NSF – Preparing an Application


Instructions for completing a National Science Foundation Application [link] guide contains instructions and other useful information.   This page should be used as supplement document to assist in preparing an application.  Each item below is required for a NSF application and we have provided templates for your use.

Significant Changes to Grant Proposal Guide (Effective January 25, 2016) [link]

NSF Proposal Documents

  • Cover Page – [created in application file]
  • Project Summary – no more than 1 page in length. Must include an overview, statement of intellectual merit of the proposed activity, and statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity. Please note no more than 4600 characters.
  • Table of Contents – [created in application file]
  • Project Description – no more than 15 pages, must include discussion of Broader Impacts and Results from Prior NSF Support.
  • References Cited
  • Biographical Sketches -(.docx) Digital Measures prepares bio-sketch for you [link] – limited to 2 pages.
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information (.docx)
  • Budget and Budget Justification  – limited to 3 pages.
  • Current and Pending Support (.docx) (updated 11/01/2014)
  • Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources
  • Special Information and Supplemental Documentation
  • Data Management Plan
  • Post-Doctoral Mentoring Plan (if applicable)

NSF Equipment Proposals

  • Cover Sheet
  • Project Summary – please see GPG Chapter II.C.2.b
  • Project Description
  • References Cited
  • Biographical Sketch – person who will have overall responsibility for maintenance and operation and a brief statement of qualifications.
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information
  • Budget and Budget Justification
  • Current and Pending Support
  • Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources
  • Data Management Plan
  • Postdoctoral Mentoring Plan (if applicable)


  • NSF – Application Preparation Checklist (.pdf)
  • CAREER Proposal Checklist (.docx)