National Science Foundation Resources

The College of Liberal Arts departments and programs frequently submit grant and funding applications through the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Search NSF Grants and Funding

NSF Research Areas
Active Grant Opportunities
NSF Application Guide via    

Plan Your Application

Writing Better NSF Proposals - Broader Impacts: An interactive summary of NSF's organizational structure, the review criteria and process, tips for finding funding programs to support your research, and some suggestions for how to write a successful proposal.

NSF Funding

The National Science Foundation funds research and education in most fields of science (including social science) and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education, and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

NSF operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels, and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, U.S. participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level. (Source)

Who is Eligible

Each type of NSF funding opportunity has its own set of eligibility requirements. Applicants can find eligibility information in each funding opportunity announcement (FOA). 

Types of Grant Programs

The National Science Foundation supports science and engineering research and education in multiple areas:

NSF FastLane / Access

NSF Fast Lane and is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) grants management system that provides easy access to research-related information and grants management services in one location. Each funding opportunity will advise which system to use for application submissions. Not all NSF opportunities are currenlty available in  

To use NSF FastLane and, faculty and staff need an active account with a user name and password. To activate your account, send an email to with the following information:

  • First name, middle initial, and last name
  • University email address

Please allow three days for NSF to validate and activate your account. SPA will email you when you have been added as a user. Please call the SPA helpline at (612) 624-5599 for questions.

Visit the Sponsored Projects Administration’s web page for additional details.

Determine a Timeline

Every NSF Active Funding Opportunity has a submission deadline for grant applications. 

Please plan on submitting an Intent to Submit Form to the research development team six weeks in advance of your intended submission deadline. If you intend to submit an application with less than a six-week notice, please contact to verify staff availability.

If you do not believe you can develop a strong and complete application by the FOA deadline, consider delaying your application to the next submission deadline. 

Create a BioSketch 

SciENcv: 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 both the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of an NSF proposal. 

NSF Fillable PDF: NSF is also providing a fillable PDF as an NSF-approved format for use to prepare both the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections of an NSF proposal.

Plan Your Budget 

CLA research staff are available to assist with developing your budget. Be sure to submit an Intent to Submit Form as soon as possible to advise of your pending application. This will ensure staff availability to assist you in creating a budget that is compliant with the University of Minnesota’s policies. 

Budget Justification

A budget justification is used to provide additional information regarding each budget category requesting funds as well as to explain any exclusions applied to the F&A base calculation. A budget justification is required for all types of budgets. Please note, a separate budget justification is required if an application includes a subaward/consortium budget.  

Budget justifications must not exceed 5 pages and formatting requirements can be found in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG)