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National Science Foundation-CAREER

Special provisions stated in the NSF solicitation, Faculty Early Career Development Program, apply to the CAREER award.  In addition NSF will implement the Research  Terms and Conditions for all federal assistance awards (new grants) made after January 28, 2019 subject to 2 CFR Part 215. The OMB Uniform Guidance  2 CFR 200, dated December 26, 2014, (UG) also applies; except as modified by the award-specific terms. 

Summary of Standard Terms

Responsible Conduct of Research

  • NSF requires that the PI have a plan in place to provide appropriate training and oversight in responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who conduct research and are supported by NSF.  Training plans are subject to review.   
  • PI must designate a person to oversee compliance with the RCR training plan
  • RCR requirements flow down to all sub-recipients

Special Award Conditions

  • CAREER awards can be both standard and continuing grants
  • CAREER awards support NSF's Career-Life Balance Initiative
  • Before transferring a CAREER award to a new organization the following is required
    • New organization must provide documentation they are an eligible institution that supports research and education; and the integration of education in conjunction with the research goals remains as described in the original proposal
    • New organization must provide a new department letter
    • New organization must provide a new PI mentoring plan
  • CAREER awards must be relinquished if the Principal Investigator
    • Transfers at any time prior to or during the award period to a position that is not tenured, tenure-track, or tenure-track equivalent
    • The new organization is not CAREER eligible
    • Should one of the above points occur a substitute PI is not allowed, however the NSF Program Officer may grant a no cost extension to allow a student to finish their work

Period of Performance Extensions

  • May incur pre-award costs up to 90 days prior to the award date without prior NSF approval
  • Initiation of no cost extensions are processed through the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) by the Research Administrator (RA). Initial request, not to exceed 12 months, must be submitted no later than 10 days prior to the award end date and is subject to NSF approval    
  • Subsequent extensions require NSF approval. PI requests must be submitted to the OCG RA no later than 45 days prior to expiration. The PI request must provide:  
    • revised end date (cannot exceed past the next 12 month period)
    • estimate of award balance, brief budget justification and remaining scope of work
    • reason an extension is needed

Restrictions on Allowable costs

  • Support for senior personnel that is commensurate with a limited collaborative role in the project is now an allowable cost and may be included in sub-recipient budgets
  • A Co-PI position is not allowed
  • Salary compensation for the PI cannot exceed two months of their regular salary in one year. This limitation includes salary received from all NSF funded grants
  • Postage, sundry office items, cost of memberships, subscriptions or other professional activities require a project specific justification sent to the OCG RA for approval and retained for audit
  • Cost of entertainment, amusement diversion and social activities, charges directly associated with such costs (meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities) are not allowable costs
  • NSF funds may not be used to pay for coffee breaks for intramural meetings including laboratories, departments and centers
  • UH/OCG has established steps that the PI will need to follow in order to justify refreshments and or working meals on NSF sponsored workshops or conferences. Contact your OCG/RA should you need those details

Cost Sharing

Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited. 

Re-budgeting Authority

  • Funds may be re-budgeted into participant support without prior NSF approval as long as funds are not re-budgeted into ‘participant other’ category
  • Funds may not be transferred out of participant support without prior NSF approval
  • Re-budgeting between direct cost categories is allowed without prior NSF approval as long as the scope of work is not altered
  • Carry-forward between the years is allowed without prior NSF approval


Method of Payment is NSF Letter of Credit (LOC) an electronic drawdown system


  • Unbudgeted special purpose equipment costing over $5,000 may be purchased without prior NSF approval under the following conditions:
    • capital equipment should be an approved budget line item
    • a brief justification with a statement confirming the purchase does not change the scope of work must be sent to the OCG RA
    • OCG RA must check PeopleSoft Grants to verify the correct budget nodes are entered and indirect will calculate correctly
    • award terms and conditions may override standard terms and conditions
  • Unbudgeted special purpose equipment costing less than $5,000 may be purchased without prior NSF approval under the following conditions:
    • PI must send their OCG RA a justification that will be retained for audit purposes
    • award terms and conditions override standard terms and conditions
  • Title to property generally vests with UH


Prior approval required for all unbudgeted subcontracting.


  • Use of US Carriers required per the Fly America Act; exceptions may be made for certain airlines and routes under “Open Skies” agreements
  • Foreign and conference travel must be itemized and justified in the approved budget

Program Income

NSF utilizes the additive method to further project objectives. All efforts should be made to avoid having unexpended program income at the end of the grant.



  • Required in all publications, including World Wide Web pages, any material based on or developed under this NSF project support. Acknowledgment, including vocal, for news media interviews, radio and television.
  • Each publication shall be clearly labeled by the award number and other appropriate identifying information.

Copies to Sponsor:

PI must provide the NSF Program Officer (PO) access either electronically or by paper form to every publication of material based on or developed under the award.


  • Technical reporting should be submitted as follows:
    • Annual reporting is required for both standard and continuing NSF awards
    • Annual and final reports should summarize progress in both research and education and indicate how well these activities are being integrated and assessed
    • Under current program solicitations an annual departmental letter is no longer required  
    • Annual reports are due 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period
    • Final report detailing entire project, including broader impact criterion, is due 120 days after expiration
    • Project Outcomes report is a brief summary specifically prepared for the public. It is due 120 days after expiration
    • Annual, final and project outcome reports are submitted through
  • Financial reports are not submitted to NSF, however the quarterly and final drawdown serve as the SF 425

PECASE Awards: Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers

There is no application. PECASE awards are the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stage of their research careers. These are awarded annually by the White House Office of Science and Technology.  NSF CAREER award recip-ients are eligible. The following federal agencies participate: USDA, DOC, DoD, DOE, DEd, DHHS, NIH, VA, EPA, NASA, NSF and the Smithsonian Institute.  Each winner receives a citation, plaque and funding.