Guidelines for Revising and Resubmitting your Proposal 

Receiving a notice that your proposal has been declined is discouraging for all principal investigators. At the bottom of this page is NSF’s official guidance on resubmission, but we first provide some information to help you evaluate whether to resubmit a revised proposal. 

Suggestions before considering resubmission  

  • Take time to read and digest the results of the merit review. 
  • Consider whether you can substantially revise/restructure the proposal (and the proposed work if needed) to address the major comments and concerns identified by the reviewers and panel, and in any PO comments (if provided). This step is especially important if the panel recommendation for your proposal was “not competitive.”  
  • Contact your program director if you want to discuss the reviews and/or have questions about NSF’s resubmission guidance. 

When can you resubmit? 

  • Ensure first that you have substantially revised your proposal. 
  • Programs with deadlines generally do not take resubmissions until the next due date.  
  • For programs without due dates or required waiting periods for resubmission, we suggest that you still take considerable thinking and writing time, as this approach often results in an improved and substantially revised proposal.  
  • NSF recognizes that occasionally there may be special circumstances where a short time interval for revision and resubmission is advisable and/or necessary. It is a good idea to communicate this time sensitivity with your program director before resubmitting. 

NSF guidance on resubmission is provided in the PAPPG and the specific section can be found HERE  

“A declined proposal may be resubmitted, but only after it has undergone substantial revision. NSF programs that accept proposals at any time may have established guidelines in which a declined proposal (or reasonable facsimile of that proposal/topic by the same PI, and co-PIs, where applicable) is ineligible for resubmission for a specified period of time. This moratorium allows PIs/co-PIs sufficient time to digest the results of the merit review and revise/restructure the declined proposal accordingly. Please note that a proposal that the program considers too similar to a previous proposal that is under the moratorium period may be returned without review. A resubmitted proposal that has not clearly taken into account the major comments or concerns resulting from the prior NSF review may be returned without review. The Foundation will treat the revised proposal as a new proposal, subject to the standard review procedures.” 

As always, the PAPPG is your proposal development and award management friend, and we encourage you look through it!