Guidance Regarding NSF Biosketches

Published April 17, 2020

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released an updated Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) in January 2020. The new PAPPG is effective June 1, 2020.

NSF will now require the use of an NSF-approved format for submission of Biosketches for proposals submitted or due on or after June 1, 2020, there are currently two approved formats: SciEncv and NSF fillable PDF. See here for the Approved Formats.

Helpful Links

NSF 20-1 PAPPG, Biosketch Requirement

Senior Personnel

A separate biographical sketch (limited to two pages) must be provided through use of an NSF-approved format for each individual designated as senior personnel. (See Exhibit II-3 for the definitions of Senior Personnel.

The following information must be provided in the order and format specified below. Inclusion of additional information beyond that specified below may result in the proposal being returned without review.

Do not submit any personal information in the biographical sketch. This includes items such as: home address; home telephone, fax, or cell phone numbers; home e-mail address; driver’s license number; marital status; personal hobbies; and the like. Such personal information is not appropriate for the biographical sketch and is not relevant to the merits of the proposal. NSF is not responsible or in any way liable for the release of such material. (See also Chapter III.H).

Professional Preparation

A list of the individual’s undergraduate and graduate education and postdoctoral training (including location) as indicated below:

Undergraduate Institution(s)



Degree & Year

Graduate Institution(s)



Degree & Year

Postdoctoral Institution(s)



Inclusive Dates (years)


A list, in reverse chronological order by start date of all the individual's academic, professional, or institutional appointments, beginning with the current appointment. Appointments include any titled academic, professional, or institutional position whether or not remuneration is received, and whether full-time, part-time, or voluntary (including adjunct, visiting, or honorary).


A list of:

  • up to five products most closely related to the proposed project
  • up to five other significant products, whether or not related to the proposed project

Acceptable products must be citable and accessible including but not limited to publications, data sets, software, patents, and copyrights. Unacceptable products are unpublished documents not yet submitted for publication, invited lectures, and additional lists of products. Only the list of ten will be used in the review of the proposal.

Each product must include full citation information including (where applicable and practicable) names of all authors, date of publication or release, title, title of enclosing work such as journal or book, volume, issue, pages, website and URL or other Persistent Identifier.

If only publications are included, the heading "Publications" may be used for this section of the Biographical Sketch.

Synergistic Activities

A list of up to five distinct examples that demonstrate the broader impact of the individual's professional and scholarly activities that focus on the integration and transfer of knowledge as well as its creation. Synergistic activities should be specific and must not include multiple examples to further describe the activity. Examples may include, among others: innovations in teaching and training; contributions to the science of learning; development and/or refinement of research tools; computation methodologies and algorithms for problem-solving; development of databases to support research and education; broadening the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM; and service to the scientific and engineering community outside of the individual’s immediate organization.

Other Personnel

For the personnel categories listed below, the proposal also may include information on exceptional qualifications that merit consideration in the evaluation of the proposal. Such information should be clearly identified as “Other Personnel” biographical information and uploaded as a single PDF file in the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal.

  • Postdoctoral associates
  • Other professionals
  • Students (research assistants)

Equipment Proposals

For equipment proposals, the following must be provided for each auxiliary user:

  • Short biographical sketch; and
  • List of up to five publications most closely related to the proposed acquisition.

Such information should be clearly identified as "Equipment Proposal" biographical information and uploaded as a single PDF file in the Other Supplementary Documents section of the proposal.