Preparing for the New PAPPG

NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, or PAPPG (NSF 23-1), is an essential resource for PIs and Sponsored Research Offices for questions about award management and proposal submissions. The PAPPG is different from a solicitation, which is specific to programs (both core and special) and often has unique rules and requirements for your proposal. Think of the PAPPG as the foundational guidance with solicitations sometimes adding additional rules to follow when writing and submitting your proposal.

For example, EAGERs and RAPIDs must follow the rules outlined in the PAPPG. However, if you want to put in a proposal to DEB’s core programs, you must submit to the DEB Core Programs Solicitation and follow the guidelines written there.  The newest version of the PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted or due on or after January 30, 2023, and the newest version of the Core Programs Solicitation is effective immediately.

Significant changes to the PAPPG are listed in their entirety here. We’ll be hosting a Virtual Office Hours presentation and discussion on the new PAPPG March 13th 1-2pm Eastern.

Below, we’ve highlighted some major changes relevant to our community. This version has more changes than in recent years, and we highly encourage you to review the other changes and to attend our Virtual Office Hours.

  • Chapter I.D, Types of Submissions, includes new information on the use of concept outlines and the Program Suitability and Proposal Concept Tool (ProSPCT) for submissions. Concept outlines are required prior to the submission of a full proposal for the following proposal types: Planning, Rapid Response Research (RAPID), Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), and Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE). For details, see Chapter II.E.
  • Chapter I.E, Who May Submit Proposals, was revised to clarify eligibility requirements of For-Profit Organizations, and state and local governments. New coverage on the eligibility of Tribal Governments also has been included. Remember up top when we said solicitation rules may be different from the PAPPG? This is one of those cases. Be sure and check the “Who May Submit” section if you are crafting a proposal for our Core Programs or any other solicitation.
  • Chapter II.D.2.h(i), Biographical Sketch(es), has been revised to increase standardization with the Common Disclosure Form for the Biographical Sketch that has been developed in compliance with NSPM-33 Implementation Guidance. NSF has made every effort to mirror the Common Form. Due to timing disparities between the issuance of the Common Form and the PAPPG, however, it is possible that variances may occur. This section also has been revised to require the use of SciENcv for the preparation of Bio Sketches effective October 23, 2023.
  • Chapter II.E.9, Safe and Inclusive Working Environments for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research, describes the new requirement for the AOR to certify that an organization has a plan in place for safe and inclusive research for any proposal that proposes to conduct off-campus or off-site research. This section also provides considerations for plan development, communication, and dissemination. Be sure and check out the BIO-wide Virtual Office Hours on February 7th explaining this update.

  • Chapter II.E.6, Dual Use Research of Concern
    NSF policy per the new PAPPG still prohibits funding of life sciences dual use research of concern (DURC) (i.e., research that uses one of 15 select agents, produces one of 7 effects, and has the potential to be misused) or gain of function research, but allows for research that could create enhanced potential pandemic pathogens (enhanced PPPs) if the benefits of the research far outweigh the risks. Proposing organizations are now required to identify submissions proposing any DURC or work with enhanced PPPs by checking a box on the proposal cover page labeled “Potential Life Sciences Dual Research of Concern.” If a decision is made to fund the proposal, and use of a select agent (but not an enhanced PPP) as identified by the Policy is proposed, the proposer must submit evidence of registration of the select agent with the CDC or USDA as required by the Select Agent Regulations and the proposer must submit a justification from the Institutional Review Entity (IRE) demonstrating how the potential benefits of the research using the select agent far outweigh the risks. If a decision is made to fund a proposal using or potentially resulting in enhanced PPP, the proposer must submit a justification from the IRE demonstrating benefits outweigh the risks, but registration with CDC or USDA is not required. More information can be found in Chapter II.E.6 and Chapter XI.B.5 of the new PAPPG.

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