NSF Faculty Salary Policy: Two-Month Rule

The National Science Foundation (NSF) policy on faculty salary compensation states that compensation for senior project personnel is generally limited to “no more than two months of their regular salary in any one year. This limit includes salary compensation received from all NSF-funded grants… If anticipated, any compensation for such personnel in excess of two months must be disclosed in the proposal budget, justified in the budget justification, and must be specifically approved by NSF in the award notice budget.”

This policy takes into consideration that senior project personnel are being compensated through their institution. In addition to the pay they are already receiving, NSF will reimburse senior personnel for up to two months of their salary in any one year.

Once the project is awarded, grantees have full responsibility for conducting the project and for complying with federal requirements. NSF allows grantees to transfer funds from one budget category to another for faculty salary provided there is no change in the objective or reallocation of previously approved participant support. If the objective changes as a result, then NSF approval is required.

It is also acceptable for senior personnel to commit time without requesting a salary. This is considered voluntary uncommitted cost sharing, and the description of the resources to be provided should be included in the Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources section of the proposal.

To read the entire article, please see the NSF Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter, Aug/Sep 2017