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FastLane guide

Submitting a SBIR/STTR Phase I Proposal in FastLane

The Phase I SBIR solicitation and STTR solicitation explain what information should go into the proposal. The following steps will walk through the process of submitting a proposal to FastLane, NSF’s electronic submission system. Remember to submit your proposal early. Fastlane will not accept proposals after 5:00 pm submitter’s time. The time zone of the submitting company is set during online registration in Research.gov.

ADA & 508 Compliance Assistance - Please Call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188.

PDF version is available for download.

1. Application Overview

Do you have the required registrations?

Before you can register your small business with NSF and prepare/submit a proposal - you MUST register your company to do business with the U.S. government through the System for Award Management (SAM). When you register in SAM, you’ll have to share your company’s “DUNS number” and bank account information. You’ll also have to have an original, signed notarized letter stating that you are the authorized Entity Administrator before your registration will be activated. The SAM.gov registration process is free and takes only 10-15 minutes to initiate but can take up to one month to complete. SAM registration expires after one year and must be updated annually.

Once your company is registered in SAM, you are able to register the organization with NSF in Research.gov. Only after registering with Research.gov can you login to FastLane and begin preparing your proposal. (SBIR and STTR proposals are not accepted in Research.gov).

Companies submitting SBIR or STTR proposals to the Federal government must also register with the Small Business Administration’s Company Registry.

For SBIR applicants with subawardees and all STTR applicants, the subawardee should be registered in SAM. If the sub awardee organization is NOT registered in SAM, the principal investigator (PI) or a representative at the subawardee organization can call the research.gov or FastLane Help Desk. NSF will manually register them as an institution in the NSF system.

Register a New Organization

Organizations must be registered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to submit proposals using NSF’s systems. Before a new organization can register with NSF, it must first be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM - https://www.sam.gov ) and have a DUNS number. Note that completion of the SAM registration process may take up to one month.

Follow the step-by-step process below to register a new organization in Research.gov.

How do I register a new organization with NSF?

  • Open Research.gov
  • Click “Sign In” located at the top right of the screen.
  • Enter your NSF ID and password and click “Sign In.”
  • Click “My Profile” located at the top right of the screen.
  • Click “Add New Role” from the left navigation bar.
  • Click “Add Organizational Role” located in the “Add and Manage Organizations” box.
    • Note: If an organization is new to NSF, you must start the process by setting yourself up as the Administrator for the new organization. You must have an NSF account to start this process. The system will automatically detect that the organization is new and will walk you through setting up the organization and Administrator role.
  • If your organization is not already registered with NSF, a message will display to confirm that the organization is not found in NSF systems and you will be able to register the organization and become the first Administrator.
  • Enter your organization is not already registered with NSF, a message will display to confirm that the organization is not found in NSF systems and you will be able to register the organization and become the first Administrator

Helpful Tip: If a new organization is registered with NSF without an Administrator, the first user to request a role will become the organization’s first Administrator.

  • Enter your contact information for the Administrator role, add your organization’s information, and then click “Next.” (Figure 3)
  • Notice the “Administrator” role is pre-selected. Click “Next.” (Figure 4)
  • Review your organization’s information for accuracy and click “Submit.” (Figure 5)
  • The request to register your organization with NSF will be forwarded via email to your organization’s SAM points of contact for their information only. The SAM points of contact will not need to approve the request. (Figure 6)

Helpful Tip: Once an organization is registered with NSF, any updates to organizational information must be made by an organizational Administrator in the FastLane Research Administration module.

It is recommended that the Principal Investigator also register as an “Authorized Organizational Representative – AOR” for the organization. The PI creates and uploads all proposal components to FastLane and the AOR formally submits the proposal to NSF. Only PIs with AOR privileges can submit the proposal. Failing to register as an AOR is not a valid excuse for missing the solicitation deadline.

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