Understanding the NSF Biosketch Format

Submitting to NSF? The NSF biosketch differs quite a bit from an NIH biosketch:

A biographical sketch (limited to two pages) is required for each individual identified as senior personnel. While individuals may elect to use third-party solutions, such as NIH’s SciENcv, to develop and maintain their biographical sketch, please be advised that all biographical sketches created using third-party solutions must still be compliant with NSF proposal preparation requirements.

Do not submit any personal information in the biographical sketch. This includes items such as a home address; home telephone, fax, or cell phone number; 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.

Professional Preparation

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

Undergraduate Institution(s) Location Major Degree & Year
Graduate Institution(s) Location Major Degree & Year
Postdoctoral Institution(s) Location Area Inclusive Dates (years)


A list, in reverse chronological order, of all academic/professional appointments beginning with the current appointment.


A list of: (i) up to five products most closely related to the proposed project; and (ii) 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 Unacceptable products include but are not limited to unpublished documents not yet submitted for publication, invited lectures, and additional lists (above the allowed maximum) of products. Only the list of ten detailed above will be used in the review of the proposal.

Each product must include full citation information, including names of all authors; date of publication or release; title; title of enclosing work such as journal or book; volume; issue; page range; 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 examples that demonstrate the broader impact of the individual’s professional and scholarly activities, focusing on the integration and transfer of knowledge, as well as its creation. Examples could include, among others: innovations in teaching and training (e.g., development of curricular materials and pedagogical methods); 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; efforts toward broadening the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM; and service to the scientific and engineering community outside of the individual’s immediate organization.

Biographical sketches for senior personnel may no longer be grouped together and uploaded in a single PDF file associated with the PI. Each individual’s biographical sketch must be uploaded as a single PDF file or inserted as text associated with that individual.

Further information on the NSF biosketch guidelines and personnel definitions can be found here.