Specific Documents

The overview, project plan, and budget can be tricky to align with each other and the project team will often want to do several conceptual revisions of these documents. This is the tough intellectual work of proposal development! While these revisions and conversations are happening, get the project team some quick wins with some of these documents that are easier to create.

See below for more information about selected supporting documents for NSF proposals. It may feel overwhelming to complete the necessary documents for proposals, but there are administrators and offices at every SEISMIC institution that help with these documents. 




In NSF panels, reviewers typically do not even read these documents, at least not closely. They have to be acceptable and reasonable, but this is not the place to spend your energy in developing the proposal. Copy documents from a prior proposal, adjust the small things that are needed, and move back to the main project description document.

The SciENcv system works well for creating bio sketches and current and pending documents. However, keep in mind that the current and pending documents can change up until the last minute when the budget is submitted. So, you may want to ask your collaborators to send you their current and pending documents using the fillable NSF template. That way you can change the total award amount, person-months, and any other information as needed. NSF directions for senior personnel documents are here.

  • Though NSF only wants formulaic letters, you don’t want to do this completely at the last minute since you need to give several days to respond and some people may say no. You need to know your proposal title and the PI to include in the text for the letters of support. 
  • For Advisory Board requests, send an email with a very basic overview of the proposal (a few sentences), the proposed responsibilities for the board, how much they would be paid, and so on. Most people do not want to see more than this to make a decision. If they ask for more information, send them the full version of the proposal overview (1 to 2 pages).
  • Note that using internal people (i.e., those at your institution) on the advisory board can be complicated with respect to identifying the correct budget category, ever-changing unit-specific policies, people on 9-month versus 12-month appointments, and people with term-limited appointments. Having internal advisory board people also complicates who and which units need to be on the university’s internal routing document.