NSF Releases Some Stimulus Guidance


The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) final plans for its $3 billion in stimulus funding have still not been approved by the White House. However, NSF has posted fact sheets confirming the outline of the spending plans. In particular:

  • Unlike at NIH, there will be no new research solicitations specifically for stimulus funding and no supplements made with stimulus funds. NSF will use the research funding to make standard grants of varying lengths (up to five years). Recipients will be expected to begin expending the funding as soon as possible.
    • The $2 billion in research funding will mainly be used to increase the success rate by funding existing proposals for ongoing NSF programs.
    • Eligible proposals are those which would be reviewed and/or awarded in fiscal year (FY) 2009, i.e. between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. Most of these proposals are already in the review process at NSF, although some ongoing programs that have upcoming due dates will also benefit from stimulus funding.As soon as NSF’s plans are approved by the White House, NSF program officers will quickly begin contacting the researchers whose grants were reviewed highly but could not be funded (this includes some proposals that were declined after October 1, 2008).
  • Priority will be placed on supporting new investigators and high-risk, high-return research. The CAREER and Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) competitions are explicitly called out as examples of programs in which more awards will be made due to the availability of stimulus funds.
  • New solicitations are expected for three infrastructure and education programs: the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program ($300 million), an Academic Research Infrastructure program ($200 million), and a Professional Science Masters Program ($15 million).
  • All projects funded with stimulus funding will be required to provide, on a quarterly basis, an estimate of the number of jobs created and retained. NSF suggests that this include at a minimum any new positions created and any existing filled positions that were retained to support or carry out stimulus projects. NSF plans to issue further guidance to awardees in the future.

The documents that NSF has released with the available information on stimulus policies to date are a Fact Sheet, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and a letter from the NSF Director.
In addition to NSF plans to support research with stimulus funds, NSF also is planning to support the study of the effects of the stimulus funding on both the ecology of innovation and on the science and engineering enterprise. See http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2009/nsf09034/nsf09034.jsp.

CSWE Contact: Wendy Naus, wendy@lewis-burke.com

Contact: Wendy Naus