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National Science Foundation Grant Process


If you are a researcher creating advancements in technology, engineering, or bio science you may be wondering about the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant application process. The NSF was created in 1950 to manage the government grants for scientific and national defense research.

The NSF grant application process is broken down into three phases. Phase I- proposal prep and submission, Phase II- proposal review and processing, and Phase III- award processing. It takes 10 months to complete all three phases: 3 months for phase I, 6 months for phase II, and about 30 days for phase III. Applications are reviewed for two main merits: intellectual and broader impacts.


The first step of the NSF grant application process is finding the right grant for your project. The next step is to read everything. Take notes regarding deadlines, what information must be included in the grant and length. Does the grant you’ve chosen require a pre-proposal or cover letter? Are there requirements for word count or number of pages? This is information you need to know to prepare a winning proposal.


The last step is to write and submit your proposal. It’s critical your application is complete with all required information and submitted within the deadline. To increase your odds of winning there are a few things you can do:

  1. Know your funder. Find out everything you can about the entity providing the grant.

  2. Write with passion- this is your chance to share why your project deserves to be funded.

  3. Read, re-read, and then give your proposal to someone else to proof before you submit! Keep your list of requirements nearby and check off that ALL of them have been met.


If you follow all of these steps you will be on your way to a successful- and hopefully winning- NSF grant application.

Copyright 2019 Tiara C Nixon All Rights Reserved