What should we know about the revised version of NSF’s PAPPG?

As we’ve discussed recently on this blog, NSF has announced a new version of its Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 17-1, and there are significant changes in this document that will be important for the sponsored research community. NSF has modified the PAPPG in its entirety, eliminating separate recognition of the Grants Proposal Guide (GPG) and the Award & Administration Guide (AAG). With NSF 17-1, the entire document will be referred to as PAPPG, Parts I and II, with chapters sequentially numbered from I-XII. The PAPPG, NSF 17-1, becomes effective January 30, 2017 and will apply to all proposals submitted, or due, on or after this date and to all awards made on or after this date.

We hosted an NSF webinar on the revised PAPPG last week, and there will be another NSF webinar in January that you can register for on the outreach events website. But in case you missed our webinar and want to start getting up to speed on the new PAPPG, we’ve created a list of some important points to note based on NSF’s informational webinar and Summary of Changes.

Significant Changes to Part I:

  1. Greater clarity on instructions for proposals submitted late due to natural or anthropogenic disasters
  2. Collaborator & other affiliations information: Thesis Advisor and Postgraduate Scholar Sponsor replaced with Ph.D. Advisor and instructions added for placement of this section in separately submitted collaborative proposals.
  3. Cost sharing:  Clarification of the difference between voluntary committed and voluntary uncommitted cost sharing, plus clarification that inclusion of indirect cost rates lower than negotiated rates is considered voluntary committed cost sharing.
  4. Human subjects: New language has been added on 45 CFR 690.118, including a new template.  Additional FAQs will be added on this topic by NSF.  There will be a new award clause for projects involving human subjects.
  5. Vertebrate Animals: Additional clarity has been added regarding departures from the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals; such departures must be approved by the IACUC.  There will be a new award clause for projects involving the use of vertebrate animals.
  6. Environmental requirements have been supplemented with a standard Organizational Environmental Impacts Checklist.
  7. Special processing instructions: A new section was added to Chapter II to address proprietary or privileged information, collaborative proposals, beginning investigators, vertebrate animals, human subjects, etc.
  8. Types of proposals: A newly-added section describes the various types of proposals that may be submitted, i.e., RAPID, EAGER, etc.  Two new proposal types were added:  Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) and Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaisons with Industry (GOALI).
  9. International Travel Grants has been expanded to address support for both domestic and international travel.
  10. Participant Support vs. Student Employee:  Clarification and enhancement that the role of the student on the project must be used to determine how the student is compensated.

Significant Changes to Part II:

  1. NSF-Approved Extension: Language added so that there is grantee awareness of limited time period of availability of funds due to cancelation of appropriations.
  2. Addition of coPI/co/PD: AOR submits request to NSF.
  3. Travel and Temporary Dependent Care Costs are limited to those authorized by 2 CFR § 200.474.


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