for sharing that data, including provisions for privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property rights, and other rights, and requirements. How? you're gonna redistribute any of this information, and then your plans for archiving samples and or other research projects, so that folks can have access to that.
And so your data management plan, I think, is unique to Nsf. And again, these are the 5 categories of information that We're asking information about You'll create a word document. You'll talk a little bit about the data that's involved in your project, and you'll upload this to the research Gov as a Pdf. There are 2 required supplementary documents for the excellent program. If you fail to provide both of these documents, your proposal could be returned without review.
The first supplementary document is called the mentoring the Plan. And again that excellent solicitation has this information outlined in it. so be sure to have the solicitation by your side as you're putting your proposal package together. The met. we provide some pretty explicit instructions about what should be covered in the mentoring plan.
So a description of the activities, what the orientation might look like for your participants. The individual development plan for your participants, the competencies for a successful career. So how are you going to be mentoring folks with respect to teamwork and leadership and their own ability to to formulate their career paths? And then we are expecting that participants. in the program will have some one on one mentoring. and so we wanna know a little bit about what that's gonna look like. What one is they gonna happen who's gonna provide that again. These are the points that you're mentoring plan should address the second supplementary document that's required are the letters of collaboration. The path. G. provide some very specific guidelines to what's required in a letter of collaboration in a nutshell.
What we want you to do is indicate the partners commitment enroll in the proposed activities. So if one of your stakeholders or partners is providing, mentoring their letter of support or letter of collaboration, should say, and we will be mentoring participants as described in the proposal, please, know that if you provide a letter of support that merely endorses the project, ie. Hey? this is a great idea. we've been trying to pull this together. We're so excited that this is happening in our community Those are not allowed, and your proposal could be returned without review. If you include any of those generalized letter of support what we're looking for are specific letters on the letter head of the organizations that are involved in your project, that that outline that partner's commitment and role to the activities that you're describing in your project what you're gonna Do is you're gonna save all of these letters into one file.
Save it as a Pdf and uploaded it into a single Pdf. These last 3 things the final items on the proposal package. You will likely not use. but you might, if you have a list of suggested reviewers. You can tell us who you think would be a good reviewer for your excellent project that doesn't mean that we will necessarily select them.
But you can provide us some reviewers. If there are individuals or organizations that you do not want to review your proposal, you need to indicate that there there is also something called the d deviation of authorization. The only way that you will have such a deviation of authors is through conversations with the program officer. So we're pretty sure none of you will have that there are no additional single copy documents that you need.
And please also note that appendices are not permitted. If you attach anything as an appendix, your proposal will be returned without review. So those are all the parts of the proposal package. Eve crafted You've made sure what you've written in the project.
Summary is aligned with what's in the project description, the things that you say you're going to be doing in the project description are budgeted for in your budget, and the budget justification shows all of that. And so now you think that you're going to be ready to submit. So what you're gonna have to do at this point is sharing your proposal with the officer and the personnel who are going to be submitting your project for you. Truth be told, you can share your proposal. package with this with that office at any point in time, and i'm going to show you a little bit about what happens when you go to share that document with them in a second you will not be submitting the package. Somebody else at your organization will be going to what happens when you go to submit. Your proposal is NSF research.gov is awesome because it's gonna run it through a compliance check, and it's gonna highlight.
All the problems that you are want, all the things that are wrong with your proposal. So please, please, please do not wait until the last day to submit your proposal. So you'll notice on this slide that these are all the errors with the hypothetical proposal. I created for this technical webinar. Hopefully, what will happen is when you go to share this with your sponsored research office, or your budget, or your budget, or your personnel office. There will be none of these things that come up. So remember, do not wait until the last day to submit your proposal.
Many institutions and organizations, will ask that you have your proposal done ahead of time. You want to be cognizant of the work that happens behind the scene by others, to make sure that your proposal is compliant, and there are no other issues related to it. Because what will happen after you tell them they can submit. It is there gonna click on this? They are gonna click on this button called Initiate proposal submission. And then there are going to be a number of steps that happen before you as your proposal actually gets submitted to NSF. Please, please, please do not wait until the last day to submit.
NSF systems have been known to slow down when the deadline for proposals come around, especially if you were receiving a lot of proposals for a given competition. You must submit, or the person in your organization must submit. Your proposal no later than 4:59 pm. Local time if you're if things there's a glitch in the system.
There's a delay, and your proposal hits NSF research. Gov. Is submitted at 501 P. M. it will be returned without review again. There are many steps that the business office or your office of sponsor programs have to go through to submit a proposal.