Proposals and the NSF FastLane
What is FastLane?
FastLane is an NSF Web site. The purpose of FastLane is to facilitate business transactions and the exchange of information between the National Science Foundation and its client community, including researchers, reviewers, research administrators, and others doing business with NSF. FastLane is actually an experimental development website, and NSF is working with colleges and universities nationwide in the design and evaluation of this website. The URL to the NSF FastLane homepage is: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov
How is it used?
FastLane features include: NSF Award Search. Graduate Research
Fellowships, Medal of Science, Proposal Review, Proposal Status,
Proposal Preparation, Project Reports. A few additional features
are given on the website. Current NSF Guidelines are available,
and there are instructions available throughout the site.
How to get a Userid and Password
The Kent Research and Graduate Studies Office (referred to as Sponsored Research Office or SRO in FastLane) can get you set up as a FastLane user by entering your name into the system and assigning you a userid and password. Once you login on Fastlane you can change your password so only you know what the password is.
What are the steps in preparing a FastLane proposal?
Once you have obtained your Userid and Password from Kent State's Research and Graduate Studies Office, you may log on through the FastLane Home Page
and enter your standard proposal through the NSF FastLane website. Also available is a page of tips for PI's for preparing their proposals. FastLane has smart forms capability that pulls in individual and institution information available through the NSF database. PDF files can be uploaded and cut and paste is also available, in addition to directly typing on the forms. NSF Proposal Guidelines must still be followed and required forms must be completed.
Starting 2001, NSF has simplified its FastLane process. FastLane will now accept file uploads in a variety of formats Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, plain text, RTF, EPS, PowerPoint, DVI, and TeX (MiKTeX 1.20e) within FastLane Proposal Preparation sections. NSF recommends that PIs continue to use standard fonts to avoid font substitutions when their files are converted by NSF to Acrobat 3 PDF format. PDF files will continue to be accepted.
For people who use TeX/LaTeX for proposal preparation, we recommend you use the well-tried procedure outline here:
Sometime you will encounter a problem or error using Fastlane.
You can report such problems to
How will our research office assist me?
Once you begin your proposal, our Sponsored Research Office can be very helpful relative to working with NSF. The SRO are responsible for actual submission of your proposal and will help with the budget for your proposal. The PI can assign a Proposal PIN number. Then the PI clicks on the ``Allow SRO Access'' button, allowing SRO to review work on the actual proposal. Regular NSF guidelines and forms must still be followed through this electronic process. Hard copies of signature and internal Kent State forms are also still required. The proposal is then submitted after Kent State's regular approval process has been completed.
Whom to contact in our Sponsored Research Office (SRO)?
How to generate PDF Files?
NSF FastLane no longer requires that you upload PDF format files. You can prepare file in a variety of formats as listed before. You may type text directly onto the forms or use cut and paste on plain text.
For people using LaTeX, it is still most convenient to generate PDF files for NSF proposals.
Which forms CANNOT be uploaded as files?
Contact Misty Tackett at ICM if you run into problems or need help.
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