Application Guides & Resources

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NEW! NSF PAPPG Changes Effective for proposals submitted or due on or after May 20, 2024.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has posted the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedure Guide (PAPPG) 24-1. A full Summary of Changes can be found HERE. Some Proposal Preparation Instruction updates include:

  • The Synergistic Activities section has been removed from the Biographical Sketch. This information must now be submitted as a separate attachment by individuals designated as Senior/Key Personnel. The page limit for the Biosketch has also been removed.
  • A Mentoring Plan will be required for all proposals that request funding to support postdoctoral scholars or graduate students. Note: New Annual Award Certification Requirement regarding Individual Development Plans for each postdoctoral researcher and graduate student that has substantial support (1PM+) under the NSF award.
  • Updated NSF Disclosure and Certification Requirements, including certification regarding Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs (MFTRP). PIs/Co-PIs/Senior Personnel will need a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure (SFID) on file from January 2024 or later to comply with this certification.
  • Seeking and Obtaining Tribal Nation Approval for Proposals that May Impact Tribal Resources or Interests, has been added as a new section for proposals that may impact the resources of a Tribal Nation. Projects that do not have prior written approval from the official(s) designated by the relevant Tribal Nation(s) will not be awarded by NSF.

Pre-Award has created a UNT Pre-Award NSF Checklist (PDF) that may be helpful when preparing an NSF proposal. Please note that specific solicitations may have additional guidance that deviates from the standard information outlined in the checklist.

Responsible Conduct and Ethical Research (RCER) Requirements: Starting on July 31, 2023, all principal investigators, co-principal investigators, senior personnel, undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) must complete Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RCER) training, including training in mentorship. Please contact RIC for more information.

NSF has partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae as an NSF-approved format for use in preparation of the Biographical Sketch & the Current & Pending Support section of an NSF proposal. SciENcv will produce an NSF-compliant PDF version of these documents. Refer to the SciENcv webpage for more information on SciENcv.

NSF Current and Pending Support FAQs and other Resources

Guidance on NSF Off-campus and Off-site Research Requirements

NSF’s PAPPG includes a requirement (effective January 30, 2023) for the AOR to certify that the grantee organization has in place a plan for safe and inclusive research workplace environments for any proposal including off-campus or off-site research. For purposes of this requirement, off-campus or off-site research is defined by NSF as “data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft”.

The plan must describe how the following types of behavior will be addressed:

  • Abuse of any person, including, but not limited to, harassment, stalking, bullying, or hazing of any kind, whether the behavior is carried out verbally, physically, electronically, or in written form; or
  • Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.

The plan also should identify steps the proposing organization will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment, e.g., trainings; processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, e.g., codes of conduct; and field support, such as mentor/mentee support mechanisms, regular check-ins, and/or developmental events.

Communications within team and to the organization should be considered in the plan, minimizing singular points within the communications pathway (e.g., a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone), and any special circumstances such as the involvement of multiple organizations or the presence of third parties in the working environment should be taken into account. The process or method for making incident reports as well as how
any reports received will be resolved should also be accounted for.

The organization’s plan for the proposal must be disseminated to individuals participating in the off-campus or off-site research prior to departure. Proposers should not submit the plan to NSF for review. 

To support Principal Investigators (PIs) in meeting this new requirement, GCA has created a template PIs should download, complete for their project, and disseminate to individuals participating in the off-campus or off-site research prior to departure. 

For proposals involving off campus or off-site research, the PI must provide GCA with a copy of the project specific Plan prior to the submission of the proposal. 

Please note: In general, NSF does not require the plan to be submitted to NSF. However, several solicitations from the NSF Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geosciences (GEO) may require submission of a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan as a Supplemental Document. 

NSF Safe and Inclusive Work Environment Plan for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research



What does “off-campus” or “off-site” mean. If I’m housed in a leased building adjacent to UNT campus, does this new requirement apply to me?

NSF’s definition of off-campus/off-site is: data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft.

The intent of this requirement is to provide guidance and protection for participants when they do not have ready access to the on-campus in-person resources they normally do.  If your participants continue to have such access, no plan is needed.  If participants are sufficiently distant from campus that access to these resources is more limited than they would be if they were on campus, then a plan is likely needed.  

“Day trips” or excursions (e.g., to public places, schools, museums, a mall) where participants are returning without an overnight stay would not normally require a plan, but a plan should be created if the nature of the off-campus research activity is likely to create a larger-than-normal opportunity for harassment to occur (e.g., studies looking at sexual activities, incarcerated individuals, prior knowledge of harassment in the same setting, etc.). If there is any doubt, create a plan.

Attendance or presentation of research results at a conference does not require a plan; if participants will also engage in the conduct of research activities while attending a conference, a plan would be required.

What does “research activities” mean? I don’t do research; my NSF work is considered an “other sponsored activity”

This new requirement applies only to research activities.   NSF has defined off-campus or off-site research for the purpose of this requirements as “data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork or research activities on vessels and aircraft.” PIs are responsible for determining whether the requirement applies to their project or to certain activities on their project.  If there happens to be a research component on an award that is characterized as an “other sponsored activity”, then the requirement would apply only to that research component.   

Is it possible to name a backup point of contact listed on the plan form?

Yes, in fact it is advisable to have a primary and a secondary point of contact available.  The Principal Investigator must be listed on the form but may delegate the primary point of contact responsibility to another individual who is present at the off-campus location. Make sure and include the cell phone and email of the alternative contact and outline the parties in the plan. 

What should happen if the person doing the alleged misconduct is the named point of contact?

As described above, it is helpful to list contact information for two individuals (e.g., the PI and a second delegated person) so that there is a local second point-of-contact readily available.  Assuming there is internet or cell phone service, the participant can also use one of the other reporting mechanisms to contact their supervisor or a University official responsible for handling misconduct concerns.   If the participant is unable or unwilling to notify the primary point of contact and the standard reporting options are not available, the participant may defer reporting until access is available (if they feel it is safe to do so), or approach another senior person on the off-campus team to assist them in appropriate next steps. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NEW! NIH Application Guide Changes Effective January 25, 2023 – Forms H Guide

The NIH has posted the General Application Guide for NIH and Other PHS Agencies – Version H, for comprehensive guidance for research, training, fellowship, career development, multi-project, and small business applications. 

Pre-Award has created UNT Pre-Award NIH Checklists that may be helpful when preparing an NIH proposal. Please note that specific solicitations may have additional guidance that deviates from the standard information outlined in the checklist. Checklists available are below.
NIH F Series Checklist
NIH K Series Checklist
NIH R Series Checklist
NIH HSCTI Checklist 

Please note that the GCA Internal deadline for NIH Multi-Project Submissions deviates from GCA’s typical 6-business day deadline. If you are anticipating submitting an NIH Multi-Project application, please review GCA’s NIH Multi-Project Submission Timeline to ensure you plan accordingly.

SciENcv will produce an NIH-compliant PDF version of a biosketch. Refer to the SciENcv webpage for more information on SciENcv.


Other Support

Data Management & Sharing Plan 

Effective January 25, 2023, NIH’s new Data Management Policy was implemented. This policy requires researchers to prospectively plan for how scientific data will be preserved and shared through submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan and to implement the approved plan. Plans should explain how scientific data will be managed and describe which scientific data and accompanying metadata will be shared in common repositories. It applies to all NIH-funded research that directly results in the generation of scientific data, regardless of funding level or mechanism. This expands upon NIH’s previous data sharing requirement that applies to projects with $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year.

Under the DMS policy, NIH expects that investigators and institutions: 

  • Plan and budget for the managing and sharing of data
  • Submit a DMS plan for review when applying for funding 
  • Comply with the approved DMS Plan

Individual NIH Institutes, Centers, or Offices may have additional policies and expectations (see NIH Institute and Center Data Sharing Policies). 

NIH Resources: 

UNT Resources: 

Just-in-Time (JIT)

NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15)

UNT is eligible to apply for the NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15). This opportunity supports small-scale research projects at educational institutions that provide advanced degress for research scientists but have not become major recipients of NIH support.

UNT meets the eligibility criteria for the Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15): 

•    The applicant institution must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences. 
•    At the time of application submission, all the non-health professional components of the institution together have not received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in 4 of the last 7 fiscal years. 
•    Academic component must have a greater undergraduate student enrollment than graduate student enrollment. 

For the purposes of this program, UNT considers all academic components on campus to be Non-Health Professional Schools.

The goals of the AREA grant program play to UNT areas of strength:
•    support meritorious research
•    expose students to research
•    strengthen research environment of the institution

Key Points:
•    Be sure to use the appropriate FOA for your project type (i.e. Clinical Trial vs Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
•    Be sure you meet the principal investigator eligibility requirements
•    Your Grant and Contract Specialist in GCA will obtain the required institutional eligibility letter when assembling the application package.
•    AREA grant is permitted to have a subcontract to a non-AREA-eligible institution. However, applicants should keep the goals of the AREA program in mind when preparing the application, which include strengthening the research environment of eligible institutions and engaging students from eligible institutions in research. The majority of the research must be directed by the PD(s)/PI(s) at the grantee institution.

For more information about the NIH R15 funding opportunity review NIH websites:

U.S. Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) 

The NIFA Grants Application Guide provides guidance for the preparation and submission of NIFA grant applications. This guide provides general information and references pertaining to the grant application process and NIFA-specific instructions and requirements.

Additional Guidance or application instructions provided in specific funding opportunity announcements should be followed and supersede general guidance in the NIFA Grants Application Guide.

When applying for a NIFA award, it is important to reference the version of the guide included in the specific funding opportunity application package. Click here to see where the NIFA Grants Application Guide is located in the funding opportunity package.

Indirect Cost Limitation Information:

Indirect Cost Rates vary by USDA program. Please refer to the solicitation for specific limitations.  NIFA also maintains a chart at the following link:

Most USDA-NIFA projects are subject to the NIFA-19-010 2018 Farm Bill. This bill requires that indirect costs are limited to the rate that yields the lesser Indirect Cost amount: Either (a) 30% of the Total Federal Funds Awarded (TFFA); or (b) the applicable Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) rate.

To figure out which rate to charge, you will need to calculate both and use the lesser of the two. Contact your GCA Pre-Award Specialist for assistance. If there are no exclusions (i.e., equipment, tuition), then TFFA is typically going to be less than the university’s official negotiated indirect costs rate. But if you have significant exclusions in your budget, it is likely that the university’s official indirect costs rate will be less.

If Subawards are included in the budget, the subawards indirect costs need to be factored in when determining if the restricted rate has been met. If UNT is the Lead applicant and includes subawards, the project budget may be over the allowable IDC amount, even when using the lesser IDC rate. This is due to assessing IDC on the first $25k or subawards. If this is the case and the project budget is over the allowable IDC amount, UNT will further restrict their IDC rate used to ensure the indirect costs for the entire project budget does not exceed the USDA NIFA restrictive rate of 30% of TFFA.

Subawards included in UNT’s budget will not need to further restrict their IDC, if they are appropriately using the lesser of (a) 30% of the Total Federal Funds Awarded (TFFA), or (b) the applicable Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) rate.

In the event cost sharing is required, the prime awardee is responsible for ensuring the maximum indirect cost allowed for the award is not exceeded when combining IDC for the Federal portion (i.e., prime and sub-awardee(s)) and any applicable cost-sharing unless noted otherwise in the RFA (see 7 CFR 3430.52(b)). UNT will assess allowable indirect costs on the federal portion of the project budget.

GCA Pre-Award has a spreadsheet to help with the reduced IDC rate calculation. Contact your assigned Pre-Award specialist for assistance.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 

The NASA Proposer’s Guidebook outlines the policies and processes for submitting responses to a NASA NOFO, which are also known as NASA Research Announcements (NRA), Cooperative Agreement Notices (CAN), Broad Agency Announcements (BAA), or solicitations.

To submit a research proposal to NASA, individuals must be registered in the NASA Solicitation Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES). Individuals may register at any time. Contact your GCA Specialist if you have questions.