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NSF Policy Notices

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a policy statement on cost sharing in May 1999. The text may be found on the NSF Web site (document reference number: NSB 99-92).

In addition to its statutory cost sharing requirements (a minimum of 1 percent of aggregate costs on all NSF projects subject to the statute), NSF can require cost sharing when it believes there is tangible benefit to the award recipient(s). NSF-funded activities that are characterized by such benefits are awards for infrastructure-building purposes (instrumentation/equipment/ centers/facilities) or for awards where there is clear potential to make profit or generate income (e.g. curriculum development). NSF cost sharing requirements beyond the statutory requirement will be clearly stated in the program announcement, solicitation or other mechanism which generates proposals to the program.

Note that during budget negotiations, program officers may discuss the "bottom line" award amount, but may not impose cost sharing or other institutional commitments (for unsolicited proposals and those where NSF has not required cost sharing in the program announcement or solicitation). Also, in budget negotiations, any reduction of 10% or more from the amount proposed should be accompanied by a corresponding reduction in the scope of the project. Finally, NSF-required cost sharing is considered an eligibility rather than review criterion.

For more information, see "Cost Sharing/Matching Policy."

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