Ask a PD: When to submit and other question about no deadlines review

Q: When is the best time to submit a proposal?

Ans: The best time to submit is as soon as you think your proposal is ready! With no deadlines, program directors are not required to have panels during specific times of the year. Instead they can convene a panel as soon as they feel they have a sufficient number of proposals in a particular area to do so.

The Federal fiscal year runs from 1 October to 31 September. Because it takes 5-6 months for review, proposals submitted during summer are often funded, after October 1, during the next fiscal year. So, there is no reason to rush to submit relative to the end or beginning of the fiscal year. Just submit as soon as your proposal is ready!

Q: How long does it take to have my proposal reviewed under no deadlines?

Ans: It will take 5-6 months just as it did previously. We continue to use both ad hoc written reviews and panel review, both of which require time to complete. NSF strives to have decisions to investigators within 6 months of submission.

Q: If I submit a proposal to the IOS solicitation NSF 18-586 Core Programs track can I also submit to the Rules of Life (RoL) track?

Ans: Yes! The tracks are separate and there are no longer any submission limits to the core programs solicitations. However, you cannot submit the same project to more than one program at a time. In other words, if you have multiple proposals at NSF as the same time they must be different projects. In the Directorate for Biological Sciences those projects may not be submitted to other agencies at the same time except by beginning investigators.

Q: If I submit a proposal to the IOS Solicitation NSF 18-586, can I still submit a CAREER proposal?

Ans: Yes! Solicitations are generally not connected to each other so any limits in one do not affect the others. IOS has no limits on the number of submissions you may make to the IOS solicitation, but CAREER has a limit of 1, so you could submit a single CAREER proposal and as many to IOS or other divisions within BIO as you wish.

Q: Will IOS be returning to deadlines any time soon?

Ans: No. There is no plan to return to submission deadlines in the regular IOS programs found in the IOS Solicitation (NSF18-586) and the associated solicitations for the Plant Genome Research Program Solicitation (NSF 18-579) or the joint USDA-NSF Plant Biotic Interactions Program (NSF 18-590). Other programs such as Enabling Discovery Through Genomic Tools (EDGE) or CAREER did not switch to no deadlines review and will continue to have deadlines as announced in their solicitations. Please read each solicitation carefully and contact the cognizant program officer if you have questions.

Q: What if my project did not get invited as a preproposal- I really want to do it, is it worth submitting a full proposal or does not being invited mean that it has no chance of being funded?

Ans: During the preliminary proposal review process, the Division set fairly low caps on how many preproposals program directors could invite.  There were many good projects that were not invited due to these limits. If you really want to do your project, you could use the feedback you got from the preliminary proposal to improve the project for a full proposal submission. If you have questions about the feedback, schedule a time to talk with a program director.