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NSF Restricts Use of AI in Grant Proposal Reviews

DEC 18, 2023
Jacob Taylor headshot
Senior Editor for Science Policy, FYI American Institute of Physics
NSF HQ Cropped.jpg

The headquarters of the National Science Foundation.

(Maria Barnes / NSF)

The National Science Foundation released a notice last week barring grant application reviewers from uploading proposals, review information, or related records to non-approved generative AI tools.

NSF so far has not approved any such tools, but an agency spokesperson told FYI it is exploring how generative AI “might be responsibly applied towards its business processes.” The new policy stems from concern that using generative AI tools in reviews could expose sensitive or confidential information that should be protected behind NSF’s firewalls.

Reviewers are still permitted to share publicly available information with publicly available generative AI. NSF also maintains a number of AI systems that reviewers are allowed to use for specific cases.

The notice also “encourages” proposers to mark AI-generated elements of their proposals and emphasizes that authors are responsible for any errors or plagiarism in their proposals, regardless of whether they were caused by generative AI.

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