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academe + partners → from scientific discoveries to practical use

Letter of Intent (LOI)

This section contains additional information. It is an expanded version of what is in the solicitation.

Letters of Intent (required)

To submit a proposal for this opportunity, the submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) by the lead institution (i.e., the applicant institution) is required. Letters of intent are to be submitted via FastLane at http://fastlane.nsf.gov/.


The LOI is a pre-requisite to proposal submission.

  • LOIs are necessary to help NSF prepare and deliver the best review process possible, including assembling panels with appropriate reviewer expertise.
  • LOIs provide the NSF with an opportunity to examine proposed projects with respect to eligibility requirements and, in some instances, to identify correctible issues in terms of focus and eligibility.

The LOI will NOT be used as a screening device; that is, it will not be used to disallow full proposals.

In the event that there are changes to the LOI prior to submission of the proposal, it is important to communicate what those changes are to the Program Director.


Up to two (2) LOIs per institution can be submitted. Remember, if the PI submits the LOI to the Sponsored Research Office/Sponsored Program Office (SRO/SPO) be sure that the responsible individual in the sponsored research office knows that the LOI is coming and will be there to transmit it before the deadline to FastLane. Allow plenty of time before the deadline and be proactive in following up. The LOI is your ticket to submission!


Letters of intent have length limitations. The first two sections are entitled, respectively, Synopsis (2500 characters maximum, including spaces); and Other Comments (2500 characters maximum, including spaces), which can be used to convey important aspects of the project, such as information about not only the discipline(s) related to the technology, but also the disciplines to be included in this project: 1) systems engineering or engineering design, 2) computer science/information technology, and 3) human factors/behavioral science/cognitive engineering. In the Synopsis, please provide a list of key words or phrases that identify the technology domain expertise that is to be invoked in reviewing the proposal. Additionally, identify the application area to which the smart service system innovation is to be initially directed. The Other Comments section also may be utilized to contain information from the Additional Information field Primary Industrial Partners, if that information cannot be accommodated in the limited space provided.

Under Additional Information, information in only three (3) data fields is permitted. (Each data field can contain a maximum of 255 characters or approximately 30 words for each section.)
For PFI:BIC, these are as follows:

  • For the Service System: Describe briefly the technology-based "smart" service system that is the focus of the project and how the technology will contribute to the creation or transformation of it.
  • For the Primary Industrial Partner(s): provide for each: Name, Founding Date, Number of Employees, Location (City & State), Commercial Revenues for the preceding calendar year (or some other appropriate time period), and Project Role (s). Reasonable abbreviations can be used. If you cannot accommodate the information, include the rest of the information under Other Comments (see above).
  • For the Human Factors Tasks to be carried out which are essential to the operation of the Smart Service System: List a few major research activities which illustrate inclusion of human-centered considerations.
  • Under Point of Contact for NSF Inquiries, place the name of the PI, a phone number (preferably a direct line), his/her e-mail address, and the submitting department.

    Under Submitter Information, place the information for the SRO/SPO.

    Under Senior Project Personnel, list up to 4 official Co-PIs first. (The maximum number of individuals appearing on the NSF Cover Page is 5, which includes the PI.) It may be the case that you have enough lines to accommodate additional (i.e., Non-Co-PI) Senior Project Personnel on the form. Note that official Co-PIs (those who will be listed on the Cover Page of the proposal) need not all be employed by the lead institution.

    Instead of listing the department of these Senior Project Personnel-list their respective fields of science and engineering expertise represented on this project. That way, the maximum amount of information is conveyed about the disciplines to be included in the project.

    Under Participating Organizations, list up to 4. In order to provide a maximum amount of non-redundant information, include partner organizations other than the lead institution and the primary industrial partner(s) since the aforementioned organizations will appear earlier on the LOI form; respectively, under Project PI Information and under Additional Information, second data field, Primary Industrial Partner(s).

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