CAREER Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ #1: What is the proposal development timeline?

Please note: Final proposal submission deadlines are NDF’s and not set in stone.

November 28, 2017 – CAREER Proposal Development Workshop

  • Provides introduction to CAREER program and addresses common questions

December 2017 to May 2018

  • Individual investigators develop proposals
  • Occasional information updates, FAQ pages

May 1, 2018 – First draft of proposals due for technical review

June 27, 2018 – Second draft of proposals due for internal review

July 9-13, 2018  – Proposal editing/proofing/formatting working one-on-one with consultants

July 18-20, 2018– Final proposals submitted to NSF directorates as follows:

  • BIO, CISE, EHR – due July 18, 2018
  • ENG – due July 19, 2018
  • GEO, MPS, SBE – July 20, 2018

FAQ #2: Can I submit a CAREER proposal if I already have a grant that funds my research?

Answer: Yes. Even if you have a current NSF or other federal agency grant you can submit a CAREER proposal as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements.

FAQ #3: How can I tell if my project idea is a topic that is “NSF-fundable”?

The general rule of thumb is that any research project that is biomedical/health-related (i.e., a clinical project) is better suited for NIH than NSF.

Answer: A valuable and quick(!) way that you can investigate to see if NSF has funded anything in the general topic areas that you are thinking about is to go the FASTLANE website (, click on “Award Search and Funding Trends” (upper left-hand side of the window), then click on “Award Search” and then “Award Search” again. This will bring up a search query window where you can enter in key words to see if there are projects out there in your general field. It will produce a list of projects, clicking on a project title will bring up a summary that includes the PI, the program and program officer, the proposal abstract, and other information. The program and/or program officer(s) identified would be the person(s) that you should contact to talk further about your idea.

FAQ #3: How do I register on NSF’s FastLane proposal submission site?

Answer: FastLane is NSF’s web-based system to facilitate the way NSF does business with the research, education, and related communities. The NSF FastLane system is available for proposal preparation, submission and status checking; project reporting, and post-award administrative activities. All FastLane functions are accessed at

To submit a NSF proposal you need to be registered. To register in FastLane you need to contact your institution’s research or sponsored programs office to request that they register you. You can not register yourself. Once you are registered you will receive a NSF ID and a temporary password (that you can change the first time you log in). If you have any questions about preparing or submitting a proposal in FasLane please don’t hesitate to contact us.