NSF - Enforcement of Project Outcomes Report

Information you need to know regarding current or future NSF Awards.

*Note* Project Outcomes Report is different than the Final Project Report. I had a few of our faculty members that have been confused by this, so I have detailed out the difference below.

Have a late National Science Foundation report? Enforcement is being place on both Principal Investigators and co- Principal Investigators.

The National Science Foundation has increased their effort in the last few months to make sure that annual, final, and project outcome reports are completed. In order to enforce this, NSF is now requiring Principal Investigators and co-Principal Investigators, to have no reports due before they issue any additional funding.

The issue has come up for one faculty member that was listed as a co-Investigator on an NSF project and did some work on a NSF project five years ago. The faculty member put in a few weeks of recess effort for this project in year one and they were still named co-Principal Investigator for years two through five of this project, even though they were not contributing any additional effort to the project. Recently that faculty member has been listed as a co-Investigator on a new project that NSF is interested in awarding funds. The Awards and Grants Division at NSF is holding up issuing this award to the University until this one co-Investigator is compliant with NSF rules and regulations on submitting reports. To NSF, the co-Investigator is just as responsible for the project reports as the Principal Investigator.

The question has come up about what reports does NSF require and when are they due. On almost all awards, NSF requires annual, final and project outcome reports.

Annual Project Report

An Annual Report must be submitted and approved every year of an award and must describe the activities of the project during the year of the reporting project. Unless otherwise stated in the Notice of Grant Award, annual reports are due 90 days before the end of the current budget period. Failure to submit an annual report can delay funding for the current project if it is being distributed annually. It is important to remember that if a No Cost Extension is approved, an annual report for that period still needs to be submitted.

Final Project Report

Within 90 days following expiration of the grant, a final project report must be submitted electronically via the NSF FastLane System. As reflected in the FastLane Project Report System, the report is considered due during the 90 day period. The report becomes overdue the day after the 90 day period ends. In addition, the grantee also shall provide to the cognizant NSF Program Officer, within 90 days following the expiration of the grant:

  • any unique reports or other end items specified in the award, including any reporting requirements set forth in any NSF brochure, guide, solicitation, etc., referenced in the award as being directly related to either the award or the administration of the award.
  • a final cost share notification documented and certified by the Authorized Organizational Representative for awards where the cost sharing amount reflected on Line M of the cumulative award budget is $500,000 or more.

Final project reports are normally not required for institutional graduate research fellowships and interagency agreements. However, final project reporting requirements for individual fellowships are established in the program solicitation.

Project Outcomes Report for the General Public

Within 90 days following expiration of the grant, a project outcomes report for the general public must be submitted electronically via Research.gov. This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project. This report will be posted in the Research Spending and Results section of the Research.gov website exactly as it is submitted and will be accompanied by the following disclaimer:

“This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.”

Grantees are to ensure that the report does not contain any confidential, proprietary business information; unpublished conclusions or data that might compromise the ability to publish results in the research literature; or invention disclosures that might adversely affect the patent rights or those of the organization, in a subject invention under the award. Responses are not to contain any private personally identifiable information such as home contact information, individual demographic data or individually identifiable information collected from human research participants.

Section Contents:

  • Describe the project outcomes or findings that address the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the work as defined in the NSF merit review criteria. This description should be a brief (generally, two to three paragraphs) summary of the project’s results that is written for the lay reader. Principal Investigators are strongly encouraged to avoid use of jargon, terms of art, or acronyms.
  • NSF will automatically include all publications that are provided regarding the award in the FastLane project reporting system. Other products that have resulted from the award also are to be listed. Examples of other products include collections, data sets, software, as well as educational materials.
  • Additional information. Information regarding anticipated publication of project results, as well as any other information that would be of interest to the public also may be included in this section.

Final reports submitted to NSF cover the last year of the award only and are not intended to provide the general public with a complete picture of the results of the funded research. In addition, the Final Project Report is a communication between the Principal Investigator and the NSF Program Officer. The Project Outcomes Report is meant for the general public. If you have any question about what reports may be due, please refer to the Notice of Award or to your Program Officer. You can also contact the CEAS-Grants Management Office for more information through e-mail to Mark Santanello at mark.santanello@uc.edu or Penny Lawson at penny.lawson@uc.edu.