Enforcement of NSF-approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Formats Begins on 10/5/20

NSF sent the reminder below about the enforcement of the NSF-approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support formats, beginning October 5, 2020. NSF provides additional important details.

As a reminder, we will have our own webinar to review the latest NSF policy updates and forms this Friday at 2pm. To register for that webinar, click here using a Columbia-affiliated email address.


Subject: [EXTERNAL] Enforcement of NSF-approved Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Formats Begins on 10/5/20

Dear Colleagues:

Effective October 5, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will begin enforcing the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1) requirement to use NSF-approved formats for the preparation of the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support proposal documents. The NSF-approved formats are SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae and an NSF fillable PDF.

All other PAPPG (NSF 20-1) changes were effective on June 1, 2020. Please refer to the complete list of PAPPG (NSF 20-1) significant changes and clarifications which include the IT system changes and other policy-related changes. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on proposal preparation and award administration related to NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) is also available and includes Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support information.

Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Websites

  • The NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites include links to the NSF-fillable PDF formats, updated FAQs, and instructions.
  • For the fillable PDF formats, NSF recommends users download and save the blank PDF document prior to adding content. Populating content directly into a web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari) may result in formatting inconsistencies. The completed and saved PDF can then be uploaded via FastLane, Research.gov, or Grants.gov.
  • Beginning on October 5, 2020, links to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support websites will also be located in FastLane (on the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Personnel pages), in Research.gov (on the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support Upload pages), and in Grants.gov (on the NSF Senior Key Person Profile form version 2.0).

Change of Principal Investigator (PI) and Add/Change Co-PI Requests

  • Effective October 5, 2020, Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documentation must also be in an NSF-approved format when uploaded with a Change of PI and an Add/Change co-PI request in FastLane.

Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) Submissions with Active Other Support Changes

  • Effective October 5, 2020, PIs and co-PIs must include an NSF-approved format for Current and Pending Support when notifying NSF that active other support has changed since the award was made, or since the most recent annual report.
  • This new requirement serves as NSF’s implementation of the revised RPPR, a uniform format for reporting performance progress on Federally-funded research projects and research-related activities.
  • Further details about the RPPR can be found on the Research.gov About Project Reports website.

Automated Compliance Checks for NSF-approved Formats

  • Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents not in an NSF-approved format will trigger a compliance error and ultimately will prevent proposal submission or completion of the post-award action. This compliance check applies to proposals, Change of PI requests, Add/Change co-PI requests, and relevant RPPR submissions.
  • The complete lists of FastLane and Research.gov automated proposal compliance checks effective October 5, 2020, are available on the Automated Compliance Checking of NSF Proposals website.
  • Note that automated compliance checks also apply when a proposal file update (PFU) is performed on a proposal. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

NSF-approved Format Updates

Based on feedback from the research community, NSF has enhanced both approved formats, and users are encouraged to use the latest versions. Please see the system-related FAQs on using SciENcv and the system-related FAQs on using the NSF fillable PDF for a list of the improvements to each format. In particular, note the permitted use of “et al.” for publication citations in the Biographical Sketch when listing multiple authors. Senior personnel who wish to include publications in the products section of the Biographical Sketch that include multiple authors may, at their discretion, choose to list one or more of the authors and then "et al." in lieu of including the complete listing of authors' names.

SciENcv Enhancements

The SciENcv module for creating NSF Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents will be updated prior to October 5, 2020; however, all SciENcv-generated Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support PDF documents created on or after April 1, 2020 remain compliant in NSF systems.

Prior to the October 5th requirement to use the NSF-approved format, SciENcv will make a number of enhancements that include:

  • ability for users to reorder products and appointments in the Biographical Sketch
  • ability for users to edit long author citations imported from ORCID on the Biographical Sketch and add “et al.”
  • addition of a Current and Pending Support tool tip to provide clarification and guidance on how users should document support under a fiscal year calendar

Please see the system-related FAQs on using SciENcv for details.

As a reminder, the SciENcv tool integrates with ORCID, enabling users to populate the Biographical Sketch by importing data directly from ORCID records rather than having to manually enter all the required information. This helps reduce administrative burden associated with the Biographical Sketch preparation process. Additionally, SciENcv allows users to grant access to delegates to assist with maintaining and updating data. SciENcv also offers users a dynamic and more customized PDF. For example, users with fewer Current and Pending Support entries may elect to use SciENcv to generate their Current and Pending Support PDF document since SciENcv will produce a PDF without any blank pages. Conversely, the Current and Pending Support fillable PDF will always be 15 pages regardless of how much data is included.

Latest NSF Fillable PDF Version

  • Revised NSF fillable PDF formats were released on May 1, 2020; however, the previous versions remain compliant in NSF systems.
  • The May 1, 2020 version is indicated by "Revised 05/01/2020" printed on the first page of each form. 

Additional Training Resources

To learn more about the NSF-approved formats for Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support, please view the NSF PAPPG (NSF 20-1) webinar and NSF-Approved Formats for the Biographical Sketch & Current and Pending Support Sections of NSF Proposals webinar.

SciENcv has created the following materials to guide NSF users through the preparation of the NSF documents available in SciENcv:

Other Updates for Proposers

A revised NSF Grants.gov Application Guide will be published on September 16th and effective October 5, 2020. The Guide will be updated to remove references and instructions for the Research & Related Personal Data Form. NSF will no longer require this form, and this form will no longer be included in NSF's packages effective October 5, 2020.

Questions? Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov. If you have IT system-related or technical questions regarding the SciENcv or NSF fillable PDF formats, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 (7:00 AM - 9:00 PM ET; Monday - Friday except federal holidays) or via fastlane@nsf.gov.

Best regards,

NSF ERA Forum Team

National Science Foundation


Maria Koszalka

Staff Associate, Research.gov

Division of Institution and Award Support

Budget, Finance & Award Management

National Science Foundation

September 14, 2020