February 19, 2009

New NSF PAPPG, Effective April 6, Updates Postdoc Mentoring Plan Requirements

The National Science Foundation has issued a revision to the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The revision, NSF 09-29, is effective for proposals submitted on or after April 6, 2009. In the interim, the guidelines contained in NSF 09-1 continue to apply. Proposers responding to an NSF funding opportunity with a due date on or after April 6 must comply with the guidelines in NSF 09-29.

The NSF 09-29 revision changes the requirements for mentoring activities for postdocs, for proposals that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers. Currently, the NSF 09-1 Proposal Preparation Instructions require that mentoring activities be described in a separate section in the 15-page Project Description. The new NSF 09-29 Proposal Preparation Instructions change this to require a maximum one-page description in a supplementary document.

From the NSF 09-29 Proposal Preparation Instructions, effective April 6:
Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan. Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. In no more than one page, the mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, irrespective of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subawardee organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative project. Proposers are advised that the mentoring plan may not be used to circumvent the 15-page project description limitation.

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 include funding to support postdoctoral researchers, and, do not include the requisite mentoring plan will be returned without review.
NSF 09-29 GPG Summary of Significant Changes

December 2008 Research Advocate: NSF Postdoc Mentoring Plan Required for Proposals Received On or After January 5
October 2008 Research Advocate: Significant Changes in New NSF Policies and Procedures Guide