NSF Cost-Sharing

In its recent report, Investing in the Future: NSF Cost Sharing Policies for a Robust Federal Research Enterprise, the NSF National Science Board recommends

(1) to allow, but narrowly circumscribe, the application of mandatory cost sharing requirements in NSF programs in which such cost sharing is foundational to achieving programmatic goals, and

(2) to prohibit voluntary committed cost sharing in NSF proposals and thus eliminate post-award tracking and reporting requirements.

These recommendations are intended to improve consistency and clarity of NSF cost sharing practices and policy and to maximize the effectiveness of institutional dollars invested in research. The Board firmly believes that prohibiting voluntary committed cost sharing, and permitting mandatory cost sharing requirements only in limited and appropriate circumstances, will not reduce institutional commitment and financial contributions to NSF-sponsored projects or negatively impact institutional stewardship of Federal resources. Instead, it likely will enhance the ability of institutions to strategically and flexibly plan, invest in, and conduct research projects and programs and promote equity among grantee institutions in NSF funding competitions.

1 Comment »

  1. iGrrrl said

    The trick in adapting to this policy, if it is implemented will be the reviewers looking for evidence of institutional support. That’s not going to go away. NSF notes in the document that the Facilities and Resources will need to be very clearly described, and I think that will emerge as the way to convey the institutional resources for the proposed project. If the reviewers start actually reading them… Some do, and some don’t. The document also talks about training both reviewers and program officers, so at least they’re admitting the issue of expectations of institutional support.

    OTOH, NSF and the universities are very tired of dealing with the issues around auditing cost sharing. I think it’s a win.

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