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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 into FastLane, NSF’s electronic submission system. Remember to submit your proposal early. FastLane will not accept proposals after 5:00 p.m. (Your time zone is set during online registration in

PDF version is available for download.

1. FastLane 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 registration process is free and takes only 10-15 minutes to initiate, but can take more than three weeks 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 Only after registering with can you login to FastLane and begin preparing your proposal. (SBIR and STTR proposals are not accepted in

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

Register a New Organization

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

How do I register a new organization with NSF?

  • Open
  • 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.

Add Organizational Role

  • 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.
  • If you need help registering in the System for Award Management (SAM), go to
  • Note that completion of the SAM registration processmay take up to two weeks.

Find Organization

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)

Figure 3: Add Information Figure 3: Add Information

Figure 4: Choose Role(s) Figure 4: Choose Role(s)

Figure 5: Review Figure 5: Review

Figure 6: Confirmation Figure 6: Confirmation

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.

Formatting Instructions

As a reminder, any documents uploaded into FastLane should follow the formatting rules:

  • Arial, Courier New, or Palatino Linotype at a font size 10 or larger should be used; or
  • Times New Roman or Computer Modern fonts at a font size of 12 points or larger.
  • Proposals formatted with multiple columns are not accepted.

Create Proposal

Go to the FastLane home page at Select the Proposal, Awards & Status link on the top (blue) menu bar. Fill in Log In information in the “PI/CO-PI Log In” box on the right side of the screen. Note: The Principal Investigator (PI) for the proposed Phase I project MUST login and prepare the proposal

PI Log In

On the Principal Investigator (PI)/Co-Principal Investigator (CO-PI) Management screen, select “Proposal Functions”

Proposal Functions

On the Proposal Functions screen, click “Proposal Preparation”

Proposal preparation

On the Principal Investigator (PI) Information screen, check the PI information for accuracy. You may choose to update or edit the PI information by selecting the “Edit PI Information” button. You cannot change the PI here. Once finished, click the “Prepare Proposal” button.

Proposal information screen

Once you select to prepare your proposal, the “Proposal Actions” screen appears. Scroll down past the Temporary Proposals in Progress section to the Create New Proposal section at the bottom, and click on the “SBIR Phase I” or “STTR Phase I” button.

create new proposal