December 11, 2008

NSF Postdoc Mentoring Plan Required for Proposals Received On or After January 5

The revised National Science Foundation NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 09-1) is effective for proposals received on or after January 5, 2009.

One significant change is that NSF has added a new requirement to the Proposal Preparation Instructions regarding mentoring for postdoctoral fellows. Proposals that request funding to support postdoctoral researchers that do not include a separate section on mentoring activities will be returned without review.

The revised NSF instructions state that: “Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a separate section within the 15-page Project Description, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices. The proposed mentoring activities will be evaluated as part of the merit review process under the Foundation's broader impacts merit review criterion. Proposals that do not include a separate section on mentoring activities within the Project Description will be returned without review.”

The revised PAPPG includes some other notable changes; NSF included a Summary of Significant Changes with the Grant Proposal Guide.

October 2008 Research Advocate: Significant Changes in New NSF Policies and Procedures Guide