NSPIRES Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is NSPIRES?
NSPIRES is the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System. This web-based system supports the entire lifecycle of NASA research solicitation and selection, from the release of solicitation announcements through NOI and proposal submission, the peer review and the decision process.
How does NSPIRES differ from Grants.gov?
NSPIRES is a NASA system designed to support the entire solicitation process (see question above). Grants.gov is a federal government wide system designed solely to receive proposals and transfer them to the receiving agency. Proposals submitted to NASA via Grants.gov must be transferred into NSPIRES in order for the solicitation process to be completed and proposers using Grants.gov must be registered in NSPIRES in order for this proposal transfer to take place. An NSPIRES proposal is created by a combination of web-based entry of cover page data and upload of permitted PDF document(s). A Grants.gov proposal is created by the offline completion of a series of PDF forms, attachment of several proposal document parts, and upload of the entire package back to Grants.gov. Both systems require submission of the proposal by an authorized representative from the organization submitting the proposal (usually NOT the Principal Investigator (PI)). Be sure to check the solicitation to see if submission via Grants.gov is permitted.
Where can I get the latest version of the Proposers Guidebook (Guidebook for Proposers Responding to a NASA Research Announcement (NRA))
The Proposers Guidebook is available for download at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/nraguidebook/. The solicitation specifies which version of the Guidebook applies to that particular opportunity and the URL and link for download is also provided in the solicitation.
How can I find opportunities to propose to NASA?
There are several mechanisms by which interested parties can learn of research opportunities with NASA. These include searching the Federal Business Opportunities web site at http://www.fbo.gov for upcoming opportunities, searching Grants.gov for posted application packages at http://www.grants.gov, searching NSPIRES for Open and Future Solicitations at https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/, or by becoming a registered NSPIRES member and signing up for email notification.
Which browser(s) should I use to use NSPIRES?
Browser Operating System Microsoft Windows macOSFirefox (latest version)Google Chrome (latest version)Internet Explorer 11Microsoft Edge (latest version)Safari (latest version)
Do I need cookies enabled to access your web site?
Yes, NSPIRES uses a 'cookie' for maintaining contact with a user through a website session. A cookie is a small file supplied by the web server and stored by the web browser software on your computer when you access NSPIRES. The cookie allows NSPIRES to recognize you as an individual as you move from one page to another when logged into the website.
The information in the cookie is only used to help you use our website systems more efficiently, and not to track your movements through the Internet or to record private information about you. No attempt will be made to identify anonymous users or their browsing activities unless legally compelled to do so, such as in the event of an investigation, where a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to inspect the website log files.
Where can I get the meaning of the terms used in NSPIRES?
Terms are defined in the NSPIRES Glossary, available at https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/helpGlossary.do or by navigating from the NSPIRES Home page to the "Help" page and selecting "Glossary".
Who needs to be a registered member in NSPIRES?
Any individual needs to have an active membership if he/she wishes to perform the following actions:
- Register an organization
- Create or submit an NOI
- Create or submit a proposal (to either NSPIRES or Grants.gov)
- Serve as a team member on either an NOI or a proposal (to either NSPIRES or Grants.gov)
- Review a proposal
- Subscribe to email notifications
You do not need to be a member to find and read proposal opportunities or to see information about past, funded proposals.
I am not a US Citizen. Can I still register in NSPIRES?
Anybody can register in NSPIRES. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen in order to register in NSPRIRES.
How do I start my registration in NSPIRES?
Go to the NSPIRES Home page at https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/, and click the Registration Information link in the blue "Member Login" box.
I'm having trouble with the registration. How can I get help?
There is an online tutorial for member registration on the NSPIRES Tutorials page, which is accessible from the NSPIRES Help Page. Additionally, the NSPIRES Help Desk is staffed Monday to Friday, from 8AM to 6 PM, M-F Eastern Time. They can be reached on (202) 479-9376 or via email to NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com.
What is the Unique Identifier?
The first step in registering is to create a Unique Identifier. Rather than collect your social security number, NSPIRES collects a set of information that is unique to you, and that will not change during your lifetime. This is why we ask for your name as it was at birth. All of the personal information collected for the unique identifier is combined and encrypted and cannot be retrieved from the system. However, if you ever forget your password, you can recover your account by providing this information. If the encrypted values of the information you provide match what is stored in the system, you can recover your account. Therefore, it is important that you provide information here that you will remember in the future. Note: the request for city of birth is for city ONLY. Do not try to include state or country; this additional information will not be accepted by the system.
What is the Security Challenge Question?
This is an additional security feature used to assist in the retrieval of your password, should you ever forget it and need access to the system. Be sure to select something that you remember as the Help Desk does NOT have access to your password.
Why won't NSPIRES accept my zip+4? It changes to a different number.
The zip+4 assigned to your shipping or mailing address is provided by the US Postal Service database. In order to fix the zip+4, please contact the Help Desk so that they can walk you through the process of getting your corrected zip+4 into NSPIRES.
What is the difference between an affiliation and an association?
An affiliation is a business relationship between an NSPIRES registered member and an organization's Sponsored Research Office (SRO, or equivalent). An affiliation must be requested by a member of an organization and confirmed by the SRO. A member cannot submit a proposal to NASA without having a confirmed affiliation.
An association indicates a past or present working relationship between the registered member and an organization, but it does not require a confirmation by the SRO. An indication of associations is helpful to NASA in identifying potential conflicts of interest when planning for the peer review process. Members are asked to identify at least one association, representing the organization that employs the member. See next question.
I added an association by mistake. How can I delete it?
At this time, associations are permanent and can't be deleted. Take extra care when adding associations.
I cannot find my organization in the affiliation Screen.
The organization name that appears on the affiliation screen is the name of the organization as it appears in the System for Award Management (SAM, see "Organization Registration" questions). In several cases these names are not the same as the commonly used name for an organization, so it is possible that you searched for the 'wrong' name, or you might simply have made a spelling error. Try to be less specific when providing your organization name. Knowledge of the Cage Code or DUNS number helps to avoid this problem.
Alternatively, it is possible that your organization has not yet been registered in NSPIRES. See the "Organization Registration" questions for more information on what to do in this situation.
How long do I have to wait to access my NSPIRES account?
After you have completed your registration, NSPIRES will automatically send you an email containing a web site address where you go to activate your account. Note that this link is very long and some email systems break the link in the message: if you copy and paste the link into your browser, make sure you have copied the entire link. Once you have activated your account, you can immediately access your NSPIRES account.
What does the validation error "user information is not unique in the system" mean?
You already have an NSPIRES account, but may not have activated it yet or may simply have forgotten your user name or password. Contact the Help Desk at ((202) 479-9376 or NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com).
What does the validation error "this email already exists in your Address Book" mean?
Your email address already exists in NSPIRES, either in your own account (not yet activated) or in another account. Contact the Help Desk at ((202) 479-9376 or NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com).
I got a validation error when attempting to activate my account. Why?
The most common reason for this error is that the very long URL provided in the email has been broken into two parts by your mail system. Ensure that the entire link is going into your browser. If you still have trouble, contact the Help Desk at ((202) 479-9376 or NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com).
What does it mean that my account is locked and how do I unlock it?
A locked account arises when you fail to activate your account following your initial registration or you fail to 'reactivate' it if you used the "Forgot my password" function. In both cases you should have received an activation email providing a URL to which you should link. If you did not get such an email or cannot access the URL, please contact the Help Desk at ((202) 479-9376 or NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com). An account gets also locked after trying to login more than five times with an invalid password.
I forgot my username, what do I do?
Please contact the NSPIRES Help Desk ((202) 479-9376 or NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com). They will be able to tell you your username.
I forgot my password, what do I do?
Your first action should be to try to use the 'Forgot Your Password?' link below the login boxes. You will first need to enter your email address. (Note - the email address you provide must be the email address attached to your NSPIRES account; if your email address has changed and you have not updated it, you will need to contact the Help Desk.) Then you will be asked for your unique identifier information (see question above). After selecting a new password, you will be told that you need to reactivate your account, by taking action on an email that the system will send to the email address you gave it. This email should arrive very quickly. It contains a link that you need to follow; if the link is not live or broken, be sure to get the entire link, as it is quite long. If you encounter trouble during this process, or if you have not previously set up your "security challenge question" (see question above), please contact the Help Desk. They do not have access to your password, but can work with you to get it reset.
What is SAM?
The System for Award Management (SAM) combines eight federal procurement systems (including the now obsolete CCR) and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system. All organizations that wish to register in NSPIRES must have a valid and active SAM registration.
My organization is registered in SAM. Why can't I see it in NSPIRES?
There are several reasons an organization may not show up in NSPIRES. It can take up to 5 business days for a new SAM registration to be transmitted to NSPIRES. An organization cannot be registered in NSPIRES until that transfer of data has occurred. Transfer of information about your organization from the SAM does not, however, register your organization. It is possible that your organization has not yet registered in NSPIRES. It may also be that you are searching for your organization using the "common" name, rather than the formal organization name used by the SAM. Try to generalize your search, or search on Cage Code or DUNS number instead.
What organizations need to be registered in NSPIRES?
Any organization that plans to submit a proposal to NASA (both via NSPIRES and via Grants.gov) must be registered.
I am an unaffiliated individual planning to submit a proposal to NASA. Do I need an organization that is registered in NSPIRES?
Yes. All individuals must have a registered organization within NSPIRES in order to submit a proposal.
Who can register my organization in NSPIRES?
Only the SAM Electronic Business Point of Contact (EBPOC) or alternate EBPOC of your organization can register your organization in NSPIRES.
Who is the EBPOC of my organization?
The Electronic Business Point of Contact and an optional alternate are listed for each organization in the System for Award Management (SAM). You can contact your Business Office or Sponsored Research Office of your organization to find out who is your EBPOC. You can also search in the "SAM search page" for your organization's name, CAGE Code, or DUNS number. Once you find it, scroll down at the bottom of the page, where you will see the EBPOC's information of your organization.
I am the EBPOC of my organization. How do I register my organization in NSPIRES?
To register your organization within NSPIRES, you must first register as a user. Please see the FAQ section on "Member Registration" for questions about completing your personal registration. You will not affiliate yourself during this process. Once you have activated your personal account, login, and click the "Register an Organization" link. There is an online tutorial for organization registration on the NSPIRES Tutorials page, which is accessible from the NSPIRES Help Page. Additionally, the NSPIRES Help Desk is staffed from 8AM to 6 PM, M-F Eastern Time. They can be reached on (202) 479-9376 or via email to NSPIRES-Help@nasaprs.com.
Did the process for registering an organization in NSPIRES change?
Yes. Organization Registration can now be done completely online without any PDF documents to download or mail. After completing the online process, you will receive email confirmation registration citing your registration number. You will also receive a second email after NASA activates your organization. The activation process should take a maximum of two business days.
How long does it take for an organization to become active?
The registration activation is processed as soon as you complete the online registration. NSPIRES will issue you a system generated registration number for reference. You will receive email confirmation of this registration citing this number. You will also receive a second email after NASA activates your organization. The activation process should take a maximum of two business days. If you have not received your activation email after that period, please contact the help desk at(202) 479-9376.
What is an OPOC?
An OPOC is the Organization Point of Contact within NSPIRES for a registered organization. It is either the SAM EBPOC (the person who must register an organization within NSPIRES) or someone designated by the EBPOC to act on the organization's behalf. The OPOC is the person at the organization who manages the organization's NSPIRES records, including granting affiliation requests from proposers and (in the role of Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)) submitting proposals.
A PI has indicated that his affiliation request has not been processed. What do I do?
The organization's OPOC should have received an email notifying him/her that there is an affiliation request pending. The OPOC needs to login to his personal home page and select the "Manage Organizations" link and then the "Affiliation Requests" link. The page that displays will provide a list of all individuals who have an affiliation request pending. The OPOC can either "confirm" or "deny" those requests by clicking the appropriate link. An email is then sent to the member, indicating that the affiliation has been confirmed (or denied).
The PI tells me she has released her proposal to me for submission, but I can't see it.
Proposals that have been linked by the PI to an organization and/or released to the organization can be viewed by an appropriately privileged organizational representative (usually the Authorized Organizational representative, or AOR). The AOR must first login to his personal NSPIRES account, select "Manage Organizations" from the main menu, and then select "Manage Organization Proposals". A list of proposals will be presented, with the status of the proposal shown in the right column (for a definition of the various status types, see the question in the "Proposal Creation/Submission" section of these FAQs). Click on the title of the proposal and verify that the proposal is ready for submission. The proposal status must be "locked" before it can be submitted. A proposal is automatically locked when the PI releases it to the organization, or the organization can lock a linked proposal. Once the proposal is locked, click the "submit" button at the bottom of the page to submit the proposal to NASA. NSPIRES will send an email to the PI and AOR very quickly thereafter, confirming receipt.
The PI has released her proposal to me, but it isn't ready for submission. How can I return "write access" to her?
When a PI releases a proposal to the organization, it automatically is "locked" (meaning the PI can no longer edit it). To return "write access" to the PI, the AOR should access the proposal file (see above question) and click the "Unlock" button. This will return edit functions to the PI.
The AOR has rejected a proposal, but now wants to recover it. How is this done?
To recover a rejected proposal, the PI must simply click the "Reinstate" button on his proposal page, which will return the proposal to the organization for consideration.
The PI wants to withdraw his proposal from NASA. How is this done?
The AOR must withdraw the proposal for the PI. The AOR should login to her personal NSPIRES homepage and select the "Manage Organization Proposals" link. On the left side navigation list, she should select "Submitted proposals". Select the proposal in question and click the "Withdraw" button. Note that if this action is taken prior to the proposal due date, the proposal can be resubmitted (it will get a new proposal number). If it is after the due date, the proposal cannot be resubmitted.
What is an NOI?
A Notice of Intent (NOI) is a communication to NASA of your plans to submit a proposal to a specific opportunity. NOIs are usually due approximately 2 months prior to the proposal due date. NOIs are very helpful to NASA for early-stage planning for the peer review, but they are not required and are not binding on the proposer. Some programs do not request NOIs; proposers should check the specific solicitation in question to see if an NOI is requested, and by what date.
How do I submit an NOI?
Grants.gov does not support the submission of an NOI. NOIs can only be submitted via NSPIRES, even if the proposal will ultimately come to NASA via Grants.gov. You must be a registered member to submit an NOI. You do not need to link your NOI to an organization with which you are affiliated in order to submit it, but doing so increases the value to NASA for planning purposes. To create and submit, first login to your personal homepage and select "proposals". From there click the "Create NOI" button in the "Unsubmitted NOIs" section of the page. Click the radio button next to the solicitation for which you wish to submit the NOI and click "Continue". Follow the instructions to create the various parts of your NOI. On the "View NOI" page, the links towards the middle of the screen under the "NOI Details" heading are the parts of the NOI that need to be completed prior to submission. Budget information is generally not requested at this time, but check the requirements as outlined in the solicitation. It is particularly helpful to complete the "Program Specific Data", which most solicitations request at this stage. You can continue to edit this NOI at any time prior to the due date by selecting the NOI from the "Unsubmitted NOIs" section of your personal proposals page. Once complete, click the "Submit NOI" button to complete the process.
Can I print my NOI?
Yes, you can click the "Print" button on the "View NOI" page. This will generate a PDF file that you can print or save for future reference. You can print the NOI either prior to submission (on the Unsubmitted NOIs page) or after submission (on the submitted NOIs page - see below).
I can't remember if I submitted an NOI or not. How can I check?
If you have started, but not yet submitted an NOI, it will be shown on the "Unsubmitted NOIs" part of your "Proposals: Unsubmitted proposals/NOIs" page. If you have submitted the NOI, you need to click the "Submitted proposals/NOIs" link to the left of the Unsubmitted proposals/NOIs screen. Submitted NOIs (and proposals) are shown on this page and can be viewed or printed by clicking on the proposal/NOI title.
I missed the NOI deadline. Can I still submit?
There is no mechanism to submit an NOI via NSPIRES after the NOI deadline (i.e, a "late" NOI). This information, however, is still valuable to NASA. Thus if you wish to submit a late NOI, you should include as much information as possible (as requested in the solicitation) in an email to the Help Desk and include as the subject line "Late NOI for <<program name>>". Some solicitations request the late NOIs also be emailed directly to the NASA Program Officer or POC identified in the solicitation.
How do I withdraw my NOI?
Prior to submission, you may delete an NOI using the button on the "View NOI" screen. There is no way to delete a submitted NOI. Please send an email to the Help Desk specifying the PI name, solicitation, and NOI title that you wish to withdraw. The subject line for the email should read "withdraw NOI for <<program name>>".
Some of my team members do not yet have NSPIRES accounts, but I need to submit my NOI. What should I do?
If you do not have time to have your team members register themselves in NSPIRES prior to the NOI due date, please include the missing team members' names, organizations, and contact information (email, phone) within the "Program Specific Question" about missing team members, or in the "Summary" of your NOI. Please ensure that these team members get registered prior to proposal submission, as all team members must be included on the proposal cover page.
How can I create and submit an Unsolicited Proposal?
To submit an unsolicited proposal through NSPIRES, please follow the NASA guidance document at the following link: http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/pub/pub_library/unSol-Prop.html.
What is the content and form of a proposal in NSPIRES?
There are two main components of an NSPIRES proposal. The first, the Proposal Cover Page (PCP) must be completed and submitted for all solicitations, regardless of delivery method (i.e., hard copy or electronic). Note that for Hard Copy submission the proposal deadline is for receipt of the paper copies; the PCP needs to have been completed and submitted prior to this deadline in order for it to be printed and signed in time to meet the hard copy submission deadline (unless otherwise directed by the solicitation). The PCP is comprised of several sections, all of which are entered directly into NSPIRES. These sections are the Proposal Summary, the Business Data, the Budget, Program Specific Data, and the Proposal Team. See the step-by-step instructions on proposal creation (available at https://nspires.nasaprs.com/tutorials/index.html ) for further descriptions of these PCP sections.
The second part of the proposal is the various proposal documents that make up the complete text of the proposal. The upload of the PDF file(s) is required for electronic submission, but is generally not required for hard copy submission. Please see the Guidebook for further information on what constitutes the body of the proposal at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/nraguidebook/. Although NSPIRES permits and expects the upload of many component parts, PIs may instead choose (and for some solicitations may be required) to upload a single, complete proposal document. If this approach is taken, PIs are asked NOT to also submit the various separate files NSPIRES requests (i.e., do not duplicate content); PIs should ignore the NSPIRES Element Check warning messages, once verifying that the 'missing' information is in fact within the single proposal file.
Is there a file size limitation on my electronic proposal?
Many solicitations impose a maximum file size limit on electronic proposals. This file size limitation (typically 10 MB for NRA proposals, but check the specific solicitation to be sure) is in place regardless of whether the proposal is submitted to NSPIRES or Grants.gov and represents the size of the entire proposal, not each individual part (if multiple parts are permitted). In the absence of a defined file size limit, proposers are encouraged to try to be as small as possible, without detrimentally impacting their image resolution. Most NRA proposals are on the order of 1-2 MB in size.
How do I create a proposal cover page?
A PI must be affiliated with an organization in order to submit a proposal to NASA. See questions in the "Member Registration" section of these Questions and Answers about affiliation. Note that you may start your proposal creation process while waiting for your organization to confirm your affiliation. To start your cover page, login to your account and select the "proposals" link under the NSPIRES Options heading on your personal home page. Click the "Create Proposal" button to the right side of the screen. You must choose one of the 3 sources available for your cover page:
- Solicitation allows you to select the opportunity directly, from a list of open opportunities. Opportunities are usually available approximately 90 days before the proposal due date.
- NOI allows you to convert an existing, submitted NOI into a cover page. This carries over some of the NOI data and will save re-entry of information. Note that this is not required (i.e. you do not need to convert an NOI, you can start over if you would rather) and proposers are encouraged to check that ALL carried-over data, particularly the summary, is still correct and edit any information that has changed.
- Prior-phase Proposal is used for the second stage of a two-step process and, like selecting NOI, carries over step one submission information.
Enter a proposal title and click "Continue" (you may edit it later in the Business Data section if you are not sure of your final title). At this time you are given an option to link the proposal to your affiliated organization. Linking a proposal is an irreversible action, so if there is any doubt about which organization you are going to use to submit the proposal (or if you are not yet affiliated), choose the "Do Not Link At This Time" button. You will be given a chance to link the proposal later in the Business Data section. After verifying that you are submitting to the intended solicitation, click save. This creates your proposal cover page, which you can finish in a single step, or return to for future editing prior to the due date.
The various cover page elements are shown on the "View Proposal" screen. Each element title is a link that allows you to edit that section of the cover page. The Proposals Attachments section is also found on this screen, and in is in this section where a proposal documents can be uploaded (if required by the solicitation). Please see the tutorials on submitting a proposal, available from the NSPIRES "Help" link at https://nspires.nasaprs.com/tutorials/index.html, or contact the NSPIRES Help Desk for help with specific proposal element editing.
How do I submit a proposal?
The proposal cover page (with attached proposal document(s) if required by the solicitation) is not submitted by the PI. The PI must release the proposal to his/her organization and the organization (the Authorized Organizational Representative, or AOR) completes the submission process. Note that a proposal is not finalized (i.e. no proposal number has been assigned) until this last step of submission has been taken.
I've started the proposal creation/submission process. How do I find what I started and see where it is in the process?
In order to see proposals that you have in process, login to your account and select the "Proposals" link. Below the Unsubmitted Proposals heading is a list of all proposals that you have started to create as a PI, or on which you have been identified as a team member, but which have not yet been submitted. The title of the proposal is a link that will take you to the screen that allows you to edit the various components (note that if you are a team member, you may or may not have editing privileges. The PI grants to the team members the view or edit permissions for the different components of the proposal). The organization to which you have linked your proposal (if any) is shown, as is the PI name, the proposal due date, and the proposal status (see below).
What do the various "proposal status" types mean?
There are many different proposal status types.
- Pending is a proposal cover page that is in process, but not yet linked to an organization. Only the PI (and any team member who has been granted privileges) can edit the cover page or upload documents in this status.
- Linked is a proposal cover page that is in process, and linked to the organization that is going to submit it. Once a proposal is linked, appropriately privileged personnel in the office who will be submitting the proposal (typically the AOR) will have access to the proposal and can, if necessary, lock the proposal.
- A locked proposal cannot be edited by the PI or team members. A proposal becomes locked when the PI clicks the "Release to Org" button. A proposal can also be locked by the AOR, who can also unlock a proposal if further editing by the PI is needed.
- A rejected proposal is returned by the organization to the PI. It can be edited by the PI and re-released to the organization if the organization reinstates the proposal and unlocks it.
- A submitted proposal has been submitted to NASA by the AOR. Submitted proposals no longer appear on the "Unsubmitted Proposals/NOIs" page of a PI's proposals page. Submitted proposals are shown on the "Submitted Proposals/NOIs" page. When a proposal is submitted to NASA, the PI and AOR both receive an email "receipt" from the system confirming submission. Submitted proposals are then entered into the NASA review process.
- A returned proposal has been returned by NASA to the submitting organization, usually because it was deemed to be non-compliant with the requirements set forth in the solicitation. It will not be further considered by NASA for review or selection.
- A withdrawn proposal is pulled back from NASA by the organization. If this is done prior to the proposal due date, the proposal could be re-submitted (it will be given a new proposal number). After the proposal due date, the proposal cannot be re-submitted.
In addition, there are a number of decision statuses that that will increasingly be used when NASA communicates an award decision to the PI/AOR via NSPIRES. Note that most decisions made prior to December 2008 or proposers who received hard copy notification (only) after that time will NOT be reflected in the proposal status column on the "Submitted Proposals/NOIs" page; the status will only be updated to reflect a decision-status if NSPIRES was used to communicate the information to the proposer. These proposal decision status types are:
- Selected: For proposals that are selected and indicates that the proposal will receive funding from NASA based on (but not necessarily equal to) the amount contained in the proposal budget. Partial selections, warnings, no-exchange-of-funds awards, and other "other-than-full-funding" decisions will also show up as "selected"; proposers should read the text of the notification letter for details.
- Selectable: This option is used when the proposal is being considered for selection, but the Program Officer is not sure whether there will be enough funding to issue an award. For proposals with this selection status, the proposal's decision cannot be made final.
- Declined: This option is used when NASA has decided not to select a proposal for award or when NASA has decided not to select a proposal for award because, after review, the proposal is deemed to be non-compliant.
- Encouraged: This option is used for certain types of proposals (e.g., Step 1 proposals), and is used to indicate that the submission of a subsequent (Step 2) proposal by the submitting organization is encouraged.
- Discouraged: This option is used for certain types of proposals (e.g., Step 1 proposals), and is used to indicate that the submission of a subsequent (Step 2) proposal by the submitting organization is discouraged.
- Invited: This option is used for certain types of proposals (e.g., Step 1 proposals), and is used to indicate that the submitting organization is invited (and therefore, permitted) to submit a subsequent (Step 2) proposal.
- Uninvited: This option is used for certain types of proposals (e.g., Step 1 proposals), and is used to indicate that the submitting organization is not invited (and therefore, not permitted) to submit a subsequent (Step 2) proposal.
- Awarded: This status indicates that the procurement process for a selected proposal is complete and an award has been made. Note that not all NASA organizations make use of this award status, as they do not use NSPIRES for tracking and managing awarded proposals.
- Completed: This option is used for selections of responses other than proposals, which will not result in an award. Examples of responses that might receive this status are responses to an RFI or Call for Papers.
Why is the cover page so long?
In order to be compatible with Grants.gov, NSPIRES must ask many more questions on the cover page than had been requested in the past. Additionally, budget details are submitted via the cover page. This alone adds typically 10 to 17 pages to the cover page. In the past, a one page budget summary was all that was submitted as part of the cover page.
Do I really need to list all team members on my cover page?
NASA depends on receiving a complete and accurate accounting of team member participation on the proposal cover page in order to prevent conflicts of interest during the peer review process. If for some reason it is impossible to include a team member on the cover page, Science Mission Directorate (SMD) cover pages now ask for these individuals to be named as an answer to a Program Specific Question. This should only be used in highly unusual circumstances. Please see related question about team member commitments.
Some of my team members do not yet have NSPIRES accounts. What do I do?
Team members must have NSPIRES accounts before you can list your team members on the cover page. You can complete most of your cover page creation and proposal document upload while the individuals are being registered. If an individual has still not created an account when the proposal needs to be submitted, this person should be named in the Program Specific Question (SMD solicitations) that addresses this issue.
I understand that some solicitations require team members to demonstrate their commitment to the proposed activity via NSPIRES. How is this done?
When a PI adds a team member to the proposal cover page, that team member receives an email from NSPIRES notifying them of this action and encouraging them to log in. Once logged in, the team member should follow the link in the "Reminders and Notifications" section of his NSPIRES homepage, titled "Need Co-I and/or Collaborator Statement of Commitment For: Proposal to Solicitation <<solicitation number>>." On the "Team Member Statement of Commitment -Confirmation" page, the team member should read the commitment language, click the "Accept" button, and then click "OK". At that time, they should also ensure that the address book information is correct such that it accurately demonstrates the organization through which they will be participating on the proposal. PI's may monitor the status of team member commitments by examining the "Commitment Confirmed" column on the Team Member page of the NSPIRES proposal cover page record. Note that online commitment replaces the requirement for a signed "statement of commitment" from the team member.
I've linked my proposal with one of my affiliated organizations, but decided to submit using another. How do I unlink my proposal from the first organization?
Once a proposal is linked to an organization, it cannot be unlinked. You should delete that proposal and start over again. Note that you do not need to link your proposal at the time of cover page creation; you can wait until you are sure which organization you will be using to submit your proposal and link at a later time.
What is the "Check Elements" button and what do those symbols mean in the Status column?
Clicking the "Check Elements" button will execute a check by the system for proposal completeness. Note that this is not a guarantee that the proposal is complete and compliant; it is merely an indication that minimum requirements for submission appear to have been met. It should be used as a guide to check for missing items. Each time the button is clicked, the symbols in the status column will update to reflect any editing changes that have been made. The symbols are defined as follows:
Green check mark: cover page element appears to be meet minimum requirements
Yellow diamond with exclamation point: warning of an identified possible problem. Proposal can be submitted.
Red "X": Specific error identified. Proposal cannot be submitted until this problem is corrected.
The report that is generated and accessible by a link "View Report" provides details. Note that warnings in the element check do not preclude proposal submission. In many cases, the solicitation provides instruction (such as submission of a single PDF proposal document) that could cause the generation of warnings. The solicitation instructions should always be followed and any NSPIRES-generated warning can be ignored if the instructions provided in the solicitation have been followed.
What is that "generate" button under the "Complete Proposal" banner and should I do it?
It is the responsibility of each applicant to verify the accuracy and completeness of his/her proposal, including all text, figures, tables, and required forms. NSPIRES allows applicants to verify prior to submission that all information contained in proposal PDF file(s) being provided to NSPIRES is complete and accurate. Proposers are encouraged to ref. https://nspires.nasaprs.com/tutorials/PDF_Guidelines.pdf for more information on creating PDF documents that are compliant with NSPIRES. Well in advance of the proposal due date, the applicant should use the "Generate" the "Complete Proposal" (found on the "View Proposal" page within NSPIRES) to review the file they have generated in NSPIRES to ensure that all text, figures, tables, and required forms are complete and accurate. Note that the screen will not refresh when it is finished - PIs will need to reload the screen. The applicant must immediately call the NSPIRES Help Desk prior to proposal submission for assistance with any proposal that is not complete and correct or which did not generate at all. The proposal cover page does not need to be complete in order to run this test.
NOTE: Proposers should ensure that their proposals are submitted prior to the due date even if they fail to generate their proposal. This feature is optional and, if done, should be started well before the submittal deadline to allow adequate time to process the proposal document and to allow time to resolve any problems that might be encountered.
My proposal has been submitted, but now I can't see it anymore. What happened?
Once a proposal is submitted, it no longer appears on the "Unsubmitted proposals/NOIs" screen. Select the "Submitted proposals/NOIs" link to the left of the screen. Submitted proposals and NOIs are displayed there. In addition, the PI and AOR both receive an email from NSPIRES confirming receipt of the proposal. If the email has not been received, the proposal is not submitted. Notice that a proposal number is only assigned when a proposal has been submitted, otherwise the proposal cover page will reflect "TBD on submit".
I have been invited to be a reviewer. Do I need an account in NSPIRES?
Yes, you must create and activate an account in NSPIRES. Please refer to the tutorial on how to create an account. https://nspires.nasaprs.com/tutorials/index.html. Although reviewers do not need to have an NSPIRES-affiliation, it is very helpful for conflict of interest checking. At the very least, a reviewer should ensure that the organization row in the primary address book includes the full organizational name of his/her employer and that that organization is selected as an association.
I accessed my NSPIRES account. Where can I find the proposals assigned to me?
Once you accessed your NSPIRES account, you need to click the Reviews link. On the next page, under Current Reviews, click on the review name.
I clicked in the Review name, and I do not see the proposals.
Before you can see the assigned proposals, you need to accept the Review Assignment Agreement and the Non-Disclosure Agreement. Note that you will be provided with an opportunity to decline to review any specific proposal (for conflict of interest or other reasons), once you have accepted the generic agreement.
What application should I use to open the proposal?
The proposals are pdf documents, and we encourage using Adobe Reader 7.0 or higher to open these files. Note that some systems do not automatically recognize that the proposal is a PDF file when you download it; you may need to add the ".pdf" extension in order to be able to open it.
I opened the proposal, but I see only the cover page.
Please contact the NSPIRES Help Desk on 202-479-9376 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure you know which PDF reader you have on your system.
How can I decline to review a proposal that I have a conflict with?
You will see a Decline button, on the right hand side, for each proposal. You will be asked to enter an explanation for your declining. Prior to declining, please consult with the NASA Program Officer who asked you to serve as a reviewer.
I am ready to submit my evaluation. Where can I find the Evaluation Form?
Click the Create link available for each proposal, under the "Evaluation" column heading to the right. The next page will provide you with the individual evaluation form in a non-editable version. Towards the top-right are three buttons that provide two ways to get your review into NSPIRES (see below). Detailed instructions might also have been provided to you when you received the request to server as a reviewer.
What does the Create button do?
The "Create" button takes you to a web-based version of the evaluation form, which allows you to enter your evaluation directly into the NSPIRES database. Please save your work often, as your will be 'timed out' of the system after approximately 60 minutes and you could lose your work. Typing alone does not reset the clock. You are encouraged to compose offline and copy and paste into the form to minimize risk, or use the PDF form (see next question).
What does the Download button do?
This button will allow you to download to your machine a PDF Form into which you can type and save your evaluation. You will need Adobe Reader 7.0 or higher to be able to use this PDF form. You do not need a PDF writer to use this form. Please take care to maintain the file name given it by the system, as you may not be able to reload the form if you have changed the file name. And note that forms are not interchangeable - you should see the proposal identifying information (like PI name and proposal title) in the header section of the form.
What does the Upload button do?
This button is used to get the PDF evaluation form back into the NSPIRES database, for use during the evaluation panel. Please note that the form is not fully uploaded until you see a web-based version of your review and you click the "Save as Draft" button.
Can I save my evaluation and edit it at a later time?
Yes, you can. In the web based-version of the evaluation form scroll down until you will see the "Save as Draft" button. Next time you access your NSPIRES account, you will need to click the "Draft" link (instead of "Create") to access your saved evaluation. The PDF form can be saved and edited on your desktop.
I lost my review. Is there a session time out?
Once you are logged into the system, a session time-out of 60 minutes is in effect on this site. If your session is idle for more than 60 minutes it will be terminated and you will need to re-login to restart your session. Any data entered but not saved will be lost. Idle time is the time between requests for a new page or saving your data. The time taken by entering data, either using cut/paste or keystrokes is counted as idle time. Using the PDF form download to compose your review avoids this problem, as it allows you to write and save while not connected to the system. You do not need a PDF writer to use this form. Please take care to maintain the file name given it by the system, as you may not be able to reload the form if you have changed the file name.
I have received an error that states I entered more than 4000 characters
Each text box in the evaluation form has a 4000 character limit. Please check each text box to ensure you are within the limit allotted. If you need to write more than 4000 characters, please write in the next text box and create your own heading to make it clear that you have continued from elsewhere.
I submitted my evaluation as final. Can I edit it?
Once an evaluation has been submitted as final, it can not be edited.
I received an email from NSPIRES that a decision had been made on my proposal, what do I do?
To access notification information, log into your NSPIRES account and select "Proposals" from the "NSPIRES Options" part of the page. Then to the left select the "Submitted Proposals/NOIs". Find your proposal - you may need to filter your search by year, and use the "Find" button to the right - and click on the proposal title. Near the bottom of the page is a banner entitled "PI Information Package (< <date>>)". Below the banner are links to PDF documents provided by NASA to the PI and AOR about the status of the proposal.
I am an AOR, and I received an email from NSPIRES that a decision had been made on a proposal, what do I do?
To access notification information, log into your NSPIRES account and select "Organization Management". Then, select "Manage Organization Proposals", and click "Submitted Proposals" on the left hand side. Find the proposal - you may need to filter your search by year, and use the "Find" button to the right - and click on the proposal title. Near the bottom of the page is a banner entitled "PI Information Package (< <date>>)". Below the banner are links to PDF documents provided by NASA to the PI and AOR about the status of the proposal.
Will I still receive a letter in the mail?
If you received an email from NSPIRES telling you that an award decision is being communicated to you via the system, you will most likely not receive a duplicate letter in the mail. The NSPIRES communication is meant to replace the hard copy communication via mail.
My AOR told me that decisions for my program had been made, but when I log on I don't see the banner and documents you describe. What does this mean?
While NASA tries to make all notifications about a particular solicitation at the same time, sometimes these notifications are made in batches. The email that NSPIRES sends does not specify the proposal for which the decision has been made, only the solicitation. So an AOR might receive an email about one proposal that your organization submitted, but a decision has not yet been made (or perhaps simply the documentation of that decision is not yet ready) about your proposal. Your notification will be ready when you, as the PI, receive the email.
My proposal was selected, but I need to submit a revised budget. How can I do that?
There are two ways that a revised budget can be sent to NASA. It can be sent to the Program Officer directly, either as an email attachment or in the mail. Alternatively, if NSPIRES was used to communicate the selection decision, it may also have been configured to permit upload of the revised budget via this system. Above the "PI Information Package" banner there may be another banner called "Supplementary Documents". Below that would be a link for "Revised Proposal Budget". If this link exists, the PI can create a PDF version of the revised budget and use the "Upload" button. The PI will then need to have the AOR approve that revised budget in NSPIRES, following the on-screen prompts. The PI and AOR will know that NASA has received and approved this revised budget when the column marked "PO Approval" reads "Yes" rather than the default status of "No".
Why do my older, submitted proposals still show a status of "submitted?" They were declined/accepted.
NASA made the decision not to go back and update older proposal award statuses. Only those proposals whose decision was communicated to the PI/AOR via NSPIRES will reflect the updated status. If for some reason NSPIRES is not used to communicate the decision to you, and you receive information in the mail, your proposal will also still display a status of "submitted."