March 09, 2018

NSF Organizational Definition of a “Year”

The National Science Foundation generally limits the salary compensation requested for senior personnel to no more than two person months of salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants.

The January 29, 2018 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) now states that it is the proposing organization’s responsibility to define and consistently apply the term “year.” Furthermore, the organization’s definition of a “year” now must be described in the budget justification submitted with every NSF proposal.

Effective April 1, 2018: For the purpose of submitting NSF proposals and managing NSF salary compensation for senior personnel after an award is made, UC Berkeley’s definition of a “year” shall be the institution’s fiscal year, i.e. July 1st to June 30th. This definition must be included in the budget justification for all NSF proposals submitted by Berkeley Principal Investigators.

Note: If anticipated at the proposal stage, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.

Also, under normal re-budgeting authority, NSF allows the University to increase or decrease the person months senior personnel devote to an NSF project after an award is made, even if doing so results in salary support for senior personnel exceeding the two-month salary policy. No prior approval from NSF is necessary as long as that change does not cause the objectives or scope of the project to change. NSF prior approval is necessary if the objectives or scope of the project change.

For more information see NSF’s Senior Personnel Salaries and Wages Policy.