Check for Completeness, Accuracy, and Proper Formatting
You can avoid some common errors in grant applications by providing all the information required in sponsor forms, and verify that the entire proposal complies with sponsor formatting instructions. Take advantage of agency checklists to make sure your application is complete and required fields are filled in.
We also offer NSF and NIH templates, tools and samples for standard proposal components, using examples and detailed instructions for proper completion of the forms.
National Science Foundation Guidelines
Prior to (or shortly after) uploading your NSF proposal documents into FastLane, it is strongly recommended that PI's or his/her designee conduct an administrative review to ensure that proposals comply with the proposal preparation guidelines established in the Grants Proposal Guide.
Use the proposal preparation checklist to assist in this review. This checklist is not intended to be an all-inclusive repetition of the required proposal contents and associated proposal preparation guidelines. It is, however, meant to highlight certain critical items so they will not be overlooked when the proposal is prepared.
You'll also want to be sure that your formatting conforms to the following guidelines:
Fonts:Use one of the approved typefaces (noting the exception that a font size of less than 10 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figure, table or diagram captions; key is to keep it easily readable):
- Arial, Courier New, or Palatino Linotype at a font size of 10 points or larger
- Times New Roman at a font size of 11 points or larger
- Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 11 points or larger
- Margins: In all directions, must be at least 1 inch.
- Pagination: can be located within the 1-inch margin; each section of the proposal needs to be individually paginated prior to upload to the electronic system (i.e., "Project Description – 1").
- Line spacing: whether single-spaced or double-spaced, is up to discretion of the proposer, but established page limits must be followed.
Visit the NSF website for complete Proposal Preparation Instructions. If any specifics given in the individual program solicitation differ from the Grant Proposal Guide, always defer to the program solicitation instructions.