Skip to main content

FastLane guide

3. Proposal Submission

If you have completed all the above actions you are now ready to submit your proposal. If you want to print out your proposal before moving to the submission and printing section below, return to the “Proposal Actions” screen and click on the “Print” button. This will allow you to have a hard copy of what you have entered into FastLane. (The printed proposal is not your official proposal). Note that only those persons listed as official Sponsored Research Officers (SROs) have the ability to complete submission of the proposal to NSF.

  • If you have SRO Access Rights, you can click the “Submit SBIR” or “Submit STTR” button and the proposal will be submitted to NSF. You will receive a confirmation email with the new NSF Proposal ID.
  • If you do not see the “Submit SBIR” or “Submit STTR” button on the “Proposal Action” screen, you do not have the FastLane SRO Access Rights and should follow the directions below. Submitting a proposal to NSF involves two steps in the Research Administration portal:
  • Submitting the proposal to NSF
  • Electronically signing the proposal

Allow SRO Access

  1. To begin the submission process, return to the Proposal Actions screen; select and highlight the proposal you wish to submit and click on the button “Allow SPO Access”.

Allow SRO Access screen with selection box of proposals

In step 2. At this point, FastLane may notify you of some warnings and/or errors related to the proposal. “Errors” will prevent you from submitting the proposal until they are remedied. You will receive an “error” if modules or required documents are missing that must be included per NSF policy. Proposers are strongly encouraged to submit their proposal early (days, not hours) to ensure adequate time is afforded to troubleshoot any errors that will prevent submission at this stage. FastLane will not accept any proposals after 5:00 pm (submitter’s time zone as registered in FastLane).

Proposal Errors/Warnings screen showing list of errors in red

FastLane may also give you “warnings” that do not prevent proposal submission, but could indicate missing items that are required by the solicitation. Please be sure to review and address these warnings in the context of the specific solicitation requirements.

Proposal Errors/Warnings screen showing list of warnings in black

When you are ready to continue, click “Proceed” to continue the submission process.

  1. If you are ready to complete the submission process, select the third “Go” button for “Allow AOR to view, edit and submit proposal.”

SRO Access control screen

  1. Then click the “OK” button on the below screen.

SRO Access control completion screen

SRO Access Steps

At this point, the Sponsored Research Officer (SRO) has to take the following steps to submit the proposal to NSF.

  1. Go to the FastLane Home Page and select the “Research Administration” link.

FastLane homepage navigation bar

  1. The authorized organizational representative will be asked to provide the following Log-in information:
    • Last Name
    • NSF ID
    • Password

SRO login box

  1. Click “Proposals/Supplements/File Updates/Withdrawals”. The screen displays on the Documents in Progress tab.

SRO dashboard screen

  1. Click “Submit” in the row for the proposal you want to submit.

SRO documents in progress tab with table of documents

  1. The “Proposal Errors/Warnings” screen gives you the capability to submit the proposal, if there are no errors that prevent submission. Warnings will not prevent submission, but may alert you to missing items that are required by the specific program or solicitation. You are urged to address and correct these issues.

SRO proposal Error/Warnings screen with list of warnings

Submit Proposal

  1. There are two options at this point: Submit and Sign the Proposal or Submit the Proposal Only. The steps below are for the Submit and Sign the Proposal option. (If you are an SPO with AOR permissions, you have the capability to submit and sign the proposal. If you submit without signing, please have the AOR sign the proposal within 5 days of submission.)

5a. “Debarment and Suspension”: click the radio button for “Yes or No” if there are any debarments or suspensions of you or of your organization from transactions with federal agencies. (If you answered Yes, provide an explanation in the text box.)

Debarment and Suspension radio buttons and text field

5b. Institution Information: Check the accuracy of your organization’s information, then click “Sign and Submit”.

Institution information screen listing details of institution

5c. Proposal Submission Confirmation screen: Displays a message that the proposal has been successfully submitted to NSF. It also displays the official NSF proposal number which has been assigned.

  • Write down the NSF proposal number
  • Print a copy of the Proposal Submission Confirmation screen, if desired
  • Click the “OK” button to return to the “Documents in Progress” tab

Proposal Submission Confirmation screen with proposal number listed

This is the Proposal Number you should reference in all communications with NSF regarding this proposal henceforward.

Note: User’s lack of familiarity with FastLane is not a valid excuse for submitting a late proposal, nor are warnings/errors received at the time of submission. Therefore, we strongly advise all submitters to ensure the proposal is submitted EARLY (days - not hours - before each deadline).