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  1. What's new In ROSES this year? How does it differ from prior ROSES?
  2. Proposal Summary length limits,4000 characters or 300 words?
  3. I missed the dead line for the letter of intent, may I still propose?
  4. Letters of support from facilities that aren't under your control.
  5. The Two-Step proposal submission process.
  6. Why is my program officer bugging me about 'costing' funds by the end of the fiscal year, why doesn't he just send me my money now?
  7. I heard that it was OK to user a smaller font in the figure captions and tables, is that true?
  8. Redaction: are you still hiding the budgets?
  9. Are we allowed to submit proposals in two-column format or not?
  10. How do I get a No-Cost Extension (NCE) on my grant?
  11. When is my annual progress report due, and what should it look like?
  12. What about the final report for my grant? What does that look like and to whom should I send it?
  13. How do you find reviewers for proposals? May I be a reviewer? Does NASA pay people to do this?
  14. I have a foreign Co-investigator, can this person be supported via a NASA grant?
  15. I am switching to a new university in the fall but I have grants that I hold here that are already in progress, what should I do?
  16. Can a company make a profit from a grant?
  17. Questions about
  18. Recommendations about making your PDF readable by reviewers: Embedded fonts and .PNG images.
  19. May I include in my ROSES proposal a link to my web page for more information for the benefit of the reviewers? What about reprints or preprints, may I include those as an appendix to my proposal?
  20. The NSSC keeps asking me for more budget detail. How much budget detail to I have to provide?
  21. When should I designate a team member as a collaborator vs. a Co-Investigator?
  22. Questions about travel?


  1. What's new In ROSES 2016? How does it differ from prior ROSES?

    The big change for ROSES-2016 is in how you present salaries and indirect costs in your proposal.  Three parts of your proposal will be affected!

    First, the NSPIRES cover pages. All costs, including salaries and overhead of NASA civil servants, must now be included in the web cover page budget.  This is different because, in recent years, NASA civil servant costs were not included on the cover pages. If your institution is not a NASA center, this means your NASA Co-Investigators must provide you with their full and total costs so that they may be included in your budget. (The funds to NASA centers will still be sent directly from NASA, and not sent as a subaward). Note that reviewers will not be able to see the salary and overhead numbers that you enter in the NSPIRES cover pages, but program officers will. You will too if you look at the proposal after submission. Don’t freak out, you are not seeing the redacted version for the reviewers, you are seeing the program officer’s version. 

    Second The budget section of the main proposal document. This section is the detailed budget and its justification that you prepare for reviewers. The change this year is that no salaries or benefits for any participant or overhead for any organization should be listed or mentioned in the budget section, or for that matter, anywhere else in the main body of the proposal. You should only tabulate the direct costs of your proposal, excluding salary and benefits. Budgets for all subawards or NASA centers presented in the main proposal document should be treated the same way as the budget for your own institution, I.e., do not list or mention salary, benefits, or overhead. The budget justification in the proposal should document and rationalize all costs other than salary/benefits and overhead costs. Proposals submitted in response to this ROSES NRA must include the Summary of Work effort (see Table 1) which, along with any rationale of the time provided in the budget justification, will allow peer reviewers to evaluate whether the level of effort is appropriate. See Section IV (b) iii of ROSES-2016. The proposed time of the participants, not the costs of the time, will be seen by peer reviewers. Peer reviewers will still see and evaluate the costs of things other than time and overhead.

    Third, you will upload a new, separately uploaded "total budget" PDF with a full budget consistent with the numbers you entered in the NSPIRES cover pages and,, if needed, providing greater detail. This "total budget" includes everything, salary, fringe, benefits for all participants and overhead from all types of organizations, including NASA civil servants. It should contain any needed justification for the salary and overhead and overhead rates, but should not repeat the justifications for direct costs that you put in the main body of the proposal. This "total budget” PDF document will not be shown to reviewers.

    For more information including screen captures and details on how to handle sub awards and Co-Is at government labs see

    In addition, a number of other changes have been made including:

    Changes have been made to how information about requested High-End Computing resources will be collected (on the NSPIRES cover pages and as a separate, uploaded PDF document, see Section I (d) of the ROSES-2016 Summary of Solicitation). Text describing the new process for proposed computational projects submitted through ROSES as well as a link to download the template are now live on Questions on allocation requests should be directed to

    Rules regarding CVs and Current and Pending Support have been somewhat relaxed

    Data Management Plans (DMPs) are still required for most proposals and to Astrophysics, Earth Science and Heliophysics (Appendices A, B & D of ROSES) last year's instructions still apply, a brief statement will be collected on the cover page, see our DMP FAQ at However, proposers to Planetary Science (all of Appendix C and E.4) must provide data management plan as part of the proposal PDF, see Section 3.5.1.of C.1 and read the program elements carefully. Some, such as PDART C.7, evaluate it as part of merit and have different requirements.

    The restrictions involving China persist, please see

    See Section I(c) of the ROSES-2016 summary of Solicitation for a complete list of the changes to ROSES this year.

    If you are looking for the FAQ from last year you may view the archived 2015 FAQ at

  2. The Guidebook for Proposers says that the length limit for the Proposal Summary is 4,000 characters, but I am getting a warning even though I am well below that limit. Also this is not the same as the 300 word limit given by NSPIRES on the View Proposal - Proposal Summary page, so what is the real limit? What happens if I go over the limit, will you reject my proposal?

    Yes, apologies. The real limit is imposed by NSPIRES and it is 4000 characters (including spaces), but if you paste from a word processor that also includes some hidden characters that you cannot see so it may be fewer than 4000 as counted by, for example, Microsoft word. If you exceed the limit nothing terrible will happen, you will simply get an error message (see image) asking you to shorten your summary.

    Guidebook for Proposers Proposal Summary validation error imageIf you are using, which will let you put in a longer abstract, it will get cut off when its ingested into NSPIRES and the 4000 character limit is imposed, so make sure you are well under the 4000 character limit.

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  3. I missed the dead line for the letter of intent, may I still propose?

    A Notice of Intent (NOI) is merely desirable, not required. If you miss the deadline you can still send in your NOI via email to the program officer and you can still submit your final full proposal. An NOI may be submitted by an individual, it doesn't require that the organization approve or submit in NSPIRES. Appendix A, Earth Science, and Appendix D, Astrophysics, mostly use NOIs, though some program elements in those Appendices don't take NOIs (A.14 Cryospheric Science, A.15 IceBridge, D.5 Swift GI, D.6 Fermi) and a couple require a Step-1 proposal instead (A.2 LCLUC and D.7 K2 GO). See FAQ #5 on the two-step proposal submission process.

  4. Section 2.3.9 of the guidebook on statements of commitment says letters of support are required from the owner of "any facility or resources that is not under the PI's direct control." Does this apply to telescopes/observing time at facilities around the country in order to complete research?

    We were thinking primarily of a situation where a proposer wants to use a resource that is not a standard facility, e.g., an expensive microscope in someone else's lab where there is no reason to expect that the PI would necessarily be given free access, because the person who runs that instrument is not a named co-investigator or collaborator.

    In the case of a large shared telescope facility with a standard procedure for acquiring time it is probably adequate to simply write, for example, "I have been awarded four consecutive nights in late June on the IRTF", but if it were me I would include the email from the telescope if I had one. Often, at the time of proposal submission, the proposer has no guarantee of access to the telescope, in which case they should simply reassure the reviewers that they are likely to get the time and/or that the success of the proposal does not hinge on that time being awarded. In the end I'm confident that such a proposal would still deemed "compliant" despite the fact that such a letter is absent; it simply makes it less likely that it would be given a high rating by peer review, and thus be funded. But this has always been true.

  5. The Two-Step proposal submission process

    For some ROSES calls the NOI is replaced by a Step-1 proposal. A Step-1 proposal is a prerequisite to submit a full (Step-2) proposal, i.e., you must have submitted a Step-1 proposal or you cannot submit a full proposal later. Whereas an NOI may be submitted by a proposer alone, a Step-1 proposal must be submitted by an institution i.e., by the "AOR" for NSPIRES. All Proposals to Heliophysics (Appendix B), almost all to Planetary Science (Appendix C) and a few others (A.2 LCLUC, D.7 K2 GO, and E.3 XRP) use the 2-Step submission process. In some cases the Step-1 proposal will be just a few lines, but in other cases it must be a few pages long and will be evaluated. For goodness sake read the call for proposals! For more information about the 2-Step process see Section IV (vii) of the ROSES Summary of Solicitation.

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  6. Why is my program officer bugging me about 'costing' funds by the end of the fiscal year, why doesn't he just send me my money now?

    If you have a grant you are used to the idea that your $ are good until the end date, and it doesn't matter when they arrive or how long they sit as long as they are spent by the end date. However, it looks bad to the congress if NASA has funds that are not spent by the end of the year. For more details see the letter from SARA on this subject. Here are the implications:

    1. You will get your money, we promise.
    2. When your progress report arrives that normally triggers the deliver of your next year of funds. Your program officer may check to see how much of last year's funds you have spent. If you have spent little or no funds from last year then your program officer may send you an email suggesting that the delivery of the next year of funds be put off until the year when you will actually spend them. In extreme cases, where nothing was spent in year 1, this may mean that the second year funds will skip a year; this year's funds are delayed until next year and so on. The result is that the last year's funds will arrive a year later than originally planned: your original grant that was 100K, 100K, and 100K has become 100K, 0 K, 100K, and 100K. Even in less extreme cases, it may be that part of the year 2 funds may be pushed off into year 4 e.g., 100K, 50 K, 100K, and 50K.
    3. If you feel that this is a mistake or are confident that you will really spend all of last year's funds and all of this year's funds by the end of the calendar year then reply to your program officer and let them know.
    4. What do you need to do?  If some or all of your funds are being pushed out till the end of the award then make sure that you write an email to nssc-contactcenter with your grant number in the subject line and ask for a no-cost extension.


  7. I heard that it was OK to user a smaller font in the figure captions and tables, is that true?

    The body text and captions should be no more than 15 characters per inch (Times New Roman 12) but the rules for text in figures and tables are more relaxed because we want to permit proposers to be able to insert figures or tables from elsewhere without having to recreate them, whereas captions are always under the control of the authors. The guidebook for proposers merely requires that text within figures and tables "must in the judgment of reviewers be legible without magnification". This is ambiguous. Don't violate rule number one of proposal writing: don't annoy the peer reviewers.

  8. We had heard that this year the reviewers were going to be able to see the budget that is being submitted - is that correct? If that is the case, can a person have that budget summary submitted within their proposal or does it have to be uploaded as a separate document?

    What is included in the proposal budgets changed with ROSES-2016. The bottom line is that we are going to hide salary and rate information for all participants from peer reviewers. 

    Often, peer reviewers evaluate cost reasonableness of ROSES proposals, but they do not need salaries or overhead rates to do so. In an attempt to balance NASA’s need to have all budget details, while having peer reviewers evaluate only work effort, we will have you provide the information to us, but we will hide salary and fringe information from peer reviewers. All proposers, even NASA civil servants, must list all costs, including salaries and indirect rates, in the web cover page budgets. Subawards that include salary and overhead belong in Section F (Other Direct Costs) rows 5, 8, and 9. These rows will be automatically hidden from peer reviewers.

    The budget justification in the proposal document must rationalize all costs other than salaries and overhead, which may not be mentioned. Proposals submitted in response to ROSES must include the Summary of Work effort which, along with any rationale of the time provided in the budget justification, will allow peer reviewers to evaluate whether the level of effort is appropriate.

    No salary or indirect rate information may be included in the detailed budget, or anywhere else in the proposal PDF. Don't worry, you will still get a place to put that lovely detailed budget. All ROSES-2016 program elements are set up to allow proposers to separately upload a "Total Budget" PDF to the same ROSES program element NSPIRES "response structure" to which the proposal is submitted. This Total Budget PDF will not be seen by peer reviewers. All proposers are expected to include the complete detailed budget in this separate Total Budget PDF. Where more than one organization is involved, the total that was simply given as a single number in row 5, 8, or 9 of Section F should be broken out in the separately uploaded Total Budget PDF. That is, the Total Budget PDF must lay out clearly how much is going to each organization, indicating whether the funds are passing through the proposing organization and which are not. (for more on this see Section IV(d) of the ROSES Summary of Solicaition. Basically if its a government lab it will be funded separately, otherwise it will pass through your organization) Where the funds are passing through the proposing organization, the Total Budget PDF must specify any overhead. Since ROSES funding for NASA Civil Servant salaries must be obligated in the same fiscal year (FY), proposals that include NASA Civil Servant salaries may need to phase the funds for NASA Centers by fiscal year. Proposers from non-Governmental organizations with NASA Civil Servant Co-Investigators need to get this information from their NASA Civil Servant Co-Investigators. For examples see If you are a NASA Civil Servant on a proposal to ROSES-2015 please see the instructions at

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  9. Are we allowed to submit proposals in two-column format or not? On page 2-3 (page 22 of the PDF file) of the 2007 Guidebook for Proposers "Responding to a NASA Research Announcement" the first bullet in section 2.2 states that proposals should be " or two columns..." yet the next bulleted point on this page reads, "For electronically submitted proposals, text must be in a single column format. Multiple-column text is difficult to review electronically." It seems ambiguous.

    No. The guidebook no longer allows for two-column submissions unless specifically permitted by the call.

  10. How do I get a No-Cost Extension (NCE) on my grant?

    Put in a request at If its your first No-Cost Extension (NCE) then that’s it. If its not your first then you will need concurrence from your technical officer (whom you can find here ). If you are at a NASA center then you just write to your technical officer. If you are at a non-NASA US government lab with an interagency award from NASA then write to your technical officer but also cc

  11. When is my annual progress report due, and what should it look like?

    If you have a grant (i.e., if you are at a university or a non-profit) you will get an email from the NSSC approximately two weeks before your annual progress report is due, asking you to send your progress report to NSSC-grant-report at and to your program officer.  If you are at a NASA center your progress report should be sent to your program officer at the end of the fiscal year.  A progress report should include the following, preferably as a pdf::

    1. A statement that this is an annual progress report.
    2. Title of the grant.
    3. Name of the principal investigator.
    4. Period covered by the report.
    5. Name and address of the recipient's institution.
    6. Grant number.
    7. A few page summary of the accomplishments and a list of publications that have appeared over the past year as a result of the award. Of course all publications should acknowledge NASA support, including the name of the program, and the grant number(s).


  12. What about the final report for my grant? What does that look like and to whom should I send it?

    Send your final report to your program office and to The final report is high level summary of research or summary of work performed under the grant. There is no minimum or maximum length restrictions. The final report can follow the same format as the progress reports, it just needs to cover the entire period of performance of the award. On closeout of an award Technology reports should go to

  13. How do you find reviewers for proposals? May I be a reviewer? Does NASA pay people to do this

    NASA often recruits those who have been funded in the past as reviewers for proposals. We beg, beseech, implore, and entreat you all to review proposals each year. The health of the system rests on the quality of peer review, so we need YOU to review proposals. If you have not been asked to serve on a review panel recently and would like to volunteer to be considered, visit our volunteer reviewer page every couple/few months to see what kind of reviewers we are seeking." In general we are not able to pay peer reviewers. Sorry.

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  14. Can foreign team members be supported via a NASA grant?

    Short plain English answer: NASA funds research at US institutions and foreign agencies pay for research at foreign institutions. Thus the rules focus on the institution, not the individual. If your institution hires this foreign investigator, then you can pay him/her while they are in your employ. If the foreign investigator does not have a position at a US institution, then NASA funds cannot be used to support them, not even for travel.

    The longer answer more precise answer is found in the Guidebook for Proposers, Section 1.6 "Other Guidelines" which reads "Except as set forth in E.1.6 regarding China, NASA welcomes proposals from non-US organizations and proposals that include the participation of non-US organizations. Foreign entities are generally not eligible for funding from NASA and should propose to participate on a no-exchange-of-funds basis.  This policy also applies to research performed by non-U.S. organizations as part of a proposal submitted by a U.S. organization. This policy pertains to the nature of the proposing organization, and the nationality or citizenship of the individuals … is not relevant. See also 2.3.10(c) Other Budget Guidelines subsection (vii) Prohibition of the Use of NASA Funds for Non-U.S. Research.
  15. I am switching to a new university in the fall but I have grants that I hold here that are already in progress, what should I do?

    If you have a grant that is already in progress which needs to be transferred to the new institution then please contact your program officer as soon as possible. If you have a grant pending then let your program officer know even if you are not certain when you are moving to the new institution (we will keep your secret). Bottom line: it is really hard to get money back once it has been sent to the first institution.

    Technically, grants belong to institutions not PIs. Since the grant belongs to the old institution, we have to get the old institution to agree in writing to give up the grant. Then, the new institution has to submit a proposal with a budget because they are getting a new grant, and this grant requires a proposal. The new proposal should be identical to the old proposal but with a budget and signature from the new institution for the work remaining. Finally the program officer must justify the acceptance of what is in effect an 'unsolicited' proposal from the new institution. Any grants you submit before you move should be submitted from the new institution if at all possible. If that cannot be done, the PI and the new institution should both send letters to the program officer stating that the research will be done at the new institution.

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  16. Can a company make a profit from a grant?

    Anybody can propose to ROSES, including a for-profit company. From some ROSES calls for some kinds of work proposers will receive a contract and that can include profit. On a grant NASA will not allow for profit. However, NASA will continue to pay management fees that are allowable costs within the guidelines established in OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Parts 200, 215, 220, 225, and 230). A flat rate applied to all costs of the grant should be included in indirect rate costs. One possible scenario where a management fee might be considered allowable is if it were a direct cost for an employee or subcontractor with a stated level of effort to manage a number of subawards.

  17. Questions about

    You are very welcome to submit your proposal via We post all of the solicitations that we possibly can on so those who prefer that interface can use it. Don’t worry if you have heard about “transcription”; no change is made to your proposal only to the blah blah header information. However, please take note of the following requirements and differences between grants,gov and NSPIRES:

    Prior to submission of proposals in Appendix A and Appendix D it is common for proposers to submit a notice of intent to propose (an NOI). Since doesn't do that, you are encouraged to submit your NOI via NSPIRES

    Proposers via must download the "application instruction" document, in addition to the "application package" as this contains information about the new data management plan as well as important requirements about, for example, China and ITAR.

    NSPIRES enforces our 4000-character limit on the abstract., which will let you put in a longer abstract, but it will get cut off when its ingested into NSPIRES, so make sure you are well under the 4000 character limit.

    Team members on a proposal submitted via NSPIRES must confirm participation on each proposal electronically and if they have more than one institutional affiliation can choose via which institution they receive the funds. We like this so we can do automatic conflict of interest checking. Since there is no way you to do this on you will have to include letters of commitment for your team members and all team members must be registered in NSPIRES and we will do the team members confirmation step for them so that the proposal can go into our peer review system where conflict of interest data will be generated.

    Those who propose via you may not be able to add a new section to accommodate the new requirement in the guidebook for proposers and ROSES for a table of personnel and work effort outside of the budget section. Please just insert this at the front of the current and pending section.

    When preparing a application package you are working offline and they do not track who downloads the application packages. Check for alerts regarding downtimes.

  18. Is NASA recommending/forcing/not worrying about whether people have embedded fonts in their PDFs? How does that come into play with the requirement that only Type 1 or TrueType fonts be utilized when proposing? Is there a list of specific fonts being recommended? Also, if we insert a copy of our internal budget as a .PNG as part of our budget justification, does that also need to be fully searchable and editable, as is required of the rest of the proposal?

    On occasion we have difficulty with certain reviewers being able to read certain proposals that were generated on unusual systems, but thus far we have deemed it wiser to deal with those rare inconveniences when they arise rather than forcing all proposers to do something. So I guess the more correct answer is not "not worrying' but rather that I worry but you should not have to. That said, I personally only use standard fonts and would only use an image like a .PNG if I absolutely had to: text is better because someone with poor sight can increase the fonts sizes easily, it always prints well etc. Thus, I am not going to tell you what to do but the guiding principle can be summarized as "Don't annoy the reviewer."
  19. May I include in my ROSES proposal a link to my web page for more information for the benefit of the reviewers? What about reprints or preprints, may I include those as an appendix to my proposal?

    Reprints and/or preprints are not permitted to be appended to a proposal unless they are accommodated within the proposal page limit. Proposals shall not rely upon material posted on a website. All information and material necessary for an informed peer review of the proposal must be included within the proposal in a manner that is compliant with the proposal page limit and permitted appendices. References to unpublished manuscripts should be avoided. Any information required to evaluate the proposal must be included within the proposal. If a proposal requires referenced material (not included within the proposal page limit) in order to be evaluated, this information will not be examined and the proposal may be judged noncompliant.

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  20. The NSSC keeps asking me for more budget detail. How much budget detail to I have to provide?

    The bad news is that sometimes the folks at the NSSC are going to ask you for more budget detail, (please be patient with them, its their job as procurement officers).  The good news is that we have come to agreement with them on a reasonable level of budget detail, and examples are provided below for the things that most commonly trigger a request for more info.    

    A) Publication costs: $2250 assuming $30 per Figure and or Table and $270 per 3500 words (see

    B) Travel costs: 1 domestic conference = $1555. Airfare ~ $500; hotel ~$750 for 5 days; M&IE ~ $305 @ $61/day see

    Obviously, its best if you know where you are going and use the actual cost, but we recognize that you may not know where you are going years in advance. You will note that they don’t require a quote, but they want to know what you used to get your numbers (i.e.., the “basis of estimate”).  Thus, you can tell them from whom you got the quote and when, or give the web site, or you can assume the costs are the same last year (with inflation).  If you do something unusual, like go to Antarctica, or spend many times more than they have come to expect, then they will question you.  But if the amount you have budgeted passes the common sense test, then they should not bug you anymore.

  21. I’d like to add a team member who will be doing significant work on the project, but who doesn't need any funding. Would she be a Co-I, or a Collaborator?

    Funding is a factor, since collaborators are unfunded, but that's not the entirety of what determines if a team member is a Collaborator or a Co-I. The guidebook defines a Co-I in part as "…a critical “partner” for the conduct of the investigation through the contribution of unique expertise and/or capabilities…and may or may not receive funding through the award" vs. a collaborator who provides a "focused but unfunded contribution for a specific task". I have seen proposals viewed critically because someone is signed up to perform an essential role, but the person is merely a collaborator not a Co-I so the panelists questioned how committed that person really was to the effort.

  22. Questions about travel?

    In general, domestic allowable travel costs both for government travelers and for grantees is that found at If there no hotels available at per diem then if your organization has an "acceptable" written travel policy then that seems to allow you to charge those costs to the grant even though they are in excess of the normal per diem. I confess that I don't know what makes an organization's written travel policy  "acceptable", but perhaps the NSSC knows. If not, then NASA can authorize the extra expense, see the GSA per diem FAQ #17 at I have done this on at least one occasion.

    When traveling outside of the USA grantees are generally subject to the fly america act, which requires grantees to use U.S. Airlines when they are available. However, our grantees, always eager to stretch their dollar often want to use a local carrier if its cheaper. It turns out that thanks to our "Open Skies Agreements" our grantees may fly on foreign airlines if the cost is the same or less, when flying to or within certain countries. At the time of the writing of this FAQ these agreements cover the EU, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan. For more information and the latest updates please see

    Finally, some grantees are aware that NASA civil servants with whom they work have a special limit on days off associated with work travel. The NASA civil servants cannot take off more days than they are working, I.e., if they fly to Europe for a mission team meeting that lasts three days, they can add at most three days of vacation, even if it were to decrease the cost of the ticket. This rule does not apply to researchers on NASA Grants. Grantees are governed by their organization's travel policy.


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