NSF Fastlane: Proposal Submissions

When submitting a National Science Foundation proposal via FastLane, NSF's system for electronic proposal submission, tracking and review, please contact DER as soon as you decide to submit with the proposal announcement/solicitation number and deadline date.

You have the option of submitting the proposal on your own. If you wish to do so, please see directions (numbers 1-6) below.

The following steps need to be taken in order to submit a proposal via NSF FastLane:

1. You need to obtain your NSF Password. If you have submitted an NSF proposal in the past, our Office of Contract and Grant Administration (CGA) will have your Password. If not, it will need to be requested from NSF. CGA will need the following information:

  • Full name
  • Highest Degree & Year Received
  • Current Institution (Michigan State University)
  • Department
  • Street
  • City
  • State
  • Zip
  • Email address
  • Business phone
  • Business fax

This information can be sent via email to EgrProposals@osp.msu.edu and proposals@egr.msu.edu. You will use the same Password for all Fastlane submissions. The Password of the lead PI must be used. If another PI's Password is used, that PI will be listed as the lead.

2. A DER Proposal Processing form needs to be completed so a transmittal form can be prepared and signatures obtained from at least the lead PI listed on the transmittal, chairpersons for each department involved, and the dean for each college involved. CGA needs to receive and approve the transmittal before the proposal will be released to NSF.

3. Once you have your NSF Password, you can access the NSF FastLane Home Page and select Proposal Preparation. Please see the "Detailed Fastlane Instructions" for step-by step instructions about using Fastlane. The required NSF forms (Cover Sheet, PI Co-PI Information, Project Summary, Project Description, Biographical Sketches, Budget, etc.) need to be completed and submitted via FastLane.

Some of the forms, such as the PI Co-PI Information Form, are automatically completed by Fastlane. The PIs are responsible for their information contained in Fastlane. Other forms have three options for entering data. The data can be entered directly, cut and pasted into the area, or a pdf file can be loaded. The NSF FastLane instructions contain further information about this process. The text of the proposal must be in either Word or PDF format. The transfer of files to pdf format requires special software. NSF has asked that Adobe Printwriter not be used. Adobe Distiller or Professional 3.01 or higher is the requested conversion software.

4. A detailed budget needs to be prepared for each year of the project. For assistance with the budget, please contact DER ( proposals@egr.msu.edu;  5-5103) as soon as you decide to submit. DER will enter the budget amounts into FastLane, if you desire.

5. Once the proposal and all required forms are complete, the PI needs to select the Allow SRO Access button. This forwards the completed proposal to the MSU Office of Contract and Grant Administration. CGA is notified via email that your on-line proposal is ready for review. CGA checks the on-line documents and ensures a transmittal has been processed and signed by all necessary parties. If everything is complete and accurate, CGA will release your proposal submission to NSF via FastLane.

It is highly recommended that you forward the completed proposal to CGA at least one or two days in advance of the deadline. If the response to a call for proposals is large, there can be delays in submitting proposals over the internet due to heavy traffic or other network problems that CGA and MSU have no control over, and there can be no guarantee the proposal will be submitted on time.

6. An NSF proposal number is assigned to your submission and a cover page is printed at CGA and forwarded to DER. DER will send a complete cover page to NSF. This is usually due at NSF one week after the NSF FastLane deadline.

If you would like DER to assist with this process, it is necessary to contact the appropriate DER staff. Please contact DER at least 2 days in advance of the deadline. You will need to have the following items:

  • Project Summary (saved as a single file)
  • Proposal (saved as a single file)
  • References Cited (saved as a single file)
  • Current and Pending support (can be the information to be entered OR saved as a single file)
  • Biographical Sketches (each PI's bio sketch must be saved as a single file)
  • Budget justification (saved as a single file)
  • Facilities and Equipment (saved as a single file)

DER cannot assist in the processing unless all sections are in the final version and format noted above.

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