Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

October 21, 2013
by Baylor OVPR

NSF issues guidance on post-shutdown policy and systems issues

The National Science Foundation has announced the resumption of normal business following the end of the government shutdown, but they caution that there may be delays as the agency’s staff works through backlogs of activity.

According to a recent notice, NSF staff are once again able to process proposals, reports, no-cost extension requests and other transactions through the normal channels, but they may be unable to meet their usual customer service standard of informing applicants of the status of their proposals within six months.

The agency will be rescheduling proposal due dates that fell between Oct. 1 and 25, as well as proposal review panels canceled due to the shutdown.  The new dates will be communicated through a FastLane advisory and other electronic methods as soon as possible.

Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 710-3817 with any questions.

August 15, 2013
by Baylor OVPR

NSF announces funds to provide mid-scale instrumentation for FY 2014 awards in physics division

The National Science Foundation has established a special fund to enable acquisition of instrumentation as part of research projects funded by the foundation’s physics division.

According to a recent “Dear Colleague” letter, the new Mid-Scale Instrumentation Fund will allow applicants who need specialized equipment to request funding for the instrumentation as part of their regular proposal without regard to the program’s funding cap. Should the project receive funding, the program officer may request that instrumentation funds be provided through the Mid-Scale Instrumentation fund if the investigator has justified the necessity of the equipment to the completion of the project. These one-time awards may be used for purchase or development of instrumentation when the funding needed exceeds the $4 million limit of the Major Research Instrumentation program.

The NSF encourages prospective applicants to contact the cognizant program officer before submitting a proposal that includes a request for mid-scale instrumentation funds. A full list of program officers and their contact information is located on the NSF physics division website.

Click here to read the “Dear Colleague” letter from C. Denise Caldwell, the director of the NSF’s physics division.

June 13, 2013
by Baylor OVPR

Budget act brings additional review criteria to NSF political science program

This spring, the U.S. congress passed a continuing budget resolution which contained an amendment that limits the circumstances under which the National Science Foundation’s political science program can provide research funding.  Under the new policy, the program cannot provide research funding unless the NSF director certifies that the research promotes national security or the economic interests of the United States.

In response to the new requirement, the NSF issued a notice outlining a modification to the review criteria used to evaluate proposals to the political science program.  In addition to providing feedback on proposals’ intellectual merit and broader impacts, reviewers will now be asked to provide feedback on the extent to which the proposed research promotes the nation’s security or economic interests.  The changes currently only apply to proposals for FY 2013, but extension of the new requirement is a possibility.

Click here to read the NSF notice on the new requirements. Investigators are also encouraged to visit the NSF’s political science program home page for future updates.

April 30, 2013
by Baylor OVPR

Reminder – NSF project reporting transitions from FastLane to

The OVPR and the Office of Sponsored Programs would like to remind faculty that the National Science Foundation has transitioned its reporting functions from FastLane to  All required NSF reports, including final, annual and interim project reports, as well as the project outcomes report, must now be submitted through the new system.

To log in and submit reports, go to and select “NSF User” from the drop-down menu.  You will be prompted to log in using your NSF ID and password. These are the same as the ID and password which you previously used to sign into FastLane.  After you log in, you will be directed to your project report dashboard, where you can see any required reports for your awards.  From the dashboard, you can create, edit and submit reports for each award.

Investigators are responsible for submitting their own project reports for all NSF-funded research.  If you have questions about using the new system, click here for more information from, or contact your academic unit’s assigned OSP coordinator.

January 31, 2013
by Baylor OVPR

NSF to transition project reporting from FastLane to

As part of a government-wide effort to streamline and standardize reporting on federally funded research, the National Science Foundation will transition all project reporting from FastLane to effective March 18, 2013.  Investigators will use to meet all NSF project reporting requirements, including Final, Annual and Interim Project Reports and the Project Outcomes Report.

The new system will include a Project Reporting Dashboard where investigators and research administrators can see which reports are due and view previously submitted reports.

In advance of the transition, investigators must discontinue submitting reports through FastLane by February 1.  To accommodate the necessary freeze in FastLane reporting, the agency will extend the overdue date for all project reports currently due between January 31 and April 30, 2013.

The NSF has made information available on their website to help investigators meet the new requirements.  Click here to learn more about project reporting on

Contact your department’s OSP coordinator with questions about required reporting.

January 11, 2013
by Baylor OVPR

NSF issues new Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, 2013 edition now in effect

NSF PAPPG Cover Image

The National Science Foundation’s new Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide is in effect as of January 14, 2013. The guide contains revisions to merit review criteria, clarifications on indirect costs and other changes.

Alongside the release of the new procedures guide, NSF has provided supporting materials and other resources including:

  • A revised NSF Merit Review website with information on the new regulations;
  • A resource website for investigators containing presentations, fact sheets and other important links; and
  • A webinar covering all of the PAPPG revisions.  Click here to view a recording of the webinar with audio and slides (387 MB .WMV file) or click here to view the slides alone without audio (3 MB .PDF file).

Click here to access the 2013 PAPPG.