National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation

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

Search NSF Grants and Funding
    NSF Research Areas
    Active Grant Opportunities
    NSF Application Guide via

Plan Your Application
NSF FastLane / Access
Determine a Timeline
Plan Your Budget

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:

Biological Sciences (BIO)
Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)
Education and Human Resources (EHR)
Engineering (ENG)
Environmental Research and Education (ERE)
Geosciences (GEO)
Integrative Activities (OIA)
International Science and Engineering (OISE)
Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

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.

Access FastLane

Visit 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 contacting 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 the Research Development Team 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. 
Plan Your Budget 
THE CLA Research Development Team can assist with developing your budget. Be sure to connect with the CLA Research Development team as soon as possible to advise of your intent to submit an 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) along with formatting requirements.

<Button> Contact the CLA Research Development Team for Support