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FastLane Proposal Preparation

  1. Go to the FastLane - opens new window web site.

NOTE: While NSF also allows submissions via, the University only allows NSF submissions via Fastlane or 

  1. Select "Proposals, Awards, and Status" from the top left side of the page.
  2. Enter your Last Name, FastLane User ID, and password in the "PI/CO-PI Login" box, and click the "Log-In" button. If you are a newly registered FastLane user or if you have not logged on to the system for several months, you may be prompted to change your password.
  3. Select "Proposal Functions."
  4. Select "Proposal Preparation."
  5. You will see a screen with general information about you. If you would like to change this information, select the "Edit PI Info" button. If you don't want to change the information, click the "Prepare Proposal" button.
  6. At this point, you will reach a screen called "Proposal Actions." Here, you can work on a proposal already in progress (listed in the "proposals in progress" box if you have anything currently in progress) or you can scroll down a bit and select "Create Blank Proposal" to begin a brand new proposal.
  7. In either case, the "Edit" button will allow you to get into the proposal and work on the various forms. Once you select "Edit," you will see the "Forms Selector" screen. You can click the "Go" button next to the form you want to work on to access each form. You should work on the Cover Sheet first. All Co-PIs need to be registered as FastLane users in order for their names to appear on the cover sheet. Senior Personnel do not need to be registered.
  8. Once you create a new proposal, the FastLane system assigns a temporary proposal ID number to the document (even if you haven't actually entered any information into the forms yet). Using the "Proposal PIN" button, you have the option to assign a PIN to the proposal itself (entirely separate from your own personal password). These two pieces of information (the temporary proposal ID and proposal PIN) are necessary for anyone other than a PI or Co-I to be able to work on the proposal. For example, if you have a departmental administrator who normally fills out forms or puts together your budget, you will need to provide him or her with the temporary proposal ID and the proposal PIN. The individual will also need to be a registered FastLane user.
  9. The Project Description must be uploaded to the system in one of the file formats supported by NSF.  The FastLane system will automatically convert your file to a PDF file. You will be given the opportunity to review and either accept or decline the converted file. Please note that in order to view the converted file you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on your machine. The software can be downloaded for free from Adobe - opens new window. Other sections of the proposal can be uploaded or copied and pasted into the available text boxes.
  10. Be sure to save your work on each form by hitting the "Okay" button at the bottom of each screen. If you simply hit the back button on your browser, you will lose your data.
  11. You and/or your departmental administrator will prepare the proposal on screen using the FastLane forms. You should, as soon as possible, push the "Allow SRO Access" button and provide view/edit access to allow your Sponsored Projects Officer to review the proposal and suggest changes if necessary. Once you are ready to submit, you will need to push the "Allow SRO Access" button and provide submit access to allow your Sponsored Projects Officer to review and submit the proposal. You should simultaneously email your Sponsored Projects Officer to inform them of where you are at in the process and to let him or her know that you have provided SRO access. Please be advised that the proposed project will also have to go through the internal approval process and a corresponding Document Summary Sheet (DSS) will need to be approved prior to submission. When you are certain that your proposal is ready for submission and you have allowed the SRO to submit, your Sponsored Projects Officer submits the proposal via FastLane and coordinates the electronic certification of the proposal.

Please also read Step. 4 Submit Your Proposal in our Grant Life Cycle.

Last Updated: 4/28/24