Important Changes to NSF Biosketches and Current and Pending Support!

If you are planning to submit an NSF grant proposal in the spring or summer of 2020 (or beyond), please read this article in its entirety. It contains important information on how to ensure your proposal will be accepted by NSF.

As discussed in the “Important Agency Updates” article posted 12/20/2019, NSF has announced that all applications submitted after the implementation of the 2020 update to the NSF Proposal and Awards Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) must use an NSF-approved process to generate each Biosketch included in the proposal, as well as the Current and Pending Support documents.

This means that investigators will not be able to simply create a biosketch in Microsoft Word or any other word processing software and convert it to PDF for inclusion in an NSF proposal, even if the format of the biosketch appears to match that described in the PPG.

Biosketches must now be created using only an NSF-approved system, either SciENcv, or the biosketch function within Fastlane/ NSF strongly encourages the use of SciENcv.

Benefits of using SciENcv include the storage of information within SciENcv, along with access to information in linked systems, so that investigators are able to select which information is relevant to a particular proposal and thereby easily generate different versions of sponsor-approved biosketches. Using SciENcv also gives researchers the ability to produce biosketches compliant with the formats of multiple sponsors, again based on information that is already stored in SciENcv and linked systems.

From the agency perspective provided by NSF, using SciENcv, or the approved Fastlane/ alternative, will allow NSF to extract structured XML data which will be embedded in the PDF generated by the SciENcv system. Such data is not available in a standard PDF. NSF’s Fastlane and systems will be able to detect when a Biosketch or Current & Pending Support document is not generated using an approved method and will generate an error in the system which will prevent submission.

While the final NSF 2020 PAPPG (20-1) has not yet been issued, it will become effective within 90 days of its issuance. Proposals submitted on or after that date will be rejected if the Biosketches and Current & Pending Support do not comply with the new requirements.

SciENcv is a part of the MyNCBI platform. Users who already have accounts or log-ins with MyNCBI can begin creating their profiles and importing/entering information immediately. Users who have not previously logged into MyNCBI will be able to log in using either an existing NSF login or an NIH eRA Commons log-in. Once in the system, investigators can begin populating the information that will be needed for a Biosketch and Current and Pending Support. Additionally, an investigator can link his or her accounts with eRA Commons, NSF, and ORCID to more easily populate information in SciENcv and Biosketches.  

Please see below links for detailed instructions for using SciENcv:

Additionally, a brief training video (3 minutes) on SciENcv is available at:

Ensuring that your ORCID profile and account are complete and up-to-date is one of the best and most efficient ways to create new Biosketches. Information and instructions related to ORCID can be found at:

Additionally, information on integrating a SciENcv profile with ORCID can be found in another brief training video (4 minutes):

OSP, in collaboration with Emory Libraries, will also be reaching out directly to NSF-funded investigators and units with significant NSF funding to provide additional, more detailed training on SciENcv.

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