The National Science Foundation, Office of the Director announces this
important notice about NSF's paperless proposal and award system and the
next steps towards this goal.
The notice, from Dr. Rita Colwell, Director, National Science
Foundation, to presidents of universities and colleges and heads of
other National Science Foundation grantee organizations, has been posted
EFFECTIVE DATE: 1 OCTOBER 2000 - ALL specified transactions with NSF
(including proposal submission) must be accomplished electronically via
use of the NSF FastLane system at
The text of the notice is reprinted below.
NOTICE NO. 126 - 11 September 2000
In September 1998, NSF issued Important Notice 123, "Working Toward a
Paperless Proposal and Award System." Important Notice 123 describes
NSF's vision for the future in electronic business and outlines the
schedule for implementation. As stipulated in this Notice, effective 1
October 2000 (that is, this weekend), ALL specified transactions (see
NOTE 1 below) with NSF, (including proposal submission) must be
accomplished electronically via use of the NSF FastLane system (see NOTE
2 below). Proposals submitted after 1 October 2000 that respond to
standing or existing announcements or solicitations must comply with the
FastLane requirements, even if the document specified a paper option.
NSF’s efforts in this area are consistent with recent legislation that
directs the entire Federal Government to move in the direction of
paperless proposal/grant processes, e.g., Public Law 106-107, Federal
Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999.
When Important Notice 123 was first issued, we recognized that full
implementation of NSF FastLane by 1 October 2000 would be a challenging
goal. We would like to thank you for your patience, cooperation and
feedback over the past two years in helping us to achieve this goal. To
date, in Fiscal Year 2000, over 80% of proposals have been submitted
electronically via FastLane. NSF is committed to increasing our outreach
to those segments of our customer groups who are having, or might have,
difficulty with electronic submission.
The results achieved over the past two years demonstrate that use of
electronic systems and on-line communications have enabled NSF to
respond more promptly and accurately to grantee requests, as well as
enable our grantee community to initiate and better manage their NSF
business transactions. NSF will continue to work with you and your
organization(s) to improve the conduct of electronic business
interactions with the Foundation.
The FY 2001 revision of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 01-2)
contains important guidance on the full implementation of Important
Notice 123. This new version of the GPG also includes instructions on
how to obtain an exception to the FastLane requirement for those who
experience difficulties or cannot submit electronically to NSF.
In addition to NSF FastLane efforts, NSF remains an active and
collaborating partner on the interagency development of a "common face"
for Federal grants known as the "Federal Commons." The "Federal Commons"
is an Internet-based point of entry for grant proposers and recipients
to conduct business electronically with Federal grant making agencies.
Steps are already underway to ensure that FastLane will integrate
transparently with this "common face" approach.
Rita R. Colwell
NOTE 1: There are a limited number of transactions, including some
postaward administrative requirements and supplemental funding requests
that, at this time, cannot be transmitted via FastLane. Consult the
"Grant Proposal Guide" for further details.
NOTE 2: For those organizations that have not yet used FastLane, we
strongly encourage you to visit the FastLane Web site at
https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov for supplemental information and guidance
on the use of the FastLane system.