Office of Pre-Award Services

Office Address: 

Mass Venture Center 100 Venture Way, Suite 201 Hadley, MA 01035-9450

Short Name: 


Office Phone Number: 


Office Fax Number: 


NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The solicitation can be found on the NSF site and this link: Solicitation # 22-601

A request for an REU Supplement to an existing NSF award should be submitted if the need for undergraduate student support was not foreseen at the time of the original proposal submission. After logging into FastLane, choose "Award and Reporting Functions," and then "Supplemental Funding Request." Next, choose the award to be supplemented.

Normally, funds may be requested for up to two students, but exceptions will be considered for training additional qualified students who are members of underrepresented groups (women, minorities, and persons with disabilities). Centers or large research efforts may request support for a number of students commensurate with the size and nature of the project.

Student stipends for summer projects are expected to be comparable to those of REU Site participants, approximately $500 per student per week. Other student costs include housing, meals, travel, and laboratory use fees and usually vary depending on location. Amounts for academic-year projects should be comparable on a pro rata basis.

Total costs for a summer--including all direct costs and indirect costs--are generally expected not to exceed $1,200 per student per week. However, projects that involve international activities, field work in remote locations, or other exceptional circumstances may exceed this limit.

Results from any REU Supplement activities must be included in the annual project report for the associated award. The term of an REU Supplement may not exceed that of the associated award.

The following is a summary as to how the REU supplement proposals vary from standard NSF applications as detailed in NSF’s Grant Proposal Guides (GPG). Applicants are expected to be familiar with the GPG.

  1. Budget:
  • All student costs should be entered on Line F (Participant Support Costs) of the proposal budget.
  • Indirect Costs:

The REU solicitation has been revised to clarify the treatment of indirect costs in proposals for REU Sites and requests for REU Supplements. The treatment of indirect costs should follow the policies specified in NSF's Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). Indirect costs (F&A) are not allowed on Participant Support Costs in REU Site or REU Supplement budgets. Note that the REU solicitation's longstanding "administrative allowance" of 25% of the participant support stipend amount in lieu of indirect costs has been discontinued.

  1.  In the form entitled "Summary of Proposed Work," state that this is a request for an REU Supplement.
  2.  In the form entitled "Justification for Supplement," which is limited to 3 pages, include the following information:
  • the form and nature of each prospective student's involvement in the research project
  • the experience of the PI (or other prospective research mentors) in involving undergraduates in research, including any previous REU Supplement support and the outcomes for that support
  • the nature of the mentoring the student will receive; and
  • the process and criteria for selecting the student(s).  If the student has been pre-selected (as might be true in the case of a supplement for and ongoing award), then the grounds for selection and a brief biographical sketch of the student should be included.
  1. If an REU student has been pre-selected, you may place a brief biographical sketch in Supplementary Documents.
  2. The only proposal sections that need to be submitted for an REU supplement are:
  • The Summary of Proposed Work
  • The Justification for Supplement
  • The budget
  • The budget justification
  • Supplementary documents (if applicable)

Common Mistakes in NSF REU supplement proposals:

  1. Student costs are not listed in Category F
  2. Fonts that do not adhere to NSF format. Acceptable NSF fonts are:
  • Arial 11, Courier New, or Palatino Linotype at a font size of 10 points or larger
  • Times New Roman at a font size of 11 points or larger
  • Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 11 points or larger
  1. Pagination is omitted in the "Justification for Supplement”.
  2. If there was a co-PI on the main award, the co-PI also needs to sign off for the REU supplement

OPAS Contact Information for NSF

College of Natural Sciences: Mary Santos,  (413) 545-0698

All other Colleges: Kim Lowney,  (413) 545-0698

Summary of significant changes to NSF’s Grant Proposal Guidelines 23-1 effective January 2023

Summary of significant changes to NSF’s Grant Proposal Guidelines 23-1 effective January 2023

Principal Investigators submitting to NSF are expected to have familiarity with 23-1.

Summary of significant changes:

  1. Beginning in January 2023, all new proposals must be submitted in UMass requires that all NSF proposals use and not
  2. Current and pending forms and Biographical Sketches are now required to be created in SciENcv. The NSF templates for these forms is no longer permitted.
  3. In addition to the current and pending forms and Biographical Sketches in SciENcv, NSF requires that PIs certify in SciENcv that their Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents are accurate, current, and complete.
  4. There is a new proposal section if you propose to conduct research in the field: Plan for Safe and Inclusive Field/Vessel/Aircraft Research (PSI-FVAR).
  5. Concept outlines are submitted by the prospective PI via use of the Program Suitability and Proposal Concept (ProSPCT).

Please see details on these updates below:

1. Beginning in January 2023, all new proposals must be prepared and submitted in or FastLane will no longer be a preparation and submission option.

2. Beginning in October 2023, current and pending forms and bio-sketches are now required to be be created in SciENcv.

The most recent version of the NSF’s Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 23-1, requires SciENcv for the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support(C&P) documents in proposals and progress reports effective October 2023. This is in response to federal sponsors striving to harmonize as per National Security Presidential Memorandum 33(NSPM 33), which is a directive from the President of the United States requiring all federal funding agencies to strengthen and standardize disclosure requirements for federally funded awards.

The NSF fillable PDF for each of the Biosketch and C &P documents will no longer be allowed; if SciENcv is not used to generate a Biosketch and C&P as of October 2023, the system will prevent submission of the proposal or progress report. For this transition to SciENcv, it is encouraged that individuals to obtain an ORCID ID and use ORCID to facilitate pre-population of their biographical sketch in SciENcv. For progress reports submitted after October 2023, if there has been a change in a PI or Co-PI’s other support, a revised C&P prepared in SciENcv must be submitted with the progress report.

See for additional information on obtaining an ORCID ID.

Biographical Sketch(es)
Senior Personnel

This section of the proposal is used to assess how well qualified the individual, team, or organization is to conduct the proposed activities.
A separate biographical sketch (limited to three pages) must be provided for each individual designated as senior personnel through use of SciENcv - Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae. SciENcv will produce an NSF-compliant PDF version of the biographical sketch. Senior personnel must prepare, save, certify, and submit these documents as part of their proposal via or (See Exhibit II-3 for the definitions of Senior Personnel). Individuals are encouraged to obtain an ORCID ID28 to facilitate prepopulation of their biographical sketch in SciENcv. Use of an ORCID ID may help reduce the administrative burden associated with preparation of this section of the proposal.

See for additional information on obtaining an ORCID ID.

Current and Pending Support
(a) This section of the proposal is used to assess the capacity of the individual to carry out the research as proposed, as well as to help assess any potential overlap/duplication with the proposal being submitted.
(b) Current and pending support information must be provided separately for each individual designated as senior personnel through use of SciENcv. SciENcv will produce an NSF-compliant PDFversion of the Current and Pending Support Section of the proposal. There is no page limitation for this section of the proposal. Senior personnel must prepare, save, certify, and submit these documents as part of their proposal via or (See Exhibit II-3 for the definitions of Senior Personnel.)

3. In addition to the current and pending form and bio-sketches being created in SciENcv, PI’s will need to certify in SciENcv that their Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents are accurate, current, and complete.

e. Certification Provided by Senior Personnel - FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Section 223
In accordance with the FY 2021, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Section 223, senior personnel are required to certify in SciENcv that the information provided in their Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support documents are accurate, current, and complete. Senior personnel are required to update their Current and Pending Support disclosures prior to award, and at any subsequent time the agency determines appropriate during the term of the award.

False representations may be subject to prosecution and liability pursuant to, but not limited to, 18 U.S.C.§§287, 1001, 1031 and 31 U.S.C. §§3729-3733 and 3802.

See additional information on NSF Disclosure Requirements in Chapter II.B.

4. New NSF Proposal Section:

Plan for Safe and Inclusive Field/Vessel/Aircraft Research (PSI-FVAR). Each proposal that proposes to conduct research in the field, including on vessels and aircraft, must upload, under “PSI-FVAR” in the supplementary documentation section of, a plan that includes the elements specified below. There is a two-page limitation on the PSI-FVAR. No embedded links may be included within the two page document. If multiple field research excursions (inclusive of multiple visits and/or sites) are proposed, only a single overarching PSI-FVAR must be submitted. If a required section within the PSI-FVAR is not applicable, the proposer should specify that the section is not applicable.

Field research is a necessary component of many STEM fields. Fieldwork presents unique challenges that can increase the likelihood of harassment, including but not limited to, challenging physical conditions, social isolation, and limited communication methods. All research should be done in an environment free from harassment.

It is NSF’s expectation that:

  1. All personnel will treat others with dignity and respect, will exercise the highest level of professional and ethical behavior, and will work cooperatively to resolve differences; and
  2. It is everyone's responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive workplace. While not exhaustive, the following acts are examples of conduct that do not meet NSF’s expectations:
    • Abuse of any person, including, but not limited to, harassment, stalking, bullying, or hazing of any kind, whether the behavior is carried out verbally, physically, electronically, or in written form; or
    • Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly. The PSI-FVAR will document background information, pre-deployment activities, and plans for conduct while in the field and must include the following two sections:

1. Background Information:

  • Description of Field Location(s) – (Note: only one PSI-FVAR is required per proposal if the research involves multiple locations).
  • Inclusion/Safety from Harassment (SfH) Challenges for the Location(s) – e.g., communication limitations due to isolation (satellite phone only?); diversity of local Community (using Community to indicate the human community) compared to diversity of field/vessel/aircraft team; cultural/language/legal differences that may present personnel safety challenges.
  • Inclusion/SfH Challenges for the Team – e.g., number and type of organizations involved in the
  • team; number of experienced versus novice team members.

2. Preparation for Fieldwork:

  • Inclusive Climate:
    • Planned Trainings – e.g., Nondiscrimination; Bystander Intervention; Allyship; Privilege; Cultural Competency; Anti-Harassment.
    • Planned processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture – e.g., Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics.
    • Field Support Plan – e.g., mentor/mentee support; regular check-ins and/or events.
  • Safety from Harassment:
    • Incident Reporting/Communications Plan – e.g., within team, to organization(s); minimizing single points within the plan (e.g., single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone); specifics if multiple organizations involved; consideration of involvement outside the funded organization(s).
    • Field Incident Support Plan – e.g., real-time assistance resources (points of contact, hotlines); response activities (safety standdowns, return to organization guidance).

In addition, the supplementary documentation section should alert NSF officials to unusual circumstances that require special handling, including, for example, proprietary or other privileged information in the proposal, matters affecting individual privacy, required intergovernmental review under E.O. 12372 (Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs) for for activities that directly affect State or local governments, or possible national security implications.

5. New ProSPCT tool for concept papers:

Some NSF proposal types (see Chapter II.E for additional information) or funding opportunities may require submission of a concept outline in advance of submission of a full proposal. The primary purposes of requiring a concept outline are to ensure that the concept being proposed by the prospective PI is appropriate for the proposal type/funding opportunity, and to help reduce the administrative burden associated with submission of a full proposal. Concept outlines may also be submitted at any time by prospective PIs seeking early feedback on the general appropriateness and potentially relevant funding opportunities for a project idea prior to developing a full proposal.

Concept outlines are submitted by the prospective PI via use of the Program Suitability and Proposal Concept (ProSPCT) tool. ProSPCT consists of a dashboard and webform for prospective PIs to prepare, send, and track the status of their submissions. ProSPCT users must have a valid account to access the tool. (See for additional information.)

The ProSPCT tool ensures users provide information about the prospective PI(s), potentially germane NSF organizational unit(s), and the project idea based on the initial selection of the relevant proposal type. This information aids in routing the submission and determining the appropriateness of the work prior to preparation of a full proposal. The prospective PI will receive an email from the cognizant NSF program officer that specifies whether a full proposal may be submitted. Full proposals submitted without this “Program Officer Concurrence Email” for proposal types/funding opportunities requiring a concept outline will be returned without review or not accepted.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The COMMBUYS system is the Commonwealth’s electronic Market Center supporting online commerce between government purchasers (The Commonwealth) and business (The University).

COMMBUYS also serves as a repository for RFR’s and required proposal documents for some agencies’ proposals. In some cases, COMMBUYS may be the repository for these documents only, and not the submission method.
In all cases when an RFR is posted in COMMBUYS, applicants are expected to keep up to date with any amendments that may be issued under the RFR.

COMMBUYS RFR’s and required proposal documents may be accessed without a user account. Open solicitations may be found under Open Bids at the bottom of the page under supplier activities if you are not logged into your CommBuys account or under Bids/Open Bids if you are logged in. If you are logged in, you can narrow down the search for your solicitation by using the “gear” icon in the top right of the page then clicking on advanced search. Select document type, then click bid solicitation, and you can search under the bid solicitation number. Applicants should download all attachments and save them electronically prior to editing them.

If COMMBUYS is the submit method, then individual Principal Investigators need to register in COMMBUYS as a vendor.

To register as a vendor, please provide the below information to Kim Lowney at and you will be set up with an account:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Job Title
  • Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • A log in ID, password and security question will be set for you.

Once log in information is obtained, you may log in to a bid, and post the required documents to this bid.

Instructions for Vendors Responding to Bids


COMMBUYS refers to all solicitations, including but not limited to Requests for Proposals (RFP), Invitations for Bid (IFB), Requests for Response (RFR), Requests for Quote (RFQ), as “Bids.”  All responses to Bids are referred to as “Quotes.”

Steps for Bidders to Submit a Quote

  1. Launch the COMMBUYS website by entering the URL ( into the browser.
  2. Enter Bidder login credentials and click the Login button on the COMMBUYS homepage. Bidders must be registered in COMMBUYS in order to submit a Quote.  Each Vendor has a COMMBUYs Seller Administrator, who is responsible for maintaining authorized user access to COMMBUYS.  
  3. Upon successful login, the Vendor home page displays with the Navigation and Header Bar as well as the Control Center.  The Control Center is where documents assigned to your role are easily accessed and viewed.
  4. Click on the Bids tab
  5. Clicking on the Bid tab opens four sections:
  • Request for Revision
  • Bids/Bid Amendments
  • Open Bids
  • Closed Bids
  1. Click on the blue Open Bid hyperlinks to open and review an open bid or use the gear icon then click advanced search. Select open bids as the document type. Type in your bid solicitation number, and you will be brought directly to the bid you want to apply under, then select the blue hyperlink to the bid to enter it.
  2. A new page opens with a message requesting you acknowledge receipt of the bid.  Click Yes to acknowledge receipt of the bid.  Bidders should acknowledge receipt to receive any amendments/updates concerning this bid.
  3. After acknowledgement, the bid will open.

The top left half of the page contains the following information:

  • Purchaser
  • Department
  • Contact for this bid
  • Type of purchase
  • Open Market
  • Blanket
  • Pre-Bid Conference details (if applicable)
  • Ship-to and Bill-to addresses
  • Any attachments to the bid, which may include essential bid terms, response forms, etc.

The top right half of the bid includes the following information:

  • Bid Date
  • Required Date
  • Bid Opening Date – date the bid closes and no further quotes will be accepted
  • Informal Bid Flag
  • Date goods/services are required
  1. The lower half of the page provides information about the specific goods/services the bid is requesting.  
  2. Click Create Quote to begin.
  3. The General tab for a new quote opens.  This page is populated with some information from the bid.  Fields available to update include:
  • Delivery days
  • Shipping terms
  • Ship via terms
  • Is “no” bid – select if you will not be submitting a quote for this bid
  • Promised Date
  • Info Contact
  • Comments
  • Discount Percent
  • Freight Terms
  • Payment Terms

It is important to note that the bid documents (RFR and attachments) may specify some or all of these terms and may prohibit you from altering these terms in your response.  Read the bid documents carefully and fill in only those items that are applicable to the bid to which you are responding.

Update these fields as applicable to the bid and click Save & Continue to save any changes and create a Quote Number.
The page refreshes and messages display.  Any message in Red is an error and must be resolved before the quote can be submitted.  Any message in Yellow is only a warning and will allow processing to continue.

The following messages are received:
Terms & Conditions is not acknowledged – to resolve this, click on the Terms & Conditions tab and accept the terms. Your quote has not been submitted – information message; no action required

  1. Click on the Terms & Conditions Tab.  This tab refers to the terms and conditions that apply to this bid.  The terms and conditions must be accepted before your quote can be submitted.  If your acceptance is subject to any exceptions, those exceptions must be identified here.  Exceptions cannot contradict the requirements of the RFR, or required Commonwealth standard forms and attachments for the bid.  For instance, an RFR may specify that exceptions may or will result in disqualification of your bid. OPAS will work with OPAM if there are unusual terms and conditions that need to be agreed to in advance, and may edit this field, but in order to get the quote to save in CommBuys, please check off that you accept the terms and conditions.
  2. Click the Items tab.  The Items tab displays information about the items requested in the bid.  To view additional details about an item, click the item number (blue hyperlink) to open.
  3. The item opens.  Input all of your quote information and click Save & Exit.
  4. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION:  If documents uploaded in your quote response contain confidential information (security sensitive, EFT, W9, Commonwealth Terms and Conditions), please let OPAS know so that OPAS may mark documents as confidential. Marking them as confidential removes the viewing option for the administrator, so documents will look like they are missing in the CommBuys system.
  5. Click on the Attachments Tab. Follow the prompts to upload and name all required attachments and forms and bid response documents in accordance with the instructions contained in the solicitation or bid documents.  After uploading each individual file or form, click Save & Continue.  After you have uploaded all required documents click Save & Exit.  Be sure to review your attachments to make sure each required document has been submitted.
  6. OPAS will submit proposals through COMMBUYS after review.

It is the responsibility of all principal Investigators to load all required forms into the COMMBUYS system, prior to the proposal being logged into OPAS.

Once all forms have been loaded into COMMBUYS, the proposal will be considered complete, and can be logged into OPAS once the Kuali proposal is received.

Some forms may need to be filled out by OPAS, so these forms would be exempted from being loaded into CommBuys at the time the proposal is logged into OPAS.

Please note:
Some Commonwealth of Massachusetts proposals require forms that OPAS does not have the expertise to fill out and will need to be filled out by other offices on campus. PI’s should coordinate with the contacts below to fill out these forms in advance of the 5 day lead time for proposal submission to OPAS. The PI may need to discuss their statement of work with these contacts, so that the contacts are able to fill out these forms to the best of their ability in relation to the PI’s statement of work, and have sufficient time to do so prior to the proposal deadline.

Supplier Diversity Plan:
John Healey Unified Procurement Services Team,;

Environmentally preferable products form:
Ezra Small, Campus Sustainability Manager, Physical Plant,

CDMRP website:

CDMRP requires both the submission of pre-applications and, if invited, full applications.

Pre-applications and letters of intent are submitted by investigators through the CDMRP online submission site Electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP). Pre-proposals are submitted directly by the investigator without the need for institutional approval (does not involve the Office of Pre-Award Services - OPAS).

Full proposals are submitted through and therefore built and transmitted in Kuali.

Click on the below headers to learn more.

OPAS Proposal Review Tips

OPAS proposal review – frequently covered topics:

In addition to following the guidelines established by sponsors like NSF and NIH, Principal Investigators and proposal developers must also follow UMass Amherst’s internal policies and guidance. Below are some tips to help make complying with institutional policies and guidance easier:

  • Begin planning early. Check in with pre-award support staff in your department or college for help. Areas of campus lacking pre-award support can request help from R&E proposal development specialists.
  • Subcontracts – There are a number of documents required when proposals include subcontracts, in addition to the documents required by the sponsor. Use the list below as a basic checklist to ensure you have requested everything necessary from your subcontracting institution:
    • Sub-recipient Commitment Form – The Sub-recipient Commitment Form should be complete and signed by an authorizing official at the subcontracting institution. Be sure the subcontractor either attaches or provides web links to all of the documents requested in the Sub-recipient Form including updated Rate and Fringe Agreements as well as a copy of their most recent audit. 
    • Statement of Work
    • Detailed Budget & Justification
    • Letter of Intent (for NIH proposals)
  • Consultants – When a proposal involves a consultant, the consultant’s rate and number of hours to be worked should be specified in the proposal according to the sponsor’s guidelines. In addition, if the consultant’s letter of support is written on their home institution’s letterhead, UMass Amherst seeks confirmation the consultant will not use their home institution’s resources to complete their consulting work. This may be included in the letter of support, uploaded to the Attachments section of Kuali, or provided in a separate email directly to the OPAS reviewer.
  • Minimum Effort – It is important for faculty and staff to review the minimum effort policy. The minimum amount of effort committed to a specific federally sponsored research project may be no less than 1% of the employee’s current appointment – for an academic appointment that amounts to 0.09 months and for a calendar year appointment, 0.12 months. Beyond this minimum, the amount of effort committed to a sponsored project is left to the PI, based on a best estimate of the actual effort required to meet the goals and outcomes of the proposed project. This policy applies to all ‘key personnel.’ Minimum effort is not required on grants from non-Federal sources, unless mandated by that sponsor. For more information and certain exceptions, please see the entire policy and FAQ.
  • Faculty Academic Year Cost Share – When academic year faculty salary and fringe is contributed as mandatory cost share, the Faculty Academic Year Salary Cost Share Approval form must be completed and uploaded to the Internal folder within the Attachments section of Kuali. It is important that the faculty member requesting approval include their academic year effort on all sponsored projects (whether as a direct cost or cost share) for each period. Both the dean and the department head must sign off on the form as well. The form should then be uploaded to Kuali.
  • Human Subjects, Vertebrate Animals, and other Compliance items (Biological Substances, Radioactive Materials, rDNA, Carcinogenic Substances) – It is important that faculty and staff proposing research involving Human Subjects, Vertebrate Animals, and other compliance items appropriately tag the proposal demonstrating the inclusion of these compliance items both on the relevant sponsor forms and within the Questionnaire and Compliance sections in Kuali.

Please note that this article highlights some of the common oversights regarding institutional practices, policies, and guidance and should not be considered an exhaustive list.

As always, the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) staff is available to assist with any questions or concerns you may have throughout the proposal development and review process.